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“Beautiful Location and the Bushveld Guru”

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Goliath Safaris Luxury Tented Camp
Cape Town
Level Contributor
24 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Beautiful Location and the Bushveld Guru”
Reviewed November 17, 2012

I have photographed wildlife in 28 countries and met many guides along the way. Stretch, as host and guide, ranks in the top two and possibly eclipses the other who operates on the Brazilian Pantanal because with Stretch you get up close to animals which can be dangerous. What makes Stretch the best guide I have experienced in 30 years of traveling in Africa is that he does not waffle the same old theory from dawn till dusk, he gives you a practical experience in approaching animals, and yes he does know the theory. His explanation about their behavior towards other animals and towards humans is great and often the lessons are learnt a few feet away from the animals. More importantly, it is apparent that this is not a job but a labour of love and Stretch is noticeably happy and enjoys the experience and especially when he sees you enjoying the experience. Whilst there I met a lot of really nice people either visiting the camp or operating as tour operators as most people want to speak to Stretch and he affords them time. There is no Gung Ho, macho behavior with numerous weapons slung over his body. If you have not been to Africa before and this is your first visit please note the following warning. Visits elsewhere might in future appear mundane. Getting to the lodge can be a bit expensive because International flights to Harare are expensive and you will most probably fly in to the lodge so my advice is to do this trip well. Do not spend 2-3 nights there as you will be sad to leave. I spent 8 nights there and felt that it was too short. The staff are really helpful and polite, the scenery is great and you will want to return.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
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4 Thank TonyCTCapeTown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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65 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
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English first
Portree, Scotland, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
114 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed October 31, 2012

You know your alive when your stalking lions with Stretch!! Or sitting in front of his favourite elephants, or listening to the lions roar in the middle of the night, or canoeing passed hippos and crocks on the Zambeeeasi - and life at the camp was fun too, with camp fire meals and lots of laughter. Stretch is a wonderful character, full of fun. We had the best time ever and wish we could go back - real adventure! We were there September 2011.

Room Tip: Go - it's fun!!
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank Mark Damien C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed October 21, 2012

As part of our honeymoon we were after an unforgettable safari experience and it not only delivered but massively exceeded our expectations.

Where to start seems to be the question but with a big thank you to the whole team sounds to be the best bet. The legendary Stretch, Flo and faultless assistance from Siraaj and Steven are a great team.

Once again I have to rave about the close encounters with the large animals, from walking up to a pride of Lions, to a leopard in the camp, to enjoying an afternoon beer in camp less than a foot away from a male elephant all made this unforgettable. Whilst some might say this is not for the faint hearted I think I disagree, it is incredible but you are surrounded by professionals (Zimbabwean guides are reputed to be the best in the world!) who are always on hand to help or provide an in-depth knowledge of the wildlife around.

Ask the guys to take you for a swim in the Zambezi as this will not be something you'll forget in a hurry, but mind out for the resident Hippo Bruce and the odd Croc!

The location of the camp is stunning and the food was excellent.

We try to never to return to the same place twice but I'm certain in this instance we'll tear up the rule book.

Thanks team Goliath!!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank mark B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed September 18, 2012

My wife and I had a spectacularly great time at Goliath this past August.

Admittedly, unlike some other reviewers who compare it favourably to their many other safari experiences, we are new at this, but still have to rave about our time there.

Our original vacation plan was South Africa, but I had heard recommendations to take in Zimbabwe for the wilderness experience. From some internet searching, I read about Goliath and Stretch, and was impressed enough that we decided it would likely be our highlight (and the end of our trip). We planned our dates around getting a great game experience, and stayed there in late August. Since we started our trip in Cape Town, many people asked why we’d go then, as it’s one of the worst weather months there. The answer was for Goliath.

We spent 4 nights at Goliath, and “thanks” to another family’s cancellation, we were the only guests for the first 3 nights, so had the camp – and Stretch -- to ourselves.

I can echo others’ comments about the intimate, up-close experience with animals, especially elephants and lions. Being that close to such a massive, majestic beast as the elephant is truly breath taking. My wife did get pretty nervous a couple of times, especially after a cow (with her calf) came at us bellowing once. Stretch spoke loudly to it (“What do you think you’re doing?!”), and it backed away. He explained (and I can relive it watching some video I took) how elephants are like humans and respect “space”: theirs and ours. When they come too close, they recognize it and back slowly away.

It was wonderful learning about the animals and the bush, and stories of Zimbabwe from Stretch. He’s not only knowledgeable, but has a wonderful sense of humour, and takes his role as host, protector and guide very seriously. We had heard so much about him before we left, and from the guides we had at our other safari location in South Africa, that we knew we’d be with “the best”.

We had a second guide at Goliath: Siraaj who’s in his second (I believe) season there as a training guide, and he was also great. He has a very deep passion for the wildlife and bush, but he also worked really hard as general host: coordinating the kitchen, making the gin and tonics, etc. He was a big part of the atmosphere.

As was Bruce the hippo, snorting away all day and night. Listening to the hippos, sometimes lions roaring at night was magical. Although I should add, if you're a bit nervous at night (as my wife was), the sound of lions roaring not far away, or unknown creatures nearby (we found leopard tracks through the camp one morning) might keep you awake I highly recommend a canoe ride down the Zambezi as well, with the birds, hippos... and crocs.

The food was always superb (well, I’m not crazy about porridge…). Plenty of drinks and wine… and stories.

Also have to recognize Flo who wasn’t at the camp when we were there, but was my always helpful contact during the time I was booking and asking questions.

Accommodation was great: roomy, comfortable tents, outdoor shower to take off the heat and sand.

Finally, I appreciated the service from Executive Air who flew us there from Harare. Very professional, and I understand why Flo and Stretch deal with them all the time. Stretch vouches for their top quality maintenance, which is comforting as you fly in that little Cessna.

A superb experience, with memories that will last a lifetime.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank to-music
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Overveen, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
57 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed September 15, 2012

This is the most marvellous, excellent safari you can ever have!!!! The personal touch of the famous guide Stretch is inspiring. He brings you right into the wild,,,,by foot !..Amazing! No cars around,no people, just you!
You can trust him completely, he knows exactly where to go. We approached the animals so near, that we could nearly touch them. An incredable experience!!
Situated near the river, we had an adventurous stay in the luxury tents. During the night you hear the rhinos burling and the elephants passing by. The food was delicious, ask for the recipees.
We felt great with this wonderful people! Un unforgettable experience!!!!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Pluis123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed September 6, 2012

Having been on several safaris and stayed at several camps all over southern Africa on these trips, I would rate Goliath at one of the very best out there.

The camp itself is simple and non-pretentious but the focus is well and truly on the wildlife experiences and Stretch and his team deliver in spades. He knowledge and understanding of the bush and animals is extraordinary and provided Stretch feels comfortable with the moods of his known animals, he will get you very close in a very safe manner.

The food and service in camp was excellent, but who needs food when a few hours spend in very close proximity of these magnificent animals leaves ones mind satisfied.

Goliath isn't for those seeking a luxury in the bush experience with massages and pampering and a first timer should think long and hard about the suitability of these experiences but once you have made the decision, you wont regret it.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Amol K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Riding, Virginia
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2012

A safari here will get you up close and personal with the resident wildlife. If you like the idea of tracking wild dogs on foot, taking a short walk up to a lion, strolling over to an elephant munching on a branch, and sleeping with extremely large herbivores passing by and eating just outside your tent, then this is the place for you.

This is not exactly an isolated park as there is a fair amount of traffic. And being on a river affords expansive views that allows one to see various lights glimmering in the distance up and down the river. However, the close encounters with wildlife will make all other park visitors seem so very far away.

Also, Stretch is a fantastic tracker and he can find and get you close to many of the inhabitants.

The camp is comfortable and will have you feeling one with nature while settling in for the night (think hippos grunting up and down the river, elephants trumpeting, hyaneas calling, and lions huffing in the distance).

Food was very good and the host and other guides were very friendly.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank virginiabackpacker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Goliath Safaris Luxury Tented Camp

Property: Goliath Safaris Luxury Tented Camp
Address: Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe
Location: Zimbabwe > Mashonaland Central Province > Mana Pools National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 10 Specialty Lodging in Mana Pools National Park
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Goliath Safaris has operated and run walking and canoeing safaris in Mana Pools National Park for over thirty years. All safaris are tailor-made to suit the guests in camp. There are no set routines, only wish-lists fulfilled. The camp sleeps a maximum of 12 guests in luxury twin-bedded East African tents with ensuite facilities, all nestled amoungst the trees on the banks of the Zambezi River. Activities include game drives, walks, canoeing and fishing. ... more   less 

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