Reviews of Kings Pool
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Not on my return list
Very dissappointed with this camp.
Game viewing was extreamly poor and the shere oppulance of the camp just does not compensate for the poor game.
This Premier Camp is not for me.
As the original airstrip is no longer accessible it was a long drive to the camp with very little game in sight. The camp is in a lovely setting but felt our room was a bit OTT. Two showers side by side were unnnecessary (although one didn't work).
The game experience was very disappointing although we did see lots of elephant. It was noticeable that there was very little communication between the guides and on one morning drive we were out for nearly 5 hours and saw very little. It was also disappointing on the evening drive to come across tables and chairs set out for a candlelit dinner by the river only to discover afterwards that this was apparently for the camp managers and not for the guests. This demonstrated the lack of communication amongst camp staff as after seeing the set-up our guide immediately radioed in and we overheard him then telling other guides to avoid the area.
Although generally the staff were helpful (particularly nick who helped me with a camera problem) we felt that there was an undercurrent amongst staff in the camp.
The horrors of expensive King's Pool
I've rated this camp as poor in comparison to the ultra luxury billing and related price.
I found lots of people being helpful, but I never got to know their names, and there didn't seem to be one person who was my "contact". I was given different information by different staff (eg lunch is at 10:30 and another staff person told me 11:00) The beds had no covers on them (and hence got covered in sand which ended up in the bed).
The "hot" water bottles were tepid at best. There was no coffee station and the facilities in the rooms were inadequate in this regard. Broken furniture in the room, inadequate storage (and we didn't have much with us), patio furniture was dirty and really uncomfortable. The food buffets had no covers on the plates, so was permanently swarmed by flies, birds and wasps. The dinner food was really not good. The advertized Gym, and coffee machine were not operational.
The hide was seasonal so another piece of false advertising. The covers on the "tents" were on the outside and impossible to manage without staff. It meant the room was pitch black so one couldn't see the sunrise or sunset. My tshirts were all shrunk in the laundry (and they had been washed in 2 other camps without incident).
On the bright side, the rooms were certainly spacious, the new lobby very nice, and the staff did try to be helpful. Overall however, it could not compare to Vumbara and I would prefer any other camp to this. It certainly wasn't worth the money. I have 3 different groups of friends going to Botswana and I've told then to avoid going to this camp. I did let the manager know of my concerns and unhappines, but instead of offering to help, I just got a "sorry you're not having a good experience, but we appreciate your comments. I would at least have hoped for some kind of a refund since certain facilities were not available.
Guide also wasn't good at listening, and tended to do his own thing. We specifically asked not to get too close to the elephants (we had a couple of nervous experiences, and he insisted on driving right up to the herds (almost laughing at our concern).
Game veiwing however was good.
King's Pool review
See my review on Trip Advisor.
[Ed: which reads as follows:
This is a friendly place run by South Africans who will do their best to ensure you are happy.
The main entrance and dining area has just been redone and doesn't quite work. There is almost no shade--but they are fixing this. However, in the mornings and evenings, the design works well and you dine over looking expansive plains. (It gets v. cold during winter -- they even wrap a blanket on every chair at night and have a fire going!) The rooms are wonderful and have a private plunge pool. The showers are the best I have ever had in Africa. Finally, you could stay on your terrace and watch elephant and hippos go by. Having said that I preferred the look and feel of Mombo and Jao more.
One inconvenience is that there is only one charging point in the room--a European two prong type which is hard to get to. This means if two people want to charge their camera batteries, videos or download photos onto a computer they can't do it simultaneously. (All the other power sources in the rooms require three prong Botswana style plugs.) Management is aware of this and has ordered the same multi-plug charge stations at other premier Wilderness camps for each room, so hopefully this will be fixed soon. (They borrowed one of these stations from another camp for me while I was there to minimize the inconvenience.)
We came to this camp after visiting Mombo and Jao and had been warned that we woud see lots of "broken trees and elephants". While we did see elephants, it was no more than at the other two camps--apart from a glorious 15 minutes at a water hole while en route to the airport at the end of our stay. Also, our gide, while very diligent in explaining things rushed from one animal to another with no time to just watch and see the animals interact and get used to the vehicle.
We did have a full day trip to the Savuti channel which has seen water for the first time in 28 years. This was a great trip but we saw little game as a result of all the rushing around. Also, we had to fit into a slot for lunch at the hippo pool as guests from some of the other camps in the same concession were also using this place. Fitting into a time slot while on a safari doesn't seem quite right and this assembly line feel to safaring and the less good game viewing is one of the main reasons I would not go back here. The rest stops also seemed to be pre-planned and well used--this was the only camp where we saw toilet paper at certain rest stops. (Management obviously needs to do a better job of briefing guests not to leave waste behind.) ]
Once again wonderful staff. We had another excellent guide Ross.
We saw our first lepoard at Kings Pool. It was facinating to be explained how the lepoard was in danger as there were a large number of baboons in the area, Ross was explaining exactly how the warning signs were being called by the animals and how if the lepoard did not pick up on the signs it could be killed. She managed to survive that morning and hid up a tree for some time, which we were able to see. That evening we saw her again this time on the move and off hunting.
We were all really surprised how close we were able to get to the animals, an amazing experience. Thank you everyone.