Reviews of Chitabe Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Seeing the lions at Chtabe camp
Chitabe was my second camp, and very different from little Vumbura being in a much drier area. and also being much bigger.
The tented rooms here are nearly brand new and truly amazing, huge , well appointed and with "acres" of polished wood floors! worthy of a five star hotel in my opinion.
If I have a negative comment it would be that the drives were all very similar, so that two days rather than three would be sufficient. I think I was spoiled in little Vumbura on the drives and missed the rapport I had there a little. Our guide Luke was certainly competent but not as engaging as Sevara at Vumbura and not as willing to go off road or to look that bit further for game.
On the positive side we had wonderful sightings of lions ( particularly two magnificent black maned males ) and a young female leopard who obliged us with her extended company. We also saw a porcupine and african wild cats at night, and a very lucky daytime sighting of a Serval , hunting.
chitabe has very many Impala and Zebra but fewer elephants than in the other camps I was at.
The management here were also outstanding , led by the enigmatic Dawson ( who makes a mean long island iced tea! ) He showed us his detailed facial drawings of all the known leopards in the concession , so that we could recognise the one we had seen ,from her distinctive facial spots..apparently she was away from her usual area.
Chitabe is a largish camp with a very strong team and I enjoyed my time here very much. I had been looking forward to seeing Martial eagles here but had to content myself with several bateleur eagles including four in the camp!
Small teething problems at Chitabe
This camp had only just reopened after refurbishment. We were the first guests to stay in the new tented room and there were a few probably inevitable glitches. Hot and cold taps in outside shower were the wrong way round, and there was no blind on the window by the indoor shower leading to lack of privacy. The staff did attend to the latter as soon as we mentioned it, however.
No tea and coffee facilities in rooms, unlike at other camps and no safe in room. Staff very friendly, especially Nick and Dawson. We were rarely collected on time at 6am by the staff though for breakfast and there were inconsistencies in advice given regarding making our own way which I am sure would have not been company policy. Area given for breakfast cramped and poorly laid out. I think this is a reflection of the fact that the camp had only just reopened and that staff had not yet got the feel about what worked well or less well.
Game viewing excellent and Andy the guide superb. Cheetah, lion and superb leopard to be seen. An opportunity for extra night drive would have been welcomed, as there was more to be seen here than at the other camps after dark.
Chitabe Camp review
The camp facilities, accomodation, food, management and staff were all good and we very much enjoyed our stay at Chitabe.
The weather at times was not great which no doubt affected the wildlife but we still managed good sightings of leopard, lions, buffalo and hyenas mopping up the remnants of a hippo.
Notably spent plenty of time observing various storks and herons feeding in a small pool where evaporation meant the prey was concentrated and also spent time just watching baboons and impala interacting with interpretation from our guide Phinley.
We stayed at Chitabe Lediba, NOT the "main" Chitabe Camp. Although we were kind of "pushed" into this camp after trying to reserve at the main Chitabe Camp, if we had it to do over again we would stay at Chitabe Lediba again, we liked it so much.
Our private guide, Oates, was excellent, very eager to go looking for game day or night (we did lots of both), and great at finding it and explaining all the natural history. We especially enjoyed seeing leopard, cheetah, lion, African wild cat, honey badger, spotted hyena, and bat eared fox.
The atmosphere at this camp was informal, friendly, fun, and laid back. Our fellow guests were a mix of students, retirees, couples, and savvy travelers of all ages from all over.
On the negative side, our tent was older and less attractive from the outside than at other camps, and there wasn't much of a view. That was a minor drawback at this great place.
Managers Josephine and Kenny were excellent company and excellent managers, taking alternating nights on the job. They dispense with the business of greeting guests on every return to camp.
Nice touch: Our plane was supposed to arrive (when all the flights are supposed to arrive), during the noon lunch/siesta break, but it was delayed so we arrived in later afternoon. We thought this would mean we would miss our late afternoon/early evening game drive, but no! Our guide greeted us at the airport with the "sundowner" picnic hamper already in his truck, and we went right out on the game drive. That was MUCH appreciated.
Chitabe Camp review
Our stay in Chitabe was excellent. The camp is located in a very nice location with elephants regularly wandering between tents. Our guide (Andy) was brilliant and all the staff very kind and helpful.
The sighting was very good, including several leopards, giraffes, elephants, hippos, lions, cheetah, ... One of our best camps in Botswana for sightings and friendlyness. We also enjoyed a "night out", sleeping in a hide - even more remote in the middle of the bush - which was a very unique experience.
The camp is old but nicely setup with a good common area and a particularly nice outdoor shower opening on the bush (we had tent n 8, the last one).
Chitabe Camp review
Chitabe stood out for me in one way-- our guide, Lazarus, was the BEST guide we had on our entire trip. He was incredibly knowledgable and his tracking ability was uncompared to our other guides. He was the guide that found all the highly sought after animals. We were always the first ones to find the animals and then would wait while he let everyone else know where the animal was located. Bill called Lazarus the "Jedi Master" of guides.
I also appreciated Lazarus taking the time to tell us everything he knew about what he was looking at and/or for in the bush. He would stop the vehicle and point out all the details of the sights and sounds we were experiencing. He was quite militant about being shushing us if we were talking too much or too loudly. I appeciated that.
One drawback to our being the first to find all the animals was our drives seemed to be siginificantly shorter than all the other groups. I often felt there was a quota being filled on each ride. Once a large discovery was made (maybe two), then we were whisked back to camp. There were several times that we were back an hour or more before all the other vehicles.
Chitabe was very comfortable. I appreciated the celing fan very much. I also appreciated the raised walkways. The food was great. I think we could've done without the meals in the boma. Luckily, Bill and I had headlamps so we could see our food, but there were some envious comments that came our way because people could not see what they were eating. We were at Chitabe the longest of all our camps (4 nights). I think that may be too long. I think 2 or 3 nights would've sufficed-- only because there were no water activities to break up the driving.
Another excellent Wilderness camp
Chitabe is an excellent camp. We had a great time and the game sightings were excellent - 5 separate leopards on day 1 alone!
In common with other Wilderness camps, there is an emphasis on early game drives - we were very grateful to Celine for tactfully encouraging people into the vehicles for the morning game drives! (although our fellow guests were also very keen and so less chivvying was required than at other camps). We would certainly revisit Chitabe.
The outside shower was excellent....taking a shower as an elephant walks past within a few yards is not an everyday occurrence!
One note for guests wishing to charge batteries etc....there is a socket in the room but it needs an international/US adaptor rather than the South African adaptor we took with us. The camp managers will however, happily charge batteries etc