Reviews of Lagoon Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Lovely staff and great wildlife
There was a great deal to like at Lagoon. The tents ( though you can't really call them that) were huge. beautifully decorated and even included a very elegant bath. That it took nearly half an hour to fill and the water was the colour of weak tea didn't matter a bit! The outdoor deck overlooking the lagoon should have been an ideal place to spend the afternoon but there was no shade and it was in direct sun so we never got to sit out which was a shame. We were in Tent 9 - a good ten minutes walk down a dusty path from the dining room - so far it was know as 'staying in Namibia' by the staff, but it did mean it was very quiet and private, apart from the odd visiting elephant.
The staff were lovely - great fun and very good at anticipating what you might need before you realised you needed it. We enjoyed the food, from the morning porridge round the fire to dinner, preceded each night by a riddle. Whoever guessed it got served first! We liked the lunchtime and evening buffets with lots of very imaginative salads and vegetables, and one night, particularly delicious steak. We enjoyed eating at one big table with the guides. This camp had the widest mix of nationalities which made for interesting conversations.
Our guide Sugar, and his spotter Aaron, were excellent and made all the drives an adventure. We tracked lions, watched a leopard stalk a reedbuck, found a group of wild dogs but also spent time looking at the birds and smaller animals. After dark drives with the spotlight were exciting - though perhaps as a consequence of Aaron's killer G&Ts I personally didn't see much! The boat ride gave us a different view of the scenery though there was surprisingly few birds of animals around during our trip. But attempting to fish was fun , if unsuccessful.
Altogether a well run camp with a good informal atmosphere which we enjoyed very much.
Underwhelmed with Lagoon Camp
We found the welcome and service rather subdued at this camp with the management and staff, whilst polite, less enthusiastic than at other places (this was our fifth African safari/18th camp).
The location on the river is stunning and the tents huge and imposing; however we found them to be lacking in privacy. Due to not much vegetation/screening between a number of tents you can see straight through into the side windows and dressing area of your neighbours' tent. From the main dining area you can actually watch guests in room 2 moving around inside their tent! I believe this is not the case for all tents as some areas had more shrubbery between them. The decks have a glorious view of the river which some guests took full advantage of, but due to no shade/cover, they are in full sun throughout the afternoon making them too hot for us to relax - a shame.
After reporting a fault with the flush on our toilet we were told that it had been repaired only to discover that it was in the same state as when we reported it. There had indeed been an unsuccessful attempt to repair it. This happened another twice until one staff member uttered "You have to realise that that's as good as it can be out here". Well I'm afraid if all the other toilets are functioning efficiently and we're paying a great deal of money I don't expect to have to dismantle the toilet and stick my hand inside the cistern in order to make it work. After reporting it for the fourth time (trying to find a staff member during the rest period is a feat in itself) we were given the choice of moving into another room which is what we did - end of problem!
The highlight of our stay here was Sugar, our wonderful guide and James, our friendly and adept tracker. Even though there was not as much game around as elsewhere, they worked their hardest to find us some memorable sightings and made the drives most enjoyable. Sugar explained that after 17 years of denning at Lagoon the wild dog pack had recently moved away closer to Lebala and also that large numbers of elephants and other game would probably not start appearing until later on in the season as there was still enough water for them away from the river - that's nature and something one accepts. However we were lucky enough to see a pride of lions happily munching away on a new kill, lions drinking at a water hole, enjoy a close encounter with a calm herd of elephants (most others had been rather feisty!), and spent the last morning following a very obliging female leopard.
Fortuitusly we had booked a private guide and vehicle which meant that Sugar could drive at a slow and leisurely pace in order not to exacerbate my husband's back complaint. Sugar also kept us entertained back at camp joining us for meals and even having a go at making 'margaritas' - and pretty damn good they were too. Thank you Sugar !!
Expert Africa comments
Expert Africa was sorry to hear that Lagoon Camp didn't sparkle for these travellers as much as the other camps they visited.
We sent their comments to Kwando Safaris and they were really disappointed to hear that these travellers found the service and standards at Lagoon Camp to be less than what they, or indeed Kwando, would expect. They agreed that a move to a room with a functioning toilet should have been offered immediately, once it was realised that the problem could not be resolved with the spares available in camp.
They have apologised to these travellers for the inconvenience and Expert Africa feels confident that they have taken this feedback on board and that the team there can learn from it.
Kwando added that they were, however, delighted to hear that Sugar 'saved the day', and together with their time at Little Kwara, they understood what Kwando is meant to be about.
Lagoon Camp review
Our last stay and another fabulous camp. The location was different again but, as was the case with lebala,we could find no fault. Our guide and tracker, Matt and PK were so much fun with a very good sense of humour. The highlight of the Lagoon experience was on our last morning, when we watched a leopard, her cub and a very hungry hyena who was trying to steal her kill. The quintessential image of a leopard resting in a tree with her paws dangling, was there for the taking and our pleasure. As she took her catch from one at risk area to a safe place, and then returned for her cub while we in stunned silence, was simply the most real experience you could wish for and one that would be extremely rare to see again.Read more about the whole safari
Lagoon Camp review
This was a great introduction to going on safari! Fabulous location on the banks of the river. Could only have been improved by a bit more detail on safety arrangements at the start. Wild animals do come into the camp and a bit more advice and reassurance on what to do to keep oneself safe etc would have been helpful. We soon got the hang of it though! Even if one of our trips back to our lodge at night was interrupted by a baby hippo and mother! Our guide dealt with the situation calmly and skilfully.
Our stay was only marred by us both being ill one night - Jane in particular being sick a number of times - we think as a reaction to the anti malaria tablets. It meant we missed one evening river trip and a morning safari. The guides and trackers were excellent and found us some great animals and scenes to observe. They were very knowledgeable and skilled at their job.
Hospitality and food were excellent and the accommodation was of a very high standard.
Lions at Lagoon
Great "tent" in lovely surroundings. Very attentive staff and super meals. We would agree that the guides are very keen to show predators to the detriment of many other interesting birds and animals. The vehicles were as comfortable as could be expected on sandy tracks. The guide and tracker did tend to talk amongst themselves rather than to their passengers.
We were lucky to see a pangolin during the daytime and it caused great excitement among all the guides.
Our wedding anniversary coincided with our stay, and the staff made it very memorable.
Pangolin at Lagoon Camp
The camp is in a beautiful position on the Kwando River which forms the boundary between Botswana and Namibia.
We stayed in Room 7. An enormous room with a sunny verandah overlooking the lilies on the river. Rooms 7 and 8 are the farthest from the main area of the camp but they have the best position on the river. The luxurious bathroom has a huge roll top bath. A word of warning - plan well ahead for a bath, the water pressure is such that it takes about 3 hours to fill! As at Little Kwara, its sister camp, the food did not live up to expectations. However we did see 2 scops owlets in trees by the dining tent.
Paul was a superb guide. When we arrived he asked us what game we would particularly like to see. We said pangolin and honey badger. Paul pulled a face and said he hadn't seen a pangolin for over 2 years!
On our first drive we found a nomadic lion guarding a buffalo carcass being watched by hundreds of vultures in the trees. We watched as he fended off an increasing number of hyaenas patrolling around. Just after leaving the lion, in the dark, we had a flat tyre and all had to get out of the vehicle. Once back on the road we saw a serval and then a honey badger.
Lions were heard during our second night. The next morning we picked up the tracks of a lioness and her cubs, and found them with a large male kudu kill. Later we found the 2 dominant males of the pride sleeping in the shade. On the same drive we watched a large elephant family walking thru' marshy water. At one point as they got closer to our vehicle they all lifted up their trunks in unison to smell us and then trumpeted.
During the afternoon drive news came thru' that a pangolin had been spotted. We raced over to the other side of the Reserve and found it curled up motionless. It was a long time before it decided to move. We had just poured our sundowners (in the vehicle) when off it went. We stayed with it until it ran off into the bush.
Driving back to camp in the dark we found the 2 dominant males of the pride whom we had seen flaked out earlier. This time they were wide awake marking their territory; and roaring loudly in stereo. On our last game drive Paul found leopard tracks and spotted a female leopard up a tree. We followed her into the long grass. We could hear her calling her cub. Eventually they were reunited and we watched them playing together. It was a fitting ending to our safari trip.
On the Kwando River which we very much enjoyed. The rooms were beautiful and if only I had taken advantage of that bathtub! Loved the fact the baboons wandered through the camp.
Again, friendly staff and enjoyed our stay.
Kwando Lagoon Camp
The Kwando Lagoon Camp was directly on the Kwando River which then feeds into the Chobe River; and the accommodations were quite large and sumptuous. The bath and shower area was large with an outside private shower and a bath tub where you could relax and watch the river and the sun. The manager B.K. was very helpful and the chef Kim and her staff served delicious meals in a large open area.
The bed was huge and the front of the room had chairs to rest in after a busy day, and there was a balcony in the front where we would sometimes surprise a critter who then slid into the river.
This camp had wonderful food and lots of it. After our late afternoon drive, there was a fire pit where the guests would take their refreshments and talk about their day. This camp was not restricted to a National Park so when out on a game drive the guides would suddenly veer off through the bush if they spotted something we would like to see. The vehicles were large and held up to six people. We went on a river cruise where we saw elephants and hippos and other animals drinking at the river's edge. Lots of elephants! We enjoyed this camp very much.
Lovely layout at lush Lagoon
I know you come to see the flora and fauna, but the layout and design of this camp can't go without mention. Lagoon lies by the side of the Kwando river with views towards Namibia. There are a couple of shaded, decked areas with seating to look out over the river. The lodges, restaurant and bar area are all reed thatched buildings and have real character. As this was our 4th camp, we thought it would be a challenge for our guides to find something new. But we weren't to be disappointed.
First sighting of a Martial eagle, then introduced to a grey lori (also called the go-away bird) after its cry and apparent ability to warn animals of approaching humans. Our guides Carlos and Ishmael said in the past that hunters would shoot the bird then the game!! Another first, a gorgeous solitary Steenbok. Yellow-billed hornbills (knickname the flying banana) as well as the more usual red-billed variety provided our escort. Best group of giraffes so far, an imposing pair of tawny eagles and a lion with two cubs, these just 4 months old. So over 4 camps we have seen cubs at 3 different stages of development. At this camp in June, we did a lot of driving/tracking on the morning drive, with a more leisurely drive in the evening.
At breakfast, on a chilly morning, an elephant was wading half deep in the river by the camp. An experienced traveller (pilot and tour guide from Namibia said the elephant was crazy!!) Again, the changing light and various shades of grasses provided an artistic backdrop for a shot of a reedbuck. Also a beautiful small group of young, female waterbuck. Taken to the site of an elephants grave with numerous bones and a complete skull. Saw ostriches for the first time, then a great coffee break watching a group of some 20 elephants having a drinks break too. This group included a very cute baby, so young it could not yet use its trunk.
Woodpecker and black collared barbet on view in tree overlooking river in our camp, in early afternoon. Then later were pointed out an eagle owl, which to my mind was well covered by leaves/ branches. Again, our ever willing guides, positioned us so that we were able to get very clear shots for photos. Enormous monitor lizard lounging on a log, then giant and also pied kingfisher. As our final evening drew to a close, word came over the radio that a leopard was on the edge of our camp. Some exhilarating driving brought us back, then a quick glimpse of a leopard moving through the bushes near the camp entrance. We took up position, and using the headlights in the failing light, saw it emerge into full view.
It calmly strolled away from us and disappeared into the night. As we set out on our last morning, a couple of teenage elephants trumpeting at us as we passed between them. Our bags were brought straight to the airstrip with a packed lunch for a return flight to Maun, so that we made the best use of time. The final bit of excitement was driving fast alongside the runway to chase off a trio of wildebeest so that the plane could land safely.
wild dogs at Lagoon Camp
After the drama of Duba Plains Camp, Lagoon Camp was a little less exciting although there were a few experiences which made the stay far from pedestrian.
The highlight for us was the discovery of a wild dog den after bumping many miles over terrible roads. We arrived early and witnessed the dogs waking up and welcoming each other in anticipation of a hunt which sadly did not materialise on this occasion. However, it was great to be there watching them interact.
Another highlight was the arrival of three male cheetah into the area after a six month's absence. Again, it was great to follow these beautiful animals through an entire day as they relaxed and attempted to find prey, which, unfortunately, they failed to do. It was much more unfortunate, of course, from their perspective than from ours.
Sadly, we missed a highly dramatic encounter between hyenas and a male lion as the latter failed to protect its kill from the huge pack of scavengers.Those fortunate enough to witness it returned with tales of awe inspiring savagery. A case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, but that is the nature of the safari experience, I suppose.
We saw many other species, including a huge variety of bird life which never disappoints. On our final day, not long before our onward flight, we rushed to see the only leopard of our entire trip. I got one outstanding photo of the predator staring at us through the thick grass.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay at Lagoon Camp although the standards of catering, while adequate, were not in the same league as Duba Plains Camp.