Reviews of Shinde Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
A good experience at Shinde
We enjoyed Shinde. The accommodation was very comfortable with all our needs catered for. We particularly enjoyed being brought an early morning cup of tea. The staff were friendly and helpful. The food was also good.
We found the landscape very appealing with expanses of open grassland and the view from our tent was great.
The first day we arrived we were taken out on a motorized boat. We were accompanied by one guide. The guide took us into a very shallow area and the propeller became entangled with weeds and clogged up with thick mud, the motor very quickly overheated with the frantic efforts of the guide to try and disentangle us. This went on for a considerable amount of time, we even had our sundowner whilst waiting for the engine to cool! Eventually we suggested that the guide ought to radio in and let the camp know where we were situated, I felt very vulnerable and was thankful no hippos or crocs appeared as we would have been sitting ducks. We did actually manage to limp home but the engine was damaged and it wasn't an experience that I'd care to repeat.
In saying that we did have some amazing game experiences at Shinde. The best of which involved a leopardess, who posed quite regally for us in a tree for a considerable length of time enabling us to get some great shots.
I think in conclusion we overall enjoyed our time at Shinde, every camp we stayed at had something amazing to offer. The vehicles used by Kwando seemed superior to those used by Ker and Downy. Kwando Jeeps had 3 sets of seat and 2 people could sit together whereas K and D,s vehicles only had 2 sets which meant 3 people sharing. The Kwando vehicles also had a longer wheelbase and therefore were nothing like as bumpy as K and D's.
At Shinde, as noted by the above experience on water where only one guide accompanied us, it also applied in the jeep with one guide and no tracker. At Kwara we always had a guide and a tracker both in the vehicle and on the motorized boat. This felt a much more satisfactory and safer arrangement!
Unforgettable experience at Shinde Camp!
Shinde was our third camp during our stay in Botswana. Before getting there we were a bit concerned that since Shinde is a sister camp of Kanane (where we had staid the previous two nights) they would be too similar and we would have not gained much from moving there. How wrong we were! Despite being sister camps and both being on the Okavango delta the experience was completely different. Although we liked Kanane a lot, we definitively fell in love with Shinde! The fact that we were given the Honeymoon hut could have helped a bit (out trip to Botswana was a present to ourselves to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary and since the anniversary date fell in the middle of our stay in Shinde, we had been given one of the best huts in the camp) but in any case we loved our experience at Shinde.
First of all the managers Gabs and Mhpo and all the staff were very kind and extremely attentive to all their guests. Our guide Bee has been great and I shall never forget such a beautiful person. He not only was very knowledgeable like all the other guides that we have met but he has been able to transmit to us his love and his respect for nature. We have learnt so much not just about wild life and the flora, but also about each other's culture. At the end of the three days the two of us, Bee and another two ladies who were in our group had bonded so well that we felt like we had known one other for years. On our second day at Shinde we went out on a relaxing boat trip in the afternoon. It was lovely to see the sun disappearing at the horizon from the boat , while enjoying a drink. Back at the camp we found a lovely card and bottle of champagne waiting for us in the hut, courtesy of the managers Gabs and Mhpo who, together with the rest of the staff wanted to wish us happy anniversary. How thoughtful of them!
After having seen big groups of giraffes, wildebeests, warthogs, zebras, tsessebes, monkeys, baboons, impalas, lechwes, elephants, crocodiles, hippos, hyenas, honey badgers and many other wild animals (as well as many beautiful birds), on the morning of our third day Bee has managed to track a magnificent lion with his lioness. Spotting them amongst the high grass and following them while they were moving around was so emotional! In the afternoon we also saw a female leopard on a tree and that as well was amazing. We followed her while she came down the tree ready to hunt and even if we have not seen her catching her prey (despite we patiently waited while she was moving slowly crouching in the grass) again it was an exciting experience.
Then, towards the end of the day we met the lion and the lioness again but this time he had to compete with another three majestic males! Words cannot describe our emotion while we witnessed four adult lions fighting for a lioness, which in the end decided that none of them was good enough for her and left them empty ended... What a story!! It must have been a magic day as while we were driving back to the camp we also saw a red moon rising in the dark sky. Last but not least the food was amazing and we particularly liked the traditional meal that they cooked for us one of the evenings.
Our stay at Shinde was first class and we could not have asked for more!
Shinde, more wildlife close encounters
Our final camp (of 3) in the delta and in some ways the best. As we had become by now accustomed, a short game drive from airstrip to camp with our new guide for whom, as in the previous camps nothing was too much trouble. Shinde camp is only a short drive from the airstrip but is perhaps the best located for wildlife viewing of the 3 we visited, there being small salt pans very close by the camp holding a good variety of birds including wattled cranes, and animals including crocodiles.
Once again the camp staff were all very welcoming and nothing was too much trouble. A free self-service bar in the raised lounge was available with views across an expanse of grassland to keep us interested even while relaxing there. The dining area is raised at least 3 metres above the ground and surrounded by trees, a lovely spot too. The tents are as always well appointed and well equipped.
Having been in camp less than 30 minutes I was lucky enough to be walking along the path back to our tent when a small black mamba crossed about 5 metres ahead of me, very exciting. Further close encounters while out on drives were many at Kanana and included leopards, lions, hyenas, Cape wild dogs and a solitary cheetah.
Walking safaris, fishing and game drives kept us busy and happy for our 3 days at this camp with possibly more species of both animals and birds than at either of our other camps. The great service from the lovely staff made this another splendid experience.
Shinde Camp review
We spent Christmas at Shinde Camp and loved our time here. Overall this was probably the best camp we stayed at in Botswana.
The camp itself is beautifully set among trees - at night the lights look spectacular. The communal areas are very well designed, and the rooms are very comfortable. Note though that not all have views, because of the trees (we asked to move to one which did). Food was always excellent.
The highlight of Shinde for us was the game viewing, which was the best we experienced. Our guide was extremely impressive - probably the best we have had anywhere in Africa - and we were able to track a pride of lion through the concession at night, and see a leopard with a recent kill. Much of this is down to luck, but the staff at Shinde will find game if it's out there! We certainly didn't think that the lack of a tracker was any handicap. The heronry at Shinde has recently been destroyed by elephants so it may be disappointing if that's a particular reason to visit, but the boat and mokoro activities on the water were great nevertheless - including seeing a sitatunga near the camp from a mokoro.
Overall excellent. But we thought that a couple of days at Shinde was probably enough, and were glad that we had planned to see another concession (at Kanana) afterwards rather than spend more time there.
Leopards at Shinde
There was not a lot of game in total - possibly because of the time of year. However, we had a wonderful first afternoon, with 4 leopards - we got 3 in one photograph.
Tea/coffee would have been welcome on the morning drives.
Organisation a bit lackadaisical; we waited for over 30 minutes past the agreed time one night to be collected from our room.
The best camp we stayed at.
Would have been excellent if we had seen more wildlife.Read more about the whole safari
Excellent camp on the Delta
We had a lovely stay at Shinde, our last camp in the Delta. We were there for 3 nights, and participated in a number of game drives as well as water activities. The food and service was excellent, with great hospitality and terrific staff. We also had some excellent wildlife sightings, including two leopard cubs who were playing with each other while waiting for mom to return.
Like at Okuti, dinner was communal at a large table, with guides and management staff joining guests and food served family style. No one goes hungry at these camps, since there are three meals a day, tea, and several snack breaks on top of those! Plus cookies in the room!
Since Shinde is on a private reserve, we were able to be out after dark and also go off road, which allows guests to see the animals from closer up. We didn't see as much wildlife at Shinde as at our other camps, but that was just due to the luck of the draw and not the camp itself.
Expert Africa comments
After this trip, this traveller put together a super photo-album; its a great record of the wildlife seen and the activities experienced. See it here. This link should remain live until about July 2013!
best of them all
This is a lovely camp. It is not overly forced and formal but service is good. Management is very genuine and not remotely pretentious. Genuinely enthusiastic and no sign of tourist fatigue (well done!!!).
Safaris good when leopards were around but otherwise were, quite frankly, boring. Going fishing was great as we had not done this before. Very patient and helpful guide (cannot remember his name now...an older man with rheumy eyes) with an obvious lifetime of delta experience.
Mokoro here was excellent, plenty of time to enjoy the peace and quiet!
Shinde Camp review
nice facility. liked the tent style accommodations. don't be concerned, the tents weathered a rain storm we experienced just fine. trade-off, somewhat confining, couldn't move outside after dark because camp is open to wild animals but you are surrounded by nature. not problem since by the time dinner is over in the evening, you are ready to retire.
like the fact the camp is trying to reduce water bottle waste by furnishing plenty of treated water. would encourage the owners to expand conservation efforts, reduce laundry, reduce room cleaning. believe that doing so would not reduce quality of rooms or service.
the game drives were good. seemed more natural than the ones in Kruger. did not see lions or leopards. the mokoro trip was good.
Shinde Camp review
Shinde was wonderful. It had a very nice balance of land based and water based activities and diverse wildlife. Since we arrived early in the day our guide, Banolo, took us on a mini drive from the airstrip and in 15 minutes we saw lots of elephants, zebras, giraffe and of course antelope. That evening Banolo was able to track down a leopard with her cubs and a few days' old kill. Definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
Camp common areas are quite lovely, resembling a very elegant tree fort. The tents were very nice too, but not as spacious as those at Kanana. Like Kanana Shinde had a number of pleasant service touches such as coffee delivered with the wake up call and in room brandy with glasses. The swimming pool here was a little larger and a pleasant place to spend time with refreshments stocked in a cooler. The food was good.
The hosts here are a married couple Farley (sp?) and Maggie. They are excellent hosts; evenings around the fire were entertaining.
Banolo was a good guide. While having a leopard around was lucky, he also knew quite a bit about animal behaviour and birds. We spent a relaxed evening fishing with him that was a lot of fun. We did catch bream and the kitchen cooked it for us too.
There weren't many other guests around so we pretty much had the run of the place and very personalised service.