Reviews of Muchenje Safari Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Muchenje - a lodge with an incredible view
We had a lot of fun at Muchenje. Although the rooms felt small compared to our prior accommodations, they were nicely decorated, the views were incredible and the common areas of the lodge were very inviting. We spent more time in the common areas here than at the other lodges and enjoyed it very much.
Our guide (Ocean) took us on a night drive, a morning walking safari and the all-day safari that included the river safari. Our all day safari was the perfect finale for our trip as we saw so much wildlife on our final day and in incredible numbers. We witnessed several herds of elephants crossing over to the island and many, many crocodiles and hippos. On our drive back through Chobe National Park, we saw herds of cape buffalo, wildebeests and elephants; numerous giraffes, zebras, impalas, antelopes and even ostriches. There were a few areas in Chobe that were a bit crowded with other vehicles, but we left those behind rather quickly.
The staff at Muchenje was very friendly and we learned a lot about them and the area in our dinner conversations. Also, the walking safari was much different than I expected as we saw quite a bit of wildlife (zebras, warthogs, waterbucks and antelopes). And it was fun to be doing something active after five days on safari.
However, there was one significant miss for me. Our 35th wedding anniversary was on August 5th, our first night at Muchenje. This very special event was not acknowledged in any way. As wonderful as the safari was, this oversight was quite disappointing. Also, the ambiance of the camp could be enhanced by placing a natural material (such as a thatched screen) over the air/heating units.
Expert Africa comments
We were delighted to read that these guests had a very good time at Muchenje. We were however very disappointed that, despite our written requests on more than one occasion, the lodge didnt manage to organise any special gesture to mark these travellers 35th wedding anniversary.
As with all of the guest feedback we receive, we immediately forwarded this response to the lodge and then went to them with a further request for an official reply and explanation on why our requests werent granted. The camp came back promptly and apologised sincerely to Mrs. Js party and in particular to her and her husband for this oversight they accepted full responsibility for this mistake.
Muchenje explained that prior to and during these travellers stay the usual guest liaison manager was away on sick leave and as a result the information was not conveyed to the camp correctly and no action was taken. The camp accepts that this incident was unacceptable and they have promised to improve on this aspect of the booking process in future. Expert Africa have also asked Muchenje to, in future, ensure that full checks are put in place, prior to guest arrival.
We are confident that Muchenje have taken this issue on board and will ensure this was a one-off. Its worth mentioning that incidents like this are very rare at Muchenje and the lodge is usually very good in making sure special requests are met as well as reasonably possible. For Expert Africas part its also worth stating that we will always confirm and then re-confirm with all lodges if any of our travellers have any special points of interest or requests (e.g. a special birthday, a honeymoon or a wedding anniversary etc).
Were sorry that on this occasion those requests werent realised.
Muchenje Safari Lodge review
Fantastic view over the Chobe river flood plain One of the best views of southern Africa: each chalet overlooks the Chobe flood plain, where from your private terrace you can see the wild animals in the distance: zebras, wildebeests, springboks, etc.
Although the owner does not permanently live on site, this lodge has a nice atmosphere with a very interesting and friendly management & staff.
The best activity on offer is the whole-day Chobe boat tour + game drive: top notch for game viewing. We also appreciated the formula with 'everything included' (even drinks).
They encourage you to go on the activities. Communal dining between two long tables, which after a drive or two with the other guests, you begin to mingle much more. We went on almost every morning and afternoon/evening drive; village visit to a family. No time for the walk.
Very friendly, guides were knowledgable and Nick was determined to find that leopard! He did.
Beware of the Botswana border disease control lady.
If you are bringing in baskets and wood decorations from outside Botswana, think twice about her warnings that they are subject to confiscation and/or fine. She is flogging her own and her friend's souvenirs, which are nice by the way. You can bring in your baskets and wood souvenirs, just be discreet in your revelations.
Muchenje Safari Lodge review
People were so wonderful. Enjoyed the shared tables with staff and guides. Ocean was a great, fun guide. The staff gave my son am unprompted birthday cake and performance.
Place is very nice, with a beautiful view over the river valley. The packed activities didn't leave much time to enjoy it enough.
We enjoyed us tremendously, but to mention areas of improvements: wifi was spotty, and the staff could have been more helpful with rearranging the car drop off (I assume they don't get many self drivers).
Muchenje Safari Lodge review
Muchenje really has the "Wow" factor from the moment you arrive and see that view! We were made to feel at home right away by the relief Manager Cathy who was the perfect host throughout our stay. Accommodation is very comfortable and all rooms have a great view. There are several nice areas to sit and they have a small waterhole below the lodge where we watched Water Buck, Impala, Warthog and Zebra.
Food was very enjoyable and all homemade. We enjoyed homemade soups each evening and lovely roasts such as fillet of beef and leg of lamb both excellent. This place has the feel of a house party, helped by the socialising with lodge staff and guides in the evening. It was great fun listening to their tales especially Ocean who was a great raconteur and Peter who told us about local life. But it was our personal guide, Synack who brought Africa to life for us. His knowledge of all things Botswanan was amazing.
We saw so much wildlife on all our activities but the best day was the full day which included a lovely boat trip on the Chobe river. We saw many Elephants by and in the river including a large one that swam across completely submerged except for using its trunk as a snorkel. Good sightings of Hippo and large Crocodiles, Beautiful birds, Water Monitors etc... etc... and had lunch on the boat in the company of Elephants.
We had surprises and new sightings each time we went out even if it was walking to dinner from our Bungalow when we saw Slender Mongoose, Small Spotted Genet and numerous colourful birds. All in all I think Muchenje is a great first place to stay before venturing into the Okavango Delta. We saw larger groups of animals here than we did in the Delta and some very special Antelope including Puku, Roan and Sable. Thanks to all at Muchenje for a memorable stay.
A fabulous place!
Chobe has been the last area we visited in Botswana. We have stayed at Muchenje safari lodge for two nights and we wish we stayed an extra day to make the most of the lodge. The place is really beautiful and it has got stunning views of the river. If we had more time we would have easily spent one morning or one afternoon at the lodge without going on a game drive, just to sit back and watch the wild life go by.... The hut had a thatch roof and it was spacious and very nicely decorated, overlooking the Chobe river.
The managers Joy and Robert have been amazing hosts and Lips, our guide, we very knowledgeable. The activities have been very well organised and included early morning safaris, all day safaris, afternoon safaris and night safaris. During our game drives we have seen lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, hyenas, jackals, buffalos, kudus, lechwes, honey badgers, mongooses, waterbucks, sable antelopes, impalas, monkeys, baboons, genets and lots of birds (amongst which bustards, cisticolas, cormorants, ducks, eagles, egrets, kingfishers, bee eaters, kingfishers, ground hornbills, storks, francolins, guineafowls, Egyptian geese, etc). The highlight of our stay has been the boat trip along the Chobe river where we saw elephants swimming across it. This was absolutely amazing! We followed them in the boat and it was like "swimming with the elephants"!.
During our river trip we also saw the loads of hippos, crocodiles and lizards, and we spent some time observing the elephants playing in the mud. They were so funny and entertaining! On our last night we found a lovely bottle of fizzy wine in our hut. Joy had found out that we had been celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary a few days before and she wanted to surprise us. So very nice of her!
We will always remember our stay at Muchenje lodge with great pleasure!
Muchenje Safari Lodge review
Muchenje was just a wonderful lodge! Everything was first rate! Staff, guides and the managers Joy and Robert were very helpful and friendly.
You can't beat the setting of this lodge, which is up on a hill looking out at the Chobe River.
Overall I preferred staying in smaller camps but this was the exception.
Elephants and Marula fruit at Muchenje Lodge
Excellent stay at Muchenje Lodge. The managers, Joy and Robert, and assistant managers Ditnau and Andy, are accommodating, enthusiastic and joyful. The rooms are nice,and air conditioned, and had a great scenic location. The wifi in the lodge is a nice touch. The food was plentiful, imaginative,and very good.
Our guide Kabela was a good driver and aside from the usual animals he found us sleeping elephants one morning and the rare Puku antelopes. He found Marula fruit (we were curious after drinking Amarula) and indulged my passion for Baobab trees.
One morning we requested a packed breakfast so that we could stay out until lunch and that was no problem for the staff.
We had elephants in camp on several days which was pretty exciting.
Saw our only leopard here!
The game viewing tended to be restricted to the flood plain in Chobe National Park, so the game drives were a bit repetitive, although the opportunity to see game (including our only leopard) was good. Muchenje's game viewing experience suffered by comparison with Ichobezi Houseboat and Zuka Lodge at Phinda, so we wouldn't recommend a stay of more than 2-3 days here.
The lodge managers, Joy & Robert, are overly talkative and join guests for most meals, which for us was a bit overpowering.
Excellent game viewing and quality lodge
The river trip was excellent as far as wildlife was concerned with a good range of animals and birds using the river (including elephants, hippos, crocodiles, buffalo. We were surprised the boat was so small and it was completely full on the day we went with about a dozen or so people plus the guide. However, the stream was quite gentle, and the guide positioned it so that everyone had a chance for photographs most of the time. So while it would definitely have been better with fewer people the trip was excellent overall.
The game drives in Chobe were good (once in the riverside area) and although the guides don't have trackers they seem to be able to spot animals at long distance. Best encounter was with a lioness stalking impala. However, you need to be prepared for long drives (30-45 minutes) between the lodge and the main game viewing areas. We were told of plans to build a landing stage closer to the lodge.
The lodge itself was excellent for accomodation, meals, service and friendly staff. Great view from the lodge and chalets, overlooking the river plain. Communal dining was very enjoyable and food was very good - different every day. Little shop was well stocked and good value - great hippos!
Trip to nearby village was very illuminating and well worth the time, we visited a family home and the local school.
Overall, the quality of the lodge and food and the staff made up for the distance that has to be travelled to the river and main game viewing areas.
Best place of the visit
This was without doubt the best of all the lodges in which we stayed.
it could not be faulted for service, excellence and the range of activities with very knowledgeable, enthusiastic guides. JJ, the manager, even drove us out of the lodge to the main road to avoid the Red Zone - see later.