Reviews of Lebala Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Great Safaris at Lebala Camp
A lovely camp in a dryer part, but nevertheless, interesting part of the concession.
Lovely, friendly staff who, together with the Managers, Action and Violet, went out of their way to make our wedding anniversary a wonderful and very special evening which we will always remember.
Our thanks also go to our guide, Bate, and tracker Ngarko, who provided us with some excellent game drives.
Brilliant stay at Lebala
Lebala was absolutely lovely. Rooms were a really good size and design with gauze netted walls so no mosquito nets were required.The camp was run really well and the food was amazing, we always seemed to be eating some delicious homemade cake or dish and you could never go hungry here. All the staff were first class.
Bate and Nalgo were our guide and tracker who were briliant. There are several different types of terrain around Lebala which made for interesting game drives and we really liked having both guide and tracker which not all camps have as their tracking paid off with some lovely sightings.
After 2 nights in Lebala's sister camp, Lagoon, around 30kms away, I spent 3 nights in Lebala. As with Lagoon, the quality of the experience in Lebala was outstanding. The rooms are very nicely appointed with outdoor showers, a deck overlooking the plains in front of the camp, and loads of space. The walls are mostly a mosquito netting type material, which allows you to look out into the plains and up to the stars at night from your bed. A really nice touch, particularly when the plains are so constantly alive with the echoes and cries of animals throughout the night. The camp also has a small plunge pool, which was very nice during the break over lunch between game drives when it was very hot.
On my first game drive back to Lebala from the 'half way point' (to Lagoon), Ishmal and Mr More (our guide and tracker) impressively managed to spot a leopard running in the bush some distance away. Over the following 45mins or so, we were able to spend some very enjoyable, quiet time right next to it. A very nice introduction to Lebala! Their eagle eyes were generally very impressive, with another leopard spotted up a tree on a later game drive, as well as lions (we had a price of 19 lions on the final day), hyenas, jackals, a huge variety of birds, etc.
On a couple of afternoons, we had sundowners in a truly majestic setting, known as 'Twin Pools' (for memory), which is a huge open savannah full of elephants (100+ on one of the nights), zebras, wildebeest, etc. So beautiful and tranquil. For one of the dinners, the camp organized a lantern-lit dinner away from the camp buildings, right next to the open plain, complete with a campfire apero and BBQ. The memory of that night will live on in my memory for a long time. Everybody loved it. The quality of food at Lebala, generally, was unbelievably good, a real highlight. As was the service and attentiveness of the management and all staff (Action/Violet, Hobbs, etc).
Overall, assessing the all-round experience, I would say this camp just edged it as my favourite of my 3-week long safari.
I very much liked the room I was assigned, far from the main lodge, nestled amongst the trees and frequented by much wildlife, including bushbuck, elephants, and hippos at night. The food was good and plentiful, and everything was very well organised, and I enjoyed the company of the other guests.
I also enjoyed the flexibility of being able to take brunch at your convenience, not having to dine with fellow guests at a specified time.
The highlight was the fantastic game drives. Our experienced tracker, Mr More, was excellent, showing such dedication. One morning we spent nearly two hours tracking leopard; very interesting watching him at work, with his determination to find the leopard clearly visible. And his perseverance was rewarded with a sighting of a 7-month old leopard cub.
Other highlights included observing wild dogs interact with the elephant herds, time spent with the wild dog puppies, and spotting a herd of sable antelope.
Lebala Camp review
Warm and enthusiastic hosts. Great guiding. Great food.Read more about the whole safari
Our main desire here was to see African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus). We were not disappointed. One day when hunted with them and the next we saw their den and the pups being fed. Our guide was knowledgable.
The only concern was driving safety. While chasing the dogs it became a bit of Mr. Toad's wild ride, especially for those in the last seats. We were violently bounced around. We still were glad to have gone on the chase, but we suggest that if at possible passengers move forward in the vehicle and wear seatbelts.
The staff was wonderful.
Dynamic Game Drive To Be Found Nowhere Else
Feedback by Hitoshi E.
1 Real Excitement: Pursuing wild dogs in their hunt was really exciting--a National Geographic experience. Both the driver and the tracker are professionals. I have never seen such an army like hunting by animals.
2 Professional Operation: Using my iPhone relying on faint 3G signals from a nearby Namibian base station, I called Chris [Ed: At Expert Africa] in London to ask him to change the camp for our next night stay. It was just a short conversation and my English was not perfect. But he got the picture of our situation correctly and arranged my request perfectly even if it was at night. I thank you all - not only Chris but also the local staff members who cooperated. I was amazed at such perfect operations done in Africa.
To be improved: Nothing special
Feedback by Kazuko Enda
In Lebala, we only had two safaris (reason described later), but they were very good ones. I was glad to see the wild dogs in their den with 15 puppies! The chase after the dogs hunting for a zebra (who escaped) was a roller-coaster experience.
Here’s a note on some special situation we had in Lebala:
When we flew to Lebala, we saw a big smoke rising from the ground (later found it was from the burning of fields in Namibia). The air was hazy and thick with the smell of fire. This concerned us gravely because my husband has a lung disease. He then called the Expert Africa’s emergency number and asked them to put us in another camp. It was a Saturday night. The next morning, we were out in the field for a morning safari. Then the camp manger radioed our guide to tell us that all the arrangements had been made for us to move to Little Kwara. We hopped on the airplane to Kwara at 11 am. We were simply amazed at the entire operation. How efficient! We were also deeply grateful for everyone who tried to meet our request—Chris, camp manager, and the driver who sped up the jeep so that we could catch the airplane.
2nd camp at Lebala
Accommodation and location not as good as Lagoon. Tents a little too close together. Missed being near water.
Great encounters with leopard, wild dogs, giraffe and large herd of elephants.
One evening, the staff entertained us with singing and dancing - most enjoyable.
Wonderful Safari at Lebala Camp
We spent two nights in early June at Lebala Camp. This was an excellent continuation after Kwara and Lagoon Camps, giving us overall a far more rewarding safari camp and wildlife experience in Botswana than we had expected. There was a large and varied quantity of wildlife, both animals and colorful birds.
As the Expert Africa review noted, guides are readily willing to look for and stop for photos of all sorts of animals and birds, and not just chase after wild dogs and other predators. This worked out well for us, as all the guests in our vehicle wanted to see and photograph as much variety as possible. It’s just important to let the guide know your interests, and perhaps work out a compromise with other guests in the vehicle.
We transferred via road from Lagoon to Lebala, switching vehicles at mid-point. This worked out well, as we didn’t miss our morning game drive.
Guide Bali and tracker Voter were very good. We sometimes had to ask our guide to stop for photographs, which he readily did, putting the vehicle in the best location for the angle of the sun. We were never rushed to move along.
Camp managers and staff were very friendly, and we appreciated that the guides and managers joined the guests for sit-down meals. We liked the family style dining, which allowed plenty of time to chat with other guests. Flexible brunch and dinner times accommodated the game drives, since we didn’t have to leave a photo op just to hurry back to camp for a meal.
We really enjoyed African singing and dancing shows by the staff, which showcased local music. The staff was extremely talented, and it seemed that everyone participated. These were highlights of our time in camp.
Lagoon was a small camp (8 tents) which met precisely our wishes for an intimate African experience. Food and accommodations were excellent in all respects.
One issue was ants, throughout our tent (#5). Although the staff sprayed our room, it didn’t help. They then put some sort of candle-like device, which helped a little. Don’t know if they eventually solved the problem; hope so.
Highlights: watching a curious leopard cub on a termite mound waiting for its mother to return; the precious moment when mom and sibling returned and the waiting cub was called to join her; a pair of curious young hyenas who thoroughly investigated our vehicles (and the shoes of our tracker sitting on the fender); following a gorgeous leopard strolling through the bush; large elephant herd at a waterhole; nighttime encounter with a lioness; elephant munching on a tree next to our tent at midnight; African sunsets.
We also stayed at sister camps Kwara and Lagoon, and the following comments apply equally to them.
The safari vehicles were well designed, with (relatively) easy access, canvas tops (removable), and very few support poles to interfere with photography. Only six passengers were allowed, giving everyone a "window seat", extremely important to us.
The same guides and trackers remained with us throughout our stay, from pickup at the air strip to delivery for the return flight. This added a great deal to the safari experience, as guides came to know what guests were interested in, and which game areas were best to meet guest interests. It also allowed us to get to know our guide and tracker better.
Having both a guide and a tracker measurably improved the safari experience, as the guide could concentrate on driving, especially off-road, while the tracker spotted the wildlife. When trying to find an animal, it couldn't have been done effectively without the tracker to watch for paw prints in the sand.
Night drives took place after the sundowners, en route back to camp. Pickings were sparse, but we were pleased to see the occasional nocturnal predator.
We really appreciated "bush babies" (hot water bottles) on the early, cold morning drives. They were also provided in the evening for our beds, as the nights were quite chilly (maybe cold better describes the temps). We brought several layers of light jackets and sweaters, plus knit caps and gloves, taking them off as the morning wore on, and putting them back on after the sun set. We had back packs which worked well to carry all these items of clothing, plus camera gear and whatever.
Laundry service was efficient, which meant that we could have left some clothes at home, and not have stuffed our duffels quite so full.
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our time at Lagoon Camp and would readily return. Three nights wouild have been better than two, allowing more time to relax and additional game drives.
Lebala Camp Review
Our second Kwando camp and we recognised the corporate approach from Little Kwara. We began really well with an amazing encounter with around 150 elephants on our way to the camp from the air strip. Our guide, Hobbs, was a one-off, with his own distinctive style, and Diesel was the best tracker we encountered on the trip. The accommodation was very spacious, with two showers and two wash hand basins and the bed was once again huge and very comfortable. The food was good and the bar was well stocked.
Hobbs responded quickly and efficiently to our request to search for wild dogs, and organised food to enable us to stay out as long as it took to find them. This involved driving to the neighbouring concession of Lagoon (also Kwando), where we were delighted to locate a group of 6 young males - the first time I had seen wild dogs in several visits to different parts of Africa. However, we were reminded that game viewing is often a matter of luck when we and the other vehicles spent a fruitless day and a bit trying to track and locate a pride of lionesses and cubs who succeeded in staying out of sight. Our activities were limited to game drives as walking was considered too dangerous due to the length of the grass 0 which we understood.
Several lovely surprises were laid on for the guests - sundowners set up beside a pan full of hippos, and a wonderful dinner set up in the open, under the stars and beside a big fire, which involved the staff in a lot of extra work, but was much appreciated by the guests.