Reviews of Lagoon Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Lagoon Camp review
We spent three nights at Lagoon camp, but time has a way of stretching out and you are made to feel so much at home and part of the life of the camp that it really felt like much longer (in a good way!).
The tents are not as smart as those at Lebala, but they are nonethless perfectly lovely, with verandahs looking out onto the river and the plains beyond and very comfortable interiors.
The staff at the camp were hospitable, enthusiastic, friendly and courteous. Phoebe, the camp manager, has a very informal, friendly and relaxed style which resonates throughout the entire place so that you feel as though you are being welcomed into a family rather than staying at a hotel. OB also deserves a special mention for the great hospitality she extended to us.
The guides here are second to none - highly knowledgeable and able to track, identify and explain all the animals, birds and plantlife you are likely to come across. Our guide, Vundi, and tracker, Thsebo, found some incredible wildlife sightings including a pack of wild dogs (which we followed for over an hour) and a leaopard snoozing up a tree in the darkness. On our last day Pat, another driver, and James, the tracker, spotted lion tracks which we followed until we came across a female lion with four young cubs - a truly wonderful sighting.
Sadly, the resident pack of wild dogs had not been seen for some weeks before we arrived - they had left the area following a lion attack on one of the 13 cubs. However, there are others that pass though, which we were lucky enough to see, and on our last day a driver (Alison) told us he had seen tracks of a pack with puppies near the Mopani forest - he was intending to go back and try to follow the tracks, so there is some hope that the original pack might still pass through even if it doesn't set up a den within the concession again.
The great thing about the Kwando reserve is that there is such a limited number of guests and vehicles. The area feels very remote and untouched, and you are unlikely to see another vehicle all day unless there is an exciting sighting. In that case, there is a rule that no more than three vehicles can view animals at a time. So it never feels crowded and overrun with game viewers as is often the case in other places. There is also an overwhelming sense of respect and admiration for the flora and fauna from the staff, which adds to the overall positive experience of staying at the camp.
A wonderful safari experience
Definitely the friendliest place we stayed, and that's saying a lot. The staff made us feel like we were part of the family, or more accurately, part of their gang. They had a fantastic sense of humour, individually and collectively. The other guests were great too, we all got on like old friends and had long nights round the campfire chatting (that was the only downside – we got hardly any sleep as we were voluntarily) getting up really early too!).
The organisation was marvellous – it all felt really easy-going and relaxed, but everything happened just when we wanted it too, and with flair.
We were also amazed by the skill of our guide Pat, not just in finding animals and getting really close to them, but also in bush mechanics – effecting a seemingly impossible repair to a Uri transmission with minimal tools while 50 yards from a pride of lions. And joking while he did it! He was also really good company, and very well informed on a really wide range of issues.
Lagoon Camp review
Very short drive from airstrip to camp was fantastic after a long flight. Very friendly camp, especially Charlie the manager, enjoyable food around a big table and a great camp fire, including a lovely song at the beginning of the meal.
Unfortunately, the wild dogs which been regularly sighted had moved dens due to a puppy being taken by a lion but the search for the new den seemed to dominate all activities. Also, the guiding was diaappointing as our guide had only just moved to this camp and seemed to rely heavily on the tracker for directions. One day, the game drive was just a transfer of other guests with limited time to stop and watch the game.
Unusually,we didn't see any predators during our stay although we do realise that this not guaranteed, we felt that the guide could have given us more general information to maintain our interest. However, we styill enjoyed our stay at this camp as it is a great location.
Totally awesome experience from dawn to dusk
This was our only stay in Botswana and was probably the main highlight of the holiday. We saw things here that we may never see again.
A pack of wild dogs where the adults came back from a kill to feed 12 six week old pups!!!
A lioness with 4 cubs attack and fight off a 4 year old male lion!!
The same lioness killed a baby buffalo separated from its mother!!!
A herd of circa500 buffalo surrounded us.
We would unreservedly recommend this to anyone
Lagoon Camp review
A really well run camp with excellent staff members all of whom had a great sense of humour!
At the time of our visit the riverboat was out of action which was very dissappointing.
If it had not been for the quality of the guide (George) and tracker (Barouti) it is arguable that the gamedrives may have become slightly repetitive.
Lagoon Camp review
This was the best camp we stayed at.
The manager and all the staff were extremely friendly and helpful - and our guide, tracker and trainee guide could not have been more helpful and knowledgeable. They created a very good atmosphere, and the location is terrific. They were prepared to stay out long beyond the 'official' activity times if there was a chance of seeing a lion, leopard or wild dogs hunting. In fact, we threw the meal schedule into disarray once, but no-one minded.
They also put on a bush meal and staff dancing. The only trick they might learn from a later camp is hot water bottles on the early morning game drive! We saw a lot of game, very close - including a huge herd of buffalo, and a wild dog den, which we did not see elsewhere.
Excellent predator veiws and tracking skills
Lagoon has the advantage of wild dogs denning near to camp. Wide variety of predators and other African wildlife. The guide and spotter had excellent tracking skills and a vast knowledge of the behaviour patterns of the wildlife. The guides gave us a paticular good insight to the wild dogs in the area (the main reason for our visit) and we enjoyed the the following of the dogs on their hunt. The guides were able to track the movement of the dogs from the den when they had already left to go hunting.
We had a veiw of a cheetah and we tracked a lioness with cubs for about an hour and found her with cubs and a dead wart hog for their tea.Wild life and the camp was just the safari we wanted.
The only negative part was having our safari trip being used as a taxi to take another couple to their next camp - I beleive we lost valuable time from the lagoon team and wildlife. Would have liked to see lion.
Brlliant experiences !!! Special to see dogs on hunt and tracking location of wild dogs and lioness.
Memorable Time at Lagoon
We spent two nights at Lagoon from May 13-15th with Charles as our guide and AT as tracker. The entire staff at the camp was very courteous and attentive. The rooms were well kept. At night, it gets really chilly in the room. You can hear the hippos in the lagoon outside your room the entire night. It's quite beautiful especially coming from New York, you hear cars honking and fire truck sirens, so it's a very welcomed change to hear hippos serenading you.
The game drives were very exciting. We saw a lot during this time. The guide and tracker are very active in tracking for cheetahs, lions, leopards and wild dogs. We did see lions during the afternoon snoozing but didn't catch the elusive wild dogs and cheetah though others during our time there were lucky to see them. Also, the camp gave us checklists which was a plus so I can just tick off what I saw instead of jotting down the names in my notebook.
Freezing in the evenings - At Vumbura, they left "hot water bags" between the sheets that warms your bed considerably, perhaps, Lagoon can do something similar
The water in the sink goes down very slowly and the water is yellowish-brown which leaves a metallic after taste after teeth brushing.
The staff does seem a bit tired as I understand they work 7 weeks a day for three months straight followed by 21 days off. The guide joins you for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At Vumbura Plains, the guide didn't have to join you for brunch and dinner which I believe enables him to have a slight break and/or time to unwind.
Expert Africa comments
Lagoon's management comments that with regards to working hours, the working cycle of 3 months on, 21 days off is standard for remote safari operations in Botswana.
They also comment that their guides do sit at all meals with their guests as they feel that this helps to add to the guiding experience which involves not just the game drive itself, but the whole guide/guest interaction. Lagoon Camp (along with the other Kwando camps) employs trackers and one of their responsibilities is to ensure that the game vehicle is in good order and they fill up the vehicles, clean them, gather the morning tea and sundowner drinks and snacks and also maintain the vehicles with the help of the camp mechanic, which takes a good deal of pressure off the shoulders of the guides - and allows them to spend more time with guests.
Overall best Safari at Lagoon Camp
Although the facilities are not as posh as the previous camp Selinda this turned out to be our favorite camp of the whole trip.
Issac the manager was also our guide with Bede our tracker, the atmosphere of the camp was exceptional, no request was too much trouble.
The game drives were tailored to our requirements including an extra long game drive to see elephants in the south concession we also walked, fished and had an evening boat ride, the camp was regularly visited by baboons and after one game drive elephant tracks were seen on the path to our tent, this was confirmed the following day when the elephant turned up whilst we were there.
African Hunting Dogs
The camp is beautifully situated on the lagoon, and it was good to enjoy the siesta on the verandah watching the hippos and crocodles. The staff here were very friendly, helpful and efficient and the food good.
Animal sightings here were plentiful and varied. Our guide, Roc, was very good, although not usually employed at this lodge. He worked extremely well with the tracker, who had been at the lodge for some years. Apart from lots of herbivores, we saw lions and cheetahs.
The highlight, though, were the African Hunting Dogs. We had been following tracks one day, without success, and then the next day a dog ran through the camp while we were having the early morning breakfast . There was a quick rush to the vehicles, and we all joined in the chase. The dogs were not at all bothered by the vehicles, and the driving skills of the guides were amazing. We had lots of sightings of dogs, and then came upon the pack just after they had killed an impala.
We were able to watch the dogs feed, then trot down to the water to drink, and then wander back into he bush to rest. We located them again in the afternoon, and stayed to watch them waking, greeting each other, and then set off to hunt again. At this point we lost them, but while we were having a sundowner by a pool, two dogs appeared at the other side of the pool, and ran round to within a few feet of us. We felt very lucky at privileged to experience the whole hunting and resting routine of these beautiful animals.
We didn't experience the boat trip - our choice - we were enjoying the safari drives too much.