Reviews of Lebala Camp
Wildlife sightings and reviews
174 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Lebala Camp and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"Least Favorite Camp - Lebala "
We strongly preferred Little Kwara of the Kwando camps over Lebala Camp. " See all these reviews: 9n in Zimbabwe; 5n in Botswana
"Lebala Camp review"
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." See all these reviews: 6n in Botswana; 3n in Zimbabwe
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." See all these reviews: 9n in Botswana
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.
" See all these reviews: 12n in Botswana
"Good animals "
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. " See all these reviews: 9n in Botswana; 5n in South Africa; 2n in Zimbabwe
"Another excellent visit to Lebala"
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." See all these reviews: 7n in Botswana
"Lebala Camp review"
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." See all these reviews: 10n in Botswana; 3n in Zimbabwe
"Lebala Camp Review"
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." See all these reviews: 13n in Botswana; 4n in Zambia
"Great Safaris at Lebala Camp"
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." See all these reviews: 12n in Botswana
"Brilliant stay at Lebala"
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." See all these reviews: 8n in Botswana; 3n in Zimbabwe
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