Reviews of Mapula Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Mapula Lodge review
Ownership of the camp appears to be in dispute.
There were no other visitors while we stayed at the camp which we liked; it gave us an opportunity to talk to the staff, who were very friendly and helpful.
With regards to the food, we felt they tried too hard at the evening meals; they were 'heavy' e.g pork chops, oxtail stew.
We really enjoyed our stay, but it may present a problem if the camp was full.
a good informal lodge in a traditional style
We started our holiday at Mapula Lodge, which overall was a very good experience.
Its informal approach, but great welcome, made us feel immediately at home. Our guide Dix and tracker Mike were particularly good and were very helpful/informative. The manager Dudu was also very helpful and the staff friendly/communicative.
The facilities in the rooms could probably do with an upgrade, but it didn't spoil our overall enjoyment. The food was also good and plentiful.
Mapula Lodge review
Wonderful service but the area is now flooded. It was a very nice place to experience the “camps” which make Botswana so famous and to relax after the camping days. The teams were very good but unfortunately there is now much less wildlife because the area is flooded.
Regarding the problems that we had in one of the rooms, I think you now understand what happened. Here is a description so you can really picture what happened. I remind you that this is regarding one of the rooms only. There was an overbooking problem, so two of my friends had to stay in a room which was not at all up to standard. According to Johannes (the manager in house) that room (1B) was built for the pilots that might sleep at Mapula. It was absolutely unfair especially if I compare it with the other two rooms we were staying in: My room was spectacular and the perfect end to my holyday. But theirs was ridiculously small and dark....all in all it was not at all a place where you want to spend any time....(and they didn't)…
Room 1A and 1B together are the size of a normal room. Considering they share the entrance, I can assure you that room 1B is less than half the size of a “normal room”. It had absolutely none of the rustic details I had in mine (no bed cover, no wooden toilet seat, no living area, no chairs, no table, no bed tables…). No ambiance whatsoever. It also had no view (just some cut bushes) because it is not even built on a platform as all the others (it is ground leveled!). The bathroom was extremely small. It had only one sink (normal rooms have two). It had no divisions from the toilet and the rest of the bathroom, no shelves, no table below the sink (just the sink attached to the wall)The nice bathtub I had in my room was uninviting in 1B, because it was next to the toilet. There was no terrace. Only a balcony but with no size to have a chair (!). It had no privacy because it is right next to room 1A (even the shower was seen from room 1A next door, which had a guest in the second night). There was no connection between the shower and the bathroom (you would have to cross the room to reach it). To walk around the room you would have to bend yourself because the mosquito net occupies almost the entire area…
I heard all the descriptions and on the last morning I decided to see the room and I just could not believe it. It was a world away from where I was staying (room 7). And it is even difficult to express the differences in words. It was a completely different kind of room and in fact there is no point in going through all the details of it. It was clean and had a bed. That was it. Not exactly the thing you look for in a “tended camp”
I also regret that when we arrived we heard the manager saying that “there have been a change in the rooms”. Maybe that was not the room that Expert Africa booked to us. Probably somebody got there earlier and asked to change, which I totally understand. I also regret that after arrival my friends asked for another room. They were told that there WAS a room available for the first night but not for the second night, because they were having a customer for the second night. I do not think this is fair for them.
And finally, in the second night, the hotel was full and room 1A also had a guest, ending with all privacy. This guest was travelling in a family of 4 and he also was “scarified” during his stay.
The room issue did had an impact in the way my friends experienced the trip. We were excited with the trip and we were looking only for two nights of relax after the camping. They hadn't had the opportunity to relax at the end and off course the worries about the room took their toll in their experience, especially if you consider those were the last two nights in the country.In the camps, the rooms are very important because that is the place you use for the night and also during the heat of the day (after brunch) and basically that room was (almost) not used.
All in all, we do consider that no guest should ever stay in room 1A or 1B. Maybe that house can be used by a complete family (for instance, 2 adults and two little children) but I am sure that the rate is splited by 4 and not charged by two only.
Regardless everything, Mapula decided to refund my friends in 30%, which showed that they were concerned with them.
Expert Africa comments
Mapula Lodge has apologised to these travellers for the sub-standard room that two of the party were given. Due to some recent changes to Mapula Lodge's reservation management, the camp was over-booked which forced them to give a room to guests that they wouldn't usually use.
By way of compensation, Mapula has offered the two guests affected a 30% refund to cover the accommodation portion of their stay. Mapula Lodge have assured Expert Africa that this was a once-off issue.
Great Safari at Mapula Lodge
The ambiance and feeling of being in the "real" Okavango Delta was our favorite impression of this camp. High water meant that each game drive was as if we were in an amphibious water/land rover. Getting to the camp located on an island meant crossing a wooden bridge whose surface was below water level--an exciting first entry.
We loved our Mokoro trip through the reeds, flowers and canals to see birds, mammals and reptiles. Our chalet on stilts was very comfortable, with a deck overlooking a beautiful lagoon. We enjoyed morning and evening game drives led by our guide Dix, and our tracker Simon, to see a great abundance and variety of birds (including 5 male and 5 female Ostrich in one gathering), as well as elephants, giraffe, tsessebe, Kudu, hippo,croc, wildebeest and, of course, Impala.
On one drive we found a large herd of zebra and gave some chase which allowed good action photos of them running through water. Our in-camp hostess Dudu made sure we had a comfortable and enjoyable stay for our 3 day visit.
Wonderful Stay at Mapula Lodge
Mapula Lodge was our favorite lodge in Botswana.
Though we saw more wildlife at other lodges, the setting, staff, and experiences made it the best! The first two nights we were the only guests, so the staff, including our guide and tracker, were willing to find out what was most important to us and make it happen. Dix, our guide, and Simon, our tracker, were great. They were so enthusiastic and seemed to enjoy the game drives as much as we did.
On the drive from the airport to the lodge, we saw many animals, including a herd of elephants. We liked the cabins, and there was plenty of hot water (though our lights got a bit dim the last day). It was great to hear hippos during the night, and see elephant tracks in the camp in the morning. We were amazed at the food that was prepared, even when it was just the two of us guests.
We were later joined by two more people, but the experiences continued to be great. Though it was harder to find game at Mapula, it was so rewarding when you did, as you had to work for it. We didn't realize until later (after staying at Kwara and Lagoon) that this was a unique experience. The knowledge and experience of our guide and tracker was impressive. The driving was difficult due to high water from the record rains, but our guide, Dix, was willing to drive wherever he could, even though he often got very wet.
We would return to Mapula Lodge.
Mapula Lodge review
Mapula lodge had some of the most spectacular game viewing during our trip to Africa. Our guide and tracker, Dix and Simon, had excellent knowledge both of the local terrain and animal habits. We even managed to see two male lions stalking and taking down a zebra, thanks in large part to their patience and knowledge.
The accommodation was also excellent (we slept soundly after the first night of getting used to the hippo snorts outside)! All the staff were really friendly as well.
The only minor disappointment was that owing to the extremely high water levels at the time, the pool was out of action.
Mapula Lodge review
Despite some difficulties, this was our favorite camp. The housing was fine; the meals were good (although meat tended to be overcooked and vegetables undercooked).The administrative (Nelson) and guiding and spotting staff (Matt, Carl, and G) were superb--the best we have ever had. They did their very best under difficult conditions.
The owner seems reluctant to put money in where it is needed. During the rainy season (the camp stays open), the drivers must drive through many ponds, which is hard on their vehicle starters. The owner doles out new starters one at a time, leaving many vehicles at the camp out of service and some visitors stranded in mid game drive.. Also the wooden bridge near the entrance to the lodge is well underwater. Not only is it bone rattling to drive over, but it is sure to rot, causing a serious accident to the unlucky vehicle that happens to be driving over it at that time.
Staff appears to be disgruntled--the last remaining cook quit, leaving the camp on the same plane as us. Why was the camp our favorite despite these problems? We saw the most game here. Our fellow guests were the most congenial of the three camps we stayed in. We had the most interesting conversations with fellow guests and staff. The atmosphere of the camp is more informal than the other two camps.
Mapula Lodge review
We had a great time at Mapula and found the staff very warm and friendly, particularly Dudu who also had a great sense of humour.
The location and the way the camp has been built is beautiful and the food was excellent. We didn't even mind the bridge! (It was a good spot for birds.) Our guide Dicks was very knowledgeable and between him and his tracker led us to see most of the different mammals and birds in the area. He also sped us away quickly when some of the elephants got a little angry! But that was an experience in itself, as was meeting an elephant on the path in the camp when I was on my own! T
hey were also very patient with our photo requests. We particularly enjoyed the variety of activities on offer. The mokoro trip was a lovely peaceful experience. And it was great to get out and walk even though we cut the walking activity short when a leopard was spotted by the tracker.
We believe our stay here was cheaper than at Lagoon and if that is the case we would say that Mapula is better value for money.
Excellent guiding in a fantastic location!
The accomodation and service were more rustic than the other lodges we visited, but the competence and friendliness of our guides more than made up for this.
Our guide, Dix, was brought up as a bushman and he communicated his wealth of experience in an interesting and understandable way. Our tracker, Carl, was excellent, helping our 12 year old twin boys understand so much about African wildlife.
Overall, the guiding and the other activities (mokoro, fishing and boat trips) were amongst the best of our stay.
Mapula is approached by the notorious bridge over a deep channel. Don't worry! It's due to be rebuilt soon. The camp had a charmingly rustic feel about it & the management is very 'hands-on'. All the staff were polite & friendly. The room was simple, but comfortable. Food was adequate & plentiful.
Our guide here was Joe, with tracker Mike. There was a large number of giraffe in the area, along with the usual game species & birds. We particularly enjoyed a large herd of buffalo, a pair of blacked back jackals, saddle billed stork & a tawny eagle being mobbed by a blacksmith plover on the ground.
Unfortunately the wild dogs that usually den near the camp had moved elsewhere due to the extremely high water levels. The guides suspected that they had relocated to an area that the vehicles could not reach due to deep water channels. (the main road through the area resembled a river) We spent a whole morning prospecting an area beyond the old buffalo fence looking for signs but to no avail, although we found plenty of other game.
Shortly after brunch Joe rushed to our room & informed us that 3 guides had been out on the camp tractor looking for dog tracks, without success, but had found three adult lions. Would we like to spend an afternoon with them - would we!! We met up with the tractor crew, who directed us in the right direction. We were able to spend an hour or so in a small clearing parked alongside 3 magnificent male lions, totally relaxed.
Although Joe & Mike had been out since 6am that morning they were still prepared to do another game drive after the lions, be we declined the offer in order to give them a well deserved rest.
We were due to leave the following morning, so Joe suggested a late call (7am), leisurely breakfast & a couple of hours fishing. A very relaxing way to end our stay.