Kwetsani Camp is a water-based camp...
Kwetsani Camp: Our full report
Kwetsani is primarily a water-based camp set on a long narrow island in the beautiful Jao Concession (NG25) of Botswana's Okavango Delta. Elevated in the tree line overlooking a floodplain, it's a traditional-style camp that blends almost seamlessly into the surroundings.
Kwetsani’s thatched main area has a spacious lounge with comfy leather sofas and selection of wood, cane and leather armchairs all with soft cushions. There are a selection of natural history books and magazines for guests to browse through. To one side of this is the dining area, with one long wooden table for sociable gatherings at meal times. To the other is the well-stocked bar, which encompasses a jackalberry tree; a 'help-yourself' fridge is ideal when there isn't a staff member around. There's also a curio shop – and don't forget to try out the quirky 'loo with a view'!
Down some steps to the back of the main area is a boma area with a fire pit, where evening drinks are often taken and well as were a weekly traditional evening meal takes place.
Views from the large open deck to the front stretch east across the Delta floodplains meaning you're able to watch the sunrise while enjoying an early breakfast. There is a viewing scope for spying the animals, including large herds of red lechwe, which often wander in front of camp. Several large trees have been incorporated into the lovely design of this main area, and a walkway leads down to a plunge pool with several sunloungers and umbrellas.
Kwetsani Camp has five lovely ’tree-house’ chalets nestled amongst palm, mangosteen and fig trees, all linked by wooden walkways. (Read more about Kwetsani’s tree-house chalets here … )
The terrain in this area of the Okavango Delta changes dramatically from season to season due to the flood levels, which in turn determine what activities are available. These will usually include day and night game drives on nearby Hunda Island (the concession's only permanently 'dry' area), mokoro and motorboat trips (although these may be limited by low water levels at certain times). They used to offer guided walks but since 2010 the water levels have been too high to be able to do these.
Being situated in an area with a diversity of habitats, Kwetsani Camp gives you the chance to spot a broad range of animals and birds. The Jao flats support large herds of red lechwe, buffalo, wildebeest and zebra and where you find these you also tend to find lions in wait! The drier area of Hunda Island tends to be the focus for the best game viewing on this concession. Although there are elephant, kudu, giraffe, and other plains game, the highlight for many visiting this area is now the leopard. Hunda Island has a growing reputation for pretty regular sighting of these beautiful cats.
On our last visit to Kwetsani in April 2013, on a game drive to Hunda Island, we spent a fantastic hour watching a young male leopard stalk a herd of grazing red lechwe right in front of Tubu Tree Camp. After painstakingly inching forward through the tall grass towards them, a noisy Blacksmith plover finally gave his position away and that was game over! On a previous trip we also experienced one of the most relaxed and varied mokoro trips we had ever been on.
The bird watching is also pretty good with slaty egrets, saddle-billed storks, malachite, pied and woodland kingfishers, bee-eaters, Swainson’s francolin, blackwinged stilt, red shouldered widow and, of course, the African Fish eagle.
Don’t come here expecting the very best game viewing in the Delta, but with the diversity of flora and fauna and variety of activities on offer, and you can get a really good feel for essence of the Delta.
Our viewKwetsani Camp stands out for its lovely location and design, and its very relaxed atmosphere. The wide range of activities is slightly more at the mercy of the floodwaters here than in other, drier concessions, but this is a great place to spend a couple of nights at the beginning or end of any trip.
Ideal length of stay: 3 or 4 nights depending on time of year. If you visit Kwetsani when flood levels are low, day and night game drives should be possible.
Directions: Fly-in to Jao Airstrip. Transfers are usually by boat, but are by road if the flood-waters have receded sufficiently.
Owner: Marketed by Wilderness (owned by Ngamiland Adventure Safaris).
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: A light pre-activity breakfast is served and consists of a selection of cereals, toast, muffins, fruit, yogurts and tea and coffee.
High tea is served prior to going out on your afternoon activity. We enjoyed really tasty breaded chicken strips, accompanied by a sweet chilli sauce, and mini caramel tarts (we have to admit to having more than one of these! This was one of the best teas we had all trip.
Dinner is mostly served buffet-style however on our last visit in April 2013 we were there on a Monday, which is their traditional night. One of the guides spoke about their traditions and culture, and the staff choir sang beautifully. This was then followed by a traditional dinner of shredded beef, mielie pap (basically ground corn, similar to mashed potato, but thicker in consistency), tomato and onion sauce, butternut, cabbage and corn on the cob. For pudding we had a ‘Botswana donut’ with honey
Children and vegetarians are catered for on request.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Bottled water, soft drinks, local beers and spirits and a limited selection of (usually) South African red and white wines are included. Champagne and imported wines and spirits will cost extra and may need to be requested in advance.
Wildlife safaris: Offering both land- and water-based activities, Kwetsani Camp has a diversity of wildlife to be seen. There are good numbers of elephant and other plains game, hippo in the channels, plus the bonus of a decent chance of seeing leopard on game drives to Hunda Island.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Botswana
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome and we felt that the managers at Kwetsani Camp were particularly positive about receiving children. Children of 12 years of age and over are accepted. Kwetsani Camp may accept children of ages 8-12 if the whole camp is booked out but this must be requested in advance.
Generally recommended for children: Please see our comments below.
Notes: Kwetsani is a very open camp with dangerous wildlife in the area and it is open to the water in the flood season. The rooms are connected by raised walkways and are on stilts and would not be suitable for small children. Rooms cannot accommodate a third bed.
Power supply: Generator
Communications: For all intents and purposes you should consider yourself out of contact. There is no mobile reception, no direct phone or fax and no email. Contact in case of an emergency is via radio to Maun.
TV & radio: No television or radio either
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: All camp managers are first-aid and trauma trained and various medications are kept at camp. In more serious cases of illness, Wilderness have an affiliated nurse who is based in Maun and can always be contacted for further medical advice. In an emergency, camps can arrange for clients to be flown out if necessary.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Because of the Okavango's large population of dangerous game, and the fact that Kwetsani is unfenced, guests are escorted to their rooms after the dark. ‘Horns’ are provided in the rooms to be sounded in case of an emergency.
Fire safety: There are extinguishers on the balconies of all rooms.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Laundry is included at Kwetsani and is collected in the morning and usually returned the same day, weather permitting. For cultural reasons, the staff do not wash underwear - washing powder is provided in the rooms for this purpose.
Money: No exchange facilities are offered. There are safe deposit boxes in the rooms.