Khwai Tented Camp

Reviews of Khwai Tented Camp

Excellent(95%) From 15 travellers
Excellent
11
Good
4
Average
0
Poor
0
Terrible
0
Below are independent comments from 15 of our travellers who have visited Khwai Tented Camp, and have kindly agreed to share their thoughts.

They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Scott & Sue
Arrived on: 7-Jun-2014 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Average
Average
Facilities:
Good
Good

Khwai was nice but not all that different

We had a nice time at Khwai after four days in Chobe and Savute. We had set our expectations on a few things: it's in the delta (meaning: water activities), outside Moremi Reserve (meaning: walking safaris, night drives, off-roading). While the staff really tried hard, we found that this experience wasn't as different from Chobe and Savute as we thought and the operation wasn't as top notch.

Activities: We couldn't do walking safaris because the grass levels were too high and the guides felt it was too dangerous. Understandable. Night drives were merely a continuation of the afternoon drive, which was a nice add-on but not an activity in and of itself. Off-roading allowed for some closeups that we couldn't get in the reserves, but was also an add-on rather than the bulk of an activity. As for water stuff, it was awesome being in a tent that's just a few meters from water where hippos are doing their thing around the clock. But otherwise, there wasn't much of a water element to the activities. We did a 1-hour mokoro cruise but it was more of a novelty than an actual activity.

While we were right outside Moremi, we never actually entered the park. Our guide is a local Khwai resident and suggested that we stick to the Khwai concession. He knows that terrain extremely well, but we couldn't help but wonder what if anything we might have missed in Moremi.

We really had expected some elements that didn't exist at the Chobe camps (e.g. walking, water activities) but those didn't materialize. We did have a chance to visit the Khwai village and meet our guide's family which was a nice change from non-stop game drives.

As for the staff, they were very friendly. Terry runs a great kitchen and the team did a great job prepping our gluten-free meals. Our room and laundry was great. But compared to &Beyond, we felt that there was a bit of finesse missing. The operation was well run, but not clockwork like we had been spoiled with at &Beyond. It lacked the military precision. We noted a lot of staff turnover while we were there (many staff work for 3 months at a time, then get 3 weeks off) so the teams were in a state of flux. We also noticed that the two game vehicles they had were sharing one spare tire. Each car should have two spare tires all the time. We also noticed that our guide's vehicle had radio trouble intermittently with no backup handset. It's the little things like this that stuck out.

Overall we felt there was some polish missing that we had expected at this price point! We brought this up to the camp management and they tried their hardest to make our remaining time memorable. The highlight was a bush dinner where it was just us in the wilderness. It almost felt like a scene from The Bachelor complete with song, dance, and candlelit dinner surrounded by rhinos and elephants!

I'm glad we had this experience at Khwai. Looking back, if we were to do this again, we'd probably combine Khwai with only one other land-based camp (rather than two), or we'd combine the other land-based camps with a true water-based camp deeper in the delta. Khwai offers a little bit of everything but we didn't feel that it excelled at one thing in particular.

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Mr & Mrs A - Edinburgh
Arrived on: 6-Jun-2014 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Good
Good

luck runs out at Khwai

After the excitement of the previous camps, Kwai turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. To be fair, I think we just ran out of luck here, and the wildlife experience, in contrast to the previous two camps, was rather pedestrian. Daniel, our guide, tried his best and the staff were helpful and friendly but we saw little in the course of the morning drives.

I think it needs to be said that the very early morning routine i.e. beginning the drives at 6am worked against us as the weather was so cold many animals had not emerged at this early hour. Starting game drives so early is fine in the summer when the temperatures rise quickly and the animals are most active in the relative cool of dawn and dusk, but in the winter this is not really an issue, and, as I said, can be inimical to great sightings. Camps should be more flexible in this regard and on cold mornings visitors could happily set out at 8 or 9am and get a better viewing experience in my view. Having said that, it was great to see the sun rising through the mists at Duba Plains.

The late afternoon drives were better and our highlight at Kwai was the hyena den where four youngsters had been whelped a few weeks previously. It was great to see these much maligned beasts playing with their cubs and showing a caring and gentle side to their natures.

On the winter note, the weather can be seriously cold overnight and in the mornings, so it's therefore important to take as much warm clothing as can sensibly pack in your suitcase. We did not pack enough despite Expert Africa's warning.

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U. family from Saltash
Arrived on: 6-Jun-2014 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Good

Friendly Khwai Tented Camp

Wonderful welcome by staff singing a Setswana song. Small, intimate, natural camp which allows you to experience bucket showers and campfire chats (meeting people from all over Europe and USA). Beauty is a lovely manager and Esse is an excellent guide.

At this camp, we probably had our best experience of close encounters with mainly sightings of individual animals: elephant, giraffe, kudu, lion, waterbuck, warthog, fish eagle and crocodile (on other side of water!). We had a very enjoyable 1/2 hour with a mother hyena and her cubs; literally 2m away. Good groups of red lechwe, impala and zebra; also dwarf mongoose, plus various large wading birds like Marabou, saddle-billed and gap-billed stork.

In June, the camp has enough water bordering it to support views of Hippos from your lodge veranda. We had an excellent sundowner, again with Hippos, allowing numerous photos to be taken at leisure, in stunning lighting.

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Ms B & Ms L - New York
Arrived on: 26-May-2014 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Natural Beauty

The greeting when we arrived at Khwai was unforgettable, but I mustn't spoil the surprises!

Our guide, Essie, was determined to thrill and amaze us. When we first met, I mentioned all of the incredible animals that I had seen- lions, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, sable, and more, but told Essie that I had not seen a leopard or a bush baby... By the end of the first day, I saw a magnificent leopard with eyes like fire. By the next night, the bush babies were hopping in the treetops! The following day we saw another leopard, unperturbed by us as she devoured an impala. There were more surprises as well- wild dogs and hyenas to name a few, and one night the hippos took over the entrance to our camp so we had to go in by the back route!

The tents were more basic than some of the over the top luxury camps, but we were always perfectly comfortable, with a deck overlooking the water with majestic birds of all shapes and sizes flying to and fro.

The staff were so warm, friendly and good natured, making us feel at home and bringing us into their world with song, dance and laughter. The highlight was the African dinner, with my favorite- pap and morogo! It was a warm, wonderful place and I am so happy that we had the good fortune to visit!

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Mr F - London
Arrived on: 20-Apr-2014 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Average
Average
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Good
Good

Khwai Tented Camp review

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Khwai. The staff were wonderful and the accommodation was fun (though not for those who can't do without their creature comforts!).

The game sightings vastly exceeded our expectations - although supposedly a sub-optimal time of year (late April), in our 3 days we saw lion, leopard, elephant, hyena + pups, giraffe, hippo, zebra, monitor lizards, wart hog, several different species of antelope and many wonderful birds.

The only criticism (which only became apparent to us after visiting another camp) is that Khwai is a relatively small concession with several operators in the vicinity. Hence good sightings (e.g. hyena pups or a lion kill) rapidly attracted 5 or 6 vehicles. In addition, the area is not as visually attractive as that at, say, Kwara.

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Mr B Dorset
Arrived on: 4-Nov-2013 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Good

small more basic camp but very enjoyable

A small basic camp with small tents but again a really enjoyable stay.

The staff did everything to make our stay excellent.

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John and Lisa - Santa Monica
Arrived on: 19-Sep-2013 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Best safari of our entire trip

What makes this place special are the people. It is a small camp--just six tents--so you really get to know the wonderful staff intimately. They join the guests for meals, so it feels like you are eating with family. Special kudos to Mercy, the camp manager, Kwest, the big boss, and Mwamo, our incredible guide. He has only been doing it for six months, but he is a complete natural at it.

Mention a type of animal you would like to see, and he seems to magically find one--in the pitch black dark, just by waving a flashlight into the bush. The entire camp sings a welcoming song upon your arrival, and wishes you off on departure with yet another song and dance.

We loved every minute of our stay.

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Mr & Mrs O - Atlanta
Arrived on: 8-Sep-2013 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Good
Good

Khwai Tented Camp

The tents, while small, were quite comfortable and contained all the necessary facilities. The bucket shower was a novelty and okay for a short stay.

The food was good and the staff was very friendly. Canaan and Abali (sorry if I misspelled that) helped my husband with his quest to learn some phrases in Setswana which he very much enjoyed.

The game viewing was good but our guide seemed to feel that he needed to get us to where the game was as quickly as possible and drove very fast over some bumpy tracks. I don't think the pressure came from us, we were quite happy to see any and all animals. A slower pace would have suited us just fine.

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Family M - Phoenix
Arrived on: 12-Jun-2012 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Good

Great place to begin

Khwai is a permanent tented camp with basic accommodations and great service. The tents had
modest beds with down comforters, flush toilet, bucket shower that they filled with water heated
over the fire, separate dining tent where they served surprisingly good meals. The staff met our
every need.

After landing at the Khwai airstrip, Pilot and MP took us on a great game drive on the way to the
camp. Since there were only five tents, my husband stayed with one of our daughters in one
tent and I stayed with our other daughter in another tent. We were zipped in at night and heard
lion growls, hyena laughs, and elephants strolling through camp to munch on the acacia pods.

A night game drive on our second night at Khwai we experienced many first sightings. Pilot would
stop the 4x4 vehicle at almost every sighting or when we asked to spend a bit more time.

We thought this was the perfect place to start our adventure in Botswana.

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Mr and Mrs M - Texas
Arrived on: 21-May-2011 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent

Great Safari at Kwhai Tented Camp

While the traditional East Africa tented camp is not for everyone, it was for us. We enjoyed the small size and personal attention of every staff member. For wild life viewing it was excellent and our guide, Pilot, was truly outstanding. You could tell he loved his job, the country and its wildlife, and worked hard to see that you got to see everything it offered--from watching leapord devour its kill in the tree on the night drive, to tracking that same leopard the next day, to tracking mama lion and her cubs--both day and night.

We saw a wide variety of mamals and birds too numerous to mention--but I photographed them all.

Food was excellent--prepared by the very capable Temptation, who had been trained in the culinary arts by Orient Express. She had to prepare her meals on a small four top gas stove stove and every meal was presented beautifully and hot. By the end of our three days we felt like part of their family.

Tent life was what we had expected from a previous trip on the Serengetti, and we always had hot water for showers and morning game drives--cold temperatures at night were made more comfortable by hot water bottles in bed. This was the first of 3 camps visited in Botswana, and for personal attention and devotion/skill of the guide/tracker, it was not exceeded.

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