Nxabega Safari Camp

Reviews of Nxabega Safari Camp

Excellent(94%) From 28 travellers
Excellent
20
Good
7
Average
1
Poor
0
Terrible
0
Below are independent comments from 28 of our travellers who have visited Nxabega Safari Camp, and have kindly agreed to share their thoughts.

They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Mr D. from Witney
Arrived on: 17-Oct-2011 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Good
Good

Nxabega Safari Camp review

This camp suffers badly from its lack of a nearby airstrip. The journey from Pom Pom takes nearly 2 hours and the roads are appalling. After the delay with the aircraft (see later), it was not a good start to the visit. Although there were some 'champagne moments', the number and variety of game is more limited than the other 2 camps and it would be tempting to be disappointed. In contrast, the bird life was excellent and we did see a pair of Pel's Fishing Owls! We accept that seasonal variations in game and birds may be in play here, of course.

The managers - Dave and Megan Waddington - are newly-arrived 3 months ago and clearly enthusiastic; every minor comment or complaint was dealt with immediately and efficiently which was very gratifying even when it meant we had to move tents after the first night because the deck was deemed unsafe. Query: why hadn't it been checked before we tripped on a loose board?

The food was good and beautifully presented but there was so much on each occasion that we were concerned about the amount that, potentially, could be wasted; it would be good to know that it wasn't.

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Expert Africa comments

As with all of our traveller feedback, we forwarded these comments to lodge management at Nxabega and they came back to us with the following response regarding the roads:

"With the soft sand in the area the roads do tend to be bumpy and we are planning to bring in a tractor to blade the roads between Nxabega, Xaranna and Xudum which may help somewhat, along with that our new fleet of Land Cruisers are arriving this coming Friday and should also make a difference."

With higher than usual water levels in the Okavango over the last few seasons, many airstrips in the delta have struggled with flooding. Some – such as Nxabega - fight a losing battle and the flooding often results in severe damage to the airstrip. We understand that there are plans in the pipeline to build a new airstrip closer to camp, but on higher ground to try and avoid this problem in the future. However, these plans can take time to be approved through the government, especially in ecologically sensitive areas.

We appreciate that in the meantime, the current transfer from Pom Pom airstrip is a long one. And although it is a chance to take in the area and to do a spot of game viewing en-route, it isn't always a welcome opportunity, especially if arriving at Nxabega after a long journey from elsewhere. So for now, we try to make our travellers aware of the transfer time and encourage anyone thinking about Nxabega as a safari option, to contact us for an update on the situation.

We and all of our suppliers take health and safety issues very seriously. So the comment by these travellers regarding the deck in front of the tent was of particular concern. The management of the camp came back to us with the following response:

“We have no excuse about the deck in front of the tent. It clearly wasn’t checked thoroughly prior to the guests arrival which is the norm and we did not realise the decking had deteriorated to such an extent. The tent was closed that day and is under repair at the moment."

Clearly this problem should have been noted and fixed prior to the travellers’ arrival, but we were happy to hear that it was deal with immediately once the management became aware of it.

Mr & Mrs D - Greece
Arrived on: 17-Mar-2011 Stayed for: 7 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Nxabega Safari Camp review

This was our sixth visit to this camp. There have been many nice small improvements. New furniture in the lodge, small additions to the tents etc. There is also now a cover over the boat which was planned when we were last there. We have always described the cuisine as being exceptional. It sounds impossible but there have also being improvements there thanks to Amanda the catering manager in Maun.

As usual we will not comment on sightings as their presence on the concession is luck. The sudden appearance of a young male leopard at sundowners at the camp one evening was a highlight though, especially when it stole the cushion I had been sitting on two minutes earlier.

This was a good reminder to all that it is an 'open camp' those (not through Expert Africa) who were concerned about this episode were clearly not appraised of this fact by their tour operators.

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Mrs & Mr B - Washington
Arrived on: 14-Feb-2011 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent

Quite wonderful

We were delighted by the Nxabega facilities and staff. We had been concerned that because we were traveling in February, during the rainy season, we would not see many animals, etc. Though apparently it did rain heavily in January, it did not rain at all while we were in the Okavongo Delta and we saw a nice variety of animals and a vast array of birds (visitors should be sure to bring their binoculars to the Delta). KB, our guide, was extremely professional and flexible, and really tracked down the animals for us.

The tracking began from the time we arrived at the temporary airport necessitated by the washed out airport at Nxabega. We spent a couple of hours driving to the camp, stopping to picnic along the way, and look at animals. (Plans are underway to build a new airport, but it will probably be awhile). The Nxabega managers, a delightful young couple, went all out to see that our visit was so wonderful. We had a relaxing makoro ride, a beautiful sunset boat cruise, a really great visit to the preferred channel swimming grounds of the managers where we safely (no hippos etc. in this spot) flapped around in the water and sipped champagne, and of course the game rides.

There was an extraordinary surprise "picnic" with huge amounts of good food (in fact all of the meals were quite good). All of the staff went out of their way on our behalf. Quite typically, we experienced this interest in truly serving the visitors a few days after we left Nxabega. The morning we were to leave our next & Beyond camp, Sandibe, my husband couldn't find his cell phone. After a thorough search we decided it must have been left at Nxabuga. The nice managers at Sandibe kindly offered to check. The phone had just been discovered at Nxabega, and no one knew who it belonged to until the phone call from Sandibe. All sorts of elaborate plans were considered to send the phone to us, and then the Nxabega staff checked and figured out that they could bring the phone to the bush plane going to Maun in time for us to pick the phone up at Maun airport, where we were going.

Indeed, when we arrive at the airport, there was a nice &Beyond staff person looking for us with a good sized envelope with our name in bold letters. Throughout, we were very impressed by &Beyond, and this seemed like a special and typical gesture.

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Mr & Ms M from London
Arrived on: 8-Dec-2010 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Good
Good

Nxabega Safari Camp review

This is a camp set in a stunning location, with a lovely pool and viewing deck.

Sadly the game drives were a bit disappointing, but our guides did make a big effort to ensure that we saw as much as possible. The mokoro trip on the other hand was fantastic (shame it couldn't be a bit longer), and we went on the boat cruise twice because we enjoyed it so much.

Food was brilliant, and we especially enjoyed the candlelit bush dinner, which had taken a lot of effort to prepare.

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Mr & Mrs D from Twickenham
Arrived on: 4-Nov-2010 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Nxabega Safari Camp review

Airstrip had been washed out for months, meaning we had to land 2.5 hours' drive from camp - this should have been raised in advance to set expectations.

However, consistent with the EXCELLENT service and atmosphere we experienced at Nxabega, Grant and Dimari laid on a helicopter transfer.

We cannot speak highly enough of the camp; we were glad the pool was down, so we experienced a swim in the Delta, MUCH better!
Dinner events and entertainment were far ahead of all the others - including being surrounded by a breeding (but very relaxed) herd of elephants in the camp.

Game very good, and Bee was a very very competent guide (spotting a serval at night whilst driving without a tracker, fantastic...) although he could think about photographers in the back a bit more, we had to keep asking to move the jeep to a better location.
It really felt like a happy family here.

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Mrs & Mr L - Pennsylvania
Arrived on: 16-Sep-2010 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Good

Nxabega Safari Camp review

Another very enjoyable camp. It had a little less character than Sandibe, but we were able to see cheetahs and hyenas here.

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Mr J & Mr B - London
Arrived on: 5-Jun-2010 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Average
Average
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Good

Nxabega Safari Camp review

The second @Beyond camp visited. Comments on service and food same as for Sandibe. The guide was average and the tracker,another trainee tracker, was disengaged and didnt seem to contribute much.Both of them need to brighten up their act.

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Expert Africa comments

Ed: this traveller's comments on Sandibe were:

"The 'corporate formula' seems to be striving to offer a 5Star hotel service which is out of keeping with the safari experience.

An excessive number of staff (personal butler, masseuse and a legion of waiters, supervisors etc) created a stifling/stuffy atmosphere in stark contrast to the two Kwando Safari camps visited. Once you had broken through the formal service regime, the staff turned out to be pleasant and natural, they just needed to be released from the absurd 'house style' imposed on them. The menus were overelaborate but the actual result was disappointing. Worst of all guests were seated at separate tables which inhibited social interchange. More Bournemouth than Okavango!."

Mr & Mrs D - Greece
Arrived on: 19-Mar-2010 Stayed for: 7 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Nxabega Safari Camp review

Full report to follow in due course.

Read more about the whole safari
Mr & Mrs D - Greece
Arrived on: 19-Mar-2009 Stayed for: 5 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Nxabega Safari Camp review

This was our fourth visit and there will be a fifth and more. Excellent management, staff, accommodation and food.

The real selling point of this camp is the special 'bush' dining. I will not say more about this as they like these fantastic dinning experiences to be a big secret and a surprise. And what special surprises they were.

This camp is a must. CCA (sorry, &Beyond) have a winning formula at this camp.

It was a big mistake with the re-branding many people think that it is a different company and CCA have sold out. Forget the silly new company name, just go to Nxabega. It goes way 'beyond' any expectations.

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Expert Africa comments

When we put these comments to Nxagega's head office team, the UK Sales Manager of &Beyond, Andrew, responded to this traveller:

“I’m delighted to hear that you had such a fantastic stay with us. Our team at Nxabega (and our other lodges) really do pride themselves on creating unforgettable memories for all our guests to take home, and I’m pleased that your memories are bringing you back to visit us so often!

It was a difficult decision to change our name, and I’m sorry to hear that the new name doesn’t sit well with you. I hope that we explained the reasons behind the change?

As you found, nothing has changed – we still love to delight our guests, while at the same time making a difference in the conservation areas and among the communities surrounding our lodges. The name has changed, but our core values remain. As we grew to open lodges in India (and soon in South America), we found our name wasn’t working. Firstly, “Africa” doesn’t reflect this growth to other natural highspots around the world. Secondly, potential guests don’t really want to travel with a “Corporation” – not nearly inspiring enough, and doesn’t reflect the amazing experiences at our lodges. Lastly, while “Conservation” is important to our guests, first-time guests want to enjoy themselves in the first instance – only then do they want to know that they are making a difference.

We hope that you grow to love our new name over your future trips to our lodges – we also found it difficult at first, but now love the possibility that our new name offers. We look forward to welcoming you back!”

Ms G - Lincolnshire
Arrived on: 22-Feb-2009 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

February stay at Nxabega

Nxabega is a luxury camp set in the delta but it is not as game-rich as other lodges. The guide and tracker had to work really hard to find much game at all on some of the drives although we did have a great time with a lone lioness.

The service at the camp was very good although I did not really appreciate the 20 minute "orientation talk" which was fundamentally a commecial for &Beyond.

There was a good mixture of activities both land and water-based. Many people would really love it here but somehow it was not my kind of camp.

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Expert Africa comments

Nxabega Safari Camp sent the following message to this traveller:
Thank you for your constructive feedback on your recent visit to &Beyond Nxabega Safari Camp. I am pleased to read that you enjoyed the overall experience. We apologize that you felt that the staff were pushy in informing you of our other Lodges. We do train our staff in sharing our company information with guests, but I appreciate that it could be done in a more subtle manner. We look forward to welcoming you on safari again in the not too distant future.