Reviews of Lebala Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Leopards at Lebala Camp
We were greeted at the airstrip by our guide 'K' and tracker, 'Shoes' - sorry we don't know the correct spelling - but the names were easy to remember! They were great guys and we had a lot of fun in their company for 3 days.
At the lodge we were met Olga who supplied us with refreshing towels after our journey and the manager Charles, who gave us a welcome talk about the camp facilities and activities. We found Charles to be a great host and nothing was too much trouble.
The camp is on an island surrounded by a deep channel and we soon noticed the grunting noises of the Hippos which live all around and wander through the camp day and night. The elephants too are constant visitors and we saw many of these during our stay at Lebala. We saw lots of other game too - buffalo,wildebeest,giraffe,impala,spotted hyena,warthog to name a few - but our overriding memory is a special encounter with two leopards very close up after they had killed an impala. The male leopard kept the kill all to himself, only leaving the scraps for the female. We watched them one night until the sun went down and returned the next morning for more - K and Shoes did everything they could to get us very close to these beautiful creatures by driving through the bushes backwards and forwards for the best views. We were only a few feet away - amazing! We got some great photos and video.
The camp staff and cooks were fantastic, the food was gorgeous and lots of variety to choose from. 'G' was great at mealtimes and kept us entertained - he had a constant battle with the cheeky birds who would try to steal anything without a cover ( even these were pecked off sometimes)! The guides joined us for meals and this was great for us to get to know a bit about themselves and their families as well as discussing the days events etc.
There are 8 tents and the camp was full with lots of different nationalities which was interesting, we got to know each other around the campfire and at mealtimes and were able to swap stories! The tents were large and well equipped (even had an electric socket) the bed was comfy and we were pleased to have 3 blankets as the nights were very cold, especially the last one when the wind blew through the thin walls! Thanks to the staff who supplied 'bush babies' (hot water bottles) at night and also for the early morning drives - these were very much appreciated as were the blankets on the game drive vehicles!!
We had a lovely time at Lebala, thanks to Charles and his staff for a memorable stay.
Our second camp in Botswana - situated in a fantastic setting with views across an area of wetland with small fresh water channels running through. This gave good sightings of many rare wetland birds and also the opportunity of great photos of elephants which would cross the wetland daily, often stopping to drink directly in front of our room.
We saw 8 species of antelope and a night view of African wild cat, along with the usual sightings of elephants, giraffe, zebra and lion (which included a warthog kill.) By the time we left we were up to 120 different bird species including Secretary bird and Wattled Crane. Thank you to Play and Shoes our guide and tracker for focusing on these. They were always very keen to try and search for the more elusive sightings.
Very good food - Thanks to 'G' Great vegetarian choices. Charles the manager of the camp was an excellent host and always around to talk.
Lebala Camp review
Comments regarding game drives and food as per at Lagoon camp.
Particularly enjoyed the walk with our guide: the pace allows for a more detailed look at different aspects of the environment than can be considered when driving.
By transferring from Lagoon to Lebala via a game drive it did not feel like we were wasting time on mere "travel" - an unfortunate inevitability sometimes.
Still some disappointment regarding cat sightings - after 4 days of safari we had only had a very fleeting glimpse of a caracal disappearing into the distance.
Nice stay in Lebala
The guiding was not of the level you hope for with Kwando. We did have a good time.
The camp was excellent with very comfortable tents and very friendly staff.
Expert Africa comments
We usually think of enthusiastic tracking and guiding as being a hallmark of Kwando camps so this feedback disappointed us, especially as it followed on from a disappointing stay at Lagoon.
However, we have taken up these issues with Kwandos General Manager, Nicola, who apologised profusely and addressed the issues squarely. These travellers were very impressed with the response, and are looking forward to revisiting some of Kwandos camps in the near future.
A Wonderful Start
Excellent accommodation and good all round experience as a first stop in Botswana. Particularly enjoyed the bird and animal life there, which was all very accessible. Camp Manager, Charles, was our guide for one day, and he was particularly good.
Very much enjoyed the daily schedule of safari life - up early in the morning, regular good food and drinks, sometimes a quiet hour or two mid-day, and another trip out in late afternoon & evening.
We enjoyed the mix of company, both other guests and staff. We felt the safari experience was enhanced greatly by talking to local people about life in Botswana, and they seemed keen to hear about the UK too. Would advise visitors to enjoy absolutely everything on offer - not just big animals. Bird-life is fantastic, and at right time of year, no doubt insects, flowers and trees would be interesting too.
Accommodation - This was our first camp in the Delta (the others being Nxabega, Kwara and Sandibe) and we stayed here for 3 nights. Lebala is a lovely, luxurious camp - the individual tents are beautifully appointed and furnished - and Charles and the team make you feel very welcome and relaxed.
The friendly, all inclusive, approach is particularly evident at mealtimes - early breakfast is taken around the camp fire in the morning prior to going out on a game drive; and Brunch and Dinner, are both served with guests sat around a single long table. This gives you the chance to chat with different people and share experiences - which is very nice, especially if you are travelling on your own. But don't worry - nothing is forced on you, and there is plenty of opportunity for peaceful solitude and relaxing.
Wildlife - We were incredibly fortunate to see the Wild Dogs on our first 3 Game Drives in the Reserve. Currently there are 2 packs in the area - one pack of 11, led by an Alpha Female with a broken front leg; and one pack of 18. We saw both packs, and spent time with them as they relaxed in the sunshine - and also as one pack headed off one evening looking for food, and a place to settle for the night (this was an exciting drive in the Jeep, across rough terrain, as we tried to keep up with the pack).
As well as the usual array of Elephant, Giraffe, Hippo, Warthog, and various different Antelope species (including Red Lechwe and Tsessebe) we were fortunate to see a large group of elephant (probably 75 to 100 animals) crossing the river just in front of the Camp, after Brunch one day. We also saw a Honey Badger out foraging one morning which was also a treat - as these animals are less common, and consequently difficult to see.
The wildlife sightings are often much closer than in other parts of Africa, as the Drivers/Guides and Trackers take you off road. Note - we had both a Driver and a Tracker on every Game Drive, so you need to consider that when estimating the amount of cash required for tips.
A very good camp but after Kwala we did not find it as friendly and not the great atmosphere as Kwala. It was a bit more luxurious than Kwala but this was not what we were looking for. Our guides were good but not as good as Kwala and definitely not such a friendly atmosphere. However it was a good camp with fantastic sightings of leopards and wild dogs.
The biggest downside for us was the vehicles which, we think, need to be upgraded by the owners (they own Kwala as well). They were three abreast instead of three rows of two and had very hard suspension
Lebala Camp Safari
Another good Kwando operated camp ,nicely appointed with friendly,helpful staff ,good food and busier than Nxai Pan.We had two different guides and trackers over the 3 nights and being a private reserve did night drives and one short walk in the bush.Here we saw our only Lepoard sighting ; beneath the tree where its kill was hidden in the branches overhead .
We saw a herd of Buffalo crossing the river and had Ellies wandering outside our tent the first night and Hippos the next night who were noisily eating the Sausage Tree fruit practically on our verandah.......it sounded as if they were cracking skulls open! We also saw Roan Antelope here and Lions but although we tracked Wild Dogs furiously we never saw them.
The camp staff made traditional food for one dinner and entertained us with wonderful traditional singing and dancing.
Lebala Camp review
Lebala was another lovely camp. The tents are particularly nice here, being large and quite airy. Also appreciated the return of outdoor showers (both Kwando camps we visited had them). The common areas, while perfectly pleasant, werent quite as nice as the Kerr & Downey ones. Generally Kwando seemed to have nicer rooms while Kerr & Downey had nicer common areas. I think that Kwando should have reference books available, esp for birds. The food was very good - especially baked goods.
Game was variable. We were lucky enough to have a pack of wild dogs in the area (we didnt really realise at the time how rare this is) but on a few drives didnt really see much. But it's entirely possible that's the voice of a jaded safari-er at the tail end of her holiday!
Again I was very impressed by the staff who were uniformly pleasant, courteous, and competent. Our guide Kanawe and tracker Bowman were cheerful and knowledgeable company. Staff were a little more gregarious here than the other camps - perhaps they'd worked together longer.
Lebala Camp review
This camp was our favorite. I would have loved to stay another night. Our tracker and guide ( Play and Speedy ) were our favorite on the entire trip. We wish they could have followed us to the rest of the camps. We had so much fun on the drives. Educational, fun and comedian quality entertainment. The tents were extremely luxurious and comfortable.
My ONLY recommendation would be for a more powerful fan.