Reviews of Lebala Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
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.
Fantastic time at Labala camp
Labala was the first camp of our trip and we couldn't have wished for a warmer welcome. All the staff were friendly and approachable and couldn't be more helpful. The atmosphere is relaxed and not too regimented, the guides are very knowledgeable and were really focused on giving us the most enjoyable game drives.
The camp itself showed some minor signs of age, with a little wear and tear here and there, but this did not detract from our stay at all.
In at the deep end at Lebala
For the pleasurable task of introducing some of my family to safari for the first time, I turned to Kwando, at three of whose camps I and my partner had experienced fabulous safaris in the past.
We were not disappointed. One of the animals on our 'tick list' that had eluded us on our previous visits - wild dog - we encountered on our first drive - all 26 of them! Thereafter, our insightful and immensely tolerant guides Bali and Boman proved excellent keyholders to the Linyanti's bounty and each drive provided a colourful and/or dramatic example for the 'newbies'.
The accommodation and food were first rate, with my partner and I feeling very much at home in the more 'trad' accented lodges. There was always a visitor or two round the tents at night, including an elephant who must have been a frustrated landscape gardener.
The staff were charming and infinitely patient with a nephew displaying residual ADD-like tendencies and I'm sure they sailed through their Dept of Tourism checks that were happening the day after we left!
Lebala Camp review
Huge, comfortable tents, friendly staff and great game drives.
We were lucky in that there were a maximum of 6 guests while we were there and it had a very relaxed and intimate feel. It might be different when the camp is full. Our guide (Bate) and tracker (OT) were excellent.
We were lucky to be there on Botswana's independence Day and we were treated as part of the family and included in the celebrations.
Brilliant stay at Lebala
Our first experience of such a remote location - exhilarating. Game drives found lion, buffalo and elephant in numbers and one evening followed two lions chasing a large herd of buffalo. Our guide, Bait, was excellent and made the game drives varied and interesting, ably assisted by his tracker, TT.
Jessica, BK, Mox and Peggy and all the staff were marvellous, really made us welcome and comfortable. One night we had elephants sleeping next to our tent, very noisy and somewhat alarming. But exciting!
Jessica presented us with a card and a gift for our 30th wedding anniversary, which wasn't until the day after we were to leave Lebala. a lovely thought, I shall treasure the book with happy memories.
The food at Lebala was top-class, can't say how much we enjoyed it.
One disappointment is that on our first night the generator ran all night, and at night in the African bush a generator makes a mighty noise, blotting out all you might expect to hear from night time noises, and keeping us awake. We were told it was for a guest who needed to run breathing apparatus all night. Jessica was in an unenviable position of facing complaints from some guests or potentially a dead guest in the morning. Fortunately for us this guest left the next day. But I was surprised to find that such an arrangement had been made, which meant everyone in the camp was disturbed all night. It is not what one goes to remote sites for. Kwando Safaris, please note.
Lebala Camp review
The camp was more basic than the other 2 we went to - no wooden walkways - just tracks to the cabins.
The facilities were not as good - no provision of robes or slippers.
We didn't get a safety briefing before our first game drive (perhaps they assumed all safety aspects had been covered at the previous camp - but they should have still gone over safety issues)
The floor in shower was wooden and polished. It was very slippery when wet.
Great stay at Lebala!
Everyone at Lebala really went out of their way to make our stay a memorable one, and they succeeded! Co-managers Jessica and BK are truly doing a great job at this camp. Top marks for the whole staff for their friendliness and genuine hospitality! The singing and dancing on our last night will remain with us as one of the best memories of our trip!
We loved the camp's setting; very cosy rooms and those nice little touches to make us feel welcome. Lunch and dinner were always delicious, with plenty of choice of fresh vegetables and fruits. Our guide was Jacob and our tracker AT. These guys really worked very hard to give us the best safari experience: wonderful leopard and lion sightings, and to top it of, we saw a caracal ! Jacob is an extremely knowledgable and most entertaining guide. We truly enjoyed his tales buy the campfire!
Some points for improvement:
- early breakfast: not enough porridge for all the guests, and not much else to choose from.
- they might consider
a) moving the power generator out a bit further from the guest tents or
b) getting a more silent model.
We were in room 2, and it sounded like the power generator was standing right next to us, and it produced the sound of 10 heavy trucks. On our last night, the generator had to stay on all night because of one of the other guest's health issues, which is, of course, understandable, but it resulted in us not getting any sleep at all.
Anyway, we would absolutely love to go back to Lebala one day (but in a room further from the power generator...) !
Lebala Camp review
We did not initially feel as welcome at Lebala as we had at Little Kwara, probably not helped by the slightly larger size of the camp and our not receiving a camp-level induction/orientation on arrival. But our doubts were completely dispelled by the next morning, when we got to know our guide Jacko and our tracker Bowman better (with apologies to both for incorrect spelling) and had an admittedly long and bumpy drive to see the wild dogs and their puppies (who had moved closer to Lagoon).
Jacko and Bowman were endlessly knowledgeable and good humoured, and thanks to their dedication we had some marvellous sightings, which included fascinating lion/lion and lion/buffalo interactions. We were also lucky with night driving at Lebala, managing for example to see an aardwolf and its young as well as a charming baby porcupine.
During our stay we felt that a higher management profile would perhaps have helped the atmosphere gel better particularly over dinner but overall we had a fantastic time at this beautiful and unpretentious camp.