Reviews of Lagoon Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Lagoon Camp review
Our stay at Lagoon coincided with a sharp fall in temperature -we were warned it could get cold in June/July and by golly it did -nearly freezing .
However first impressions were most favourable -a wondeful welcome by staff on arrival and a real wow factor on passing through reception to see the lagoon on the doorstep.
The rooms had not only been recently refurbished but considerably enlarged to the size of small bungalows and by far the most spacious of all the lodges we stayed at. Perhaps not as intimate as other lodges ,especially as tents were not nestled in the trees but other factors more than made up for this
-a wonderfully warm atmosphere among staff,who treated one another with care and respect
-our guide Stan and tracker Bidi .Stan was by far and away the best guide on the whole trip and the others were very good .When we explained we were interested in just about everything and we wouldn't think it a bad day if we didnt see the big 5 ,he positively glowed and used every opportunity to share his considerable knowledge ,using his own hand drawn diagrams and notes to illustrate key points.He is a natural teacher and brought to life the complex interrelationships within the ecosystems of the delta.
-crashing throught the bush to track 3 cheetah brothers
-the camaraderie around the campfire-the camp was full and especially lively
-staff singing and dancing after dinner -led by the incomparable Grace -very moving and joyful
-seeing 72 species of birds in one morning
-bird watching around the lodge and especially from the upper level in the trees
-fishing on the evening boat ride-even though we caught nothing
-good curio shop -grace opened up at 6am so we could buy hats and gloves
It was disappointing not to be able to go on a walking safari but it was explained that because the previous rains had been good , the grass was still very high and so visibility was very restricted.
Not too much animal activity on nightdrives -perhaps the cold?-but we did see striped hyena ,genet and civet
Despite 7 layers of clothing it was extremely cold -the 'bushbaby' hotwaterbottles were welcome but the thin blankets on game drives were not a patch on the fleece lined ponchos
Lucky find at Lagoon is holiday highlight
Although we weren't lucky enough to see the wild dogs or cheetahs at any of the camps, we were absolutely delighted to see something that had always been a favourite of ours, but we never expected to see on any trip. It was an early evening drive on our first night at Lagoon. We were sitting on the rear seats of the vehicle and since others on the vehicle were mainly looking forward, we were making sure to check around the back side of each termite mound and bush as we passed. It certainly paid off. We were just checking behind one such mound, when we both spotted something fairly small scuttling away. We were so excited we could hardly say the name of the animal to alert everyone – It was a pangolin! Bali, our guide pulled the vehicle to a sudden stop and we all jumped off the vehicle and managed to catch up on foot. To get such a close look at such a rare and magical animal was an absolutely amazing experience. Pangolins are creatures that are associated with luck and we were certainly very lucky.
The new camp at Lagoon is beautiful. The rooms are more like thatched lodges rather than tents are very luxurious and private. The camp is in a lovely location and the view across the lagoon from the room delightful and very relaxing.
The only downside at Lagoon was the vehicles. They are based on the Toyota Hilux and are starting to get very old and unreliable. I think that the worst one was usually left for our guide who was a pretty good bush mechanic too! One evening, we were stuck in deep sand, completely in the dark with no 4WD and the battery failing. He did an excellent job coaxing the vehicle back to camp and although we were probably quite safe in the vehicle, it was still a bit spooky. The following evening, the owner of Kwando Safaris came to see the new camp and dined with us. We raised the condition of the vehicle with him and we were told that replacements were due, but it may take a while to renew the whole fleet.
Lagoon Camp review
Lagoon had been rebuilt about 2 months before we arrived so everything was new and we had the treat of using their new chalets which are very large (more space than you can possibly use) - we did have some issues getting hot water to the room (not sure the plumbing was 100% correct). The camp used the older jeeps but like Kwara were upgrading.
Whilst the camp and camp staff were excellent we had our worst guiding experience here. Our guide and tracker were clearly knowledgeable but we had to ask lots of questions (rather than them volunteering interesting observations) and compared to our other camps we had more difficulty communicating with out guide. Our guide and spotter did do a good job of finding some wild dogs one day using excellent tracking skills, although this came at the expense of seeing other game (as we were in the wrong area for other game) - this meant we spent a long 6 hour morning game drive on that which perhaps wasn't the best thing if you are not massively into wild dogs.
Great Safari at Lagoon
Lagoon Camp had been recently renovated and the resut is outstanding. The independent challets lie along the Kwando River. Night sounds of the wild life including hippo fill the air and the elephants treat the camp as their own. Our deck, sitting area, bed and bath all overlooked the river.
On one afternoon, an elephant began grazing outisde the bathroom so close to the tub, I thought he was considering a tub bath rather than the river. The physical facilities, camp fire area, dining chalet are well planned and contribute to a special ambiance. Our game viewing was truly outstanding. led by an excellent and very knowledgeable guide, Spencer. On our first afternoon, he tracked a pack of wild dogs to a large lagoon where we enjoyed the opportunity for some great photos, followed by sunset "sundowners" shared with a large contingent of hippos. Back to camp and an outstanding dinner and more wine while being entertained with staff song and dance.
Morning game drives were cold but made more comfortable with hot water bottles ("Bush Babies") and wool blankets. First morning we tracked and found 3 Cheetah brothers and Leopard. We also found a mongoose family, elephant, Savannah Buffalo,and two beautiful Saddlebilled Storks.
That afteernoon Spencer again found the wild dog pack after they caught and killed a prey. We arrived to find them eating their dinner. The next day game drives located elephant herds, the Cheetah brothers, Steenbok, Kudu, a huge Wart Hog, African hawks, Jackel, Buffalo ,Springbok, and the wild dogs. Every day also included the "usual suspects" of African mammals and a variety of interesting birds.
At the end of each day, sunsets and "sundowners" followed by outstanding dinners. At the end of each morning drive a a wonderful and filling brunch. In camp, our hostess, Amazing Grace, saw that we were comfortable. We also enjoyed the companionship of our fellow campers who were there from many countries, and, like we, were interested in the same experiences.
Interesting Stay at Lagoon Camp
At first, we were disappointed with our stay at Lagoon Camp. We were put with four other people in a vehicle, which is too many. It is hard to communicate with the guide, and there isn't enough room to be comfortable with six guests in the vehicle. In addition, our guide was intent on tracking some cheetahs, which is what we spent the entire first afternoon game drive doing. He didn't stop to view other wildlife, and it was almost dark by the time we got to the cheetahs (found by the other vehicles at the camp). Then, he just kept driving to try to follow the cheetahs, so we did not have a chance to actually just watch the cheetahs. We prefer to just sit and watch wildlife for a while, seeing the animals interact with each other, the environment, and our presence. We do not like to just stop, take a photo, and drive away.
SInce it was dark, the guide (Alison or Ellison) decided to try to find the cheetahs again on the drive the next morning. We spoke with the camp manager that morning, voicing our frustration with the previous afternoon's game drive, and she told us to talk directly with the guide - which we did at breakfast. It seemed he was trying at first, but he was still intent on finding the cheetahs (which we never did find that morning). We passed buffalo and giraffes, but the guide said he didn't want to stop as the more time we delayed, the less likely we would find the cheetahs.
Part of the problem with six people is the different interests. Two of the others didn't seem to care what they saw. One man was extremely interested in the tracking, and was content to sit for half an hour at a time while the guide and tracker were "tracking" several times during the drive. We again spoke to the camp managers at mid-day break. This time one of the mangers, Moses, really thought about the problem and came up with a creative solution. Instead of going on the afternoon game drive with the same guide, we went on the motorboat that was picking up four guests that had been out all day on a walk and drive. Moses came with us as a guide, since all the other guides were busy. It was wonderful - no great sightings, but a very relaxing afternoon becoming familiar with the habitat along the Kwando River. We then returned with the other four guests who were leaving the next day.
The next morning we went on a game drive with our new guide, Vundi and tracker/guide, A.T. They were fantastic - they understood that we enjoyed watching the game and taking photos. Vundi was great at finding locations to take great photos. For the rest of the drives, there were only four of us in the vehicle and Vundi and A.T. were wonderful is finding out all our interests and taking us on fantastic game drives. Moses continued to check with us that everything was working out well. Moses certainly solved the problems we initailly had, and Lagoon ended up being a great experience (except for the first two drives). Our experience was also enhanced by the helpfulness of Grace.
We enjoyed the location of the camp. seeing elephants and hippos across the river, and elephants right in the camp. The facilities are lovely - we understand Lagoon Camp was recently renovated. The food was very good, and the dining and bar areas very enjoyable. Although we were initially disappointed, our stay at Lagoon Camp ended up being great, thanks to Moses, Vundi and A.T.
Lagoon Camp review
Lagoon camp was our third of the trip and was slightly bigger than the first two with nine tents compared to five but this did not reduce the homely feel to the place. The tents had recently been renovated and were more like big chalets with separate areas for sleeping, dressing and bathroom. The room overlooked the lagoon, was bright and airy inside and was the only one of the trip which was not on stilts. This led to interesting and exciting walks to and from the social areas due to regular encounters with the resident elephants.
All the staff were friendly and helpful, but more responsibility appeared to be put on to the guide (serving drinks, charging batteries etc) at this camp compared to the other camps. The food and service of, was comparable to Little Kwara.
Activities were based around game drives and a possible boat ride / fishing if all guests on the jeep preferred. Our guiding team of Vundi and James were very friendly and informative and put in a great deal of much appreciated effort to ensure all guests were happy and looked after. The camp was full throughout our stay resulting in a full jeep for game drives which made the drives a touch uncomfortable due to the lack of space on the vehicle (no spare middle seats for camera bags etc). Fortunately all the guests on our vehicle had one ambition which was to see wild dogs. Vundi and James, through sheer determination and great skill, more than satisfied everyone's wishes.
The terrain where the dogs were found, was very thick shrub, with little in the way of game except for the odd elephant, impala and birds and nearly two full game drives was spent off road searching. This made these two drives very tiring but through persistence and the amazing tracking skills of the guiding team (how you can track something heading in a direction, but you cannot head in that direction due to the denseness of the flora and still find the animal is beyond me!) led to a fantastic sighting of the dogs interacting with each other. To top this off we then went back in the afternoon and saw them hunting, therefore a huge thanks goes to our guiding team for these three drives alone. The other drives were equally exciting and good sightings were to be found, but the last drive highlighted how keen Vundi was to show us something different. Three cheetah had been spotted two hours away and if we sacrificed breakfast we would have time to go see them before catching our plane. Before we arrived the cheetahs had brought down an ostrich, so we experienced the interaction of the three brothers feeding on a cheetah which was certainly different.
In summary, Lagoon camp was an amazing experience and easily surpassed our expectations, a guide can make or break a stay and Vundi (both in an out of camp) certainly enhanced what was already an unbelieveable trip.
Lagoon Camp review
It is impossible to say enough about this beautiful, luxurious camp.
We enjoyed every minute of the stay, saw lots of game, our tent was as big as a house, and the food and service ws excellent. This was our first camp. What a great introduction to Botswana.
Lagoon Camp review
Here again, the camp facilities were unnecessarily luxurious. We certainly did not need as much space as our unit provided. We would gladly have traded fancy facilities for better guiding.
Thabo seemed knowledgeable enough, but we and the other couple in our vehicle (experienced safari go-ers) agreed on our first full day out that we had never been on a game drive on which we saw so little in the way of game. We joked that Thabo must be afraid of elephants given his skill in avoiding any sightings of them. We did have better sightings of variety of animals on the game drive on the morning of our departure.
The highlight of the camp for us was the river cruise. It was not that game was so visible from the boat (save for many hippos and quite a few birds), but just that the scenery was entrancing and the trip (with our very congenial vehicle-sharers) very relaxing.
Lagoon Camp review
Not a lot of wildlife due to the first rain
Lagoon Camp review
A very friendly camp. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here. The facilities were good, the driver and guide excellent and the location perfect. We have read that the tents are rather close together but that did not trouble us. The food and drink was very acceptable considering this is a bush camp. We had very good game viewing and were impressed by the driver and tracker skills and knowledge.
In common with all the camps the driver and tracker tend to concentrate on big game and to ignore birds and smaller wildlife at times which we would often be interested in also. If there was a chance of tracking a lion or leopard they tended to ignore everything else, but we think this is what most visitors probably want.
Having just four people to a truck was good. We also really enjoyed the sundowners!