Reviews of Okuti
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Three wonderful nights on the Delta
Another great camp. The accommodation was exceptionally good and the staff's singing - both on our arrival and twice before dinner - was special.
No complaints at all.
Had we stayed at Okuti before Tubu Tree, we might have had a different experience. Because we did not, we kept comparing the two and Okuti came up short on every front. While the design of the buildings is very interesting, innovative, and quite pleasing to the eye, practically, they were a disappointment. We had the two family room units. The bedrooms were extremely hot in the afternoon when we went in to rest (and this was in May.) The "living" part of the room had such subdued lighting that it was impossible to read or play games in there and there was only seating for 3 people so it kind of defeated the purpose of having an area for a family to gather. Another issue was no safe which was awkward as we had so much cash with us. Furthermore the doors had a large wooden key you needed to carry round with you and there was only one so that was inconvenient with 4 adults.
Another issue we had was with the condition of the vehicles. We had several different vehicles over the 4 days and there were numerous problems. One kept stalling continually and we had to push start it. Another had a top that was so low, the men in our group ( one at 6'5", two at 6'2") had to slouch in order not to hit their heads on the bars when we went over bumps. We finally told our driver we needed to have one of the vehicles with a higher top.
The highlights of Okuti were seeing a pack of wild painted dogs, several leopards, a monitor lizard and a pride of lions. Again though, the experience in the public preserve was just not the same. At one point we were even all uncomfortable as it felt as though we were all cornering and corralling a leopard instead of observing it. There were too many vehicles (6 at one point) all trying to get a look and jockeying around for position. Our guide, Nando, did a good job with the circumstances being what they were.
We really enjoyed our final evening which included an amazing singing and dancing performance by the choir and a very special celebratory dinner under the stars for just the 6 of us.
Expert Africa comments
Had availability allowed for it, these guests would have been booked into Okuti Camp prior to their stay at Tubu Tree Camp. Located in a private reserve instead of a national park, Tubu Tree benefits from an almost exclusive game viewing area. In addition, Tubu Tree has a higher price tag than Okuti Camp, and this is reflected in the camps spacious and very well designed rooms.
Okuti Camp took on board the constructive feedback from these guests and have advised us of the following:
Ker & Downey Botswana would like to thank these guests for their feedback and are happy to see that on the whole they had a great time at Okuti Camp. Ker & Downey Botswana apologizes for the guests having to help start the safari vehicle, this is certainly not the norm. As soon as the radio fault occurred, a technician from Maun was deployed to fix the problem. Unfortunately with the one vehicle having its starting problem attended to, an alternative vehicle with a lower roof had to be used for these guests. Ker & Downey Botswana is in the process of re-fleeting their camps, with the majority of vehicles having already been replaced with a design that offers more height clearance. This will mean that a similar situation is avoided in the future.
Senior management has noted the other comments made by these guests, and these will be addressed as the final touches of Okutis refurbishment are put in place. This includes reviewing the seating areas and the lighting in each room. Steps have also been taken to try and decrease the heat in the rooms during Botswanas hot summer months. Original plastic top wall panels have been replaced with a new technology mesh that is much more breathable for example. Each room also has fans fitted.
robin and mona were the best hosts of the holiday, they gave the extra 10%. they always met you on your return from an activity to ensure you had had a good time. fabulous location beside the water and a beautiful chalet. food was excellent. solly the guide was excellent and made the stay complete. could not have asked for more. our favourite stay of the holiday.Read more about the whole safari
Our four days at Okuti
Okuti was efficiently run but also relaxed. The service was first class but also managed to be relaxed; the staff had a good attitude and were always prepared to put themselves out if necessary. The food was very good - ample variety and served well. The accommodation was of spacious design and comfortable. It was inclined to get a little hot in the afternoons (in August), leaving us to wonder what it would be like in summer. The two of us stayed in a family unit which gave us an enormous amount of space. There was reliable hot and cold water 24 hours a day.
The highlight of our stay here were the game drives and, in particular, our guide. Not only was he an expert tracker, but he knew all the animals and birds, even obscure ones, and was thoroughly knowledgeable about the ecology and environment. We had arranged in advance a dedicated guide for our last two days here but, in the event, we had him to ourselves for the full four days. This made an enormous difference to our game viewing experience. There were some mornings when, for health reasons, we were unable to start out first thing. But our guide could not have been more helpful or accommodating. He was there when we were ready to go, on one morning as late as 9 o'clock.
The "tents" are delightful and I loved the outside shower (only in the afternoon as too chilly at other times). The camp is well run and the staff are friendly and sociable. The dining tent is very pleasant and we enjoyed the food.
Our only slight difficulty was that our guide was rather too earnest and lacked a sense of humour. We also found it hard at times to understand his english. The first evening we were "told" to sit with him and the family who were our companions on the drive. At other camps we simply sat down where we chose and the various members of staff slotted happily into the gaps which lent variety to the conversations.
By this stage of the trip we were desperate for some exercise - a walk, a treadmill, anything rather than sitting! This camp (unlike the others) is fenced which increased the feeling of being confined. One niggle/concern - on the last morning the staff oiled the wooden floors of the "mess" tent and turned the surface into an ice rink. I nearly fell and pointed this out. Nothing was done. Several others slid and slipped and at lunch we had to hold on to the back of the chairs to go to the buffet table. Still no action was taken. Luckily no one actually fell over or was hurt.
Overall we both enjoyed it immensely.
Beautiful camp on the Delta
We very much enjoyed our stay at Okuti, although it was my least favorite of the three camps we visited in Botswana. This had nothing to do with the staff or service, but rather the location within the national park. Because of being inside the park, they operate under different rules than the other two camps we visited--i.e. no driving off road, which means you can't get as close to the animals, no night drives, and many more vehicles in the park since it's open to everyone, including people doing their own camping or driving in for the day.
That said, the staff was outstanding--it's a small camp, and very friendly. The food was excellent, served family style at dinner, with the guides and management joining the guests at the dinner table. One of the days we had a day-long game drive in which we were gone for 9 hours and went way out in the park, where we felt much more like we were in a private reserve. That day we saw a huge pod of 45 hippos and had a picnic lunch just outside where they were swimming.
We had an excellent guide, Nando, and enjoyed water activities as well as the game drives. The rooms were beautifully decorated and felt very luxurious. Ker & Downey sees to your every need, including having drinks and snacks in the room.
Expert Africa comments
After this trip, this traveller put together a super photo-album; its a great record of the wildlife seen and the activities experienced. See it here. This link should remain live until about July 2013!
Superb safaries and camp at Okuti
Absolutely wonderful, faultless in every respect. Would go back tomorrow, a fantastic experience.Read more about the whole safari