Review by: Gordon & Monique Robertson

Overall Impressions

Overall a memorable and varied overland journey doing a selection of activities that are "right up our street". Found the driving and navigation very straightforward and well within our capabilities. We had no big problems - just some minor issues with the rental vehicle from Bidvest (being dealt with separately in emails), and getting food poisoning at Namushasha we could have lived without - but we are experienced travellers and have had to deal with worse before. Very impressed by Zimbabwe and Botswana and would like to have spent more time here.

Countries Visited

Namibia

Easy to self-drive through with generally excellent roads compared to what we'd seen on previous trip to other parts of Namibia on previous trip. Scenery lacked the wow factor we'd seen before in Sossusvlei and Damaraland but compensated by good wildlife sightings. Standard of accommodation booked was wildly inconsistent - from pretty luxurious to very basic, which was strange.

Botswana

Excellent in nearly all respects, wish we could have spent more time here.

Zimbabwe

Loved it, was a fitting end to the trip and the falls even in low season are amazing. Loads to see and do.

Accommodation Visited

Villa Violet

Fine for one night, but due to late arrival and early departure not much time to relax and take it in. Room was serviceable but did not like the glass bathroom door!

Onguma Bush Camp

Excellent lodge, meals and service very good. Very attractive location with the watering hole but not many animals in the area apparently due to the high temperatures, which was a pity. We did our own self-drive game drives in Etosha which worked out fine.

Onguma Etosha Aoba Lodge

Another nice lodge, liked the outdoor setting for meals looking out over the floodlit watering hole. Accommodation very good standard also.

Roy's Restcamp

Hmmm, a memorable stay but not in a good way. Made sense to break the journey round about here due to distances involved, and we normally have no problem with unusual, quirky places to stay... but our room was like a clapped out cow shed, not very clean, aircon not working well and the most uncomfortable, back-ache inducing bed we've experienced for ages. Staff and buffet meals were better, but would not stay here again or recommend. There must be at least some better alternatives in the region.

Divava Okavango Resort & Spa

Probably the best place on the trip - an exceptionally nice up-to-date lodge with wonderfully kind attentive staff, great views, and excellent meals. Good game drive with good animal sightings and unusual sunset boat trip to Popa Falls. The Spa was also excellent.

Namushasha River Lodge

We had good expectations for this place, as it's part of the Gondwana Collection, but in the end we felt disappointed. It's nothing like the slick promotional videos on YouTube we'd seen when reviewing the proposed itinerary from Mahlatini. Poor welcome on arrival as the staff member on duty claimed we had no reservation and was then confused about how many nights and what nationality we were. Not sure if this was some sort of lame attempt at humour or just rank incompetence. Several other staff we dealt with at the lodge were surly and disinterested. Our room was large but very lived-in with some lights not working and a dirty balcony encrusted with bird droppings. Also had the pleasure of noisy construction workers working outside our room from 6am each morning. On the plus side the aircon was effective (by this time temps were reaching 38 deg C) and the bed was comfortable. All meals were buffet style, and the hygiene standards were questionable with some food items left uncovered. We both ended up with food poisoning on the final night here - as we'd only consumed food from the lodge it could have not come from anywhere else. This certainly impacted on the remainder of our trip and we wished we had not stayed at Namushasha, especially for 3 nights. Disappointing, would not go here again.

Chobe Bush Lodge

This lodge was very good with a wonderful large suite. Game drives and boat trip included were excellent, with abundance of animal sightings though we had to miss one included boat trip due to effects of food poisoning from Namushasha. One specific aspect that could be improved was the restaurant set-up - this seemed to be uncomfortably hot at all times, also with lots of flying insects. The building design does not allow the free flow of air through the building as it's open only on one side. Ended up having to rely on room service. Having said that, we liked it here and wish we had spent longer in Chobe rather than Namushasha.

Batonka Guest Lodge

Excellent place to end the trip. Looks great and has all facilities needed in good working order. Friendliest welcome and most professional, helpful service we experienced on the trip. Would have no hesitation in staying here again.

Staff Review

Monique was very responsive from the initial contact and worked hard to find a suitable itinerary which fitted our dates and budget. Steve took over from Monique prior to our trip and was very conscientious in checking through last minute details with us over the phone which was much appreciated.