Khwai Bush Camp: Our full report
Nestled amongst mature sycamore and leadwood trees Khwai Bush Camp is located in Botswana’s Khwai Community ...... Concession and is separated from the Moremi Game Reserve by the Khwai River. Originally known as Tsaro Lodge (when it was owned by Hartely's Safaris), and then later Tsaro Elephant Camp, it was taken over in 2016 by the present owners and has since been refurbished into a relatively simple but very comfortable bush camp.
Khwai Bush Camp is small, intimate and independently owned. It is a relatively simple camp, a mere 15 minutes’ drive from its sibling, Khwai Tented Camp. We popped in for a very brief visit in November 2019 while staying at Khwai Tented Camp, so it was a little difficult to get a feel for the camp, but we would expect it to be run in a similar vein to its sister camp.
The camp itself overlooks the Khwai River and the wildlife-rich Moremi Game Reserve. The river is a big draw for wildlife, especially in the dry season,from May to October. Birdlife is abundant too and many species can be spotted in front of the camp. The surrounding area comprises various eco-systems – from forests to grasslands and meandering rivers –resulting in some of the best wildlife viewing in Botswana.
Khwai Bush Camp is one of the very few remaining camps in the Okavango region with a solid construction of stone or brick, though with their thatched roofs and cream-washed walls, the feel is very much in keeping with the setting. It has just six chalets, two of which are family chalets with two en-suite bedrooms. The chalets differ in layout but all are relatively contemporary in style: very pleasant and comfortable, if not overly luxurious.
Each chalet has a sheltered patio where with two comfortable chairs look onto the Khwai River. You enter through the lounge area, where a coffee table is surrounded by a sofa and armchairs and mats are scattered on the light, sand-coloured tiled floors.
The bedrooms feature twin beds or a large double with mosquito nets, a bedside table with reading lamp and a fan. In the bathroom you’ll find a his and hers sink and separate toilet, plus a shower which – depending on the chalet – may be open, without much privacy. A spacious wardrobe, in either the bedroom or bathroom, houses a safe, bug sprays and emergency foghorn.
In the main area, along with a spacious lounge, there’s a rather cosy dining room – though most meals are taken on the large deck in front – and a library that also houses the drinks cabinet. There is also a firepit, where pre- and post-dinner drinks can be enjoyed.
A little away is a small but inviting swimming pool. Surrounded by decking topped with tables and chairs, sunloungers and a well-stocked coolbox, it looks out onto a floodplain which, when flooded, is a hive of animal activity.
Activities at Khwai Bush Camp are varied, from game drives and walking safaris to birdwatching, mokoro trips (depending on water levels) and visits to Khwai village. This is an ordinary village that could well add a social perspective to your safari, but we stress that it's not a “tourist attraction”. Whether you visit the village or not, you'll see signs of its presence around North Gate.
Game drives from camp are conducted in both the Khwai Community Concession, where off-road driving and the use of spotlights are permitted, and the Moremi Game Reserve – where they are not. It's worth mentioning that both areas are visited by a number of camps on their game drives, and are also accessible to self-drivers, so both are generally busier than the private concessions in Botswana, especially between July and October.
Khwai Bush Camp is often combined with one of its sister camps further to the north: Linyanti Bush Camp or Linyanti Ebony.
Khwai Bush Camp is a very well run little camp with good guides, though with its solid-build structures and close proximity to Khwai village, it won’t suit everyone. However, it does offer some of the very best wildlife viewing in the Okavango region, especially in the dry season, between May and October.
- Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
- Ideal length of stay
- 3 nights
- A 25-minute flight from Maun to Khwai airstrip is followed by a 30-minute drive to camp.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- Although we have not yet stayed at Khwai Bush Camp, having only popped in for a visit in November 2019, we would expect the food to be very good, much like that of its sister camps, Linyanti Bush Camp or Linyanti Ebony.
- Dining style
- Group Meals
- Dining locations
- Outdoor Dining
- Drinks included
- Soft drinks, local beers and spirits and a limited selection of (usually) South African red and white wines are included. Champagne and imported wines and spirits cost extra and may need to be requested in advance. Tea- and coffee-making facilities are available in the main area during the day.
Each guest is usually given a water bottle, which can be filled from the filtered supply in the camp's main area. Each chalet has glasses with a flask of filtered drinking water, which is replenished daily.
- Attitude towards children
- Khwai Tented Camp welcomes children of all ages.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Children aged up to the age of 12 must share a tent with an adult.
Only children over 16 years will be able to join walking and mokoro activities, and even then, the final decision is always at the discretion of the camp manager and guide.
- Special activities & services
- There is a wide range of activities and guides will tailor these to the age of your children. In addition to game drives, these could include short nature walks in the vicinity of the camp and baking with the chef.
- 2 family chalets, each with two en-suite bedrooms
- Generally recommended for children
- Although the camp offers a few activities to keep children entertained during the day, and there is also a small pool, it is very open and dangerous wildlife is likely to pass through. We generally do not recommend it for children under the age of 14.
- This is a very open safari camp and dangerous wildlife is likely to pass through. Children must be under a parent's supervision at all times.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Khwai Bush Camp
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Khwai Bush Camp have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
- Power supply notes
- Back-up generator
- There is no direct phone or email from Khwai Bush Camp. Communication is maintained with safari vehicles, sister camps and the head office in Maun via radio. Some guests may pick up cellphone reception, as Khwai village is close by, but this is not always possible. There is also very weak, intermittent WiFi, which is best closest to the office and pool, but please do not bank on being able to access this as it is very unreliable.
- TV & radio
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- All bathrooms are fully plumbed with hot and cold running water and flushing toilets.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- The camp manager is trained in first aid. In an emergency, guests would usually be evacuated by air to the nearest hospital (Kasane, Maun or Johannesburg). However, please note that it is only possible to fly out of camp during daylight hours as the bush airstrips do not have any lighting at night.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- The camp is unfenced, and dangerous wildlife moves through, so guests are escorted to their tented rooms after dark. A safety talk is given on arrival. A “foghorns” is provided in each chalet to summon help in case of emergency.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers throughout camp and outside each chalet.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- A laundry service is included. Note that clothes are washed in a machine and sun-dried, so inclement weather may delay the usual same-day return.
- An electronic safe is provided in each chalet.
- Accepted payment on location
- As there is no curio shop there is essentially nothing to pay for here, but payment for any extras (such as premium-brand drinks) may be made in cash only; all major currencies are accepted.
Other lodges in Moremi Game Reserve
Alternative places to stay in this same area.
The Botswana Private Mobile Safari has no fixed location; it's exclusive to your group and comes with a top professional guide. Expect comfortable camping, great food, and a superb wildlife experience wherever you decide to go.
Xigera Safari Lodge
Located deep in Botswana's Okavango Delta, Xigera Camp normally focuses on mokoro excursions and motorboat trips, with 4WD game drives when water levels permit.
Overlooking the Khwai River to Moremi Game Reserve beyond, the classic Machaba Camp combines comfort with excellent game viewing.
Xakanaxa Camp is a well-established traditional camp beside a huge lagoon within the Moremi Game Reserve, with access to some superb game viewing.
Khwai Tented Camp
Khwai Tented Camp offers a traditional African safari experience, with very comfortable tented accommodation, in a fantastic game area north of the Moremi Game Reserve.
Smart, independent and well-run, Sable Alley overlooks a beautiful, hippo-filled lagoon within the diverse Khwai Private Reserve.
Okuti Camp has an innovative design and offers game drives and boat trips in a beautiful, game-rich part of Moremi Game Reserve.
Mombo is one of Botswana's most exclusive safari camps, set in a beautiful, remote location within the Moremi Game Reserve and with exceptional game densities.
Overlooking the Khwai River and Moremi Game Reserve beyond, Little Machaba is a classically designed camp with very comfortable tents in a great game-viewing area.
Chief's Camp is situated on Chief's Island, within the Okavango Delta's Moremi Game Reserve. Experience one of Botswana's top game-viewing areas by 4WD and mokoro.
Fairly rustic, and relatively inexpensive, Hyena Pan overlooks a natural waterhole that attracts an almost constant parade of animals.
Camp Moremi lies within the Moremi Game Reserve, in one of the best locations for game viewing in Botswana.
Situated in a private reserve close to Moremi Game Reserve, Skybeds offers a simple yet wonderful opportunity to sleep under the stars and watch wildlife from your bed.
One of Botswana's top safari camps, Little Mombo stands on the north side of Chief's Island, in the heart of the Okavango Delta's Moremi Game Reserve.
Tuludi is a brand new luxury camp, within the Khwai Private Reserve, built on a site under giant leadwood trees and overlooking the Okavango Delta floodplains.
The Jackal & Hide
The Jackal & Hide camp is located in the Khwai Private Reserve – which borders the Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe
Sango Safari Camp
Sango offers comfortable tented accommodation, without some of the frills often found in Botswana's camps, with an area that's scenic and gets excellent, consistent game sightings.
New for July 2023, Mokete has 9 luxurious tents, raised on platforms above the surrounding bush and offers an experience of the Kalahari Wilderness.
Khwai River Lodge
Khwai River Lodge is a luxurious and well-equipped safari camp, on the northern edge of Moremi Game Reserve. This area isn't exclusive, but it is beautiful and has excellent game.
Khwai Leadwood is a luxurious lodge located in the heart of the Khwai Community Concession, offering guests exceptional service, stunning scenery, and unforgettable wildlife experiences.