Reviews of Lebala Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Lebala Camp review
Lebala is a lovely camp, with very dedicated guides and welcoming camp staff. The accomdation is of a high standard and the game drives flexible and professional.
There are not many "cats" at Lebala, however, we were lucky enough to get a world class sighting of a leopard over several days and view the Lagoon pack of wild dogs during a hunt.
Overall an excellent experience considering we travelled during green season, which isn't the best time to visit Lebala. Bali and PD our guide and tracker were great and Charles runs the camp manager runs the camp beautifully.
outstanding in every way, superb location great rooms and fantastic staff
wild dogs were observed on 3 out of 4 game drives including a successful hunt, there must be at least a 90% chance of seeing these fantastic animals at close quarters. other game was also excellent with leopard sighting being another high
Lebala Camp feedback
Lebala is a great camp. We had a good time here, the staff were excellent.
Our guide Tshabo was very good and a wonderful driver. He definitely earned the best driver award for his gentle and consistent driving. He had excellent knowledge about the animals we were seeing and took us to some great spots for good photographic opportunities. We also had one drive with Dutch, who again was very good and knowledgeable about all we were seeing.
The lack of power to the rooms for charging batteries could prove inconvenient, as they need to be charged in the office. The rooms were wonderful, the only downside to the location was the mosquitoes, but despite the discomfort, it is a wonderful camp to stay at with great staff.
Lebala Camp review
Lebala, lebala, lebala- so good is the accommodation, the food and the staff.
You will see the African wild hunting dogs here between Lagoon (pack of 18), and the Lebala(pack of 6). Good leopard sightings and excellent for the 3 dominant Cheetah brothers.
Giraffe and elephants in abundance. No lion, but many hyena here. Friendly, cheerful staff and super food. Entertainment, African dancing and singing to top off what was the perfect 3 nights here.
Thank you to all concerned.
This was our second visit to Lebala; our first was in September 2008 so a December stay offered a fascinating contrast in greenness (one of our main aims). It is a great location for animals but rainy season vegetation can have its downsides when it comes to spotting. So we must commend highly our guides, Spencer and PD who consistently found plentiful mammals and great birds (the Coqui Francolin was a particualr highlight).
Spencer, of course, has long been recognised as a top-notch guide, and rightly so; PD is an excellent partner for him and between them they make a truly exceptional team, both professionally and in terms of their personalities. It was also good to see Thabo and Julius again, whom we know to be of similar calibre. We were particularly pleased with the tracking efforts of all four, which yielded some quality time with the painted dogs.
Organisation and hospitality in the camp were also good under the guidance of Nicky and Hermeena; we were especially impressed by the speed with which everything was righted and dinner put on the table on time and to order after a particularly violent storm early one evening had reeked a certain amount of havoc.
All in all, well worth the return visit.
luxurious Lebala Camp
Lebla was recently totally renovated and is now extremely luxurious and set in a very beutiful location betwen two small rivers.
The tents are in fact huge wooden framed "bungalows" with electricity, free standing baths, separate WCs etc etc
The food was amazing with fresh asparagus and other delicacies!!
Most memorable by far was the staff who were beyond charming and helpful and made it feel like a privte house party hosted by the most charming host and hostess you could hope to find. Nothing was too much trouble.
Lebala Camp Return
We were welcomed back by our tracker from last year (Bowman), our driver/guide Tahbo and by Nature at the camp.
I can't think of anything to add to what was said last year as we had a great time again with loads of different birds (lucklily the only other person on our vehicle was also into birds so everything went well with no conflicts of interest). The Carmine Bee-Eaters were execptional as was the leopard we came across whilst birding.
During one game drive (looking for birds!) we came across a herd of elephants who took an instant dislike to us and chased us down the road - a bit scary.
The accomodation and food were both excellent. The mossies were a bit of a problem one night after a terrific thunderstorm hit the camp. This must rate as one of our favourite camps in Botswana.
Visit to Lebala Camp
We had 3 nights at Lebala Camp in November 2009 - our last camp of 3 on this trip. The communal camp facilities (lounge and dining areas, plunge pool, bar) were excellent and our 'cabin' was enormous and luxurious. It came with a super large king size bed, easy chairs/settee with coffee tables, desk and stools, free standing bath, two wash basins, WC and 2 outdoor showers. On the deck outside were two deckchairs where we could relax and enjoy the view.
The camp was the largest of the 3 we visited and felt a little less 'personal' than the others, although everyone was very friendly and helpful. The food was good without being outstanding but attention to detail in the catering department was sometimes a little lax, with items running out and not being replaced. There was a somewhat inflexible attitude as well, for example we were told that we could only do a walk if the other people in our 'group' (this was a group that was imposed on us!) agreed to walk. Luckily they agreed, as we had specifically asked for guided walks when booking and would have been unhappy not to be able to do so.
The guiding/tracking was excellent - Spencer and Simon were very knowledgable and good company. We had game drives and a guided walk with them and enjoyed every minute. Game viewing was excellent - including elephant, wild dogs, impala, kudu, reedbuck, giraffe, hyena, hippo, zebra, ostrich, red lechwe, warthog, waterbuck, wildebeest, steenbok, water monitor and slender mongoose. Birds too were fabulous - far too may to list, but we were very happy to see such a variety.
I would echo other peoples' comments on the vehicles - we would have preferred a roof (especially in 38 degrees and/or torrential rain) and can see no advantage in not having one, also if there are 6 people in one vehicle (most we had is 5) it would be pretty cramped.
We enjoyed Lebala Camp, but not as much as the other camps we visited in Botswana.
kwando flagship camp
Thabu was our guide at Lebala and was terrific - knowledgable and enthusiastic.The lynyanti pack of dogs were in town for the duration of our stay and so made for exciting game drives with some terrific dog / hyena interaction and tabu was quite prepared to stay out and get the best of it
The communal areas and tents are all very spacious and luxurious with great decks and views. The food was simple wholesome and tasty.
A few nigly points that ought to be sorted out - there always seems to be a high turnover of management and relief management between camps at kwando and this does leave gaps in the service if you are caught in the transition.
An example of this was as follows -
we got caught a long way from camp after sunset in a ferocious storm - our vehicle then broke down and took a further 30 mins to be rescued - then a further 30 mins back to camp - with the storm raging the whole time - this is africa - you get storms and vehicles break down - that is not the issue - the issue is on return to camp we were wet through and very cold - there was no-one on hand just to hand out some towels - there was no-one around to walk us back to our tents - ( we had to wait 10 mins for our guide Thabu to re-appear and take us ) - and despite informing the camp before we left that our electrics had failed and requesting kerosene lamps and / or candles as a back up in case they went again or couldnt be fixed - neither was actioned - so very difficult in the pitch dark soaked through to get dry and change ! - this was poor preparation and organisation by a camp of this standard- just when you needed a bit extra - it simply wasnt there - dissapointing.
we were going on up to lagoon after our stay at lebala - and despite at first being told thabu would come with us this did not happen - the guides in lagoon were also first class - but it would have been nice to have had the opportunity to have had the benefit of longer with one guide - which we know from previous visits is possible - especially as we were travelling with friends and had our own vehicle
we will return but please kwando put candles lamps or a back up torch in the rooms and sort out your management and guide logistics better - you have some fantastic people but they are being being undersold by too much chopping and changing and a little more attention when things deviate from the normal.
As lebala is kwandos flagship camp i will make a general comment about kwandos uri vehicles here.They are in our opinion ( and it seems the many others who have made similar observations ) inferior in nearly every respect to virtually every other camp / operator in botswana who use either specially adapted toyotas or landrovers. The vehicles are especially cramped when there are more than 4 to a vehicle - there is no rating for vehicles / equipment but if there was it would be average / poor. Any possibility of the replacement of these vehicles in the future im sure would be welcome by many.
Lebala Camp review
Of the three camps that we visited, (Kwara, Lagoon and Lebala), the tracker and guide that were with us "OC and PD" were the best. Their knowledge and bushcraft were like a form of magic. We would tell them what we were looking for and they would try their upmost to find it. If the animals were not in the area, they could always find an excellent alternative.
Unfortunately at the time of our visit there were only two other guests present, and also there was a change of management staff taking place.
Somehow this made the camp seem more corporate and formal than the other camps when we were on site. We thought the accomodation was luxurious, but somehow excessive for our requirements - this is a personal choice. (Not true of the showers which were most welcome after the gamedrives).
One of the outgoing managers (Phoebe?) lectured the guests one evening - intimating that we should take more interest in the culture of Botswana and not just the animals. This was politely tolerated. However at the other two camps there was a very informal exchange of information between the staff and guests and many cultural topics and this is a much better format of exchange than any artificial cultural show.
One of the incoming managers, Charles was first class and is a great people person who always had great stories and was a "fountain of knowledge". We wish him well.
Wildlife score: * * * *