Reviews of Lebala Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Lebala camp was also very nice. We had a max of 4 people in our car and occasionally just the 2 of us. Our guide and tracker, Alex and Shooze, were excellent. The tracker and guide system seemed to work really well. We were lucky enough to see the wild dogs and their 9 puppies on a kill. We also saw a leopard very close up. They definitely tried their best to do whatever they could to make us happy.
I liked the open trucks much better than the covered trucks, despite getting mildly wet and a little bit hotter. The trucks at Lebala are pretty old, but I probably would not have noticed, if we had not gone to Kwara next. They apparently will be replaced at some time in the future. The camp is in a beautiful location.
The only problem at Lebala was that a trophy hunter stayed in the camp the first night we were there. He had chartered a helicopter to hunt in Zimbabwe. We are in a current battle in the states with trophy hunters, so the last thing I wanted to hear on my vacation were hunting stories about animlas I would love to see in the wild. I understand that Botswana and the other African countries probably still need hunting revenue to help with consevervation (kill to conserve, the lesser of two evils) and there are concessions in Botswana which allow hunting, but it really ruined my first night there and would have ruined the rest, if he had not left.
I preferred the open trucks with Kwando and really enjoyed our drivers and trackers at both camps, but I don't think I can return to Kwando camps if there is even a small chance hunters will be in the camps. I do not agree with multipurpose camps. It is way too depressing.
Expert Africa comments
There’s no hunting on the Kwando Reserve. Photographic tourism has effectively replaced hunting on Kwando, as it has on many of Botswana’s photographic areas. That’s something we celebrate! Tourism has played a huge part in this change and visits to wildlife areas like Kwando by our travellers, and others like them, ensures that the shift from trophy hunting to photographic safaris is long term.
Expert Africa have never, and will never, arrange hunting trips; we don’t support it in any way. However, we can’t ‘vet’ travellers who are sent by other tour operators to the camps that we use. We understand that the person who upset this guest was on a photographic holiday at Lebala Camp; but another part of their trip was a hunting trip in Zimbabwe. Upon realising that this person was a trophy hunter, the managers at Lebala Camp arranged a private vehicle for him and his party, understanding that his views would also not be appreciated by other guests.
As with anywhere, different people hold different views. A very small number may have views that others find offensive, or pursue topics of conversation, or pastimes, which upset others. We’re really sorry about the serious effect of this, but we can’t predict who fellow guests will be at any camp in Africa. Incidents like this are thankfully very rare; certainly most of our travellers have a clear ethic in favour of conservation and development – and we do our best to encourage this where we can.
Lebala Camp review
The transfer from Jo'burg through Maun to Lebala worked as planned.
The staff at Lebala were all delightful and very helpful; special praise should go to our guide Tabu and to the Manager, Obi and Oscar. The facilities were excellent although the need for some minor repairs was evident and being addressed.
We saw Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Giraffe, Hippos and many birds and we got closer to the game here than at any other camp. Judy was especially impressed by the efforts the cooks made to provide her with fat-free food - including her own muffins for breakfast and exclusive dishes at other meals.
Hippos galore at Lebala
We certainly had an exciting start to our stay at Lebala. As we were being guided back to our tent on the first night, we were half way along the open path to the tents when we came to realise that there were hippos on both sides of us looming in the dark. Some very careful, quiet and decisive footwork and we all reached our tents safely, but it made us realise just how cautious you need to be, especially after dark.
Having water on three sides, the camp is very open and during our stay many hippos came out to graze around the tents at night. Don't expect to get a quiet night's sleep as they make the most amazing range of noises, but it's great to listen to them. Being woken in the dark by the deep rumble of an elephant only just the other side of the canvas was really amazing, if slightly scary!
The rooms/tents are very spacious, stylish, spotlessly clean and very comfortable. The only slight down-side is that all the walls are made from strong fly-screening material, with just thin curtains that are pulled around some of the walls at night. Whilst this is very pleasant in the day (and probably excellent when it's hot in the summer), I did feel that it gave less privacy when the light is on at night and when the temperature drops significantly at night, it can feel quite draughty.
Lebala Camp review
If I could give Lebala an Excellent Plus, I would. This tent camp, set in a more savannah type setting, was luxurious. The so called tents were really more like five star hotel rooms.
The staff was exceptionally friendly and helpful.The food was great and plentiful and there were lots of fruits and vegetables, which I appreciated. I celebrated my birthday at this camp and the staff bent over backwards to give me a real birthday surprise!
Our guide was Charles, the camp manager. He was unbelievably great! So knowledgeable and friendly and bold! He got us closer to the animals than any other guide. He drove hours out of the way so that we could see the wild dogs that were resting after a hunt at another camp. We saw herds of elephants, zebras, an enormous pride of lions and giraffes, zebra and cheetas. And we were so close to them that our pictures are National Geographic quality! Our entire trip to Africa was amazing, but we will always hold a special place in our hearts for Lebala.
Lebala Camp review
Lebala was wonderful too. Our guide Thabo was great and the staff were just amazing.
I had my birthday there and they made it into a very discreet but lovely celebration. Loved the hippos around and we saw lots of wildlife and great birds.
Unsuccessful leopard hunt!! but we did see the Cheetahs!!
Stunning lodge, amazing views and wonderful accomodation.
Although this was our fourth and final camp experience, our guide, Hector was able to share a wealth of interesting new information and knowledge which kept the whole experience fresh.
good game drive safari
Welcomed warmly when we arrived. Tent was very elegant but bed infested with ants on arrival and no water.
Both issues sorted out fairly quickly.
Helpful staff and interesting game drives
We loved Lebala
This was the best run camp we stayed in due to the superb management of Charles.
From our point of view the Night Drives went on about an hour too long( our age??)
The vehicles had seen better days, but we think they were getting new ones
We enjoyed our 4 nights at Lebala. Game wasn't always very plentiful - the guide (Hector) explained that movement of game has been different in the last couple of years since the Selinda Spillway has started flowing again. We had a similar experience in 2009 at Selinda. The good news at Lebala was that although the game was at times sparse, the individual sightings helped make up for that. We saw a coalition of 3 cheetah brothers who were wonderful, baby jackals, young lion cubs, hyena with a kill and a beautiful male leopard.
The rooms and public areas at the camp are nice but nowhere near as smart or polished as the WIlderness Camps that we stayed at. The tents are large but a little too close to each other for our liking. If your neighbours talked at even normal volume, you could hear them! We would have preferred a mosquito net around the bed as at other camps, especially as Lebala has a lot of mosquitos. The tents were not quite as clean and well maintained at other camps - small points but wobbly sinks, sticking sliding doors etc.
The staff were very good - friendly, helpful and willing to chat. They seem to be keen to keep vehicles as full as possible - we had 6 in our vehicle for much of our stay. This was a squeeze because the vehicles only have 2 rows of 3 spaces. Given that the camp was not full when we had a car of 6, we weren't sure why they didn't spread us out a bit as has happened at other camps.
Food was good, mostly quite simple but filling. Catering staff were lovely and always keen to chat which was nice.
Overall, we enjoyed Lebala - being outside in a lovely setting and seeing birds and animals was what we were there for and we weren't disappointed. Given the choice, we would probably choose to go to Selinda if we were in the area again because (though more expensive) it was a much nicer camp in our opinion. We've been a bit spoilt by our experiences at Wilderness Camps I think. Other guests who were only visiting Kwando Safari camps thought Lebala was fantastic and luxurious in comparison to what they'd experienced.
Lebala Camp review
Lebala was a perfect place to start our Botswana experience. Staff met us at the entry bridge with a refreshing drink, described how each day would flow, and escorted us to our tent for a several-hour siesta -- much welcomed after 2 nights on an airplane.
Their food was delicious and drinks were self-serve whenever we wanted. The gift shop features very nice motswana-made items. Game driver and outrider (perched on a seat just over the front left tire) made a superb team. These guys must be part eagle; their eyesight is quite amazing. Each tent includes bug spray both for body and for room space, and the outdoor shower was a delight. All the staff deserve a good review. They even invited me to radio them from our next camp so they could sing Happy Birthday to me over the radio!
Nights were full of animal noises, notably hippo grazing our lawn, glistening in the moonlight. For this I am happy to wake up and then look up to be awed by the vast richness of the African night sky.
We found the afternoon game drive lasting up to about 8pm followed by supper at 8:15/8:30 was a bit late and unproductive in terms of game spotting or viewing though being out in the fresh delta air is a wonderful thing. While our fellow camp guests provided very free and stimulating conversation during and after meals, we found ourselves heading down the path to bed right after eating because we were tired, thus going to bed with full tummies instead of having time for food to digest a bit. However, I understand that sometimes we had to be out late just to return from the far-flung corners of the Lebala concession where the guys had spotted big cats.
If it were up to Jim and me, we'd be heading out on game drives by 3:30, back in camp by 7 pm, eating by 7:30, and having time around the 'bush TV' (fire pit) for an hour before going off to tents. Other than this small schedule suggestion we absolutely loved Lebala and would certainly go back.