Reviews of Machaba Camp
Wildlife sightings and reviews
31 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Machaba Camp and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"Machaba Camp review"
Our guide Kitso was excellent and looked after us extremely well throughout our stay. He was very knowledgeable and worked hard to ensure that we had many wonderful wildlife encounters. His tracking skills were amazing and we saw a large number of animals, birds, and reptiles. We enjoyed a trip on a Mokoro.
A great place to stay." See all these reviews: 9n in Botswana
"Machaba Camp Review"
Moreri was an excellent guide. Sean was an excellent manager/front of house.
Really nice surprise BBQ dinner in the bush.
Fabulous wildlife sightings. Downside is the number of other vehicles and self drivers around but we felt the excellent wildlife offset the negatives of a busier area.
Good combination of individual breakfast and lunch dining and then communal dinners." See all these reviews: 8n in Botswana; 3n in Rwanda; 1n in Kenya; 1n in South Africa
"Great place to start a safari"
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." See all these reviews: 11n in Botswana
"3 night stay"
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." See all these reviews: 6n in Botswana; 5n in Mozambique; 3n in Zambia; 1n in South Africa
"Wonderful introduction to Botswana wildlife"
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." See all these reviews: 9n in Botswana; 2n in Zimbabwe
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" See all these reviews: 9n in Botswana; 3n in Zimbabwe
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." See all these reviews: 5n in Botswana; 3n in Zimbabwe
"Wild dogs & leopards 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 ...." See all these reviews: 15n in Botswana
"A very special place full of surprises"
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!" See all these reviews: 15n in Botswana
"Very Stylish... Slightly less substance..."
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." See all these reviews: 9n in Botswana
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.
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