Reviews of Lagoon Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Great Safari at Lagoon
Lagoon Camp had been recently renovated and the resut is outstanding. The independent challets lie along the Kwando River. Night sounds of the wild life including hippo fill the air and the elephants treat the camp as their own. Our deck, sitting area, bed and bath all overlooked the river.
On one afternoon, an elephant began grazing outisde the bathroom so close to the tub, I thought he was considering a tub bath rather than the river. The physical facilities, camp fire area, dining chalet are well planned and contribute to a special ambiance. Our game viewing was truly outstanding. led by an excellent and very knowledgeable guide, Spencer. On our first afternoon, he tracked a pack of wild dogs to a large lagoon where we enjoyed the opportunity for some great photos, followed by sunset "sundowners" shared with a large contingent of hippos. Back to camp and an outstanding dinner and more wine while being entertained with staff song and dance.
Morning game drives were cold but made more comfortable with hot water bottles ("Bush Babies") and wool blankets. First morning we tracked and found 3 Cheetah brothers and Leopard. We also found a mongoose family, elephant, Savannah Buffalo,and two beautiful Saddlebilled Storks.
That afteernoon Spencer again found the wild dog pack after they caught and killed a prey. We arrived to find them eating their dinner. The next day game drives located elephant herds, the Cheetah brothers, Steenbok, Kudu, a huge Wart Hog, African hawks, Jackel, Buffalo ,Springbok, and the wild dogs. Every day also included the "usual suspects" of African mammals and a variety of interesting birds.
At the end of each day, sunsets and "sundowners" followed by outstanding dinners. At the end of each morning drive a a wonderful and filling brunch. In camp, our hostess, Amazing Grace, saw that we were comfortable. We also enjoyed the companionship of our fellow campers who were there from many countries, and, like we, were interested in the same experiences.
Interesting Stay at Lagoon Camp
At first, we were disappointed with our stay at Lagoon Camp. We were put with four other people in a vehicle, which is too many. It is hard to communicate with the guide, and there isn't enough room to be comfortable with six guests in the vehicle. In addition, our guide was intent on tracking some cheetahs, which is what we spent the entire first afternoon game drive doing. He didn't stop to view other wildlife, and it was almost dark by the time we got to the cheetahs (found by the other vehicles at the camp). Then, he just kept driving to try to follow the cheetahs, so we did not have a chance to actually just watch the cheetahs. We prefer to just sit and watch wildlife for a while, seeing the animals interact with each other, the environment, and our presence. We do not like to just stop, take a photo, and drive away.
SInce it was dark, the guide (Alison or Ellison) decided to try to find the cheetahs again on the drive the next morning. We spoke with the camp manager that morning, voicing our frustration with the previous afternoon's game drive, and she told us to talk directly with the guide - which we did at breakfast. It seemed he was trying at first, but he was still intent on finding the cheetahs (which we never did find that morning). We passed buffalo and giraffes, but the guide said he didn't want to stop as the more time we delayed, the less likely we would find the cheetahs.
Part of the problem with six people is the different interests. Two of the others didn't seem to care what they saw. One man was extremely interested in the tracking, and was content to sit for half an hour at a time while the guide and tracker were "tracking" several times during the drive. We again spoke to the camp managers at mid-day break. This time one of the mangers, Moses, really thought about the problem and came up with a creative solution. Instead of going on the afternoon game drive with the same guide, we went on the motorboat that was picking up four guests that had been out all day on a walk and drive. Moses came with us as a guide, since all the other guides were busy. It was wonderful - no great sightings, but a very relaxing afternoon becoming familiar with the habitat along the Kwando River. We then returned with the other four guests who were leaving the next day.
The next morning we went on a game drive with our new guide, Vundi and tracker/guide, A.T. They were fantastic - they understood that we enjoyed watching the game and taking photos. Vundi was great at finding locations to take great photos. For the rest of the drives, there were only four of us in the vehicle and Vundi and A.T. were wonderful is finding out all our interests and taking us on fantastic game drives. Moses continued to check with us that everything was working out well. Moses certainly solved the problems we initailly had, and Lagoon ended up being a great experience (except for the first two drives). Our experience was also enhanced by the helpfulness of Grace.
We enjoyed the location of the camp. seeing elephants and hippos across the river, and elephants right in the camp. The facilities are lovely - we understand Lagoon Camp was recently renovated. The food was very good, and the dining and bar areas very enjoyable. Although we were initially disappointed, our stay at Lagoon Camp ended up being great, thanks to Moses, Vundi and A.T.
Lagoon Camp review
Lagoon camp was our third of the trip and was slightly bigger than the first two with nine tents compared to five but this did not reduce the homely feel to the place. The tents had recently been renovated and were more like big chalets with separate areas for sleeping, dressing and bathroom. The room overlooked the lagoon, was bright and airy inside and was the only one of the trip which was not on stilts. This led to interesting and exciting walks to and from the social areas due to regular encounters with the resident elephants.
All the staff were friendly and helpful, but more responsibility appeared to be put on to the guide (serving drinks, charging batteries etc) at this camp compared to the other camps. The food and service of, was comparable to Little Kwara.
Activities were based around game drives and a possible boat ride / fishing if all guests on the jeep preferred. Our guiding team of Vundi and James were very friendly and informative and put in a great deal of much appreciated effort to ensure all guests were happy and looked after. The camp was full throughout our stay resulting in a full jeep for game drives which made the drives a touch uncomfortable due to the lack of space on the vehicle (no spare middle seats for camera bags etc). Fortunately all the guests on our vehicle had one ambition which was to see wild dogs. Vundi and James, through sheer determination and great skill, more than satisfied everyone's wishes.
The terrain where the dogs were found, was very thick shrub, with little in the way of game except for the odd elephant, impala and birds and nearly two full game drives was spent off road searching. This made these two drives very tiring but through persistence and the amazing tracking skills of the guiding team (how you can track something heading in a direction, but you cannot head in that direction due to the denseness of the flora and still find the animal is beyond me!) led to a fantastic sighting of the dogs interacting with each other. To top this off we then went back in the afternoon and saw them hunting, therefore a huge thanks goes to our guiding team for these three drives alone. The other drives were equally exciting and good sightings were to be found, but the last drive highlighted how keen Vundi was to show us something different. Three cheetah had been spotted two hours away and if we sacrificed breakfast we would have time to go see them before catching our plane. Before we arrived the cheetahs had brought down an ostrich, so we experienced the interaction of the three brothers feeding on a cheetah which was certainly different.
In summary, Lagoon camp was an amazing experience and easily surpassed our expectations, a guide can make or break a stay and Vundi (both in an out of camp) certainly enhanced what was already an unbelieveable trip.
Lagoon Camp review
It is impossible to say enough about this beautiful, luxurious camp.
We enjoyed every minute of the stay, saw lots of game, our tent was as big as a house, and the food and service ws excellent. This was our first camp. What a great introduction to Botswana.
Lagoon Camp review
Here again, the camp facilities were unnecessarily luxurious. We certainly did not need as much space as our unit provided. We would gladly have traded fancy facilities for better guiding.
Thabo seemed knowledgeable enough, but we and the other couple in our vehicle (experienced safari go-ers) agreed on our first full day out that we had never been on a game drive on which we saw so little in the way of game. We joked that Thabo must be afraid of elephants given his skill in avoiding any sightings of them. We did have better sightings of variety of animals on the game drive on the morning of our departure.
The highlight of the camp for us was the river cruise. It was not that game was so visible from the boat (save for many hippos and quite a few birds), but just that the scenery was entrancing and the trip (with our very congenial vehicle-sharers) very relaxing.
Lagoon Camp review
Not a lot of wildlife due to the first rain
Lagoon Camp review
A very friendly camp. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here. The facilities were good, the driver and guide excellent and the location perfect. We have read that the tents are rather close together but that did not trouble us. The food and drink was very acceptable considering this is a bush camp. We had very good game viewing and were impressed by the driver and tracker skills and knowledge.
In common with all the camps the driver and tracker tend to concentrate on big game and to ignore birds and smaller wildlife at times which we would often be interested in also. If there was a chance of tracking a lion or leopard they tended to ignore everything else, but we think this is what most visitors probably want.
Having just four people to a truck was good. We also really enjoyed the sundowners!
Cats & Dogs
A return visit to lagoon at first was a little disappointing as the camp is now very aged (it is being closed and completely revamped from the end of November, due to re-open in March 2011, and in need of a revamp).
The staff are what make this camp being friendly and very focused on providing their guests with the best opportunity of seeing the wildlife treats.
We were very fortunate to see the Wild Dogs who had gone after the first sighting and we spent three days with the 3 cheetah brothers which was great viewing. This is a real bush camp and my only hope is that the new camp keeps the true feel of wild Africa.
Lagoon Camp review
We had a very enjoyable stay at Lagoon. Staff, service and food were very good. Our guide and tracker were very knowledgable and great fun and always did their best to find what we particularly wanted to see.
The highlights were the game drives when we were on our own, on one of which we spent quite a long time watching the cheetahs and on the other the wild dog puppies.
We were rather disappointed to miss out on the boat trip due to a problem with its starter motor as this was one of the reasons for choosing Lagoon. But we still had a great time.
Lagoon Camp review
The grading was between exc. and good. I like self-service, e.g. of drinks, but this was probably a bit difficult to organise, so not done.
Liked the chalet, the guides were superb, esp Carlos and Bidi - the tracking skills of the latter were amazing to experience - 2 hrs of arduous tracking and we find wild dog pups and the adults, and witness an altercation between the dogs and a hyena. thrilling! Bidi knew and had told us that they were being followed by a hyena, and that they had stopped to attack it on the way. Fascinating.
Service slightly 'obvious' but really friendly and helpful. I am never quite sure why we need to be told to come up ladies first and men later, to the buffet counter - what it means is that the ladies have nearly finished eating before their male friends have started. If given free rein I think people would go up in groups and could eat together better. They made a charming effort to entertain us with singing.
I shall remember the guides most, and the wild dog and cheetah (even a leopard).