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Laura Lou
Christchurch, New Zealand

Really disappointed with the organised game drive and management

1.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 07 Dec 2023
Location is really cool on the river and also loved the pool. I had to leave a 1 star review due to poor management and resolution of an issue we had with our morning game drive. Our game drive started well seeing an elephant really close up, however the next few hours were spent stopping and and starting our way around the park as the truck continued to cut out, eventually us needing to push start it multiple times. I'm not sure why the guide continued driving as if the truck was going to fix itself??Eventually it completely stopped and we had 1hr-1.5hrs waiting for another car to bring fuel!!!! We had assumed it was something serious, not running out of fuel!! We had spent 50US each through our tour company to spend the morning stopping and starting and pushing the truck to start it. After we refuelled we made our way back to the campsite doing a couple of loops by the gate looking for leopards. Other than the elephant, the other wildlife we saw was also in our campsite.

We immediately spoke with the staff at the campsite to inform them what had happened and over the afternoon they said they would need to speak to the manager and come back to us. We followed up several times during the day and got the same response with no resolution. We asked if we could have a discounted night drive at-least. Management didn't even bother to come back to us before going home for the night and was not present in the morning to discuss the issue.

Of 14, only 3 people did the night drive (still full price) where as there would have been atleast 10 if management had at least talked with us. We were worried about wasting more money and the same problems happening. We couldn't use another provider without having to pay double for our accomodation*. We spoke to other guests at the park and they said they would have demanded a full refund. Really really disappointed in the service and experience as we were all really looking forward to South Luanga! Also, this made no business sense for them to behave like this as all we were asking for was a discount for the night drive, where we would have been spending another few hundred USD. Go figure.

* if you use a different game drive provider, Croc valley will double your accomodation costs!! With this mentality they should take more responsibility when their game drive provider's service was not at all acceptable.

NOTE: Happy to adjust this review if management respond to my partners emails and provides us with a partial refund or some sort of resolution.
Date of stay: November 2023
Trip type: Travelled with friends
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    All reviews the river game drives south luangwa national park a lovely stay wild animals walking safari great safari knowledgeable guides herbert tent accommodation hippos camp lodge bank zambia
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    2 - 7 of 360 reviews
    Reviewed 16 October 2023

    We came here since my son had been there recently as a backpacker and had a small shared room at a price you probably could not get elsewhere. Wanting a bit more I switched to one of the tent cabins with the full board option - which came out to even more than we paid for the much nicer place we ended staying at after one night at Croc Valley. The leaking AC, nominal water in the shower, holes in the mosquito nets, a guard who made himself at home on our porch, intolerable food if you are over 25, and a very bored Safari guide had us checking out the next day. The kicker was they claimed we had reserved for multiple days when we went to check out - despite when we checked he said we would work it out later as we had paid a deposit for a smaller room - which was much less than our bill for the tent. Despite there only being a few people at the whole place they insisted on us paying for the whole time we "committed" and threatened to call the police if we did not pay for the extra days (we paid, knowing nothing about the Zambian police, they got us - congrats to them) Our stay at Flatdogs was such a contrast, and in fact almost the same price for an infinitely better experience.

    Date of stay: October 2023
      • Value
      • Location
      • Sleep Quality
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    Review collected in partnership with this hotel
    Thank Ken M
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Charl Beukes, Owner at Croc Valley Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 22 October 2023

    Dear Ken

    Thank you very much for your bed time story. I used to get very upset when people like you wrote bad things about my camp after spending 45 hard years here carving our Croc Valley from scratch trying to do the best, doing what I could and can under stressful and demanding time only to be shot down by an unfairly disgruntled guest.

    You booked here at Croc valley in a River turtle air conditioned Room at USD 25 per night one of the cheapest options we offer but being where you come from I can understand the choice. Oh yes a recommendation from your son to come here so he must have had a good time who also stayed the five days here when you went off to Flatdogs

    Then when you arrived you were not satisfied, it was not an on suite room. Get moved into another room with an on suite, still not HAPPY and decide to leave. You are wanting five star accommodations paying budget price of USD 25 per night

    We are proud of our 4/5 rating by trip advisor but you seem to have found everything wrong AND WHY IS THAT because we, following our cancellation policy kept the deposit. Being threatened by TRIP ADVISOR report.

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    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
    Reviewed 12 October 2023

    This is a nice budget to midrange camp & lodge with a swimming pool, decent food & a great view of the river but be careful with the game drive activity add-on as this was a huge disappointment and not rectified properly either. Our drive started off badly being 20 minutes late and progressively got worse as we actually ended up being 40 minutes late since the spotter (night drive) had been left behind in town so we had to back track. At the end of the evenings drive we broke down in the park & were so so fortunate that another vehicle was able to push start us. I wanted to discuss the experience with management but I feel like I was either ignored or they didn't want to front the matter which was very poor management/ownership. The place is fine BUT please be aware the game drives are not at a profesional level based on what we got

    Date of stay: September 2023
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    Review collected in partnership with this hotel
    Thank Nick W
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Charl Beukes, Owner at Croc Valley Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 14 October 2023

    Hi Nick -

    We would firstly like to thank you for your helpful comments and secondly apologize for the bad experience, you had on your game drive.
    I have investigated and have been informed by our General Manager that he had discussed this with you and you were given a USD 20 refund for this experience
    Unfortunately, in busy periods we occasionally have to hire outside guides and vehicles. Obviously, this guide was not up to our professional standards. We will not be paying him and will not hire him in the future.
    We have reviewed the issue with management and are putting new systems in place to ensure this does not happen in the future.

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention and once again we are truly sorry.

    Charl Beukes
    Owner

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    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
    Reviewed 30 September 2023

    I absolutely loved my stay at Croc Valley. The camp is stunning and the staff are very friendly and helpful. I would recommend anyone who visits the South Luangwa to stay here for a few nights.

    The game drives offered were amazing, saw leopard every day and lions very regularly.

    Date of stay: September 2023
    • Trip type: Travelled solo
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    Thank Jossm0rg
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Reviewed 24 September 2023 via mobile

    Solid work by Herbert, Martin and the Bernards. The team is really amazing! Very satisfied with all the safaris I've done with Bernard, I feel like he really understood how to deliver what people were wishing to see (if that's even possible). When it comes to the ecotents a mosquito net inside would've been great.

    Date of stay: September 2023
    Trip type: Travelled solo
    Thank bernardoraraujo
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Charl Beukes, Owner at Croc Valley Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 27 September 2023

    Thank you, Bernard, Herbert and Bernard are both great assets to this company. The Eco tents are completely fitted with mosquito netting and insect repellant so to put another hanging net would really cramp the small space they are all ready to have. These are our Budget Eco-friendly accommodations designed for avid wildlife travelers who can not afford more on the more spacious accommodations we offer. I would like to thank you for your patronage.

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    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
    Reviewed 18 September 2023 via mobile

    It’s a lovely setting but I found the decor tired and could do with new furnishings. Pool was very nice and the staff were so friendly and helpful. The accommodation was basic no toiletries apart from a small bar of soap so for anyone doing a long trip was not ideal. The room I had was in need of an update and used shared facilities which were ok but not I would have chose to do. Overall it was a lovely site and position but needs some talc

    Room tip: Be prepared for basic facilities
    Date of stay: September 2023
    Trip type: Travelled solo
    Thank juliepearce2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Charl Beukes, Owner at Croc Valley Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 20 September 2023

    Good Day Julie thank you very much for your candid review, Appreciated. I would like to clarify that it seems you chose a Budget room rather than a River Front Tent or Self-Contained Chalet, our superior accommodations which has all of the amenities. If you pay USD 25 as opposed to USD 150 per night it seems to me your priority was your wallet rather than your comfort. Thanks

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    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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