Africa Odyssey Reviews – 2014

7th January 2020

Naivasha, Nigeria. 2014.

Best money we’ve ever spent – safari in Tanzania

Firstly, sorry for the late review (holiday was October last year!). I don’t usually leave reviews but I really had to this time, even if it is 9 months late! My boyfriend and I had saved up to do a really special holiday and had spent months procrastinating over the planning. All I wanted was to see lions (after having been on several safaris and missed out every time) but I was aimlessly searching for the best country and time of year to go and not making any progress. We live in Nigeria where the phone networks are bad, so I’d sent loads of emails to other agents asking for information but nothing we received back got us very excited, One day I stumbled upon the African Odyssey website and started an online chat with Ed, who within 5 minutes had hit the nail on the head and sent me my dream itinerary. He knew what I wanted even though I didn’t! The brief I gave him was lions, luxury safari, beach time at the end (but not Zanaibar as I’d already been), Sep/ Oct time. We ended up with almost 2 weeks in total doing safaris in Ruaha (Mwagusi camp) and Selous (Siwandu camp) and then finishing up on Fanjove private island. The trip was absolutely amazing, I saw my lions and even after returning to work I was walking on air for weeks, something I can’t say has ever happened before! Everyone at African Odyssey was so helpful. They went out of their way to assist me and Ed was fantastic at judging exactly what I was after and answering my countless questions. When Ed wasn’t available someone else stepped in and knew exactly who I was and was able to help immediately. When I got nervous about the final cost of the trip Ed was very patient and even helped me look at other options. But in the end I’m so glad we just went for the places we loved and didn’t try to shave off £1,000 to justify booking. It was by far the most money we’d ever spent on a holiday but it was without a doubt worth every single penny. And as someone who struggles to make a decision without researching every available option until I’m blue in the face, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t bother researching other travel agents next time we want to do a trip. African Odyssey really know their stuff and their personalised approach gave me total confidence that I was going to get the holiday I wanted. In fact, I’m talking to them now about the next holiday! Thanks to everyone who helped, we’re looking forward to the next adventure. Naivasha & Cameron

M. Formisano, Kenya. 2014.

Hi Ed/Dave,

The trip was excellent. We loved every single part of it. I am really thankful to David for arranging everything; in particular his knowledge and recommendations made a big difference; it wouldn’t have been that good if it wasn’t for Dave.

We loved Kigelia and Ruaha; if we go back we’ll definitely return there. The accommodation was fantastic, the staff was very good, friendly and helpful. I have recommended that place to everyone.

Siwandu was very good but we preferred Kigelia as we prefer the feeling of total wilderness. The management at the lodge was very good, very professional. The guide was very knowledgeable (incredible, in fact!).

Thanks again for your help.

S Rudgyard, UK. 2014.

Dave,

It seems such a long time since our safari, although it is just over 6 weeks since we returned. We have had a recent wedding in the family (my youngest son) which has focused our attention somewhat!!

Our trip began in North Serengeti at Ubuntu, which was absolutely magnificent, both the area and the camp itself. There were only 3 guests in total at the camp for our stay, so the service was outstanding. Our guide, Venant, was excellent – even finding a Rhino mother and calf for us. The North Serengeti is very quiet and so different from the crowded central area we have visited before.

Mdonya in Ruaha we have visited before in 2011 and was again excellent, although there seemed to be far fewer elephant this time. Our guide, Christian, was very knowledgeable but lacked good interpersonal skills, a situation that camp manager Mary was aware of.

Katavi, which we had been anticipating would be the highlight of the trip, was actually disappointing, both from a wildlife point of view – very sparse and difficult to find – and the Wildlife Camp itself where the food was average (buffet style) and the guiding restricted to a limited local area.

We would certainly return to Ubuntu again, possibly in South Serengeti next time, but would not recommend Katavi for the reasons above, especially given the distance and related cost.

With regard to Africa Odyssey, all arrangements went without a single hitch, even down to our request for bottled water at all the camps!

Thanks to both Eds who dealt with our booking arrangements,

L. Kessler, USA. 2014.

Hi Dave,

Thanks for reaching out. The trip went like clockwork. Everything was as wonderful as AO told me it would be. Guides were extremely knowledgeable and delightful. Hosts were great, especially at Beho Beho. Mwagusi was lovely, especially the rooms. I think the normal chef was away so food was okay..only minor disappointment. Got to see LOTS of game, including honey badgers at both camps. Only thing I didn’t get to see on my list was the leopard, but I think they can be elusive. I especially enjoyed the water tour at Beho. I was met on time and transferred at each stop and felt very spoiled the entire time! Thanks for a great trip!

S. Song, USA. 2014.

We used Africa Odyssey to book our first safari to Tanzania based on a recommendation from a friend and we couldn’t have been more pleased with our experience! Dave and the rest of the Africa Odyssey team was super on top of everything, incredibly responsive, pleasant to work with, and very accommodating and flexible to our many requests and questions. The trip was just fantastic and we had the most amazing time! All the places we stayed were gorgeous, with excellent service and FOOD, and everyone we met was so warm and wonderful. All our transitions, transportations, and reservations worked out smoothly, which was really important in having an amazing vacation. Planning a safari seemed really daunting and complicated and we definitely could not have done it ourselves. We completely relied on Africa Odyssey to make the right recommendations and book everything for us and tell us everything we needed to know and we had one of the best trips ever! Thank you Dave and Africa Odyssey for everything!!

M. Bruorton, Australia. 2014.

We had a great time. Mwagusi was best of all, Mdonya was really nice and Katuma was great, fantastic leopard sightings which we were hoping for as well as lions around our tent on two mornings…great! Just to let you know everything ran like clock-work, picked up, transported etc from airport and hotel perfectly, internal flights between reserves excellent…your organisation was faultless and we are whole heartedly recommending you to anyone else travelling to Africa (actually quite a few fellow travellers had booked through you, and all were very happy with their arrangements).

Thanks again,

Regards,

Holding, Australia. 2014.

Everything was fine – Banoka was fabulous. We’re both serious Safari fans so we’ll keep your team in mind when we start planning our next trip.

Thanks for all your help – we love the website too with the paw rankings for the different camps – very helpful.

Anyway, thanks again and best wishes to your team.

White, Singapore. 2014.

We had an absolutely terrific time, thank you. Everything went very smoothly – all the internal flights worked well and the three places we stayed were all great. Beho Beho especially was incredible – everything there was so well organised, the place was beautiful and the food was delicious and very plentiful! The guides there were great and very knowledgeable. It was definitely the highlight of our trip. Kilindi was very good – we actually rather liked the beach there, which we had been warned wasn’t very good. The manager of Kilindi is rather creepy, but everything else was perfect – including our amazingly nice and helpful butler, Deo. Ras Kutani wasn’t super exciting but it was a good stop over for a few days while we unwound post-wedding. I wouldn’t rush back there, though.

All in all we had a great time and we didn’t have any problems with any of the arrangements you had made – thanks very much indeed.

JE, UK. 2014.

Dear Dave and Ted

First of all thank you Ted for all the great advice and personal insight that helped us plan an exceptional, once in a lifetime, safari experience to Zambia.

From start to finish the whole trip went without a hitch and we were moved seamlessly from one lodge to the next. Overall, we felt we had a great balance lodges, styles of accomodation, excellent guiding and activities. Without exception all the staff were friendly and a delight to spend time with. I thought perhaps you might like our thoughts on each of the places we visited so I will give a quick review of each of the lodges.

Anabezi Rather than the boat transfer we were expecting from Jeki to the camp we dived straight into our first game drive with Matt the camp manager. It was spectacular – I actually thought how can this get any better! What an amazing introduction to a really impressive set up. The game viewing was prolific and we were not to be disappointed on any of the drives over the course of our stay. Matt was a fantastic guide and really went the extra mile to find great game viewings, driving us way into the long grass and trees. Barely saw another vehicle. It is such an unspoiled area and we felt very privileged to be there in it’s early days. We loved the fishing and had enormous fun with our guide catching huge tiger fish and vundu. The camp itself is gorgeous and the huge tents are wonderfully designed and totally luxurious. The plunge pool was icy cold and a complete godsend. The food was good, varied, but perhaps not as good as Chiawa, for example. The dining arrangements and guest interaction were more hotel style and perhaps due to the size and openess of the lodge it felt a little less personal than some of the other camps. All the staff, housekeeping, guides were wonderful and they made every effort to make your stay perfect. They were always ready and waiting to make sure you had the best time. Highly Recommended.

Chiawa Absolutely fascinating to meet Grant Cumings, the owner, who was being transferred from Old Mondoro up to Chiawa with us. He was clearly a little sensitive about the arrival of Anabezi on the scene and that we would feel that Chiawa was dated. To a certain extent he was right but that did not take into account the wonderful atmosphere and friendliness of the staff that we experienced throughout our stay. We were only at Chiawa for 2 nights and I would say that this area of the game park looked rather worn and well-trodden compared to Anabezi and the guides had to work a little harder to find game. Having said that we had some amazing close-up viewings of leopard and our canoe trip was a brilliant experience – slightly nerve-wracking at some points but the reassuring experience of our guide managed to keep me calm! Food gets 5 stars and we really enjoyed dining together, sharing stories and listening to their lovely choir. Having mentioned that it was our 25th wedding anniversary holiday, they arranged some lovely, personal touches; lunch floating on the river, private dining in our tent – we felt very touched and very well looked after. It seems like a camp that has a loyal following for good reason but perhaps Grant is right to think that he needs to keep on his toes.

Tafika and the bush camps

We just loved Tafika. (Thank you Ted, again, for almost insisting that we came here.) Although a more unorthodox way of doing our trip – Lower Zambezi first and then South Luangwa, it worked really well for us. I felt that we were experiencing something very special here – a lifetime’s work from a couple who have with their gentle dedication and love of this area created not just a safari camp but a focus for the village and support for the community.We were happy to be able to add walking to our range of activities and a scool visit. Our room was stunning – the family room with the tree. We had some very heart-pounding moments in the middle of the night with elephants and hippos munching noisily by our ears as we lay nervously in bed. Our tick sheet of game sightings grew quickly at Tafika – with wild dogs, big prides of lions, leopards, vultures, giraffes, wildebeest, elans and many many more animals and birds that I could barely keep up with. Tafika served my favourite food – just good, home made cooking with wonderful fresh salads and vegetables. We stayed 3 nights in total at Chikoko and Crocodile. One night on our own at Crocodile with the wonderful Alex and the next two at Chikoko. I was so impressed by Alex – his guiding skills were incredible and we had great competitive card sessions. (Ted – we put two and two together with the lovely, honey-mooning couple Charlie and Alice and realised that you had organised both our trips. We spent lots of time with them and really enjoyed their company. I am sure we both have unforgettable memories.)

Although not organised by Africa Odyssey we then went on to Tongabezi. As I know you also send clients there I will give you our impressions. This was our relaxing, luxurious end of the holiday and our room the Nut House at Tongabezi in it’s newly refurbished state was the ultimate in luxury and chic. It had the Wow factor. Having said that, overall, I personally did not feel that it met the high standards of service and attention to detail that we received at all the other places we stayed. Everywhere else we went staff were ready and waiting and service was efficient and unobtrusive. At Tongabezi, we would wait for our guide to arrive and we would ages for breakfast to be served or coffee to arrive. I think the on-the-ground managment is perhaps not what it should be. It also came across as being a bit obsequious. The waiting staff are well trained but it was not the natural charm of the other staff we encountered and they were often to be seen looking at their mobile phones or having a sit down.
We did the Devil’s pool activity which is organised by Tongabezi but we felt quite rushed and pushed through on a bit of a conveyor belt. The tables are so far apart at Tongabezi that it almost felt ridiculous and we barely spoke to another guest during our 3 day stay. Having said that it was a great way to finish the holiday, especially after the walking trails and game drives of the previous 10 days and we happily luxuriated in our room, dipped in our infinity pool gazing out across the Zambezi. Perfect.

Thank you so much for organising all this for us, it was the holiday of a lifetime. I will definitely recommend anyone to Africa Odyssey if planning a Zambian adventure.

Z. Guy, UK. 2014.

Dear Ed,

Just a little note to say how incredible our honeymoon was! We had an absolutely incredible time and the locations were chosen absolutely perfectly. We managed to make friends with another couple you helped from New York. Also on honeymoon, called Ted and Bridget. So we were all singing your praises as we sat in the sun sipping tropical drinks.

Thank you for getting it all sorted for us so well. It was absolutely seamless and we would definitely recommend you to anyone who wants to go to Africa. We look forward to our next African holiday ASAP.

All the best and many many thanks.

S. Messenger, Australia. 2014.

Hi Tom/Ted

We have been singing your praises loud & clear to fellow travellers in Africa & now at home !!!

We had the most fantastic few weeks and want to thank you for all your patience and “empathy” – you certainly locked our ideas/wishes and the itinerary exceeded all expectations –your planning & organisation was perfect – all flowed effortlessly and we were looked after so well – everyone so very helpful, welcoming, friendly & knowledgeable

Your recommendations re Siwandu & Kilindi were ‘spot on’

Just wondering if you would have recommended Serian Serengeti North if I had not requested because we thought that was outstanding – actually the guiding at all Camps was excellent

You did a great job re the accomm – we always had a tent at the ‘end of the line’ at the Camps so were surrounded by the “bush” – the Kilindi accomm was amazing – again at the ‘end of the line’ and closest to beach so had the best view at the resort !!! – looked straight onto beach & water – Well done !!!!!

Our thanks for organising such a happy & memorable few weeks.

McKinnon, Dubai. 2014.

Our trip truly was an experience of a lifetime for my mother, my sister, my wife and I.

From the moment we were greeted on landing from our first flight, to the moment we were wheels up and on our way home.

The accomodation, food and hospitality at each of the camps was five star quality (or five paws as you put it). The guides were all superb and each a character in their own way. The open sided private 4 x 4s were excellent and provided great viewing in a non confined way. And the animals…….? One of our guides, Eric, would say, “Lets’ see what the nature will bring us”, and it brought us plenty. Actually, more than plenty. Every game drive had at least one big wow moment and many had multiple. The entire trip was literally the greatest show on earth.

We had one little hiccup where one of the camps we were travelling to wanted to divert us to another lodge to allow one of their guests to stay longer. I insisted that we arrive and stay at the camp we booked, and after a couple of calls that evening to Asilia, they backed down and let us proceed as planned.They claimed that they were trying to upgrade us, however it was in their interest and not ours. When we did arrive at Komondo, as planned, we were very happy we did persist as it was in a fabulous camp with a great team.

I would highly recommend fellow travellers to use Africa Odyssey if they really want to experience the best that Africa has to offer.

l. Chen, Singapore. 2014.

Hi Ted,

Just wanted to let you know that I had the best time on the riding safari trip from Singita Explore, it was everything I had hoped for, plus so much more. Everything was perfect, even the weather wasn’t too hot, hence no mosquito bites until the very last day. My friend who went with me was so impressed with everything, from the variety and number of animals to the level of comfort at the tented camp. I’ve attached a video taken by one of my guides taken during one of the many long canters across the open plains, a lot of times joined by herds of zebras and wildebeest (not in this one though) The riding was just unbelievable and I don’t think you can get it anywhere else in the world, so thank you again so much for introducing this place to me. Incidentally, I was told I am the first ever Asian person who’s gone riding with them. I think you need to up your marketing game in Asia ;o)

Beckhard, USA. 2014.

Just quickly checking in to tell you that it was the trip of a lifetime! Every minute detail was perfect – every attention was paid to make it all work out flawlessly. The safari itself, all locations, were fantastic.
Thank you for your wonderful help in planning this adventure and taking care of details like getting up accommodations close to the main house each time – it made quite a difference. We also met more wonderful people at each camp – I mean personnel – than I could ever imagine – knowledgeable, helpful, intuitive and kind.
Ready to do it all over again!!

Once again, thank you for all your help, Ted.

Gee, UK. 2014.

Marc

As promised a quick summary of our fantastic trip. There was a lot of flying involved & some tired girls at times but overall view from all 4 of us is that it was awesome and the girls have now caught the safari bug & are adamant that we are going back soon – more of that later! The trip was full of stories & adventures & has created so many great memories. Thanks again for all the planning & arrangements & for recommendation of Old Mondoro, Tafika (both of which have secured our vote in safari awards) & Ras Kutani. I’ve attached a few of our favourite shots but as you can imagine trying to narrow it down to the best few is no easy task!

Trip Summary:

J’burg airport was chaotic. We thought 3 hours was enough to make our connection to Lusaka & it was but only just! Over 1 hour to get through passport control & then a mad dash through the airport with our luggage & with Alice clutching on to her sick bag (unfortunately both girls had been sick on the flight)!

Fortunately we were helped by a porter, who showed us where to check in, drop our bags & then took us via business class security screening to ensure we would make the flight. He was fantastic.

At Lusaka everything was rather calmer & the meet/greet worked very well.

We all loved the flight with Proflight down to Jeki in our 4 seater-plane with Claire as co-pilot!

Whilst we were all tired when we finally landed at Jeki, the cold drinks & then game drive back to camp, which included some great time with a small breeding herd of elephants, rejuvenated us all. Within minutes both girls turned round to us & stated that they loved it. That was before we had ven got to camp.

Old Mondoro:
A very special place, so full of soul. Ryan & Pam were great hosts & all the staff were great with the girls (including extra hot water bottles & ‘beanie’ hat for Lucy on the cold morning game drives, special cooked breakfast for them both on final morning & involved them in conversations). Food was excellent & topped off by a surprise bush lunch & also a birthday cake for Claire.

OM location was stunning. The hippos caused much amusement, with 1 particular grumpy-sounding one named after my dad! Family unit was perfect. Claire enjoyed viewing the elephants in camp from the comfort of the bath!

Guiding (Victor) was outstanding & included 1 day spent tracking the resident 2 pride males. We finally located them just after dark (pin-pointed by their sound). They’d split up but were calling to each other. Watching & listening to 1 of the males roar, just feet away from us is a memory that will last with us all forever (so too the sound of 3 giggling girls, who, after all the excitement needed a comfort break on the trip back to camp!)

Loved the variety of activities at OM. River cruise was great & I thoroughly enjoyed the canoe trip & encounters with hippos.

Just to top off the whole experience as we headed to Jeki for our flight out we came across a beautiful black manned lion with the remains of a male waterbuck he’d killed.

Flight back up & out of Lusaka worked smoothly.

Flat Dogs:

Had deliberately chosen Flat Dogs as something a bit different from Old Mondoro & Tafika primarily because wasn’t sure how the girls would find the camps. Thought they might want something a bit larger with the chance of more company plus the pool. Whilst they certainly enjoyed the pool at Flat Dogs they much preferred the seclusion/exclusivity of the smaller camps. Tree House was a great location with some great viewings of elephants & giraffe in particular. However, the fact the tree was fruiting inevitably attracted vervet monkeys & baboons & we had a few interesting encounters with them! Alice also experienced a close encounter with 1 of the vervet monkeys when it leapt on to our table & stole her food at lunchtime. The staff were great & ensured she was ok & replaced her food.

We couldn’t fault the camp or levels of service but the volume of vehicles in that area probably lets it down. We had some great sightings particularly wild dog, my favourite, but within minutes the vehicles start to queue. I do think that some guides develop their skill in spotting other vehicles rather than game! I guess it is a classic case of what you pay is what you get.

We enjoyed it but were ready to move on.

Tafika:
It was a great feeling to get back to another rustic camp. If we weren’t already sure, Tafika certainly confirmed our preference for We all concluded

Another superb camp in a stunning location with fabulous food. The family unit surpassed even that at Old Mondoro. Guiding was excellent & interesting that guides are rotated between guests. We were lucky to go out on drives with Bryan, Bryn, Isaac, Gareth & Jen Coppinger. Some great leopard sightings including 1 with an impala it had just caught but not yet killed.

We’d forgotten how enjoyable it is to all sit together round a table under the stars enjoying a great dinner swapping stories & sharing experiences. We met some great people throughout our stay & it was great to see our girls engage & be engaged in the conversations. 1 in particular, a guide/safari planner based in Zimbabwe, Garth Thompson, who was with us at Old Mondoro for a couple of days & then we met up again at Tafika. Great character & listening to the stories he & John C shared gave us all hours of entertainment.

Village & school trip was amazing, a real eye opener for the girls & truly humbling.

Micro-light flight provided a completely different perspective & was enjoyed by both Alice and me.

Alas our time went far too quickly here!

Flight from Tafika to Lusaka with Gareth in the Camp’s plane was another great experience.

Arrangements in Lusaka for flight to Dar were perfect.

Think Coastal Aviation were supposed to meet us on arrival in Dar but there was no one there for us although the Coastal Aviation desk was right by the exit so no real issue. Once we’d spoken to the desk arrangements from there were fine & enjoyed the short flight to Ras K.

Ras Kutani:
Simply idyllic! We loved everything about it – the service, food, hill house, views, beach, swimming, snorkelling & body boarding. It was the perfect choice for post safari relaxation. Still time for a few more experiences though. This time it was Lucy having a run in with a hungry vervet monkey whilst I had a bit of a shock when a snake fall on me by the pool!

Not quite sure what happened with our flight out. Initially it didn’t show. After some chasing by the Ras K team another plane did arrive (cargo plane!) & in fairness Coastal did then arrange for our plane to land at the International Terminal to ensure we could make the Kenya Airways connection to Nairobi.

We then had the fun & games with Kenya Airways over Alice’s ticket! Whether it’s something they try on regularly I’m not sure although even on our Lusaka to Dar flight the check-in desk initially couldn’t find her details. She seemed to be on 1 list (passenger list) but not on their other list; so maybe it’s something to do with her being child not adult?

Unfortunately we then had a 14 hour delay in Nairobi, albeit we’d known about that all day, due to issues with the BA flight. It was still all fairly chaotic though trying to get confirmation of where we would be staying. We were put up in the Boma Hotel, which is a great hotel but it was nearly midnight by the time we got there & we left soon after 9 the next morning.

So ended a fabulous adventure. 2 years in the planning yet over so quickly!

K Corner, USA. 2014.

Hi Ed,

The trip was just AMAZING. We couldn’t have asked for a better honeymoon, and everything went off without a hitch.

Rwanda lodge: Mountain Gorilla

Just wonderful. Great food, incredibly polit staff. The dry cleaning of boots was a real surprise and felt downright luxurious! The fireplace area where you could have a drink and read before dinner was one of our favorite parts.

Kigali hotel

Really much fancier than needed. Fine, and felt very high security. That being said, it hardly felt local or authentic.

Tanzania hotel: Serengeti Safari Camps

Incredible, and closer to the wildlife than we expected. Literally wildebeest right in the camp! The staff was wonderful, but our driver Ali was truly world class.

Fanjove Island

Just what we were looking for. A true beach escape, with amazing fresh seafood and plenty of activities around the island like snorkeling, kayaking, and even a little scrabble. The bandas on the island were breathtaking.

Thanks for all of your help and amazing work planning with us. We couldn’t be happier with the outcome!

Kibby, UK. 2014.

Hi Ted – just wanted to say thanks for the organisation of our holiday. We had a great time; the safari was an awesome experience from the camp to the drives and boat tours and the time at Breezes was lovely and relaxing – albeit a couple of early mornings for snorkelling and dolphin swimming! Everything went very smoothly and was well co-ordinated. Thanks for helping to make our holiday so special.

Dudley, USA. 2014.

Hi Africa Odyssey,

### and I returned from our honeymoon in Tanzania over the weekend and wanted to THANK YOU for planning such a fabulous trip for us! The itinerary was absolutely perfect–a great mix of adventurous Safari and relaxing beach time. And every single transfer was completely seamless. Drivers were waiting to transfer us to our next destination, knew exactly where to bring us and the staff at every location we stayed were extremely accommodating.

Our trip was incredible–we can’t stop talking about how perfect it was! We will certainly recommend you to all our friends and family as we were very, very pleased.

Gee, UK. 2014.

Tafika was fantastic – still can’t quite decide between there & Old Mondoro as to favourite! Alice & I both did micro light. It was awesome. Totally different perspective. Village/school visit also v enjoyable & humbling too.

Challe, France. 2014.

Here we are ! Back from our wonderful holidays ! 🙂 🙂 🙂

To give you an overview of our different experiences :

Mwagusi (Ruhaha Park) : we really enjoyed Ruhaha and the lodge. As promised, Mwagusi is amazing, the games drives were excellent – we had wonderful guides and driver (Isaac and Vicent) – and we brought back beautiful pictures !

Siwandu (Selous). Very sophisticated camp, less games drives focused but a great variety of activities (fishing, boat cruise, walking safaris…very sophisticated breakfasts in the bush). The managers Susan and Bastian are really friendly and do their best to please their guests ! A wonderful experience !

Manta Resort. To be honest, we have been disappointed by the resort ! The place is beautiful, the staff very nice…but the villa (sea front) is very basic, not very clean. The SPA is free, perfect…but towels are not changed between 2 guests !

Radley, UK. 2014.

Hi Ed

Just a quick e mail to say we had a fantastic time in Tanzania unfortunately the trip went by soooooooooooo fast

Everything went to plan, apart from Coastal Aviation, we landed earlier than expected and were delayed for a couple of hours, so sitting in their departure lounge(!) after a long flight was very tiring. Then they put us on the smallest plane on earth, a five seater which looked like it had come out of a Mary Poppins film, I was terrified but it got me over my fears for the 12 seater planes!

Ruaha and Selous were fantastic – absolutely faultless – never been looked after so well. Magical camps with brilliant staff – it was an amazing experience. Could have seen more animals(LIONS) but I know it is the luck of the draw.

I think Selous was our favourite as it had a vibe about it and was more spread out. Jongo was more rustic and tents closer together but even that had its own beauty. They even supplied me with hot water bottles for the evening – bliss. Brian the manager even fitted in an early morning game drive for us on the last day in a last minute effort to find lions!

Overall the 2 camps were absolutely fantastic – an amazing experience and they really are total luxury. The managers in both camps were so accommodating, approachable and helpful really nothing was too much trouble. We even had our own butler at Selous and he was wonderful – we would definitely return. Overall – faultless camps.

Pongwe was fine but we were disappointed in the inflexibility of the chef. We were B&B and only wanted a small meal in the evenings – they do a 3 course for something like $35. We asked on the 2nd night if I could have something off the lunch menu for dinner (pasta $14) and Kyla to have the main course off the 3 course meal menu (lobster and prawns). They agreed to this – $20 for Kyla which was fine but charged me $20 for a pasta dish – I was really annoyed but they wouldn’t budge on cost for mine. Then the next evening they wouldn’t do 1 course for us – so we went hungry! After the fantastic treatment we had had on the previous 2 camps this was quite upsetting.

I wish I had booked a day longer at each camp as we did loose time with travelling, but it was a lesson learned for next time.

Thanks for all your help in booking and I will definitely recommend your company to my friends.

Ryan, Australia. 2014.

Everything about our holiday in Tanzania was fabulous. We had a wonderful experience at the two &Beyond campsites in the Serengeti and at Plantation Lodge at Ngorongoro Crater. We couldn’t fault any of it – the guides, the food, service, the care and attention. It was all terrific.

Thank you very much to Edward at your end, too, for organising it all so effortlessly from our point of view. I will certainly recommend Africa Odyssey to friends and family, and we would use your services again for sure.

Smith, USA. 2014.

We really enjoyed our safari. Everything went so smoothly – we were really impressed how seemless our transitions were between airports/hotels/camps, etc. We loved Ngorogoro Crater and staying at the tent camp in western serengenti and would not have changed 1 thing about our itineary.

We enjoyed both Plantation Lodge and Ubuntu camp. For those interested in visiting the western serengeti, we highly recommend travelling at the end of May. Plenty of wildebeest but not a lot of tourists. We were the only people at Ubuntu and just one of 2-3 bookings at Plantation. Because of that, we had a private safari the entire week.

E. Bradford, USA. 2014.

Just a quick note to thank you for helping us plan an unforgettable honeymoon. Siwandu (your Selous recommendation) was incredible. Thanks to an expert guide we saw lions eating breakfast, a leopard lounging in a tree, hippos munching in our backyard, etc, etc. The food was terrific and the staff provided several fun surprise dining experiences in honor of our honeymoon. Thank you for the wine!

Kilindi was also a truly special spot on the gorgeous Indian Ocean. The 3 day safari followed by 4 days relaxing on the beach was just right.

And we could enjoy all this stress free thanks to you guys setting up reliable transfers who were prompt, friendly and got us right where we needed to be. I especially appreciated you (or Coastal?) troubleshooting for us when our driver did not appear early on a holiday Saturday morning – we still made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare!

Please let me know if there is a particular place we can post a review for you guys that would help with advertising.

S. Crowfoot, UK. 2014.

Dear Marc

Amazing indeed!!!

Am very happy to talk on the phone and/or write a review where you’d like it.

It really was the most wonderful and incredibly special experience for us all. My parents were nervous about all sorts of aspects and really needn’t have been (they especially say the camps/websites should state somewhere that early starts are not required at either camp – as this was one of the things that made them think at their age that they couldn’t do it… yet neither camp does early starts). Both Siwandu and Jongomero were fabulous – amazingly luxurious in a wonderfully understated low key way, phenomenally lovely and friendly staff at each (really – Matthew at Siwandu started teaching the kids Swahili and said how much he’d miss our family.. and this was continued and more at Jongomero by Christian who we’ve since emailed) and really well run/managed. So many aspects we loved about each very different camp. I don’t think I could choose between them so am so glad we stayed at both. My father’s birthday was wonderful too and the birthday cake singing/dancing celebrations (a snapshot below) will long reman in all our memories.

Obviously amazing to be ferried around by our own private plane and all arrangements ran seamlessly (bar a slight hitch taking us from Ras Nungwi to Stonetown but very quickly sorted out by the hotel). Ras Nungwi was an entirely different proposition to the camps – I think Ras Kutani would have been more in keeping probably (and was advised by Ed!) but we wanted to see Zanzibar and Ras Nungwi was still lovely and looked after us all very well.

It was a very expensive holiday but a completely amazing one and we are all so glad we did it. We feel our souls have been richly fed and we will long cherish the memories. The excellent reviews on your company are well justified and we will most definitely come to you again for another trip in the future. As you’ll recall from my initial email Rupert and I are very keen to visit Botswana but decided cost would dictate it was just the two of us doing that one – when our bank balance has recovered sufficiently we’ll come back to you for more!

D. Eyre, UK. 2014.
Dear Ted and Ed,

Just thought I would drop you a line to say that we had a fantastic holiday in Botswana.

Both Lebala and Little Kwara were great camps – comfortable, homely and welcoming, with a real sense of being close to nature (helped by the elephants outside our rooms in both camps, and the baboons sliding down our roof at Little Kwara!) The staff were very warm and friendly and the food was lovely. Having Little Kwara to ourselves was brilliant.

We had great game sightings at both camps – actually slightly better at Lebala, but we spent a magical time on the water at Little Kwara, so we missed a couple of game drives there to do that (and we certainly would recommend the experience – it was lovely).

The guides at both camps (Thabo and Bait at Lebala, TJ and Hobbs at Little Kwara) were excellent and we enjoyed the fact that the spotters at Little Kwara (Chester and Justice), were much more a part of the team. Their knowledge and explanations were great and all of them embraced the fact that Robbie is passionate about the wildlife and is training as a guide, so they gave him lots of help and pushed him to explain what he knew, which he really enjoyed.

I have to admit, I was a little worried when I booked the trip as it is obviously a high cost trip and we hadn’t used you before, but I have to say that Ed’s recommendations were spot on. I had told him that I wanted to spend my money on a good safari experience, rather than on opulent lodges and that I wanted to ensure that we had a really good chance of good sightings without feeling like it was too easy. Both camps were comfortably luxurious, but with an emphasis on the natural surroundings and the sightings at both were fabulous, but we all had to work for them.

All in all, a perfect trip and we will definitely be back in touch when we plan another one.

P. Jelly, UK. 2014.

Tom

Just to say that all of the arrangements which you made for us were excellent and to say the least we had a really wonderful time. The bottle of wine was a nice touch and much appreciated. The accommodation and service were all superb.

Very many thanks.

Chen, USA. 2014.

Our trip was amazing and all thanks to your team. We were extremely grateful for the detailed itinerary and how professional everyone was! We felt very secure that we would get to where we needed to on time always too! I heard of nightmare transfers and I’m glad we did not experience any of that. We made it just in time for our lovely friend’s wedding too after our honeymoon! My entire experience from booking to leaving was a pleasure! I can’t say enough how wonderful our experience was at Faru and Ras Kutani. […] It’s going to be hard to ever beat that trip!

Thank you thank you thank you again! Please send our love to Tom and Ed!

Borner, Brazil. 2014.

…we had a fabulous time in Tanzania. Everything (with a small setback which I´ll comment later) was wonderful.

We were very luck that we were able to see the great migration. All the plans were done with this intention, but I was a little bit afraid that something could happen and animals were not there. But they were!!!! It was absolutely spectacular!!! And now words to describe how wonderful the Dunia Camp team is. I´m in love of them!!! The hotel is comfortable, everything works perfectly and the service is more than perfect! It couldn´t be better! I hope I can have another opportunity to come back to Serengeti, but now to see the animals crossing the river Grumeti or Mara. Let´s see it.

The only setback that we had, it was when we arrived at Nairobi airport to take the plane to go to Serengeti. We were not able to find the person from Coastal who was supposed to be waiting for us with a sign and so we entered at the airport dependencies and starting asking to the airport personnel how to find someone from Coastal. [….] they finally found the girl who supposedly was waiting for us. By the end of the day, everything was fine but we really were in panic for more or less 1 hour. […] As I told before, it was a small setback that in no way has spoiled our tour. These days there were like a dream… but the good part is that it´s was not… I have thousands of photos to prove.

Lunter, Canada. 2014.

Hi Ted

Just returned home from Botswana camps and wanted to let you know they were fantastic. The whole trip was amazing and an experience my family will not forget.

Thanks so much for everything. Your planning and suggestions on everything were spot on and we will have the most amazing photo album after this adventure.

I will be recommending you to all my friends in Canada.

Chubb, 2014. UK.

We had a great time and everything went very well. We were particularly glad to have stayed 4 nights at the Alex Walker Serian camp, not because we saw more animals, but to really appreciate the atmosphere. Another highlight was our driver/guide from Arusha for 2 nights who was excellent (the one at Serian was not so good, but that was because he was young/less experienced so he just didn’t have the knowledge or language – having said that he was very pleasant and willing so we appreciate that they all have to start somewhere).

Regarding the last beach hotel [Ras Nungwi], the food was fantastic – like going to a good standard restaurant every night. We probably didn’t appreciate the limitations for swimming in the sea at that hotel, but it wasn’t a particular problem for us, but might be for other guests. Overall a great choice for relaxing, eating and drinking!

Finally, it was very reassuring to receive an email response from you so quickly when we were there and having problems reconfirming our homeward flight. Knowing that someone is on hand like that is very reassuring and one of the reasons that we would highly recommend you to others and would look to travel with you again. (We’ve had more serious problems when we’ve been away in the past ie chile earthquake, cancelled flights, etc, so this is something that we now look for).

We’re looking to go to India next so will certainly look at your sister company for this.

Sander, 2014. USA.

We loved our time in Tanzania! We were met, as promised, at each location. Flights were all on-time. We did have to pay for extra weight in our luggage, but were able to get it all on the plane. This will encourage us to pack lighter for future journeys!

We can highly recommend Predators as a safari guide! Joseph was our individual guide and he was always perceptive to our needs and able to spot the animals, even from great distances. We saw everything, including the wildebeest migration which had just moved south as we were leaving the Serengeti. Our time in the Serengeti was sacred, being so close to nature. It was the perfect bridge between our intense work in Rwanda and returning home.

Thank you to all the folks at Tanzanian Odyssey for working with us to plan this wonderful, once in a lifetime trip.

Darbourne, 2014. UK.

Hi Tom,

I’m not sure if Lizzie has written to you but I wanted to write and let you know that the trip was a great success.

Your suggestion of Lake Manze was really excellent. We both absolutely loved it and felt that the open nature of the camp really suited the experience. We were hugely comfortable throughout and felt the four days was good value for money. We loved being some close to everything and being totally immersed in the safari experience. I think, if money were no object we could have stayed there for the whole two weeks.

Over on Zanzibar then, again, Sunshine, was a really great choice. We didn’t quite work out that the half board nature of it meant that our evening meal was included! On the first night we headed off to a local restaurant. It was only a small matter as the second night we dined in and I was very delighted when the mega valentines seafood buffet bill arrived at about a tenner each which incuded our wine and drinks etc… It’s a lovely hotel and the local feel was excellent as well. Snorkelling was brill as well.

Nungwi was good fun too. Zanzibar as a whole does have a certain sadness to it I feel. It’s a beautiful place but you really feel that life is hard for many people there…as with Africa as a whole really. The local towns are in quite bad shape and it’s funny to see so many tourists not even keen to leave their hotels at all. The local seafood is definitely a highlight and we ate so well for the fortnight.

We had a brilliant holiday and are both now keen on saving up for our next safari in about ten years time!! Or maybe sooner if some big plays come good.

Thanks for all your efforts on our behalf.

Richard

P. Bullick, 2014. UK.

Despite my personal reservations, your advice, as always from TO, was absolutely on the ball. I had feared that our viewing would be marred by lots of other vehicles, but not at all. In South Serengeti, we literally saw millions of animals – mostly wildebeest and zebra of course, but on most days not more than one other vehicle! The timing was perfect, with all the wildebeest calving in our area, but the weather was not ideal. We just managed to avoid the rain, but it was mostly dull, and I gather they had a lot of rain just before we arrived which made the land rather boggy.

Now to the camps:-

Crater Lodge
As anticipated, this was way over the top – who expects to see electric golf carts in a game lodge? – but great fun for a couple of nights. Super luxurious, superb banda with a great view, personal butler service and everything one could wish for. It was possibly a little too luxurious to have the true feeling of a game lodge – for us the ideal balance is Beho Beho – luxury but with a feeling of intimate contact with the game. Apart from a small hiccup at the beginning, the service and food were excellent. I should explain that after an overnight flight to Nairobi, then a four hour hopping flight with Coastal to Manyara, then a one and a half hour drive to the lodge, we were dog tired on arrival, and all we wanted was a siesta. The manager however was insistent that we have pep talk with others and then lunch before we could go to our banda, about 4 p.m. We were not best pleased. They did however make up for it and more the following day. We arrived back after a nine hour game drive in the crater to find the bath run, surrounded by thousands of rose petals, and with champagne on ice by the bath!

That evening our table at dinner was covered with roses and again all around masses of rose petals. Altogether a brilliant day. We suspect there was a little TO sorcery involved!

The game viewing was also excellent. Staying at Crater Lodge meant that we could be down in the crater very early, which meant that for the first 3 to 4 hours there were very few other vehicles. The variety of game was astonishing in such a limited area and Mudy was an excellent guide. The only downside (which was understandable in such a limited area) was that the vehicles are not permitted to leave the tracks.

On our last morning we went to Olduvai Gorge which we found fascinating. We found to our surprise that 90% of visitors only go to the museum at the top, unlike us who found the real interest down at the discovery sites in the gorge, which we had to ourselves.

Alex Walker’s Serian

This is all proper safari camping should be. Not luxury but service second to none. We have had excellent service in other camps over the years but this is the first time we found that the owners/managers had a genuine affection for their guests. Both camps are in lovely wooded situations, but close to the Serengeti Plain. Alex himself met us at Kusini airstrip and guided us throughout. His guiding and knowledge of the area is exceptional and he was extremely likeable and friendly. The camp has only four tents, presided over by the delightful Robyn, and all the guests were great fun, giving the feel of a large harmonious family. After a (deliberately) long game drive, we transferred to Kakaseo, their other camp in the South Serengeti, presided over by Robyn’s aunt Belinda and uncle Gerard. This was very similar, run in exactly the same efficient friendly fashion. Masha, our guide here was also incredibly good and great fun. Most of their staff are Maasai, so on the last evening, at our request we visited the boma of a relative of one of the staff – strictly not for tourists! This was fascinating and they were friendly, but Celina emerged absolutely white! We will not forget that visit for a while. I seem to have missed out the game, but it was amazing. Masha reckoned we had seen a million wildebeest, calving (incredibly quickly) running, jumping, swimming and with hundreds of thousands of calves. Lots of other game as well. Only the leopard eluded us, although I was sure I had heard it one night.

Ras Kutani
This was our third time in Ras Kutani over eight years, and it has not changed in the slightest. I don’t think I need to say much more than that it really is the perfect place to unwind. Superb suite with plunge pool, excellent food and friendly service, beautiful beach and nothing to do other than swim, read, eat and drink. Even flipflops are superfluous! An example of their attitude to customers was that although checkout is officially 10.a.m. but we would not be leaving until 6 p.m., and our successors would be arriving early, they simply gave us another banda as our base with the use of all the facilities until we left, at no charge.

All in all, we had a marvellous time and are happy we took your advice, despite my initial reservations. We did have some reservations about our return flight with Kenya Airways, but I have written to them. I did copy it to you, but if you have not received it, let me know and I will forward it to you.

Many thanks for all your help and advice.

T. Whittingslow, UK. 2014

We had an excellent holiday. The hardest part of the trip was driving through the floods in the Uk to the airport! After that everything went very smoothly. We were met at all the points and all accommodation was outstanding. The connecting flights all worked very smoothly and we couldn’t fault the service. My most favourite place was Jongomero. I definitely want to go there again in the dry season. Thank you for your help.

Henschke, USA. 2014.

Overall the trip was amazing. We ha a great time at Beho Beho. The accommodations, staff and safaris were just perfect. We had no complaints there and I would highly recommend them for others going.

Zanzibar was also great. My only criticism was that I had no idea how far matemwe retreat was from the airport. The place was very nice and we loved our villa and butler so I don’t know if it would have changed my mind, but it felt like a very far drive.

I wish I could say I was traveling again in 6 months, but I will definitely recommend you to people I know.

Spano, USA. 2014.

We had a great trip that went exactly as planned and exceeded our expectations in every way! We have passed on your company name as a reference for others.

Lipschitz, USA. 2014.

We had a lovely trip. The highlight was Beho Beho, It is an amazing place, everything about it was perfect. Jongomero was also great and had we not been to Beho Beho first we would have thought it was perfect. Oyster Bay was also wonderful. Very accommodating an excellent stop at the beginning an end of our trip. Ras Kutani was very nice but not anywhere near the level of the other stops.

Longstaff, UK. 2014.

Our trip to Tanzania was fantastic; a great success. The two camps we used, Lake Manze in the Selous and Jongomero in the Ruaha, were both, in their own different ways, outstanding; camp management, people, accommodation, food, all terrific. Transport was first class, and great fun; we were able to spend pretty much all day exploring alone with our guide (in surprisingly, but very welcome, ‘open’ comfort). With the amount you can see on TV these days there was a slight concern that we would have felt ‘familiar’ with everything; but the reality was, to my delight, that everything was just enthralling. No bored kids at any point! And although we had expected elephants and other wildlife visitors at the camps (from the pre-trip information) the actual experience was thrilling and occasionally hilarious!

Wildlife could have been generally more prolific, but there was always something to interest or entertain us, and we saw enough of the varied and big African game to not be disappointed. This was our first safari experience and although I would certainly like to return to see the big expansive grasslands, the migratory herds and all the dramas they attract, we all had a wonderful experience.

Internal flights, though occasionally long, were all part of the experience which I thoroughly enjoyed, and although my youngest daughter started out pretty terrified I think by the end she was comfortably elephant spotting as we swooped down to the runways.

Yes a great trip; I will be back for the herds of Wildebeest!

Badenoch, UK, 2014

I am literally so embarrassed that we (I) have not contacted you to say how unbelievably amazing our trip was.

We are so grateful to Tanzania Odyssey and especially Tom for sorting out our trip.

Jongomero and Siwandu were nothing short of paradise. Beautiful settings, unimaginably friendly staff, delicious food (and lots of it) and awesome game viewing. I must also add that Mark at Ras Kutani did a fantastic job of making Christmas special for us.

We particular liked how jongo, Siwandu and Ras K were all distinct in style and made efforts to add little personalized touches. We have both travelled far and wide but can honestly say that the level of service (and enjoyment) was the best either of us have ever experienced.

In short it was the trip of a lifetime (although we will have to return sooner rather than later!)

Thanks again for organising the perfect honeymoon and making it all run so smoothly.

We have recommended Tanzania and you guys to everyone we know and I believe that Tom is organising a trip already for our great friends ## and ##!

Shirtcliffe, UK. 2014.

We had a fantastic time on our honeymoon thankyou! The lodges that Edward recommended in the Ruaha and Selous national parks were wonderful, and such a more private and personal experience then the busy northern parks. This was highlighted to us by fellow guests that had been to the northern parks (i.e. serengeti) previously, and were amazed by how personal it was. The few nights in Ras Kutani at the end were also a lovely way to relax for the final few days. Apart from not managing to spot a lepoard, we would not have changed a thing!

Pls pass on our thanks to Edward and will definitely consider you for our next adventure (which may well be Argentina) near the end of this year.

Powell, UK. 2014.

We had a great time in Botswana and Zambia. All arrangements and transfers worked smoothly. In Botswana Kanana Camp and Okuti Camp were excellent, particularly Kanana which was really well run and the staff were amazing. Food was fantastic too at both camps.

In Zambia we stayed at Waterberry Lodge which was absolutely lovely with great managers and staff and brilliant location with plenty to do. A great location for Victoria Falls and other activities. Overall a great success. many thanks.

Segal, UK. 2014.

We had a fantastic time in Tanzania, thank you. We particularly loved Jongomero safari camp and Ras Kutani.

We are still on our honeymoon ( we are travelling for around 9 months..). we are looking into spending a few weeks in china in June and would certainly consider booking with you again if your discount were to still apply?

Many thanks again and please pass our thanks on to Tom who organised the trip for us and was incredibly patient during our indecisive planning stages..

A. Greenberg, USA. 2014.

Ed,

Just wanted to say thanks to you and the team for putting together an awesome trip.

The logistics were flawless and the destinations incredible.

Sindebezi was outstanding,

The Jacks Camp and Shinde contrast were perfect,

Tsala was uniquie and as for The Residence – wow!

Cape Grace was the perfect way to end the trip.

We had a ball!

Best,

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