Reviews of Chitabe Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Best Game Drives
Lack of proper management. Great guide OTZ (he gave us very insightful lectures about environment and ecosystems; wild life, etc...).
The food was horrible; too spicy and always far from European or American taste. And the coffee was not filtered but just the soluble stuff; terrible as well.
It was extremely cold at night and in the morning drives; I still do not understand why we could not leave a little later after the sun had come out; it is not that the schedules were that strictly kept. We were on vacation and the time schedule was insane. You cannot finish serving me dinner until past 10pm and expect me to be up at 5:30 next morning. Meal times were not kept. These opinions were shared by most of the people we met with there.
As it happened when we arrived in Little Vumbura, we skipped lunch that day and got to the camp at 1:30 (breakfast had been at 7:00 and usually consisted of just toasted bread) and although we were asked and told them we had not had any lunch, they said that tea would be at 3:30 and so we were given no other option but to wait. I found that quite unwelcoming. The tent was considerably smaller that little Vumbura and the amenities were not as good (bath robe, slippers...).
The laundry service was unacceptable: clothes came back stained and unpressed. And one of my blouses got misplaced and had to ask for it many times before it came back completely wrinkled. The two other camps laundry service was first class compared to this one.
Wildlife variety and abundance
Probably the best overall Camp, yet again the Manager was not forthcoming, or warm. You must remember from whence we have just come. Our guide, Anthony was most enjoyable, able and attentive.
We were made aware of a Lion Pride of seven, who had a successful Buffalo meal on Wednesday. On our first drive we came upon them enjoying the afternoon and experienced forty minutes of magnificently executed strategy to have another kill, a Giraffe. Many may not wish to witness such, however it is natural and the strategy execution and dance and admiring of success by the pride is most interesting. I named them the Magnificent Seven, after the famous movie.
Facilities are excellent and the hot water, tea in room at wake up a must. The availability of Mammal and Bird guides in the room is a plus for those afternoon note taking and relaxing.
The night drives are good, however difficult to post process red lights out of photo's. The animals safety, without doubt, is more important than the photos.
Again, wildlife around the walk ways makes it a never ending opportunity to enjoy. A Wildcat on tour deck at 2400, scouting the area near the Lagoon was a nice surprise.
Disappointed that the expectations of our metal water bottles was not deliverable. Ran Out. A quality Wilderness Safari Group Camp?
Going to forward to us, I will not hold my breath.
There is no doubt from our second visit and from what other visitors were saying at other camps that Chitabe is right at the top of the game viewing stakes. In our first 24 hours we saw lions, Leopards, wild dogs, cheetah and a herd of buffalo about a thousand strong. It doesn't get much better than that.
The camp in terms of service is well managed (but see my overall trip comments for a major concern) - it is owned by a separate company and has a few touches beyond the normal Wilderness feel. Our dietary requirements had not reached them but once told they were fantastic.
Amazing Game Viewing and Guiding at Chitabe
3 days at Chitabe provided our quintessential game viewing experience -- in 21 days enjoying African game parks.
The game was present and the guiding was committed, determined and successful -- we even experienced a 10 hour all-day drive [we were met with a bush lunch served with tables and chairs -- amazing]. On this particular drive we witnessed a cheetah spot, chase and kill an impala, saw leopard brothers guarding their kill tied in a tree, followed a pack of wild dogs through the bush on their hunt, observed a pride of lions from 2 meters, resting after their kill ... and more. We really appreciated our guide's high motivation and ability to deliver -- the guiding here is serious, and each group of guests felt they had the "best" guide -- quite a testament.
Accommodations were luxurious beyond expectations, food was delicious and almost too generous, staff and guides were very sociable and sophisticated, and our cultural evening, which included dances, was really appreciated. Exceeded all expectations.
Another great trip to Chitabe
I love Chitabe for its wildlife. This was my 3rd trip to the concession and I met so many people on our trip who seemed surprised that I was visiting places I'd been before. I had no problem at all with going back to Chitabe and taking Mum for her first visit as we have enjoyed it so much in the past. We were not disappointed. 4 nights meant that we could relax and enjoy quieter drives as well as the excitement of times when we saw predators. We had amazing lion sightings including juvenile males who were play fighting so much that they disturbed their mothers on a hunt and a more successful hunt that ended with some very hungry lions getting a good meal. We also loved seeing and being with the wild dogs on several occasions, seeing leopard and also a cheetah (with cubs who I'm keeping my fingers crossed for).
Guiding was excellent. Our guide was Oats who was always keen to get out on drives and we were more than happy to be out in the landrover than spending too long in camp. Oats was a great guide who made sure we got an education as well as taking pictures. Tracks, droppings, termite mounds, trees.....you name it, Oats could explain it and would then quiz us on it! We loved it.
Camp was lovely as usual. Friendly staff (especially Kris and Masedi), great in a crisis (rescuing me from a very large spider) and made sure everything ran smoothly. Camp was busy in terms of number of guests but it still felt very relaxed. Food all very good, particularly carrot cake!
Chitabe Camp review
The management at this camp was not very visible. The staff performed well enough, however.
We saw a tremendous variety of animals here with our guide, Gordon, who had had a lot of experience tracking. We were able to watch lions on several occasions stalking but not succeeding in catching a Giraffe and a Kudu. We also saw more birds than you could imagine. At this time of year it is interesting to see the mating interests of various animals.
#3 in order of visit only
Fantastic guide who was a combination guide, tracker, naturalist,entertainer and educator.
As with all camps the staff at all levels and food was outstanding. Much and varied wildlife.
Dogs are back at Chitabe!!!
I had really been hoping to see Wild Dogs on my trip but despite Chitabe having the reputation, I had been told everywhere i went that the Chitabe pack had spilt up last year when the alpha female was killed by lions. I therefore got the shock of my life when on the last full day my guide Phinley turned round while were watching some Lions sleeping and shouted "Wild Dogs, hold on!". The dogs had come trotting out of the trees but saw the Lions, did an about turn an bolted off. The way Phinley announced their arrival he was clearly as excited as me. We hurtled through the stunted Mopane woodland fortunately keeping an eye on the dogs. After a couple of Kilometers the dogs slowed down and we were able to get a proper sighting and watch them interact. This was 3 male dogs and they believe there is a new Alpha Female who was back at the den with about 9 pups.
The afternoon was scorching and we were luck enough to find them a couple of hundred yards away from where we had last seen them when out on the evening drive. This was a day i will never forget, i have about 300 photos of the dogs to sort but the way Phinley announced their arrival is definitely the highlight. The guides in Botswana have so much passion and seem to regularly get as much enjoyment from the animal sightings as we did.
Chitabe camp is very comfortable, all the staff were extremely friendly, the food was also extremely good.
Apart from the dogs we also had multiple Leopard and Lion sighting as well as lots of other gently game.
Chitabe was a great place to end my first safari and was only a short hop back to Maun.
Chitabe Camp Stay
Overall a very pleasant stay.
We particularly liked the informal atmosphere where staff and guests mixed, particularly at meal times.
Chitabe Camp review
Chitabe Camp was luxurious and well-run. The camp managers and staff were excellent and the food and facilities very good.
Our guide Phinley was a very good observer and expert at finding leopards and other elusive wildlife. He didn't talk too much (which was good) and what he did say was useful and accurate. He was good on birds as well as large mammals.
The highlights were seeing so many leopards so well (5 individuals on 7 occasions in 3 days) and also seeing a cheetah and lions hunting on several occasions.
It would have been good to have been able to do some walks, but we were only able to do drives. It is difficult to do this when there are several guest groups per guide.