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Back to Zim: Hwange, Matusadona & Mana Pools, September 2017


Tdgraves

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Peter Connan

Same here. Thank you.

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Zim Girl

@Tdgraves

Also really enjoyed your report (with the exception of that guide), but pleased that overall you had a great time.

Sorry to hear you returned to bad news.

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Tdgraves

thanks @Zim Girl and @Peter Connan

In a way it was a relief (for both him and us) as every time we went away, we were always worried about what we would return to. He had been unwell for a long time and it was remarkable that he lasted as long as he did.

 

As a post script, I did complain to our travel agents. It took a long time for them to get any answers from African Bush Camps. The initial response received was laughable and was also a pack of lies. When I sent a robust rebuttal, which took me the entire train journey from Cambridge to London to compose after I received it, this lead to a proper investigation by ABC and then a full refund for the two nights (half from ABC and half from Expert Africa). Expert Africa have now changed the way that they sell Zambezi Expeditions, as both they and ABC had made inaccurate statements on their websites about the quality of guiding etc. I have never had to complain about a holiday before, let alone a safari and it took a lot of effort on my part to get a satisfactory response. As an aside, I have a friend in Joburg who is also a safari agent who happens to know Beks Ndlovo, the owner of ABC, which is how I found out that Maxwell was inherited on a trial basis - this was never admitted to in the ABC response.

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Zim Girl

@Tdgraves

 

Interesting, good on you for following the complaint through.

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michael-ibk

Thanks for a great report with fantastic photos, I really enjoyed revisiting allthese familiar places with you. Very good you were compensated for your experience at Zambezi Expeditions. And my heartfelt sympathies.

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lmSA84

Thank you for the excellent report and glad to hear that you received some compensation. I wish your family all the best 

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@Tdgraves lovely report, frustrating in parts and a personal loss to handle on arriving home is very sad to hear.

 

It’s good to see that Expert Africa and ABC finally came good. Although really ABC should be getting it right first time. It’s not like they are new in the Safari game.

 

I’m always thankful Safaritalker’s led me to Doug MacDonald. It’s such a huge investment a safari, quality guiding is a make or break situation and its good you only had to endure poor guiding for two nights. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
Atravelynn

Wonderful birds through p 2 whether right side up or upside down or fighting to the death.  Congrats on finding the zero point zero zero one percenter.  That LBR was doing some amazing tail stretches.  It looks like you visited the lion capital of the world.

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Atravelynn

A flat battery pays off in a big way.  Great work on those gymnogene shots!  You also got to see Touching Tusks again.

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Atravelynn

What a feat to find the only 2 cheetah in Matusadona.  But rather sad for those two chaps.  Maybe another female companion can be found for them and for the good of the species and to increase the popularity of Matusadona.

 

If you had not detailed your frustrating experiences with Zambezi Lifestyle, I would not have been able to tell by the many fantastic dog photos.  Thanks for sharing both the good and not so good parts of the trip. Good on you for pursuing your complaints, which were detailed and pointed out specific major shortcomings.  While a refund can never make up for the lost opportunity, it helps.  The dog show, along with the gymnogene and eles meant your two nights with poor guiding were not a complete wash.

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Atravelynn
5 hours ago, Tdgraves said:

Thanks @Atravelynn

And Reggie!  What a great guy.  I forget to comment on him.  When I arrived at the pickup point for Kanga from a Mana Pools canoe trip 90 minutes early.  Who was there waiting for me?  Reggie.  He said he likes to arrive early. He was really early.  His promptness helped make the most out of my 1-night stay at Kanga. You needed someone like Reggie after the no-walk Mana part of the trip.

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Tdgraves

He is a great guy and he really tried to make up for it.  i’m sure he’ll have been really pleased at the recent political changes

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Marks

Playing catchup again - great conclusion. Really liked the little ele on the last page, and you had a great spot to place the camera trap.

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  • 1 year later...
panamaleo

Thank you for this Trip Report, as it covered some parts of Zim that I enjoyed in July-August 2016. Your birding photos and knowledge are impressive, and some of the painted wolves shots were almost like a mini-movie with all the action! You are a very fine photographer.

I used ABC camps at Somalisa Acacia, Zambezi Expeditions, and Kanga on my month-long safari in 2016, among others. I met Lewis at Acacia (although not my guide); am surprised to hear of your disappointing experience at Zambezi Expeditions, and will share a tiny bit of Kanga Camp....and Reggie. He is absolutely one of the finest, kindest guides I have ever met on 5 safaris. NO WAY was Kanga a "sofa safari". I saw more action on that pan than you would believe....painted wolves on a kill under the dining credenza? And the waiter says "Well, now it time for us to eat, don't you agree?!" Leopard sightings, a big bull ele blocking the way to that same fab suite you had; the entire salon entry canopy crashed by the prancing baboons on the tent cover, and the entire water tower taken down in a mighty crescendo by that same ellie who blocked my entry to (YES!) the best safari tent I have ever experienced. And, I was not scheduled to be there.... hence, the following.... and my thanks to ABC for quick adjustments, as well as Goliath Camp.

 

I have not posted this before, and I expect some blow-back with this negative review of Goliath Camp in Mana Pools. And, bear in mind, this dates from July-August 2016.

 

I was booked for 5 nights at Goliath in Mana Pools with "Stretch." Upon arrival and for the subsequent 2 days, I was alone except for another single woman. Stretch is an unwelcoming host; he is a "legend in his own mind," and I quickly realized that his mythical tracking skills are largely based on sending his assistant out in the early morning with a radio to find tracks, and then Stretch claims those markings as his own.  NO hospitality at dinner; silent and sullen. My two nights of a planned five night reservation was too much. I told him that I needed to be transferred to Zambezi Expedition on the morning of the 3rd day, where ABC would arrange for me to be taken to Kanga Camp. All done efficiently, and within a few hours. This is the first time I have had to assert myself forcefully, as a solo female client, into a "plan" that made me uncomfortable. It cost me about $US 3K to make this change, and I have never regretted it.

 

Guess what? I have a month long Bots-Zim safari planned for May of 2020!

P1030259.JPG

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Tdgraves

Thanks for reading @panamaleo it was a surprise to us too, but luckily it did not taint the whole trip...

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