Lebala Camp

Reviews of Lebala Camp

Excellent(95%) From 154 travellers
Excellent
119
Good
30
Average
5
Poor
0
Terrible
0
Below are independent comments from 154 of our travellers who have visited Lebala Camp, and have kindly agreed to share their thoughts.

They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Ms N - San Francisco
Arrived on: 29-Aug-2017 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Average
Average
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Average
Average
Facilities:
Good
Good

Least Favorite Camp - Lebala

Lebala Camp was our last favorite of the 4 camps we visited. It felt the least authentic and warm. Our guide had limited engagement during the drives and it seemed like he was mostly on a mission to find animals and not as interested in sharing stories behind the game, camp, land etc.

We strongly preferred Little Kwara of the Kwando camps over Lebala Camp.

Read more about the whole safari
Lawrence from London
Arrived on: 21-Jun-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent

Lebala Camp review

Lovely camp.

The only slight negative was that the veranda was facing the sun and it was too hot to sit out in the afternoon. But apart from this minor comment, the camp was excellent with friendly staff and good trackers and guides.

Read more about the whole safari
Ms K. from Oakland
Arrived on: 11-Jun-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Amazing!

This camp provided a different experience than the others we visited.

The camp is in a beautiful setting and the tents are fantastic. Wildlife is present, though presents more of a challenge to spot given the size of the roaming area.

That said, we saw nearly everything we saw in other locations.

Staff and guides were tremendous.

Read more about the whole safari
Mrs H. from Basingstoke
Arrived on: 10-Jun-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Average
Average
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Good
Good

Stunning location

Lebala is set in the middle of a huge flat plain covered in tall grass with hidden water channels all around. Visiting in June the mornings felt the coldest here, especially with the outdoor-only showers. (The bath took for ever to run a few inches of water). This felt the most remote camp we stayed at with no electricity at night and the strange noise of screaming spurfowl next to our cabin during the night adding to the more usual sounds of hippos and elephants sploshing past.

This camp had the least happy atmosphere and least user-friendly management out of the 4 we visited on this trip. There was little fun at meal times and both morning and afternoon activities seemed to end as promptly as possible.

The food was less good here than at the other camps we stayed at. Our first dinner was a slice of fried hallumi followed by very tough beef casserole followed by one slice of fried banana. No coffee with wake-up call.

We were disappointed to be 6 in a vehicle with a group of four friends. It was impossible to hear the guide from the back.

Due to the location activities were limited to game drives. The grass was too long to be able to see anything on a walk. We loved the scenery at Lebala; beautiful open spaces then groups of trees and tranquil water holes. Although we didn't see any big cats here, we loved the views of large numbers of elephants including lots of tiny babies, mixed groups of zebra, wildebeest, tsessebe, impala and giraffe and a sighting of 2 male sable antelope. We also watched a pack of wild dogs which other guests saw later with a kill. I was pleased to miss that bit! Also lovely views of swallow-tailed bee-eaters. Some of the loveliest views of our trip.

Our guide was professional and knowledgeable but with the encouragement of our fellow guests spent too long near a female elephant with a calf, encouraging her to repeatedly trumpet and mock charge again and again. She was clearly distressed by us. Racing flat out for sundowners seemed a daily ritual. Night drives seemed half hearted, although perhaps the long grass limited our chances of seeing much.

Read more about the whole safari
Mrs C. from Southwest USA
Arrived on: 29-May-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Average
Average
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Average
Average
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Good animals

I've been to Lebala before - I pass these comments along to you from the perspective of a former tour operator and experienced Botswana traveler. I've not been to Botswana since early 2002, and I was shocked at how much it had changed. Perhaps I was not prepared enough myself, and I was dismayed. My favorite thing about the Kwando camps was the flexibility of the guides and activities in terms of animal viewing. If that philosophy still exists, it is no longer apparent. The grass was still long, so walks were actively discouraged, which is fine, but there was no alternative offered and no indication that the game drive schedule wasn't fixed.

First let me say that the concession at Lebala is too small by far. They don't appear to have a good relationship with Selinda at the moment, so it severely limited our movements and viewing. We saw all the other vehicles on every single drive; often using the same coffee or sundowner spot. In the evenings on the way back to camp after sundowners, all the vehicles would be on the same road heading into camp with their spotlights about 70 meters apart. (I realize this sounds nit-picky, but these are the kinds of things tour operators should be made aware of.) The effects of poaching were apparent this close to the Namibian border as the elephants were very skittish and aggressive. (Obviously not the fault of Kwando, but something to be aware of if the focus is elephants.)

At both the Kwando camps the guides were so focused on getting good light for a photo that they were not respectful of the flight distance of the animals. We would approach this amazing sight of a hyena or a kudu, and the guide would drive around it so much trying to get it into good light for photos that the animal would flee. I understand the importance of photos, but theres not much point of getting good light on an animal that is running away. This happened so often - literally at almost every sighting that I found myself asking the guide to stop farther away just so the first-timers could see the animals not running away. It was incredibly frustrating and it seemed the guides had no concept of flight distance. When we did have a good sighting in good light, the guides rarely asked if the photos were finished or the group was ready before moving along. Many times they would start the vehicle while we still had cameras up or were happily watching the animals. I think you can chalk this up to lack of experience from the guides.

One instance at Lebala I feel I must share because it was the most shocking thing that happened. We'd come across a lion pride the night before and had a good view of them feeding on a carcass. (We ended up leaving before we were ready in order to get back to the lodge for dinner - which was disappointing, and not at all what I expected from Kwando.) The next evening the lions were picked up again right on the Selinda border, and off the Kwando concession. Rather than let it go and make the most of the drive with other animals, our guide parked in a clearing - explaining to us that there were only 3 cars allowed at the sighting and so we must wait in line. Then he proceeded to argue with the Selinda guide over the radio fighting to get to the lions. We killed time sitting in a vehicle with the sun going down listening to the guide alternately negotiating with Selinda, gossiping with the tracker, and complaining to us that they should let us get in there before the sun went down and we lost the light. Eventually we did get to see the lions - for about 10 minutes just as the sun went down. Then the guide said we must leave because we were off the concession. From there we skipped sun downers and headed back to camp.

I was fuming. Why not just say the lions were gone and move on? Why not go have sun downers until a spot opened up? Why would you involve guests in the politics of concession rights?? This was so unprofessional and disappointing. It seems that the demand for guides is so high now that they don't receive the training necessary and the schools are turning out lower quality guides. (The tracking skills were fine - it was the inter-personal stuff that needs work)

I found this to be true overall of both the guides at Kwando. That said, I must tell you that the guides were delightful people and did work hard for us. They were very friendly and warm, but they lacked that polish. Again - perhaps this is nit-picky, and perhaps it was only apparent to me because I knew what it could be like (and still is down in the Sabi-Sand reserves...) Two of the people of my group most enjoyed Lebala and our guide there.

The camp itself is stunning - highest class accommodations and comfort. Food was incredible, staff was amazing. Tents are WAY too close together and we heard literally every single word coming from the tents on either side.

Read more about the whole safari

Expert Africa comments

We passed on this feedback to Kwando Safaris and this was their response:

Offering flexibility with regard to activities is still absolutely a key part of Kwando’s ethos and we are disappointed and so sorry to hear that this was not reflected in the guest's recent experience with us. During orientation the managers will outline a typical stay’s activities, but they should also have explained that the programme is flexible according to the group’s needs. As part of our follow up with the camp it would be extremely helpful to know if these guests suggested any alternative arrangements during their stay.

With regard to the walking, we did receive specific instructions on the booking from Expert Africa that these guests “Do not want to walk”. It is true that the grass at Lebala is long at the moment following the extremely heavy rains that occurred between January and April. As the guests observed, there is plentiful general game and we are sure that the grazers will soon reduce the length of the grasses. That said, if the guests had changed their minds about wanting to walk we could have organised a shorter activity near to the camp, or around some of the pans. Usually this would be explained during orientation, but perhaps it was not given the usual amount of attention given the instructions that the camp received on the booking form about no walking.

The Kwando concession on which Lebala is situated is approximately half a million acres which is split roughly in half for Lagoon and Lebala game drives. It is therefore an extremely large area and it should be possible for guests to enjoy their activities without bumping into other vehicles. Of course, in order to maximise wildlife viewing, guides do radio sightings into each other so that all guests have equal chance to see the animals and perhaps this is what caused the other vehicles to be sighted? Sundowner spots should always be private and we will speak to the guides about ensuring that this is the case. With regard to the elephants, it is very hard to generalise. Many of the elephants in the concession at the moment have moved up from the south and are very relaxed with the vehicles.

Kwando does specialise in photographic safaris and our guides always try to be thoughtful with their positioning with this in mind. Photographers will often complain if this is not the case. It is a shame that in their efforts to get better light the animals were startled and I have asked our guide coordinator to reassess the guides in question to ensure that they are striking the correct balance in this regard. It is good that the guest spoke to the guide so that he could better understand the specific needs of the group; it would be useful to know if this aspect of the drives improved afterwards. The guide should always check that the guests are happy to move on from the sighting and we apologise that this was not consistently the case. The guests were guided by Balemetse (Bale) who has been with Kwando since 2009 so is an experienced guide who generally receives very good comments however the guide coordinator, who happened to be in the same camp as him today, has already discussed with him the issues raised so that he can learn from the feedback.

We were very concerned to hear the feedback on the lion incident, and would like to thank this guest for making us aware of this highly unusual incident. First of all, with regard to the previous night’s sighting, the guests should have been allowed all the time that they wanted with the lions. It is usually regarded as a strength of Kwando that we are flexible with our mealtimes in order to maximise sightings and we apologise that this did not seem to happen in this instance. It would be useful for our follow up if the guests actually asked the guide if they could continue at the sighting rather than head back for dinner, although we acknowledge that this should ideally have been proactively offered as an option.

Although the whole region is unfenced, we do strictly observe the boundaries with our neighbours; this is a good practice which means that animals are not overly disturbed. Furthermore, we have a legal obligation to stay within our borders, so breaking this rule is treated as a serious misconduct, subject to disciplinary action for the guides and trackers involved. Therefore when the lions moved across the boundary the guide should have explained that the sighting was no longer possible and left it at that. We agree with the guests comments that this situation could have been handled much better and apologise that the situation even occurred. We have already made a full follow up with the guide Bale who admits that he made a big mistake by trying to continue with the sighting, although he genuinely wanted to be able to show the lions to the guests.

We are very pleased to hear that despite the earlier observations these guests found many positive aspects regarding their guide and tracker at Lebala and that for some of the group they were the favourite guides of their trip. We have passed this on as encouragement to Bale.

We are pleased to hear that your clients enjoyed Lebala camp itself and that they were able to rate many aspects of their stay as “Excellent”. This is consistent with their guest comment book entries.

Miss R - Kent
Arrived on: 9-Nov-2016 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Another excellent visit to Lebala

This is my sixth visit to this camp and it will certainly not be my last.

Standards continue to be very high and the new manager has made some changes. No details because it will spoil the surprise. I elected for a private vehicle and I was looked after solicitously by Jacko and GT.

We discussed each day what we would do, and we had some excellent game sightings.

Read more about the whole safari
Ms L. from Minneapolis
Arrived on: 13-Oct-2016 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Lebala Camp review

This lodge was exceptional in every way.

The staff made everything fun. They were so engaging and playful. The guide with a tracker was an exciting experience. The singing of the staff brought us to tears as it was so warm and let us share in the culture a bit. This was probably our favorite for its atmosphere.

Les and opie were an energy that was penetrating and fun.

Read more about the whole safari
Mr & Mrs S from Oxford
Arrived on: 3-Oct-2016 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Good
Good

Lebala Camp Review

Lebala is a sister camp to Lagoon and offers similarly very high quality rooms.

We felt, however, the location was not quite as good as Lagoon as it is much drier. However, it is still very worthwhile a visit.

The only major negative of our time there was that we were really quite unimpressed by the guide that was allocated to us. He was quite uncommunicative and, unlike most of the other guides in the other camps, lacked enthusiasm and certainly didn't express any particular interest in his guests!!!

Two nights here following 2 nights at Lagoon word well.

Read more about the whole safari
Miss G - Hertfordshire
Arrived on: 10-Sep-2016 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

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.

Read more about the whole safari
Mrs. L - Basingstoke
Arrived on: 10-Sep-2016 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

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.

Read more about the whole safari