Reviews of Muchenje Safari Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
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.
Muchenje - gateway to western part of Chobe
Our Botswana safari did start at Muchenje Safari Lodge (for 3 nights) close to the western entrance of Chobe National Park.
The lodge has a great setting overlooking the Chobe floodplains and is located in a private reserve. The accommodations are beautiful, not very large (but large enough!) with a wonderful view. The hosts Joy and Robert (he gets up every morning at 03:30 !!!) are warm and friendly. They offer game drives to Chobe National Park, a boat cruise on the river (in their own boat with only a few people!) also night drives in their own reserve and a very interesting and informative visit to a nearby community with primary school and health station. The morning game drives usually start at 06:00 am (to 10:30), the afternoon game drives at 04:00 pm and end at about 6:40pm (you have to leave Chobe NP before 06:30 pm).
Although there are animals around the lodge (we saw some elephants, zebras, sable antelopes) the main thing are the game drives leading mostly through the western part of Chobe. There is a short drive to the entrance of the NP but after entering you share your experiences with much less people than in the eastern part. Chobe is famous for its elephants and we saw many many of them: in the woodland, open areas, floodplains and along the river - almost everywhere. Also big herds of buffaloes and journeys of giraffes up to 20 animals and more rare antelopes like sable and roan (not to mention the very often seen "normal" residents like impalas, zebras, kudus, warthogs, baboons ....)
The main predators were a little bit rare: just one (big) male lion at one morning drive, a female one at another morning drive and one leopard hidden behind a log and running away after a short while. We saw fresh tracks of wild dogs but only the tracks :-(
Our guide was K.B. who was friendly and very patient with the need and wishes of the 6 people of our group. He stayed with us for the whole time and also joined us as our guide on the boat cruise. The jetty of the boat is outside the eastern entrance of the park so it's scheduled on a whole day game drive (otherwise the distance would be to long)
Although it always needs some time to get into the park and back to the lodge (because the lodge is not located inside the park!) we were happy to stay there and make most of our game drives in the western part of the park. The eastern park is more crowded with other vehicles because the eastern entrance is very close to Kasane and also Zimbabwe border.
So in conclusion we enjoyed our stay at Muchenje very much and can highly recommend it !!!
Muchenje Safari Lodge review
We were collected from the airport on time and by a friendly man who started the safari experience with his knowledge and stopping as we spotted different animals.
The lodge was very friendly, extremely clean and very well managed. In deed we felt that we had left our friends behind when we left. The food was excellent. All the safari experiences were well managed, with knowledgeable guides who enjoyed sharing their facts and tales.
Our room was superb clean, comfortable, quiet.
Muchenje Safari Lodge review
Great Location, friendly Managers and staff, great food.
Best game viewing of the three locations we stayed at.
Muchenje Safari Lodge - a great place to stay
We were there Dec 3-7, after the rains had started and many of the animals had disappeared into the bush. We did catch our share of lions, giraffe, zebras, one big buffalo herd, zillions of hippos and terrific bird life. Not at all disappointed.
The lodge is in very good shape. New managers, Robert and Joy, moved in less than two months ago and are busy refurbishing the place - new furniture, new bedding and a lot of work on the grounds and facilities. I remember reading somewhere that Muchenje was looking a little tired, but that's definitely not the case now.
The staff are a really nice group - deputy manager JJ, chief guide Nicko and a bunch of younger people. The place is beautifully designed and located in a spectacular setting overlooking the Chobe river. The Chinese have been busy upgrading the main road along Chobe park, so it's very quick to get to Muchenje from Kasane airport.
As far as we're concerned, it was a great choice.
Great safari at Muchenje
The whole experience at Muchenje Lodge and Chobe was excellent. The staff were welcoming and knowledgeable and the game drives were wonderful.
The view from the Lodge itself is amazing, down across the river where you could see zebra, waterbuck, impala and sometimes elephant and buffalo. On the game drives we saw lots of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, impala, warthog, kudu, baboon and waterbuck. We were also very lucky to see hyaena, jackal, lion and leopard and about 150 different species of bird.
Muchenje Safari Lodge review
Loved it here, warm welcome and very well looked after by Joy and Rob. Plenty of great activities on offer with great guides. rooms clean and lovely, food excellent, all staff members we had contact with were friendly and good at their respective jobs. The free laundry service was much appreciated too.
Meals are taken at large tables with Rob and Joy joining all the guests to eat. Their attitudes and characters made this work very well, which hadn't been our experience at some of the other lodges where meals were served at large tables. We were very sorry to have to leave - would have happily stayed for weeks!!
We got stuck in the driveway leading to the lodge because the sand is too deep for a 2WD to safely negotiate. If anyone is arriving in a 2WD the lodge is happy to collect them from a suitable location outside the lodge.
We were due to have our hire car collected from here on our second day, and we had been told by Expert Africa to make sure that the car hire company looked over the car and signed the form for us to keep that stated the car was given back in good order. We were therefore concerned when Budget didn't arrive to collect the car on the pre-arranged day, and even more concerned when they still hadn't turned up when we were due to leave! However, Joy completely put our minds at rest by reassuring us that when they came to collect the car she wouldn't turn over the keys to them without them signing the form first!
Muchenje Safari Lodge review
The lodge has a lovely panoramic view which had grazing herds of game as far a the eye could see! The new managers were extremely friendly and helpful, and engendered a house guest feeling. Everyone sits at large tables and chats about their day.
The drive along the plain by the river is stunning and was a revelation as we had not expected much from Chobe. The hillside is indeed bone dry at this time of the year but this concentrates game along the river.
The combined day trip of drive and boat trip is well worth doing. We bobbed quietly in our small boat as a large herd of elephant with young swam across the river in front of us, trunks aloft - magic!