Reviews of Lebala Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Enjoyable stay at Lebala
Overall we had a very enjoyable stay at Lebala. All the staff were were very friendly. All the game drives were great fun especially getting up close with the elephants! We were unlucky on the number of predators we saw but that's just how it goes.
A couple of minor points that did not detract from our stay:
1. The staff were unaware that we had booked a private vehicle until we informed them when we realised they were putting us on a shared vehicle. Once they had checked they sent us out on our own but the remaining guests had to wait an hour before they got another vechicle to take them out. This put us in a embarrassing situation and impacted the other guests. I think what they should have done was to send us all out on the shared vehicle and then when they had sorted another vehicle to come and find us and take us off!
2. The new tents are beautiful but because of the open design it does mean that they get un-necessarily hot during the middle of the day. The balcony has no shade and the sun shines right into the tent, the curtains are light and filmy so shutting them doesn't help cut out the sun.
Return to Lebala
This was a return trip to Lebala and we were looking forward seeing the new 'rooms'. Unfortunately, we weren't overly impressed. They were very barn-like and drafty and I fear that the parachute silk curtains won't be sufficient to keep out the chill when the mornings turn cold. It was also difficult to locate things like the light switches and the shower looked good but was very temperamental.
Our guide was rather quiet and relatively inexperienced but he 'warmed up' once he got to know us. He tended to rely on the sightings of the other guides but we did see all the big cats, so no complaints. The plains game in May was much less in evidence than in November but we had expected that.
Food was good but vegetarian options were lacking on occasion. The early morning porridge or semolina was always welcome as was the campfire toast when the squirrels didn't steal it!
All the camp staff were friendly and we were remembered and greeted as old friends.
A 'Tent' as you have never seen it before
We were the first guests at the camp following its refurbishment. The so called 'tents' were out of this world - very spacious, with separate bedroom (with proper beds) and bathroom (flush toilet, bath tub, twin sinks, and the exquisite outdoor 'his and hers' twin shower). I
The tents were upmarket - so was the catering. Large quantities of really imaginative, varied, excellently cooked food appeared day after day. we are hoping that a book of recipes will be published in due course! I noted that the camp coped very well with the special dietary requirements of two of the guests..
The safari drives were brilliant. Our guide, Thabo, was excellent, with an enthusiasm for his country and all of its wildlife. With him, we had our best elephant encounters of the holiday, but felt very safe because it was obvious that he understood the behaviour of these, and the other animals, and would do nothing to upset them or to put us at risk.
We liked the completely open vehicles, and could see the tracker and guide working very closely together - locating animals from the smallest clue. Although it had been a very wet season, and animals were perhaps slower than usual in retuning to this area, we saw a lot, including a herd of 60 elephants and one of 200 buffalo. There were also large quantites of hippo, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, antelope (including sable) and we had a very good sighting of two spotted hyenas. The bird life was very good, the highlights had to be a brilliant sychronised rolling display by two lillac breasted rollers, and a pied kingfisher that managed to swallow a fish as big as iteself - even Thabo didn't think it would manage it.
Our only regret was that we hadn't taken a tape recorder with us, it would have been good to capture the sounds of Africa - especially those of the nearby Hippos.
All the stalff at the lodge made us very welcome, and we enjoyed the ambience and the relaxed but busy routine of our holiday there.
Remoteness at its best
This camp is being renovated in April and the current manager is retiring, so comments might not be helpful. Nonetheless, all of our experiences here were top-notch with the possible exception of the tents. They were of three large rooms which seemed dark and cavernous and simply didn't allow a breeze. If the heavy brush to either side of the bedroom were thinned, a breeze might be possible; and of course, a fan would help.
We prefer vehicles with canopies, but all the game drives were rewarding. We saw wild dogs, for instance.
As an aside, Lebala afforded us with one of those unpredictable experiences sometimes encountered when traveling: the Lebala airstrip had been under water for a month due to excessive rains when our visit was scheduled. Many of the tracks were flooded as well. Consequently, we were flown into the neighboring airstrip (Lagoon) and had a 3-hour game drive to and from the camp.
Lebala Camp review
Great guides that make your stay a great experience.
But the tents have to be renewed soon.
Expert Africa comments
Lebala's tents will be refurbished in May 2008! New pictures will be posted after Expert Africa's next visit here.
Lebala Camp review
We had the best guiding experience of our trip at Lebala. Steve and Simon were just brilliant. The management team was very competent. We can recommend to visit Lebala during the rainy season despite the fact that game and prey densities are fairly low at this time of the year, as the guides there work extremely hard to track down predators and make their very best. We saw a coaltion of cheetahs Cheetahs hunting Katembo worked very hard to track leopards, and finally succeeded to find one with a fresh impalay kill. We saw large herds of Giraffes, and Elephants were still fairly abundant.Read more about the whole safari
Amazing Kwando safaris - Labala camp
Two days was not long enough! The camp, it's staff, the food, our guide and tracker were all very good and friendly.
Our only comment (and this applies to all camps) is that when we were in Namibia a few years ago we tried different local game. The food we had here was very good but consisted of chicken, lamb and beef. The ostrich we had one night at Lagoon was a nice change and was lovely.
The animals we saw were amazing especially the lion cubs.
Very similar operation to sister camp at Lagoon. Great standard overal.
Nicer tents and more spacious camp layout than Lagoon so a little bit more pieceful.
Biggest drawback was the tents get incredibly hot (when visited in November).
Great cat spotting.
Excellent experience at Lebala Camp
The only bad point about our stay at Lebala was that we only had 2 days, i will recommend at list 3.
The camp was perfect for us with a big and well maintain tent and very very comfortable beds which is great after 30 hours travelling. Maybe a little more light would be nice but this is similar in most camps we had stay.
The common areas where also very nice and we did not need anything else of what they had.
The food was plenty and better than average. It is not a gourmet restaurant but was more than in of for us. The people at Lebala where fantastic, very warm and attentive, always with a natural smile and good humor which is very nice.
We had a private vehicle that was in a very good condition and our private guide was perfect in all aspects.
Finally and most important, the wildlife and landscape where excellent. A big pride of lions kill a buffalo 2 minutes from camp so we visit them in every game drive. Eles, zebras, impalas, giraffs, tsessebe, red lewche, warthogs where all over plus we had some kudus, sable and even wild dog and leopard. Birdlife was very good as well.
Overall i will say our stay at Lebala was great.
At Lebala we were also very fortunate, our guide was Alwyn and the two of us were the only ones in his car. He is quite remarkable; incredible all-around knowledge, (BTW: also a photographer). We learned a lot about Botswana, animals, etc., etc.
We followed and watched 3 lionesses with their 8 cubs, saw them crossing the water, going to hunt. Alwyn went out of his way to show us as much as possible and to get as close as possible. (F.Y.I. Chris, no, didn't see a Caracal - but got some shots of a very pretty Serval after dark at Lebala, also a White-faced Owl). There seemed to be somewhat less wildlife at Lebala then at Lagoon - but that may be also a matter of luck.
We still miss the sound of the hipos and the little frogs outside our tent at night at Lebala.