Reviews of Lebala Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Locally managed, relaxed, great wildlife
This camp reminded me a bit of Nkwali in its communal feel and animal life. It is relaxed, which made it a favorite of mine, but may not have the sophistication that other people may seek. I also really liked the fact that everyone was local as opposed to having a non-African serve as the lodge face to guests. This was unique across all the lodges with the exception of Puku Ridge.
Lodge and Room
The lodge is located in a fairly open area. Elephants and hippos will occasionally come into camp. More often, a parade of elephants will pass by daily but at a bit of a distance.
There is a fire pit where people hang out and comfortably chit chat with the camp manager and guides.
Meals are eaten communally and were very good.
The rooms are huge with a big bathtub inside and a shower outside. I had a bit of trouble with the shower. It was either scolding hot or freezing cold. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get the adjustments to work. Also, it was unseasonably cold so they didn't have their hot water bottles available. This meant the bed could be quite cold at night. The room and it's view was beautiful though.
This was the only lodge where I couldn't charge my equipment in the room. There were plenty of plugs in the main area though so it wasn't really an inconvenience.
Wildlife and Guide
Wildlife was plentiful, the greatest concentration I experienced in Botswana. We saw leopards, lions, wild dogs as well as the more common animals and birds. The lion prides were in the open with a good number of them (both males and females). The wild dogs had a litter of 13 puppies (across 3 moms) and they were adorable. We even saw ostriches. Roger, our guide, went to great lengths to ensure our drives were successful.
Lebala Camp review
Our family enjoyed Lebala. Good variety of game. Neat to see a honey badger during the day (very rare, I think) and we enjoyed the wild dog pack and their puppies. Sorry not to see any leopards tho'!
Lots of elephant coming past and through the camp each day. The guides and staff did a reat job, but not quite as polished as Kwetsani.
Lebala Camp review
This camp was in a totally different environment to Kwara but equally enjoyable. There was always a hearty welcome back to the camp and very hospitable staff. Wonderfully entertained (on request) by the camp staff, with traditional singing and dancing and a whole lot of fun. The accommodation was second to none, with everything we could wish for. Such a pity we'd only booked two nights. Special thanks to Partner and Shoes. Partners knowledge of the sky at night was awesome, particularly as he was self taught. We also enjoyed another fabulous experience with them; travelling over 5 kms in approximately an hour and following a wild dog hunt in the setting sun. Truly Amazing and although we didn't see the kill it culminated in a rare sighting of aardwolf - an exhilerating experience. Another wonderful camp.Read more about the whole safari
Amazing start to six nights in Botswana - Rooms comfortable, only negative lack of hot water morning/evening but believe they are changing the water system - it really didn't spoil stay, just had a shower during day.
Baits and Beaumont (Guide and Tracker) fantastic and we even saw leopard on first drive!
Highlight of a three camp safari
We saw more game here than at either of the other two camps. Bait (guide) and Borman (spotter) were very knowledgeable and articulate and were very keen to show us a very wide range of wild-life and flora, even astronomy!. Can't praise them too highly.
We were very fortunate to be the first group to see pups emerge at the wild dog dens, and our guides were as excited as we were.
Camp very well run, we felt very welcome and the staff entertained us with singing and dancing in the evenings - and very good they were too.
Lebala Camp; all singing and dancing
On our way from light aircraft to camp, our guide (Tabo) asked us what hadn't we seen yet. We said wildebeest; he said give me 5 seconds and we turned a corner to see a herd by a waterhole. Warm greeting by manager. Beautiful arrangement of towels on our bed. All staff seem keen to have the opportunity to interact with guests here, culminating in a wonderful half-hour impromptu performance of Setswana singing and dancing before our evening meal. A truly uplifting experience.
This was our second camp and gave us the opportunity to see larger herds of animals. The highlight was seeing a group of wild dogs, near to their den. They had just eaten and the blood on their coats was very evident. Tabo and his tracker (Bomen) gave us ample time to observe and take photos from within 3 to 10 metres. Our first observation of lilac breasted roller, in my view the most beautiful bird in Botswana. When close to a large group of elephants, Tabo explained that what might seem threatening to us, was just posturing (eg mock charges).
On the evening drive, we had close viewing of two male lions (brothers). The setting sun coloured their manes as they relaxed, seemingly unperturbed in front of us. We finished the day being joined by a group of elephants around a water hole for sundowners. Early on the second morning, we were just about to board our vehicle, when the camp manager, spotted a lion moving through the grass, away from the camp. (Later there was amusing banter between her and the guides.) We quickly went in pursuit and caught up with the same pair of lions. This time we were able to observe them moving through long grass and between stubby trees, again from a short distance away.
Saw our first herd of buffalo, for me the most challenging group to get a well composed photo of. A group of 5 Marabou stork around a small water hole. These birds have real character. Each in turn glided from one side to the other which enabled the chance for photos in flight. Great "photo shoot" with a pair of wildebeest. Like two fashion models, striking poses, giving artistic shots. Small group of impala attached to a female kudu, using her as a lookout for danger. Later, same morning a group of 5 lions. Two adult females and 3 six month old youngsters. They were hunting. We waited with them, in case a potential meal came by. After a while a small group of warthog did come close, but the lions did not pursue. Our guide said the warthogs had seen them. The lions then relaxed and we got great close-up images of group resting on a termite mound. Hippo in water hole and giraffe and wildebeest close by while we had morning coffee. Back to camp then off to plane to transfer to next camp.
great safari at lebala camp
spacious and well planned room here with more natural light, great views
food here was the best of everywhere, thanks to the ever smiling Mr Gee who clearly loves his work
game drives with BallyRaja and Mr Mo were fun filled exciting and varied, night drives in particular. it was obvious they care and love their work...the concern for the damage done to the few remaining ancient baobob trees and possible solutions out of their remit, the welfare of the wild dog packs, the sightings themselves. felt safe and confident with them both, from the hippo next to the tent to the puncture in the dark when following a jackal
Amazing sightings of predators
It was our last camp and given we had seen and done so many amazing things before, we thought we could not be more "wahoued"... And we were wrong.
We had an incredible experience following a pack of wild dogs in their hunt. Chasing hyenas and hunting down/eating warthogs.
We departed Kesane airport on a 13 passenger Cessna Grand Caravan for the 45 minute flight to Lebela. Lebala and its sister camp, Lagoon, are very well run by Kwando Safaris. Lebala looks over a grass field with a small creek running in front of the camp. Our Guide Paul and tracker Oti were incredibly good - we asked that we keep Paul and Oti for Lagoon and our wish was granted. Without a doubt the days at Lebala and Lagoon were the best of our 4 camp trip (the other two being Wilderness Safari's Kwetsani and Chitabe Lediba camps).
At the Lebala camp we had a hippo close by our "tent" that snorted periodically during the night. On the first outing in the arrival afternoon Paul and Oti spotted leopard tracks and shortly thereafter we spotted a female attempting to get the interest of a male. We spent the next hour observing the two of them including a fling on a large tree. Oti then spotted another leopard on a tree munching away at an impala that had been hoisted up the tree to keep it away from hyenas - there was a hyena at the bottom of the tree anxiously awaiting a morsel. The sundowners were perfect with our preferred drinks and great nibbles.
The next morning Oti spotted wild dog tracks and we were off to find them. After about 1/2 hour we came upon the 8 dog pack having laid down for the day. We observed for some time and Paul called in the other jeeps. In the afternoon Oti spotted lioness tracks and shortly thereafter we found two lionesses lounging after a full meal. Paul then proceeded to discuss their habits and how they were part of a pride that roamed the area. Paul then took us to see elephants, zebras, and scores of other animals. The meals at Lebala were good homemade fares with plenty of South African wines.
The next morning we loaded up our bags and proceeded for the transfer to Lagoon by safari jeep. A few minutes into the ride there was a lot of exited talk on the radio and Paul let us know they spotted two lionesses and three cubs chasing warthogs. We went where they were and saw the two cubs attempting to catch a couple of warthogs and missing them. One of the lionesses did catch one warthog and all four proceeded to much on the morning catch. We then proceeded to Lagoon camp.
Lebala Camp review
Lebala was the perfect marriage of delightful accommodations, a stunning setting, experienced staff, and a real emphasis on spotting game. While the atmosphere was very laid back and relaxed on the one hand, there was an underlying current that we were all there with a real purpose... to experience wildlife... and they were going to make it happen. Our guide, Partner, and tracker, Mr. More, were professional, incredibly persistent, extraordinarily talented, and extremely personable.
We especially enjoyed the schedule at Lebala which had some flexibility if you were "on the trail" and also included some time every evening spotlighting where we saw our only cerval and African wild cat of the trip.
We had so many highlights-great animal siteings including 2 prides of 2 female lions and 3 cubs, a beautiful mother leopard, 2 male cheetah, a herd of 30 elephants grazing/swimming off our front porch, sundowners watching the whole sky turn sherbet colors with a hippo to entertain us, painted wild dogs, driving through the bush with the smell of wild sage and excitement in the air, wonderful food (loved the folded animals napkins), and good company and conversation with the staff and fellow guests. There is nothing, honestly, I would have changed.
It was, in my wildest imagination, just what I thought a safari camp in Botswana might offer- an extraordinary, exhilarating experience staring mother nature!