Review by: Katherine Yates

Overall Impressions

The holiday was excellent with the exception of Dugong Lodge which was very poor - although the location was good. The highlights were the other places we visited being River Club and Simbambili. I would like to return to both places. The overall rating of good is misleading because 2 of the places were excellent and one quite appalling.

Countries Visited

Accommodation Visited

The River Club

Wonderful. I would go back at any time and highly recommend it. The location, accommodation, staff and food were all superb. The staff were so attentive - nothing was too much trouble.

OR Tambo City Lodge

After our experience at the Dugong Lodge the OR Tambo City Lodge seemed like paradise.

Simbambili Game Lodge

Fantastic. Simbambili was a magical place. The accommodation, staff, game drives and food were all excellent. We saw all the "big 5" on the game drives and had a wonderful experience there. Staff were attentive and helpful and the food was very nice with plenty of choice.

Dugong Beach Lodge

The setting at Dugong Lodge was wonderful but the service and the food was appalling. We never saw a menu. On our first day we had chicken pie - I could have prepared that at home and it would have tasted better. Chicken pie was offered twice during the week we were there. We were offered chicken livers or soup for starters at dinner; neither was appealing. For lunch on one day we were offered processed meat which was quite disgusting and on one day pasta and mince. It was worse than school dinners. For dessert on one day we were offered a tiny portion of chocolate Angel Delight and on another day I am sure the cheesecake was a packet mix. If you were late for lunch you got nothing. The salad everyday was an iceberg lettuce and tomato. One day we were offered a Greek Salad which was the same iceberg lettuce with a single olive on top; other guests had a cube of feta cheese but we missed out. Breakfast was the most palatable meal of the day but even that was poor. On the first day we were offered either golden syrup or honey with the pancakes but by the end of the second day the golden syrup had been used up and there was only honey. If you wanted Orange Juice (as I did) you had to buy it from the bar because the orange drink served at the buffet was orange squash - this is what we give to children at home and costs just pence. Lots of people were complaining about the appalling food and lack of quantity as well - we were always hungry - and on only one day out of the week we had seafood which was very nice. One of the clients had caught a marlin which was grilled for supper and we had langoustines with it. However one decent meal did not make up for a week of really poor quality food. On New Year's Eve we had chicken curry that was full of bones or chicken a la King which was served luke warm. The most disgusting meal was the processed meat for lunch. It was literally poor quality watery chicken and some kind of processed meat served in rounds that would have cost just pence at home. I would not eat it or serve it at home and do not see why I should have to eat it on holiday; there was no other choice. Between meals we would sometimes sit at the bar in the hope of eating cashew nuts or crisps: we were all so hungry. The phone signal was very poor and I could not get signal while we were there or I would have telephoned and asked to be moved. The situation was made worse by us being on an island with nowhere to go to buy extra food. Apart from the food situation the electricity supply was erratic and there was not usually air conditioning on during the night which made sleeping very uncomfortable. Water should have been supplied in the refrigerators in the rooms but we only had it on one day and apart from that the fridge was empty. We had to go and ask for it from the bar. Sometimes no towels were put in the rooms and we had to ask for them. Staff were poorly trained and looked blank if they were asked the simplest of requests. One of the Managers, Gayle, used to shout at the staff in front of us which made us feel uncomfortable. When other guests complained to the 2 other Managers, Richard and Blaize, about the poor quality food and shambolic administration of the resort Blaize said that she had been managing the place for a month and it was a "shithole" and she wanted to leave. Not really what you want to hear about your holiday resort. We spent most of our time comparing notes with other guests about the food and poor service. It is a shame that we spent 7 nights there, which was the longest we spent anywhere on our holiday and the other 2 places were so wonderful. We did not feel that our complaints were taken seriously. Gayle told one of the other clients that she had spent some of her own money buying food to supplement what was available. She also said that they were short of food because of the New Year holiday. I felt that she was trying to make her problems our problems which was not appropriate. They should have made provision for New Year - it is the same time every year. I hope that this precis gives a flavour of what we experienced at Dugong Lodge.

Staff Review

Excellent service from Greg, particularly in response to our e mails and especially when we were delayed in Mozambique and missed our connecting flight in Johannesburg. Greg sorted out new flights, accommodation and an excellent excursion whilst we waited for our flight. Superb customer service.