Visit the lovely Little Kwara - a new and intimate camp, built only last year.
Little Kwara: Our full report
North of Moremi, Little Kwara is the sister-camp of nearby Kwara Camp. Both camps share the 1,750km² private Kwara reserve, where the diversity of the environments is reflected in both the wide range of activities possible – both land and water year-round - and the big game found here. Little Kwara is much newer and smarter than its bigger sister; and completely separate, although they’re about five minutes drive apart.
Set amongst the trees, it has only five tented chalets and therefore feels very intimate. The tents are large and tastefully designed, with shaded verandas, raised onto individual wooden platforms. (Read more about the tents here…)
The canvas covered central area houses a small lounge and bar. The enormous rattan chairs add a bit of a chic touch, to the range of comfortable chairs and sofas. And being slightly raised allows pleasant views over the surrounding scenery - you can relax here and keep an eye out for the animals which wander past. Guests are encouraged to help themselves from the fridge in the bar area whenever they like, although there is usually someone about to help.
Adjacent to the lounge is a large dining room which is open-sided and has good views; although the dining table looked a little lost in the space and we though it lacked atmosphere.
There is a plunge pool set to the side of the lounge area, and also a small but well-stocked little curio shop. Under shady trees, in front of the central area, is the fire pit – where breakfast might sometimes be served or where guests might gather after dinner around the fire.
Little Kwara offers a good variety of activities, both water- and land-based. Day and night 4WD game drives are complemented by activities such as guided walks with armed guides, and fishing (seasonal). The game drives always have a tracker as well as a driver-guide, a combination which has helped to produce some excellent game sightings on our visits - the team here are very enthusiastic about tracking predators and we’ve consistently seen some impressive lion, leopard and cheetah over the years.
It’s worth noting that one of Little Kwara’s trade-marks is that they don’t generally put roofs on their game-viewing vehicles; although their newer Landcruisers do have the option if all the guests in one vehicle request it. The theory behind this is to allow for unobscured photography and better views; particularly when looking at birds or leopards in trees! However, bear in mind that you might get wet (nothing a good waterproof jacket or poncho couldn’t solve) and you’ll need a good hat and plenty of sunscreen.
On one of our visits, in May 2011, we went for a mekoro trip combined with a walk on one of the smaller islands. We had a thorough safety briefing and felt at all times like we were in good hands – especially when on our walk we came across a lone bull elephant and, from the safety of our spot crouched behind the termite mound, watched as he fed and went about his business seemingly oblivious to our presence.
Little Kwara Camp also offers boat trips, some on an unusual double-decker boat giving great views over the tall papyrus. For years - between around September and December - guests at Kwara and Little Kwara have been visiting the renowned heronry at Gcodikwe Lagoon, but on our most recent visit in November 2011, we discovered that this heronry has shifted to the neighbouring Xobega Lagoon. This trip is often a highlight for visitors, who come to see the innumerable sacred ibis, yellow-billed storks, marabou storks and egrets nesting. This trip offers superb opportunities for photography, as approaching the heronry by boat allows you to get very close up, and at eye-level - without scaring the birds away. But be warned, the smell is likely to stay with you for some time.
Our ViewLittle Kwara is a comfortable camp, quite smart even with very large, nicely designed rooms. The service is probably a little less refined than in other more expensive or stylish camps, but the managers and staff are friendly and often go out of their way to be helpful. We like the fact that this camp which is owned by Botswanans, is also run and staffed by Botswanans.
But for us, it’s all about the guiding, the area and game-densities which really shine here. We’ve always admired the enthusiasm of the guides at Little Kwara. They’ll tirelessly track their quarry; usually with a penchant for big cats. The flip side of this is that sometimes it means they lose sight of the little things. So we’d suggest making sure you try and get in one of the other activities which – by their nature - are usually less focused on the big game.
Having said that, on one of our visits we had morning mekoro excursion and we got back to camp with plenty of time to spare before our flight. So our guide suggested we hop in a vehicle and go out on a game drive.
This camp will appeal to travellers who are particularly enthusiastic about getting out into the bush as much as possible. And because of the variety of environments and activities, Little Kwara could work very well for visitors who have time to only visit one camp in the Delta; or it could be combined with either a dry or wet area camp to give a more extensive Botswana safari experience.
Ideal length of stay: Three nights. Note that if you combine Little Kwara with Lebala, Lagoon, Tau Pan,or Nxai Pan for a total of 6 or more nights, we can usually offer a long-stay discounted rate. Please check with us to see if this applies to your trip.
Directions: Access is by light aircraft to Kwara airstrip, and it’s only about a 15 minute drive to the camp.
Owner: Kwando Safaris.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: A simple breakfast is served around the fire before your morning activity, usually consisting of porridge, freshly baked muffins, homemade muesli, fresh fruit, tea, coffee and juice.
A brunch buffet is served on returning from the morning excursion. We had a choice of salads and hearty lasagna, as well as eggs cooked to order, cheeses and freshly baked bread. .
The biscuits served for afternoon tea were lovely and very more-ish - they’re a favourite with the guides and guests alike, very rarely are there any left! To complement the sweet dish, the camp will serve a savoury snack and on this occasion it was a cold chicken pasta salad – a bit of a departure from the more usual pizza slices and spring rolls! Tea, coffee, homemade lemonade and iced tea are all offered.
Dinner is a three-course affair, usually served around 8pm when guests have returned from the activities. We had a plated starter of fish parfait, which we found a bit unusual – opinions around the table were mixed as to who liked it and who didn’t. The main course however, was much more traditional and we had a very good roast chicken with all the trimmings. The dessert of crème brulee stood out as being particularly good.
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, plus a limited selection of (usually) South African red and white wines are included. Champagne, imported wines and spirits will cost extra and must be requested well in advance.
Birdwatching: The spectacular heronry at Xobega Lagoon (formerly at the neighbouring Gcodikwe lagoon up to 2011) deserves special mention here and is best visited in Little Kwara Camp's double-decker boat from around September (or sometimes as early as August) to December. Expect vast numbers os sacred ibis, yellow-billed storks, marabou storks and egrets nesting There is also a good variety of general birdlife in the Kwara reserve, due to the wide-ranging habitats.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Botswana
Photographic: The safari vehicles at Little Kwara are open-topped and open-sided offering a 180 degree view, ideal for photography. In addition the excursion to the fantastic heronry at Xobega offers great opportunities for some close-up, eye-level shots of all kinds of storks, herons and other bird species from the top deck of the double decker boat.See more ideas for Photographic in Botswana
Wildlife safaris: Game is as varied as the habitats on the Kwara Reserve. Predators are regularly seen with decent sightings of leopard, cheetah and lion. Antelope abound, along with healthy populations of zebra, wildebeest and giraffe. Large herds of elephant and buffalo often frequent the area and wild dog are regular visitors.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Botswana
Attitude towards children: Children of 6–12 years old are accepted, but the family is required to take a private vehicle on game drives. Depending on the size of the family group, there may be an additional charge for this vehicle. Children younger than six are accepted only if the entire camp is reserved for exclusive use.
Equipment: No special equipment is available, but the rooms are large enough to fit an extra bed and make up a triple room.
Generally recommended for children: The guides are enthusiastic and the staff friendly and helpful, but Little Kwara tends to be popular with couples and particularly honeymoon couples looking for a smaller camp in a more intimate setting. So families with younger children might not always feel all especially comfortable. Therefore we’d usually recommend this camp for more mature children. Having said that, guests travelling with children have the option of booking a specialist ‘family safari’ (at extra cost). The family will travel with a specialist guide who is trained and passionate, inspiring children to learn and love the wilderness. They will also benefit from a private vehicle with their own guide and tracker who will look after them both on game drives and in camp.
Notes: Little Kwara is unfenced and dangerous wildlife, including lion and elephant, can wander through the camp at any time. The rooms are all raised on decks with only a basic wooden railing and a drop to the ground. There is no fence around the pool.
Communications: There is no mobile reception, no direct phone or fax and no email. Communication is maintained with head office in Maun via radio.
TV & radio: There is no TV or radio.
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: Camp managers are first aid trained and a first-aid kit is kept at camp. In an emergency, the camp can arrange for clients to be flown out.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: The camp is unfenced and dangerous wildlife is known to move through camp, so guests are escorted to their rooms after dark. A safety talk is given on arrival. ‘Fog horns’ are provided in the rooms in case of an emergency.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in the common areas of the camp and in each room.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: A laundry service is included (excluding underwear). Laundry is collected in the morning and usually returned the same day, weather permitting. Washing powder is provided in the room for guests to wash their smalls.
Money: No exchange facilities are offered. There is a small electronic safe in the room.