Reviews of Lagoon Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Staggering safari in an awesome camp !!!
After a rather smooth car transfer from Victoria Falls through the Zimbabwe-Botswana border, we boarded an 8-seater Moremi Air Cessna at Kasane airport. The flight to Lagoon Camp was far from being uneventful as I got sick despite the anti-motion- sickness pill I took preemptively. I managed to peruse the astounding landscape between the numerous bouts of nausea. The excruciating ordeal took 55 minutes and I was relieved when the old crate finally touched ground. We were welcomed by Paul (guide) and Julius (tracker) who briefed us succinctly prior to making it to the lodge.
The grounds of the camp are amazing and located on the banks of the Kwando River. Elephants and hippos could be seen from our deck overlooking the river. The tents were renovated in 2011. Although they are equipped with a huge bathroom and an even bigger bedroom, we found them too spacious and less comfy than the tents at Little Kwara. The food was always very tasty. I particularly liked the porridge served in the wee hours of the morning and cooked over the fireplace. All meals are taken at a communal table with the management and guides. This kind of interaction might not be to the liking of everyone but we enjoyed sharing our daily adventures with the other guests.
Each party is assigned to the same guide and tracker for the whole duration of the stay. Ours were efficient and keen on sharing their knowledge with us. It is my understanding that in order to work as a guide/tracker, they have to undergo a 6-12 month long training and attain a 75% success rate at the final examination. All of the camp's trackers were going to great lengths to spot lions, wild dogs, leopards or hyenas. They are in constant radio contact with each other and inform each other of their respective sightings. I appreciated the fact that the four cars being used in our part of the concession (the largest one in Botswana) were taking turns to get close to the animals. The most captivating of them, i.e. felids, wild dogs and hyenas, seemed indifferent to our presence and we were therefore able to get as close as it could get.
We got to see them all ... sometimes after considerable effort and time though. For instance, we drove for no less than 2 hours to track down the wild dogs pack. It also took us two hours to drive back to the camp ... but it was well worth it. Needless to say, the driving was bumpy and the guides did not hesitate a single second to enter the thick mopane. Brandnew cars were delivered to the lodge on the day of our arrival. We had the privilege of using them throughout our stay at Camp Lagoon. All cars were stripped of their canopy, something which Kwando takes pride in as it rightfully so enables keen photographers and birders to take pictures of optimal quality.
The day at Lagoon Camp is typically divided as follows: you get woken up at 5:00 a.m., join the other guests at the communal fireplace for breakfast at 5:30 a.m., head out for the first safari activity at 6:00 a.m., have a light snack consisting of cookies/tea/coffee around 8:30 a.m., proceed with the safari until brunch time at 10:30-11:00 a.m., relax in your tent until high tea at 4:00 p.m., leave the camp at 4:30 p.m. for the second safari activity only interrupted by the sundowner around 6:30 p.m., head back to the camp for dinner at 8:00 p.m. It should be noted that the length of the "siesta" is necessary due to the extreme heat at that time of the year, which forces animals to take refuge in the shade. This type of army-like regiment is well-functioning and you quickly get used to it. We also had the possibility of doing a boat safari on the Kwando River but chose to do it at Little Kwara instead. We liked the fact that guests could freely access the fridges behind the bar desk and help themselves to cold beverages, be it soda, beer or booze. While on safari, each car had a cooler with water and cans of soda. All possible contingencies were provided for. Also, laundry was included in the rate and all of our clothes were promptly returned to our tent the following morning or at the end of the very same day.
All in all, a flawless stay during which we met personable people, saw a considerable amount of various animals and enjoyed the camp's facilities, services and approach to safari.
Lagoon Camp review
Again, a lovely camp in a beautiful location overlooking the lagoon.
All the staff were delightful and capable. Our guide, Spencer, was very knowledgeable and the tracker, Arron, was a delight. We did mention that we'd like a walk but this didn't happen, probably because we were sharing our activities with others. We had some wonderful animal moments, the outstanding one being a close encounter with the wild dogs - very special.
Nothing else to add about this one, really.
Fantastic camp for seeing African wild dogs
We loved Lagoon Camp. We had the family room, which was huge, much bigger than we expected. Everything about this camp was perfect. The rooms are really beautiful and high quality with outdoor and indoor showers, lovely furnishings and incredible views over the lagoon - you can see to Namibia and elephants and hippos were frequently seen. The level of service really was outstanding, the staff come across as really genuinely friendly and keen to ensure we had the best time possible. Nothing was too much trouble and they could not have been nicer to Kirsty (12).
This was our first safari so it it difficult to compare, however in my view the wildlife viewing was exceptional. We saw an enormous variety of animals, and one of the best days of my life was when we saw a leopard with 2 cubs first thing in the morning, then wild dogs resting. Paul, our guide, then offered to change our plans to see if we could find the wild dogs hunting which we really wanted to do, and that was incredible. We followed them chasing 2 wart hogs and an impala, none of which they caught, which I was not too sorry about!
Then, on the way back, we saw the leopard and cubs again, up a tree (with a dead impala). The whole day was magical (although the dead impala was a bit gross!) and for me personally a dream come true. The boat trip was also a lovely change from the jeep safaris and by this time the guides were almost friends and we had such a laugh with them. It really did make it even more special for us.
The booklet given to guests to record the animals spotted is an excellent idea, and Paul, our guide, spent a considerable time with Kirsty on our last day going through the book to make sure she had recorded every animal we had seen, we really appreciated this.
All the staff were fantastic but Paul and James (guide and tracker) and Thuso (manager) were really outstanding and helped to make this a fabulous 2 days. The guide and tracker do an incredible job of tracking animals, their knowledge and experience are very evident and this added to the experience for us. We were really sorry to leave.
The only negative I would have about Lagoon is that there was some chemical in the pool that Kirsty turned out to be allergic to and gave her a rash on her face (we did narrow it down to the pool).
Lagoon Camp review
A luxurious camp in a beautiful setting. Tents are very luxurious. Good sighting of 2 herds of 30 -40 elephants.
Service a little less personal than little Kwara.
Lagoon Camp review
Again, we were completely amazed by our experience at Lagoon Camp. Everything was perfect and well above our expectations.Read more about the whole safari
Great camp; wildlife a bit scarce
A very well run and comfortable camp but due to certain circumstances pointed out below the game was not as plentiful as we would have hoped.
Wonderful location on the edge of a lagoon of the Kwando river. Superb views. However due to certain circumstances game not as plentiful as we had expected. Reasons seem to be:
1. Concession very large and not fully developed hence animals can retreat to inaccessible areas and sightings at one end of the concession can be difficult to get to from the other end
2. Some larger animals migrate across the Kwando river into and out of Namibia where there are shooting concessions. This means they can very shy of humans
3. A three year drought and the water in the Selinda Spillway which has been dry for many years means that certain animals that used to be resident in Lagoon have moved to other concessions
Excellent - 24/7 electricity, fans, inside and outside showers, bath tub, safe, large comfortable bed, no mosquitoes. Could have done with a little more storage space. Wonderful views across the lagoon. Hippos outside room at night.
Quietly well run camp. Nothing too much trouble for staff who joined us for dinner and were great fun.
As in Little Kwara good , plentiful but could become a little repetitive. Drink selection excellent.
Driving and tracking very good and as in Little Kwara drivers always prepared to go off road. We saw Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Hippo, Giraffe, Zebra, a Hyena den with very young Hyena cubs, Jackal, Ostrich with young, Marshall Eagle and many other birds. A particular feature of the concession is the resident pack of Wild Dogs which although hard to find when we did find them were fascinating.
The sunset boat trip was great and especially the colony of Carmine Bee Eaters.
Excellent - particularly the library, pool, lounge and recharging station!
Excellently run camp
Thuso and his deputy Obi were very involved seeing that the guests had a good experience. For instance Thuso arranged for a private safari the next morning when we had been disappointed in not seeing the carmine bee eaters at their nests.
Our guide Bali and his tracker Julius were good and we had good sightings of leopards and wild dogs.
Why did we go there?
The vehicles were boneshakers and the roads were horrendous. Please see separate email and attachment.Read more about the whole safari
Expert Africa comments
These travellers saw wild dogs here, which were high on their wish-list. Despite this, they were very unhappy here, especially with the camp's vehicles and the quality of the reserve's tracks.
By way of a post-script to this story, Kwando Lagoon took delivery of new vehicles toward the end of 2012. Lagoon tell us that they're not allowed to lay anything to improve the tracks, but they do drag them periodically to try and reduce the ruts.
Kwando lagoon review
This was our last camp. Left waiting at the airstrip for 45 mins to be met, very hot!! Jeep with no roof and no means of attaching one so late am safaris were very uncomfortable.( did not know about no rooves at Kwando until just before departure so probably would not have booked here). However they did try very hard to accommodate us on game ride timings and I used a sarong and umbrella!!
The setting was absolutely fantastic. The rooms huge and very comfortable ( but with slippery rugs on highly polished floors!) the ceiling fans were excellent.The elephant swimming across the river was stunning and the evening boat ride very enjoyable .Paul , our guide , tried very hard to find game but there was disappointingly little about. We drove a long way to see the wild dogs which were great but didn't manage to track the cheetah due to the lack of game.
The camp is in an excellent position with great views across the river. The pool area great for relaxing in the shade and fishing from the deck was fun.
Expert Africa comments
We were delighted that these guests had a good time at Lagoon Camp (and did finally see the wild dogs there!) but sorry about the delay at the airstrip. Such flight delays are rare in Botswana but thats no consolation to these travellers.
The vehicles at Lagoon and Lebala camps are open to the skies; they dont have roofs. Although we make this clear on our website pages for these camps, were very sorry that we didnt draw this travellers attention to this fact when she was planning her trip. We now have a system to do this to inform travellers who are thinking of including Lagoon or Lebala of this fact as they plan their trips.
Incidentally, these open-topped vehicles at Lagoon and Lebala are gradually being replaced by new vehicles (with three rows of seats rather than two), which are due around the end of November 12. These will have the facility to add a canopy. However, the default practice of Lagoon, Lebala, Kwara and Little Kwara will remain for these vehicles to have open tops, without any canopies, as the camps believe it gives better all-round visibility. They plan to only add a canopy, on request, if all guests on a vehicle agree it's desirable.
Wonderful place. We just loved it.Read more about the whole safari