Holiday review by Sarah N
Name: Sarah N
Date of trip: 08/08/2017
Number of people: 2
Leopard right beside our car was a real highlight! And another in a tree with its kill on our last morning on way to Airstrip. And just the beautiful setting at Ruaha. We loved it.
Generally v good. the proposed plans were detailed and gave a relatively realistic idea of what we were heading for with one exception (Stonetown). Ruaha exceeded expectations.
Christine MacDougall was very helpful throughout and sympathetic to our needs and aspirations in choosing the right safari camp for us. She gave v good advice. She was especially helpful sorting out all our flight problems with Qatar.
Ben at Ruaha River Lodge was very good indeed. Excellent knowledge of the wildlife and good driver. Looked after us really well.
Social & Environmental Responsibility:
In that we clearly add money to the local economy.........
The places you stayed
Stonetown one night stopover was the low point of the trip - glad I did it now but definitely would advise others to not bother and avoid. The old town of Stonetown is very crowded, the streets were filthy and the place clearly suffers from much poverty. It had been raining and as a result the streets were awash with filth (dead rat outside entrance to hotel). Too much of a contrast after the peace and solitude of Ruaha. The Swahili House hotel was a bit of an oasis. Rooms had good mosquito nets, good bathroom facilities and beds etc - but the downstairs area & reception reminded me of my backpacking days. The roof terrace was lovely and a huge relief and we had a nice dinner and drinks there high above and away from the squalor below. I was keen, on arrival to abandon this place and head straight for Echo Beach but we stayed out one night there - which was a mistake as a dog (locked out of its house) barked from midnight solidly till 6 in the morning, causing me to get up twice in the night and descend three floors to the nightwatchman to try to get him to shut it up. Unsuccessful we got virtually no sleep that night (call to prayer kicked off at 5.30 and then Church bells at 6am, but they were welcome relief from the barking!!) We left as soon as we could next morning. Apparently the same happened to some other guests we met who suffered exactly the same experience with the dog on a different night. In our opinion, Stonetown is NOT a place to stay on a two week holiday - fine if on a longer trip.
Echo Beach was wonderful but very tired. Lots of things needed some attention and money spent (ripped bedspreads, some sunbeds were beginning to break, cushions and covers in poor state, outside beach bar ruined in a storm and not repaired so not in use which was a shame, pool light wires not attached to any lights, beach defences collapsed etc) but we loved it there. Food was exceptional and the highlight. Loved the beach and water sports in neighbouring Breezes were great.