Reviews of Kwetsani Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Kwetsani Camp...had canals for roads
I thought that this would be my favorite camp for it's over-the-top tree-house rooms, but it was not. The rooms are very picturesque, unique, and comfortable. The common areas are well designed; the only improvement would be two restrooms instead of one.
We went through some magnificent thunderstorms and torrential rain here. The safari vehicles had insulated rain ponchos which kept us dry(mostly) and warm; and our guide kept his good humor driving the flooded tracks. Believe it or not this was fun, being out in the downpour watching the animals. Our guide was an excellent driver in these conditions. He also made a good boat captain with a vast knowledge of the fauna in the delta. Although we are not bird watchers it was interesting to hear our guide locate, identify and give us all the particulars on the hundreds of bird species we saw. We saw thousands of red lechwe, and smaller numbers of lion, zebra, wildebeest, bushbuck, and elephant.
We had some aggravations with the staff. On our first night in camp the staff had left on lights in our room when they were there for turndown service, and when we retired 4 hours later the room had thousands(really) of white moths. The next morning we mentioned this to the manager, he apologized, said it would not happen again. For the next two evenings the lights were again left on, the only difference being that we now checked as soon as we returned from the evening game drive and turned them off.
The camp also had some equipment shortages/breakdowns. Due to car problems, we were scheduled one morning to go on a game drive with two professional photographers, who planned on spending 4 hours in one spot filming lechwe jumping over water-submerged roads. We did not do that. We and our fellow jeep mates were also asked to give up our scheduled boat trip for two Wilderness Safari communications employees who were making one night visits to a number of camps (due to afternoon rains, the morning was the only reliable time for a boat trip). After the 4 of us protested another boat was borrowed from Jao camp.
There was also a problem of bugs in the food. All of our camps in Botswana had more or less open dining areas and they all had bugs flying about in the evenings when you're eating by candlelight. We have been on safari before and we expected this. However at Kwetsani when you have 4 drowned moths in your soup every evening, and 4 or 5 insects on your plate eating your food with you every evening, it is time to redesign your dining area.
The junior management team seemed to act in a professional manner, but the temporary managers (filling in for a vacationing manger) seem to be out of their league. They seem to be creating a fraternity house atmosphere, way left of casual or laid back.
After all this is said, these are minor problems and we enjoyed our stay at Kwetsani. Would we come back to this area? Probably not. This is a bird lovers paradise and we would rather watch large mammals. It is also a 'water camp' that becomes quite flooded during rainy season, which is an adventure one time.
Early concerns unfounded at Kwetsani
The drive from the airstrip at Jao to Kwetsani camp suggested a dry and game-free experience. Very different from the reality once we got to the delta.
Fantastic boating experience to see birds in their profusion and early each morning on our way to the game drivers on Handa Island. What a way to wake up!
Kwetsani Camp review
Lots and lots of water all around. Very good Mokoro trip.
Less big game because of the amount of water but still good viewing.
We needed a boat trip prior to game drive on either of the two large islands above water.
Kwetsani was a mix of rustic, luxury and charm
We had a very enjoyable flight from Kasane airport to the Jao airstrip, flying relatively low over parts of the delta so that we could see both the sheer size of the landscape and the incredible amount of water. The highest levels in some 20 + years, I believe. The high levels caused some headaches and logistical problems for the management and staff at the nearby camps, especially Kwetsani.
Part of the airstrip and surrounding area was under water so we had to drive just past the airstrip, park the vehicle and get into a motor boat. It was then a 30 + minute ride to the camp where we got into another vehicle to take us to the entrance to the camp itself.
The motor boat ride through the water channels and Papyrus was an awesome experience which we both enjoyed. Each time we went out for game viewing, however, it involved swapping from boats to vehicles and vice versa which was quite time consuming and not appreciated by everyone but it couldn't be helped and anyway we are both a bit like kids and found it great fun and exilerating.
We liked the camp very much, it had a tree-house look and feel to it with a rustic comfort. We were well looked after by Ian and Michelle and the staff and the food and facilities were excellent. Views from our room, the main deck and the plunge pool were stunning.
great time in this watery wilderness
Kwetsani is small and compact compared with the larger camps I stayed in but very charming and nicely appointed. I liked the almost "tree house" chalets and elevated walkways . It was great watching the animals like bushbuck in the dense undergrowth in the camp below the walkways. Even elephants can walk underneath., as one was trying to do when I arrived!
The Okavango was very high when I was there, so the camp was perched on an island amid a wide flooded landscape. Despite the water everywhere there was no shortage of game..buffalo in the reeds, many elephant, kudu and lots of Lechwe. Got good photos of Malachite and pied kingfishers as well as saddle billed storks and the rare slatey egrets. Highlight was probably the Male leopard in a tree ( just like in the classic photos ) as well as the amazing sunset displays of thunder clouds in the distance. Had a good sunset Mekoro trip as well. Of interest to me also were the clouds of dragonflies of all colours and sizes.
The food here is truly outstanding and we had some memorable meals, and plenty of fresh fruit and fresh bread on hand.
My guide Penyo was amiable and competent with a charming personality and I feel we became friends after a short time. We compared photos and I was happy to download some of the leopard we found for him.
The staff here are all oustanding with good management as in all the Wilderness camps I stayed at. I really cant think of any negative comments about Kwetsani.
Luxury living at Kwetsani
An entirely different experience - from dry and dusty to lush and green. Superb hospitality, and luxury accommodation.
Our guide, Peno (?pronounced Penyo), was again very friendly and helpful with a great amount of knowledge about the country and wildlife. All the staff were very welcoming, and it was great to be able to buy some of the baskets made by the ladies who worked at the camp. Truly local souvenirs of our visit.
Kwetsani Camp review
To see the Okavango in flood at Kwetsani was a great privilege .The highlight here is the place itself , the unbelievable skies , the magical light reflected off the water .We are keen birdwatchers and Kwetsani is superb for wading birds but also some real specials like the Rosy-throated Longclaw which , rather amazingly , we saw twice ( much to the mock outrage of our guide in a later camp who had been trying to see this bird for nearly 20 years!!). We will also never forget the leaping Red Lechwes , splashing thrugh the glistening water .
The camp is beautifully situated and agan the staff were quite excellent. Our guide OP was fascinating on local culture as well as a superb spotter and interpreter of the fascinating ecology , geology and character of the Delta...we now hold termites in the very highest regard ! He was also a great friend to us and a man of huge integrity , justly proud of his country .
Beautiful rooms , excellent food
Kwetsani Camp review
Kwetsani has always been one of our great Okavango favourites and this was our fourth visit. Little has changed thank goodness and it remains a small piece of heaven.
The staff from top to bottom are always attentive, helpful and cheerful, the food great and the rooms wonderfully well equipped. Depending on the time of year visitors must be prepared for quite different sightings as they vary considerably between the floodplain being dry or wet.
As an example of the exceptional care Wilderness takes with its guests, last year's managers made the trip from Jao to dine with us at kwetsani and then see us off from the airstrip at the end of our visit. That is real customer care!