Africa Odyssey Reviews 2023

16th January 2023

M. Helsby 18th – 23rd May

Hey Sam,

Our trip was phenomenal from start to finish (excl. the standard BA flights delays which seem to be part and parcel of travel these days!).

Top things to note:

  •  DumaTau is out of this world!
  • The lodge and location blew our minds.
  • The service was exceptional.
  • The food was great.
  • Hot water bottles in the vehicles in the morning and in the bed at night – what a great touch!
  • Boma night there was amazing
  • The water activities with all the elephant activity was awesome
  • We had lunch on the water barge – another great touch
  • Land drives in the afternoon we saw a lot less than mornings – so my advice to anyone visiting the same time of year would be to sack them off and go enjoy the water (either sunset cruise or fishing)
  • With the mopani being so dense up here I don’t think I’d stay here longer than 3 nights unless of course I simply wanted to enjoy the lodge. I think you said the same to me when we were first discussing all the lodges.
  • Chitabe is another beautiful camp, not on the same level as DumaTau but VERY VERY nice too
  • The food here was actually exceptional in our opinion. We actually prefer the group dining buffet every night rather than being seated separately
  • Staff again were all super and very friendly and helpful
  • The game drives were very very good.
  • All transfers/connections went perfectly.
  • If I was you, I’d seriously sell the heli transfers to as many people as possible, I can’t imagine any of them will regret paying for it! It was amazing and 1000% times better than getting on another one of the little planes.

L. Hicks 18th April – 4th May

Hi Sam,

Apologies for not getting back to you sooner, I’ve been really busy.

The holiday was amazing, everything we had hope for and more! The package you put together was perfect.

Slightly disappointed that we only had the 1 big cat sighting when followed 1 male and 3 females one night for 40 minutes before they headed off into the bush. The day we left our fellow travellers came across a pride of lions and a leopard.
That’s the way with the wild and a good excuse to go back and do another one.

Thank you for a great experience

Best regards

C. Didsbury 9th – 16th March

Hi Ted,

I wanted to share some highlights from my time in Botswana. Thank you for making such brilliant arrangements – everything happened exactly as it was meant to and I had another wonderful trip. I was very lucky in that, in both camps, I was on my own in the vehicle for most of the drives – and I had two of the best guides I’ve ever had!

In Nxai Pan, Dabe and Shoes really brought the magic of the Kalahari to life and were very generous in sharing information about their lives and those of the Bushmen, as well as lots of info about the animals and environment. I felt I learned a lot more about their society, the politics, religion, and family life than on previous visits. Nxai Pan camp was as enjoyable as I remembered from my first visit in February 2019. I like the light and space of the rooms and the watering hole drew in lots of elephant and zebra every day and then huge herds of springbok appeared in the area. The downside of Nxai Pan is that you are restricted to driving on the marked roads in the park and we didn’t find any cats whilst I was there. But this time I made the day trip to Baines Baobabs, which were stunning. On the way, I recognised the stretch of road where, in 2019, we had had to reverse up the bank in order to let a very large bull elephant pass. Dabe and Shoes found this very funny, recognising the area from the photos I showed them and claiming to remember hearing about the incident!

I arrived in Vumbura Plains South with my experience tuned to the slightly more rustic feel of Nxai Pan and on my first introduction to Vumbura, thought ‘this is ridiculous and far too extravagant for the bush’. However, after 4 days, I could hardly bear to leave my palatial residence and plunge pool and I can’t wait to go back! My guide at Vumbura, Max, was outstanding. He had come over from Little Vumbura and knew the whole area phenomenally well. With just me in the vehicle, we could sit and watch birds or animals at leisure and talk about everything – the whole ecology. I felt the bits of knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years really coming together. I had the best lion sighting ever, watching 2 females calling their cubs, who came running out of the bushes to greet them – it was wonderful to see and to hear, as they made all their contact and re-connecting calls and rumbles. We watched them interacting and then moving to the tree line, where the lionesses jumped up into a tree for a superb vantage point across the grasses in front of them. Max commented on how unusual it was to find lions doing that. I was having a sense of deja vue at this point and found the photos from my last time in Little Vumbura in June 2018 – I can’t swear to it being the same tree, but it was definitely the same area and quite possible that the females we were watching had been the cubs in my 2018 photos! There was a lot of water around, which was magical, and everywhere looked beautifully green and lush. On one evening, I went out for a couple of hours after dinner on a night drive (my first real night drive, rather than simply driving back in the dark after sundowners). We were so lucky, seeing wild dogs setting out to hunt, loads of hippos out grazing, elephant and lots of antelope/zebra – and bat eared foxes – always a treat!

It really was hard to leave – this is definitely one of my favourite areas and I’ve also realised how close Duba Explorers Camp is. The staff at Vumbura Plains were really excellent. Without exception, from the manager to the person carrying stores, everyone was warm, engaging, and comfortable talking – they stood out even amongst the usual high quality of the teams at Wilderness camps.

Something else I noticed was that, whereas in the past, most of the Wilderness camps were managed by South Africans, all the managers I met were Batswana.

So, I think 2024 will have to include a trip to Savuti and Vumbura and maybe Chitabe Lediba – something to think about later this year.

S. Legge 2nd – 14th March

Dear Dave,

Wow! What a transformation at Fanjove. It has been done up to a very high standard but without losing that desert island feel. The rooms are huge with lovely bathrooms and verandahs with especially comfy sofas. The decor is beautiful and so appropriate. Shells is the theme. Bell jars full of them, mirrors encrusted with them, bowls full of shell balls, mats surrounded by them. No air conditioning but the fans are super efficient and certainly kept us cool all night. They provide hats, torches,walkie talkies and kikois , soap, shampoo and conditioner, tissues and cotton wool, a hair dryer and plenty of plugs for recharging. The Wi-Fi is excellent.
The light House has been been very sympathetically done up and makes an excellent dining room. Because it is raised there is usually a breeze .
The food is delicious and beautifully served by a dedicated waiter, we had Husein who was so sweet and kind and efficient and always cheerful.
We snorkelled every day with Abdallah who was amazing. We saw hundreds of fish and corals and he even found a sea horse.
All the staff were charming and couldn’t do enough for us .
Nathalie oversees an amazing team.
We loved it all and had such a relaxing time, very restorative .

We had some amazing sightings at Namiri and they looked after us beautifully. Nelson was an excellent driver guide. We saw leopard, cheetahs and masses of lions. Hundreds and hundreds of zebra, gnu, eland, hartebeest, oribi, Thompson gazelle , warthogs, hyena etc. etc.And about 50/60 species of birds.
We arrived in sluicing rain and drove through huge puddles but we donned the very welcome ponchos and didn’t really get wet.
The next days were dry and dusty. We were very grateful for Marc’s advice to take jerseys and waterproof/wind proof jackets.
We swam each day, apparently the first to do so in 4 months ! One night was very exciting with lions and hyenas hunting all night, I love to hear that tucked up in bed!
We couldn’t have had a better safari

All in all a wonderful trip.

R. Kennedy 21st February – 3rd March

Thanks for the email! We had an excellent time.

The South Serengeti really was absolute textbook Safari glory, we saw everything. Beautiful landscape, hundreds of thousands of wildebeest on the plains, massive flamingo flocks on lake Ndutu, lions under the vehicle wheels, incredible waterhole scenes, cheetah’s on a kill. It was like being in an illustrated kids’ book. Ngorongoro was pretty similar, as expected. Incredible.

I really liked Kuro. We had fantastic drinks by the river. And we saw two huge male leopards, one in the middle of the day and one in the middle of the night, which was pretty excellent. The guide reckoned they were indeed two different individuals. Tsetse flies suck, though, and one drive was tough because of them. I believe this is usual.

The Serengeti Safari Camp was perfect for us all. NEntamanu is beautiful. As I said, I really liked Kuro’s vibe, and the guide there was just excellent, I think he had been in wildlife management first rather than tourism – anyway, top guide.

Still going through photos. If there’s any really good ones I’ll send them.

Hope you have a great day and I’d love to here whatever your ideas are for another great Safari.

E. T. 20th February – 12th March

Ted, we are back and it was as spectacular as last time.
Absolutely spot on.

We are appalled to be back in the wind and the rain.
But grateful as all get-out to have been there again.
Thank you for all the care and attention – and we hope to return next year. I

I will be in touch ASAP.

meanwhile happy trails and all the best as ever

C. Ning 15th – 23th February

Hey Sam,

I just came back from Tanzania!

First of all, I want to say thank you sooooooo much for helping planning and organizing the whole trip. The trip was amazing and we had a fantastic honeymoon! I cannot use the exact words to express the feeling. The safari, the camps, the lodges, everything was perfect. We had an unforgettable experience in Africa!

Second, if you don’t mind, I may share your contact email and our Africa odyssey to my friends and colleagues who may also be interested in an Africa trip in the near future. I just want to recommend you and odyssey travel to them based on my experience:)

Last but not the least, safari is addictive and we’ve already started thinking our future journey. We may target on Namibia for our next Africa stop. If so, I may need your help again to help us planning the trip in the future.

Anyway, thank you again and Africa odyssey. Really appreciate it:)


N. Eveleth 11th – 28th February

Hi Sam,

My apologies for not writing sooner. We had another wonderful trip thanks to you and Odyssey Travel. I tell people it’s like being on a treasure hunt every day. We learned a lot, saw the cats we didn’t see in Uganda, ate fantastic food, stayed in lovely places and enjoyed the guides and all the staff we encountered. Kathy’s command of the Swahili language added to our experience. People were impressed and it added to the conversations and laughter we experienced with them. I also tell people that one of the great things about your safaris is that we don’t have to make decisions, other than at our meals, and I always felt safe. Since we’ve been back I’ve given your contact information to several people. I think we inspired them.

Kathy mentioned you were looking for black leopards photos. I don’t know if she told you, but we saw one on a night safari which made it hard to get good photos. He was walking along the side of a hill. The red light they used to shine on the animals made it even more challenging. The good news is we saw one and we got a good long look at him.

Thanks for everything Sam!

K. Aaron 11th – 28th February

Asubuhi njema!
(at least it is here)
If I tell you we are already planning our next trip, does that answer your question?…

Everything and everyone were incredible. From picking us up at the airport until sneaking us into the first class/priority line on departure.

The trip was seamless.
Amboseli broke my heart. They desperately need rain. There were carcasses everywhere. We still saw many animals, but the past fall’s toll on animals was evident. The rangers are feeding the elephants. To be an employee of the conservancy must be very emotional right now_what the future holds, the fate of the animals, etc.
Loisaba is in slightly better shape, but not by much. Although we did see the black leopard along with a plain old fashioned leopard. We observed elephants scraping the thorns off of the prickly pear pads to eat them (a learned behavior due to the water content in the pads). I thought living where we do in, we had a good night sky for stars I stand corrected. The star bed night (along with just about every other night) was phenomenal. And the lions talked at night. Muhommad was our guide at loisaba we thought he was incredible. We saw two honey badgers_what was fun was how excited muhommad got.
Have I mentioned the quality of the food at all the camps?! Holy cow! Most of the food must arrive by truck, but they produced wonderful creative dishes. Lot’s of vegetables. It will take me several weeks to work off some of those desserts.
We especially liked the camps at ol pejeta and elephant pepper camp_more our style. Nelson was our guide at ol pejeta_very thoughtful, educated, and invested in conservation. We saw three leopards chase (and catch) a rabbit. The rhino visit, the canine anti-poaching visit, and the lion tracking were all very interesting. Ol pejeta has done such a good job with rhinos. Have you heard the tree hyrax “talk” at night? for a little animal, I was expecting something the size of a lion. We also saw an aardvark on our night drive. Have you seen the corey bustard in full strut all puffed up and walking around (except there were no women to be seen).
And elephant pepper camp, probably my favorite. Although our tent was broken into by the “cheeky” monkeys and our clothes were distributed throughout the room. We had locked up the tent zippers with the carabiner, but they would run and leap at the screen window until the velcro pushed away, then they would crawl in. roger and I were in the tent when the tried it again. At least they didn’t poop inside the tent. We attributed the event to part of our “adventure package”. At night in the field next to the camp, one might find a number of giraffes or a large herd of buffalos. The hippos walked through at night. I like listening to them. As we were flying in to elephant pepper, our first comment was it’s green. There were leaves on the trees and green grass on the ground. It was actually nice to end here after all the dry and dust we had observed. We saw leopards, cheetahs, and lions, along with all the other incredible animals.
So yes, the trip was great.
I think nancy took ~4000 pictures.
I would go back to all the camps again after it rains.
We have heard Botswana is the place to visit. When I looked at africa odyssey’s introduction to Botswana, it states “if money is no option”…
Do you suggest another location/country where we might see similar scenery at a more affordable price? Of course, we are at least a year out (which makes me very sad. The laundry is done, I’m ready to go again).
So thank you for putting together this once in a lifetime trip. We saw everything we could have imagined plus more. I heard my lions, hyenas, and hippos at night (the tree hyrax was a bonus). The scenery was spectacular. We have a greater appreciation on how climate change can have a impact on animals/people’s lives. We ate well, we became more educated on local Kenyans, and I improved (a little) my Kiswahili.

What’s next?!

S. Quinn 8th – 19th February

Hi Dave

Apologies for the belated reply but I have had a hectic week since I got back and am still trying to get used to a normal life in the London winter. I had a wonderful trip and all the arrangements went to plan.

The safari experience was wonderful and we saw loads of animals, and lots of lions – a great photo will be sent in a separate email. The only one in the area that we missed was the leopard but are told they are very elusive and rarely seen. And of course the two lodges were beautiful and we had great service. Especially at Beho Beho as we were the only guests, even at Sands River there were only a few other people so we seemed to have the whole National Park to ourselves!

All in all a great trip – thank you for organising.

Best regards

M. Martin 8th – 19th February

Hi Dave,

Yes the trip was great and the two Lodges were as good as I remembered and we had many good sightings, including the wild dogs.
All arrangements went well.

Thanks for all the arrangements.

Best wishes

D. Epstein 07th – 24th February

Dear Ted,

To tell you about our trip, which was one of our greatest of all times.
Elsa’s has emerged as a truly amazing park. Wild, few tourists and a population of wildlife that just has grown and grown. And it feels wild. It is our favorite of all the camps we have stayed at.
Sirikoi is so full of animals and for Adam or anyone who wants to see diversity of wildlife, it is unparalleled and the service and house were very spectacular.
Reteti and the Samburu people and the opportunities we had to interact with them, was one of the most primal and eye opening experiences of our long travel lives. The singing well is nothing short of Biblical. The house was filled with warm smiles and delicious food. It altered all our lives to have spent time there. The elephant sanctuary visits were so wonderful and full of fun animal interactions.

The trip was flawless. Thank you.

N.Doble 7th – 14th February

Good morning Dave,

Thank you for your mail.

We had a really great time, and all the arrangements you put in place for us worked perfectly. It went very smoothly, with no hiccoughs. Hugh and Sarah, who we were introducing to Tswalu, also seemed to enjoy themselves greatly which was a relief, especially as it is not a run-of the- mill lodge as you know.

We had fun with a lovely tracker looking for black rhino, but every time he caught up with one, the wind was in the wrong direction and it ran off. But we had a share of the excitement and witnessed the chase. Other sightings included lions with their cubs, a good range of antelope including sable and eland, white rhino and many lovely birds.

But the most exciting were a good long look at a brown hyena, which has been on our list for years, and watching a cape cobra winding its way in and out of a sociable weavers’ nest, eating the eggs and chicks.

The lodge itself was lovely. The staff were falling over themselves to see to our every need, and the food was great. They don’t seem to be as rigid in their timetabling as most lodges, where the game drives and meals are at particular times. They are much more flexible with both. We had a lovely guide, Helen, who appeared to be available at any time of day, and was encouraging us to go out as much as possible, including night drives, having started at 5.30 am.

Many thanks, and very best wishes (till next time!)


A. Ogilive 4th – 18th February

Dear Dave,

Thanks for your email. We took about a week after our journey with you to return to the US, with time spent in Addis and Accra. Thus the delay in my response.

We were very pleased with the arrangements you made for us. We were met in Zanzibar around midnight by a very nice driver who took us to the Zanzibar Palace and roused the night guard to let us in. The room was on the top floor and quite comfortable. We loved the hotel.

The driver came back at the appointed time and transferred us to Sunshine Hotel in Matemwe, now called Zoi. Another good choice by you. We went scuba diving for three days at Dive Point, which is located at the Sunshine Marina Lodge. That facility looked very nice but there was no beach and thus nowhere to walk for exercise. We enjoyed the beach at Matemwe and walked at sunset each day. We ate at the restaurant at Zoe and enjoyed our meals. Gina, the chef, was exceptionally nice to us and sent us off with a bundle of spices from Zanzibar.

We were met by Godwin who took us to the Plantation where we spent two nights. The accommodations, bar and food were superb. Godwin was our driver and guide for the day in Ngorongoro Crater and he was perfect. It was a long day but we enjoyed it. Godwin came back the following day and got us back to the airport for the flight to Ndutu in the Serengeti.

Nomad’s guide Rog was there to meet us and to get us to the camp. Rog was great too. We had him to ourselves for all three days and got to be friends with him. We had three perfect days of game viewing, which is about the right amount. He got us back to the airstrip and we took Coastal to Kilimanjaro for our flights from there. We especially liked the level of Nomad. It is not a fancy as other safari camps, like the permanent ones in the Okavango Delta but we prefer this level. The staff was great. The guy that brought the water for our showers in the afternoon was very amusing. And the fact that everything was included – no nickel and timing — was greatly appreciated. I would recommend Nomad to anyone who asks.

Thanks for your help in arranging it. We were very pleased.

N.Doble 25th January – 9th February

Hi Dave,

Happy/sad to be home if that makes sense. The trip was amazing.
I do have some feedback for you.
Hoopoe safaris was great. Accomodations:. Rivertrees- don’t have much to say, we got there late, greeted warmly, beds were comfortable, breakfast good and we left. All was clean. Room was fine.
Ngorongoro farmhouse was lovely. The grounds, the staff, the rooms, the food, all first rate. Highly recommend.
Kiurumu was fabulous. It might have helped that we were the only guests there. Tents were great, bathrooms, showers great, plenty of hot water, laundry was done well. Food was amazing, I mean amazing. Breakfast and lunch picnic boxes, lovely and they accommodated to our tastes. The staff was fabulous, the camp manager was hospitable and welcoming, the waiters, especially Denis who brought me coffee every morning with a big smile on his face were all fun and perfect. They loved to tease us about the food they were serving. Our Masai guards were great. I absolutely fell in love with the people and the place and cried when we had to say goodbye. Obviously highly recommend!
That brings me to our driver/guide Lesikar. What a marvelous human being. From the time he met us at the airport, when we were tired, filthy, grumpy and sleep deprived, to saying goodbye at the airstrip with many more tears, he was absolutely the best. He was patient, knowledgeable, accommodating, funny, listened to what we wanted and worked very hard to make the trip the best it could possibly be. He shared is love of the animals, the people, and the land with us. I felt like I knew him for much longer than the short time we were with him. He made the trip amazing. Do you get the idea that he was the perfect guide for 3 independent, stubborn, 60something year old women? He was!!!!!

Mafia – fabulous! Hotel was great, staff was great, food was great swimming with whale sharks and snorkeling excursions were fabulous. Would highly recommend Kinasi Lodge.
If I were to do the trip again, and I very well might, I’d spend more time at kiurumu and mafia and maybe hit Tarangire.
You did an incredible job in making this incredible trip a reality for all of us. I’d highly recommend Africa Odyssey to anyone looking to go to Africa. You and your colleagues were patient with us and answered our multiple questions quickly and professionally. It was the trip of a lifetime and absolutely wonderful.
Still going thru pictures, if there are any good ones, I’ll send along.

R.Wreford 20th January – 2nd February

Hi Sam,

Phinda was excellent, saw everything including black rhino !
The cover was up since we went 30 years ago and trackers and guides were essential, but both sets were very good.
The camps were not very full and for the most part we had vehicles to ourselves.

B.Rosenbaum 16th-19th January

Hi Sam,

Our trip to Tanzania was fantastic. The climb was great (and successful) and the safari in Serengeti/Ngorongoro was a fantastic experience. All the arrangements you guys put together came off without a hitch (car transfers and flight to Serengeti), the guiding experience was excellent, and the lodgings were comfortable and met our expectations and beyond. We were the only guests at our safari camp making it feel as if the whole set up was just for us, and the final night at the Farm was a luxurious and romantic way for us to spend our last night in Africa.

Thanks so much for everything!

L.Lee 12th-17th January

Hi Sam,

Thanks for the email. It was amazing!!
We had a brilliant experience with the gorillas and the accommodation and people there were really lovely.

Thanks for all your help, we will definitely come back to you if we can do another exotic holiday again.

J.Boretti 4th-15th January

Hi Sam,

Thank you for reaching out. It was wonderful – a truly amazing experience and one that we won’t soon forget. Everything went smoothly and everybody we met with was great! We even saw all big 5. Thank you so much for all of your help through the process, we will certainly tag you on Instagram when we post our pictures.


P.Marliani 2nd-8th January

Hello Ted,

thanks for the email. It was really great. Overall, a perfect compromise for the family.
And thank you very much for all the arrangements that were all perfect.

To the next one!
best regards,