Machaba Camp

Reviews of Machaba Camp

Excellent(91%) From 30 travellers
Excellent
22
Good
5
Average
2
Poor
0
Terrible
1
Below are independent comments from 30 of our travellers who have visited Machaba Camp, and have kindly agreed to share their thoughts.

They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Mr B from Basel
Arrived on: 21-Jul-2016 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Great place to start a safari

We really enjoyed our stay at Machaba and it was a great place to start our safari. The game around the camp was excellent, with lions, a leopard, wild dogs, hippos, elephants, giraffe and much more (including a mongoose!). The Kwai concession is quite busy, with lots of camps and self drivers (but we were expecting this and sometimes it helps to find exciting sightings).

The camp is run as a very slick operation, with good staff and guides. The rooms are very comfortable, although the shower was not as good as some of the other places we stayed. The food was very tasty and incredibly plentiful!

The only downside to Machaba for us was that it felt a little more "corporate" than some of the more relaxed camps.

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Mr & Mrs H from Oxon
Arrived on: 2-May-2016 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

3 night stay

Great camp - enjoyed the canvas tents and the closeness to wilderness. Guide was experienced - Albert - and did a good job of keeping us engaged on game drives.

Particular mention must go the camp manager Elke and her husband Shaun together with Jake - very skilled at blending different guests together and making this a particularly social experience.

Great TLC when arriving in camp "under the weather". Watching elephants in the river from outside our room - perfect.

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Mr d from Penrith
Arrived on: 27-Apr-2016 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Wonderful introduction to Botswana wildlife

Warm welcome by staff. Nice to mix with different nationalities in camp. Good variation of wildlife on game drives. We have already expressed our concerns about intrusive chasing of a lion. Very happy with our guide Albert and the attention given by other staff.

From the camp write-up & speaking to Expert Africa we had expected to have inter-action/a visit to the nearby community and were disappointed to be told it was something not normally done.

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Prof E from Grahamstown
Arrived on: 19-Mar-2016 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Loved Machaba

Our family loved Machaba Camp!

As a family of five, our choices were limited, but we couldn't have been happier with Machaba. We had the elegance of 'glamping' but the convenience of family in the family tent. It was superbly designed and provided enough space and privacy for us all. The meals were superb and we felt very taken care of as vegetarians.

My children loved our guide (we all did) and we had the best luck with animals (leopard kill, hyenas, etc). The best part was the service of the staff, who were - to a one - excellent.

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Mrs C from Tring
Arrived on: 19-Mar-2016 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Wow. Wonderful

What a camp. Management and staff amazing.

Food good. They organized a dinner out in the open.

Excellent safaries. We saw a leopard every day and even tracked one. They got us home late if we were tracking an animal.

Good accomodation but needed a mostiquo net, as I got bitten quite badly and holes in tent where zip broken that let in animals and water.

Bed amazing, big and comfortable

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The H Family from Germany
Arrived on: 18-Sep-2015 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Wild dogs & leopards every day !!!

The camp is beautiful located at the river - all tents have river view and we saw elephants along (and in) that river passing the camp every day.

The management around Elcke makes an excellent job like all members of the staff we've met.: We always had the feeling of being part of a big family. The tents are spacious and clean and have all you need incl. power 24/7 for charging batteries. There is a nice plunge pool perfect for cooling down during the siesta (temperature in late September at noon were about 35-40°C !!!) and watching the passing elephants. The food was good and varied.

The game drives were amazing: We saw wild dogs and leopards every day and sometimes several times at different places. One morning we saw the wild dog pack of 7 strong adults at a kill (we must have missed that only a few minutes ago) and a hyena and a leopard close-by looking for leftovers. The Khwai area is a concession and so it's allowed to drive off-road - a real big advantage to the National Parks like Moremi and Chobe !!!. So we were able to follow the dogs and also one leopard when hunting and many sightings would have been impossible without leaving the roads. We didn't see lions but that is the reason why this area is well known for good sightings of dogs and leopards!

After saying all this it's needless to mention that our guide Moreri was a very good one. With him we did not only have spectacular sightings and action - he also showed us patience when one evening (the sun was already going down, lights getting low) staying more than one hour in the middle of nothing in front of a hyena den. But then we had one of the most touching moments of this trip: a only few weeks old hyena cub appeared and started to weep, cry and shout for its mother - incredibly noisy and bloodcurdling in the (apart of this) total silence of the upcoming night. And then we became witnesses of the meeting of mother and cub with playing, suckling ....

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Mrs P from Alderley Edge
Arrived on: 21-Aug-2015 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

A very special place full of surprises

We have wonderful memories from this camp. The staff worked harder than anywhere else we visited to make every guest's experience special. The bush dinner was spectacular and Shaun's method of under-chair heating a triumph!

Meals were varied and very well cooked: vegetables not overcooked, meat perfectly judged. The room was spacious, the bed super comfy.
There were several children in the camp and they seemed to be having a wonderful time despite the lack of technology!

Our guide was skilled at manoeuvring in to good positions for close views of the wildlife. The presence of so many other vehicles does detract a little from the experience but is not within the camp's control At times we felt our guide stayed too long at a sighting. Even our fellow guests who were avid photographers had had enough on one occasion and told the guide we were ready to move on. His reply that he was"doing something" i.e. adjusting his camera, did not endear him to us!

Thoroughly enjoyed the mokoro trip.

The manager, Elcke, is a superb hostess. She went to considerable lengths to arrange a trauma nurse to fly in to check the injury I received in an accident at the previous camp at a time which didn't interfere with my day's activities. Her energy seemed boundless and I was in awe of her ability to look after all the guests and staff. Machaba does indeed seem like a family!

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Mr D from London
Arrived on: 2-Jun-2015 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Average
Average
Location:
Average
Average
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Poor
Poor
Facilities:
Good
Good

Very Stylish... Slightly less substance...

This was our third and final camp on our safari and in many ways wish we'd stayed here first on the basis that this camp is possibly more suited to an overnight respite from travelling rather than a safari location in its own right.

To start with the positives, the decor and facilities here are very good - everything is tastefully decorated and very much has a luxury feel. The tents felt very secure, even though we were very remote, and the location itself was fantastic with numerous animals passing through, making for excellent viewing. The food here was possibly the best we had in any of the places we stayed on the trip.

Unfortunately the quality of the game drives and activities here did not meet expectations for a number of reasons. Foremost, the format here provides one guide per vehicle only - there were no trackers to assist the location of wildlife and this put sole responsibility on the driver. In itself this lends towards being problematic, however, in this instance we don't believe our guide was able or willing to locate animals through tracking himself and relied solely on the radio contact with other safari vehicles. This meant that we spent the majority of our drives driving on the parks roads waiting to see what our 'luck' brought.

One example in particular, one morning we found fresh cheetah tracks and attempted to track the animal; however after a short time our guide announced that the cheetah had disappeared. The other guests in the car with us were safari professionals on holiday, and insisted that the tracks were fresh. Based on their knowledge we should have been able to find this and were disappointed when we ultimately drove on.

Aside from this, we felt this camp places more emphasis on appearing high-end than delivering real value. Whilst out on a drive one morning, we chanced upon a leopard stalking a herd of red lechwe and were happy to sit and watch to see the outcome of the hunt. Unfortunately the stakeout was peppered with requests from camp to return back as some newer guests needed picking up from the airstrip and all other vehicles were committed to a picnic elsewhere. In fairness to the guide, he fought our case for us after we insisted that we wanted to stay - however the repeated interruption was distracting both to us and the animal and a source of frustration.

A final example was on our third day when we opted to stay in camp and not do a game drive. We had been told by one of the staff that there were 5 male lions in the camp, but if we stayed in the bar area with the senior staff we'd be perfectly safe. However, after about an hour we noticed that the bar area had emptied and that we were completely on our own. We began walking back to or tent and passed the staff quarters where we were met by one of the back-of-house who appeared shocked that we were on own when 5 lions were in the camp. The staff really looked after us and made sure that we were safe here, but the senior team were no where to be seen. As it turns out, they had gone on their own safari in our 'spare' vehicle.

We wouldn't normally write a long review and want to make it clear that not all aspects of Macahba were negative. We did manage to see some great game just sitting by the bar area and the facilities were lovely as were the staff. All in all the stay here was adequate we enjoyed our time, however we wouldn't stay here again in the future.

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Expert Africa comments

We were very sorry to hear these travellers didn’t enjoy their time at Machaba as much as we would have expected. We have followed up on this feedback with the camp who came back to us in detail addressing the issues within their feedback.

First of all it is quite unusual for camps in Botswana to operate with both a guide and a tracker, in fact there are only a couple of operators in Botswana who do. Most use just one guide who both drives the vehicle as well as doing the tracking. We are sorry this wasn’t clear to the guests before they travelled.

The guides certainly should not be relying on radio usage in order to locate animals. Machaba were sorry that this was the travellers experience at Machaba and explained that this is something that they shall take further with the guiding team. Management explained that this was a real ‘bug bear’ that they intended to follow up on.

Having investigated further with regard to the cheetah tracks, Machaba explained that the guide followed the tracks for a short time, however that in this instance the cheetah had moved into the mopane. They explained that once in the mopane animals become extremely hard to track and it was decided that in this instance it was not going to be possible to catch up with the cheetah. However Machaba acknowledge the reason for abandoning the search should have been communicated with guests better so as to avoid these misunderstandings in future and give guests a clear idea of what is happening and why.

We can completely understand the travellers frustration with regard to their viewing being interrupted while watching a leopard stalking! Machaba commented that the standard is for a spare vehicle to pick up late arrivals from the airstrip and do a link up with their ranger and vehicle. However at no stage should any guests game drives be interfered with. Managers have been informed that alternative plans must be made in future rather than pressuring a guide to return to camp.

We were very worried to hear that the guests had been left in camp by themselves with lion roaming close by. Upon further investigation Machaba commented that the spare game vehicle was taken by the assistant manager Richard to check where the lions were moving too, apparently they had been near the pool area but were on the move, and the assistant manager took the vehicle to see that they were moving off from the camp.

The other managers were apparently in camp doing their morning chores at the time. They were very sorry that the guests felt that they were left in the main area by themselves. The camp acknowledges that there should have been a much clearer line of communication regarding what was happening, rather then being left to their own devices. The managers have been instructed that guest are to be kept in the loop at all times and clearly communicated with.

Expert Africa is really appreciative for this constructive and detailed feedback as were the owners of Machaba. They have responded swiftly and decisively and we are confident that they have taken these matters seriously.

Ms R from London
Arrived on: 23-May-2015 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Fantastic safari at Machaba Camp

Fantastic experience, getting the balance between informal and luxury just right. It's luxurious and sustainable at the same time. We had possibly the best stay anywhere here... food was fantastic, although not somewhere you want to go for dieting! Set on the bank of the Kwai river, you're able to eat your food while Elephants stroll past and Hippos grunt at you. Truly memorable.

The safari experience was out of this world. Small groups, excellent guides who get to know what you're after quickly too. So with three nights and 2 Cheetahs, 4 Leopards, 7 Lions plus a pack of Wild Dogs it was truly exceptional. Easily the best safari experience of our trip - we were lucky with the Cheetahs though as some guides who'd been there over two year hadn't seen them before. Fantastic for photography too!

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Mr & Mrs S from Colorado
Arrived on: 3-Nov-2014 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Good

Machaba Camp review

Machaba was so good even at the time we said that our experience would be complete even after 3 adys. Sean our gude could spot aand expalin things at high level. NOthing was to small to spot. The camp workers did all they could to show us a grear time and that they enjoyed us being there.

Highest praise for the tents and fresh meals and service and abundance of wildlife.

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