Reviews of Kanana
Wildlife sightings and reviews
75 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Kanana and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
Excellent guide however water levels low for boat trip . Good sightings.
Swimming pool and area excellent for relaxing as rooms were very hot ." See all these reviews: 10n in Botswana
The opportunity to view wildlife from within the camp was very limited, in contrast to the other camps we stayed at, and particularly Dinaka where the camp facilities overlook a water hole which was frequented by many species almost constantly during our short time there. As you already know, there is no bunker available at Kanana to view wildlife - it appears to be an exclusive facility at Dinaka which was one of the reasons for selecting it for our vacation. We were given no detailed information about the activities available at Kanana - we only found out about the heronry excursion from other guests at breakfast on our final morning.
The two game drives we undertook both followed a very similar route, almost as if the guide had set locations he checked on rather than following any specific new tracks. Previous guides had taken us to many varied locations based on what they observed, both from tracks and animal behaviour. We were fortunate to see a Leopard during the morning activity, but were surprised when we joined a group of four other vehicles from a different tour company; at every other location only the camp operator’s vehicles might be present. There was no hand sanitiser available in the passenger areas of the vehicle, and this was the only camp where one of us suffered numerous insect bites despite using the provided insect repellent.
There were no books/library facilities in the communal area as there were at all other camps we stayed at.
On arrival our dietary requirements were not requested; fortunately we do not have any food allergies, although I do not eat fish with the exception of tuna/salmon. It was therefore disappointing that, although the staff went to a great deal of effort to make our last evening meal a special occasion, the main course was Bream, which I did not have. The choice of food available at breakfast was also limited.
Our flight on the final day was scheduled to depart at 1130. As our return journey would take 24 hours, involving 4 flights, we elected to forgo a morning game drive to give us time to relax and prepare. We were not offered any food or drink after breakfast prior to our flight to Maun - the coffee machine had been unplugged so we were unable to make our own - and there were no staff around to ask. We had observed at other camps that guests who departed before lunch had been provided with packed meals and this had also been done for other guests evacuated from Dinaka; we did meet up at Maun with the group of three guests who confirmed that they had been provided with a packed meal that morning by the camp they had been moved to. Our first food after breakfast was that served by Air Link on the flight to Johannesburg at around 1500.
We sat in the communal area from 10.45 whilst awaiting transport to the airstrip and it was only after asking about the transport departure time that the staff went looking for a driver. At times it felt almost as if we were an afterthought at the camp and that they were not really prepared for us in terms of arrangements and facilities.
We would also note that because of the evacuation we did miss an evening activity on the 19th, our first night at Kanana, as a result of the time of the evacuation, although we do understand that this could not have necessarily been avoided. However it would have been appreciated to have been offered a short ‘sundowner’ trip.
At all previous camps, pre-dinner snacks were served by the staff around the open fire; at Kanana this comprised a bowl of dip with chips which was left in the central area. This seemed somewhat unhygienic as there was no indication of which other guests had ‘dipped’.
Whilst we did appreciate the offer of a sleep-out whilst at Kanana, we had viewed both the Dinaka and Kanana facilities whilst out on game drives. As a result of the general appearance of the facility at Kanana, coupled with our disappointment with the tented chalet, we decided not to take up the offer as we both felt that the experience would not have lived up to our expectations and we preferred to keep this as an option should we be fortunate to return to Dinaka on a future vacation.
The tented chalet at Kanana was the lowest standard of all five camps we stayed in. I think it was the only chalet we stayed in during our vacation with a canvas roof; thatched or tiled roofs being used at the other camps. There was no outside shower facility and the general quality of the chalet was poor; for example the bathroom fittings were corroded, the toilet bowl was stained and less than half of the water nozzles on the shower were working. There were areas of the canvas roof that were stained, and part of the wiring to the lamp had been joined or repaired with insulating tape.
Room preparation was disappointing - the toilet waste bin had not been emptied before our arrival and only one bath/hand towel had been provided (we did request a second one of each). In contrast to Dinaka, the room safe was much smaller. We were not provided with an in-room pre-dinner drink although there were two glasses available (at Dinaka a small bottle of sherry was placed in our room in the evening when the beds were made up), and for the morning wake-up cup of tea only one small teapot was provided, in contrast to the two we received at Dinaka and Shinde.
Although these are minor points, they contributed to the overall sense of disappointment we felt with the camp." See all these reviews: 12n in Botswana
Firstly, I would like to thank the guests for their direct manner in bringing these issues to our attention. Having these issues raised in this way allows us to take the issues further and work hard at resolving them – be it with staffing/training and with maintenance/infrastructure. Knowing that guests who loved our other properties felt that Kanana fell short is something we never want to hear. And again – we are very sorry about this.
Please thank the guests for their understanding of the initial circumstances that led to their move. Kanana maintains to be extremely popular and a favourite in the Ker & Downey group with guests, and we thought a stay here would complement their experiences up to that point. We are very sorry that wasn’t the case.
The feedback on the smaller touches like towels and packed lunches to guiding styles is very important and we will be following these up very seriously. Our camps are designed to be unique but most definitely complement one another, and making sure things are consistent through the group is very important to us, even down to the wake-up beverage arrangements.
When Expert Africa next visits Kanana we will be expecting to see changes and improvements brought about by this detailed and straightforward feedback. We’ve always found this to be an excellent camp and feel saddened that it wasn’t what these travellers experienced. We trust that Ker & Downey will work hard to raise the standards to at least match those of their other camps.
We are grateful to our guide, Sue (m) who was excellent, for some wonderful experiences in an area that offered magnificent game viewing. He was knowledgeable on the game, bird and flora of the area and answered all our questions. We were privileged to see a lioness with her cubs, lion prides, extremely good sightings of leopard, and witness wild dogs on a kill. And this was amongst all the other game we saw. V
Visit to the Heronry provided a unique spectacle of the great variety of birds returning a dusk. Our guide / 'punter' on our mokoro trip (Wizzy) was very forthcoming on his upbringing and village life, and drifting through the swamps was again a peaceful and calming contrast to bouncing around on the game drives.
Our only disappointment was the way the night drive was organised. Table staff at dinner ignored our request to be served first and our drive was therefore delayed and the drive curtailed. I think it also unfair to expect the guide to drive and operate the light - there should be a separate 'spotter' in the vehicle operating the spotlight." See all these reviews: 13n in Botswana
Excellent food, I particularly recommend the Kudu.
It is great being so close to the wildlife - only a few minutes from the lodge (as is a private concession). We recommend spending a night in the Sky Bed as well as a trip on the Moroko canoes. Knowledgeable guides.
Highly recommend." See all these reviews: 9n in Botswana; 3n in South Africa; 3n in Zimbabwe
We had great sightings including leopards which was our goal at this camp. We took a speed boat ride which was fantastic, saw elephants right in the water with us.
They had a full breakfast with eggs cooked to order. Amazing baked goods at tea time. Game drive times are later than at some camps, they have a later wakeup call time as well as the eggs at breakfast so you don't get out quite as early as other places.
The overall vibe here was fancy. The staff seemed a little more scripted than at other camps, some seemed nervous around the guests. Maybe it was just the days we were there, but the other guests were more standoffish towards fellow travellers than at other camps, and some guests were pretty bossy to staff etc.
It was still a great experience and the location is incredibly gorgeous, but if you don't need a hairdryer and are more interested in the animals than the silverware a more mellow camp would work. I think this place would be super for part of a honeymoon or for people travelling with older relatives who require luxury." See all these reviews: 8n in Botswana; 2n in Zimbabwe
"A superb experience"
The game drives were equally fantastic. On the first afternoon we saw lions and then, after sundowners at an amazing location we bumped into the same pride and spent a long time with them as they padded past us in the dusk. Then we saw three hippos making their way to another pool. An incredible experience.
The second day was even better. On the first morning drive we saw lions, two male cheetahs, a leopard and did a mokoro paddle to see otters and crocodiles. Un. Be. Liev. Able. The afternoon was focused on the same leopard and we spent a long time with her. Couldn't be better.
That night I heard the lions in the camp itself. With an early flight, we left the camp at dawn and bumped into the lions literally on the road. A quick trip to see more hippos and the huge male elephant hanging around near the entrance and it was time to go. I definitely want to go back." See all these reviews: 4n in Botswana; 2n in Zimbabwe
All the staff here couldn't do enough to make us feel welcome. Kind, caring, thoughtful and efficient. The lodge had a wonderful atmosphere and with plenty of game to view. The rooms are a delight and you feel as though you are in the film "Out of Africa".
Onwer (our guide) was truly outstanding, his knowledge of wildlife and animal behaviour was second to none and we learnt so much. He found everything and was very good with bird identification and location.
The food was delicious and all served with a smile and sometimes a dance!" See all these reviews: 10n in Botswana; 2n in Zimbabwe
"Pel's Fishing Owl!"
The tents were just beautiful with a lovely veranda overlooking the active lagoon. Masses of birdlife around camp. Our guide was top notch, Robbie, and he found us our first ever Pel's, after 10 safari trips! Also a Marsh owl. Got great photos as it was morning. We chose this camp for the heronry and were not disappointed. So many species! Spoonbill, grey heron, marabous , open billed, yellow billed, darter, pink backed pelican, even a pygmy goose with babies. Seeing the huge marabou nesting was particularly striking..
Mokoro ride with a very cheerful and informative poler Bonno was enjoyable. We were able to share the water with a couple of elephants making it a quintessential Okavango experience. The food was very good with an emphasis on a more African cuisine which we appreciated. Oh, and lots of lions around camp as they had given birth there while the camp was closed last year!
The only disappointment was flying in through smokey skies as we had traveled to the other side of the planet to get away from the fires in Montana and the US west." See all these reviews: 11n in Botswana
Makoro activities were limited and no fishing which I had hoped to do here.
Otherwise it was great!" See all these reviews: 8n in Botswana; 3n in South Africa; 2n in Zimbabwe
Holiday styles & special interests in Botswana
From birdwatching breaks to walking holidays, find great ideas for your trip in Botswana.
Other lodges in Okavango Delta Safari Reserves
Alternative places to stay in this same area.
Kwara Camp's private reserve boasts land and water activities year round, with excellent game-viewing opportunities and access to permanent channels of the north-east Okavango Delta.
On a secluded island within a private reserve, Little Vumbura combines superb game viewing with a broad diversity of habitats in a truly picturesque setting.
With experienced staff and a wealth of activities, Shinde offers a traditional safari in an exceptionally varied and wildlife-rich environment.
Chitabe Lediba, in Botswana's southern Okavango Delta, is a small family friendly safari camp; it offers great dry-land safaris and in our experience consistently delivers good game sightings.
Sandibe Safari Lodge
The luxurious Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge lies in a private concession in the heart of the Okavango Delta, beside Moremi Game Reserve, with superb big-game viewing.
In the southern Okavango Delta, the excellent Chitabe Camp concentrates on dry-land safaris in an area that we've found particularly good for wild dog sightings.
Set in the Kwara Reserve, offering superb wildlife viewing year-round, Splash offers both land and water activities led by guides with a particular knack for tracking big game.
Footsteps across the Delta
Small and very rustic, Footsteps across the Delta focuses on walking safaris; it also runs a special children’s programme so is particularly suitable for families.
Tubu Tree Camp
A traditional tented camp with a distinctive tree-house feel, Tubu Tree offers some of the best game viewing in the Jao Reserve.
Nxabega Tented Camp
Nxabega offers a selection of both land- and water-based activities, plus very good guiding, food and service, but game viewing can be somewhat erratic.
Indulgently stylish and luxurious, Vumbura Plains offers superb game viewing and birding on an exceptionally varied private reserve.
Gomoti Plains Camp
Overlooking a tributary of the Gomoti River, Gomoti Plains Camp is a classically designed camp with very comfortable tents in a good game-viewing area.
Jacana Camp is a small safari camp with an informal island feel; it is ideal for water-based activities in the Delta and offers excellent birdwatching.
Deep in the Delta, overlooking a floodplain, Kwetsani Camp is a small, high-end camp with good access to areas for land and water-based activities.
For an affordable yet varied safari encompassing a range of eco-systems, the traditional Mapula Lodge takes a lot of beating.
Duba Plains Camp
Duba Plains Camp is a traditional safari camp, best known for the thrilling lion and buffalo interaction that is often found here in broad daylight.
Baines' Camp is a well-run, intimate camp in a pretty part of the Okavango, offering a range of activities and the option to spend a morning walking with elephants.
In a private concession south of Moremi Game Reserve, Stanley's Camp offers 4WD game drives, seasonal water activities and a superb elephant interaction.
Little Tubu is a new, traditional camp with just three tented chalets and a distinctive tree-house feel. The areas around it can be explored by water and land-based activities year round.
Pom Pom Camp
Pom Pom Camp lies amidst stunning Okavango Delta scenery. Come for idyllic mokoro trips and great birdwatching, and accept that big-game sightings here are a bonus.
Duba Explorers Camp
Intimate and elegant, Duba Explorers Camp promises a firm safari focus in a remote corner of the Okavango, led by a team who value the highest guiding and hosting standards.
In a pristine wilderness environment deep in the Okavango Delta, the seasonal Pelo Camp is tented yet comfortable, with activities focusing on excursions by mokoro.
Xaranna is a plush tented camp amongst the idyllic waterways and islands of the Delta. Each air-conditioned tent has a plunge pool. Water activities and pampering are the focus here.
Seba Camp is a luxury camp in a lovely location that offers the full range of water and land safari activities, depending on the time of year. This camp is particularly suitable for families.
In a beautiful area with fantastic water activities, Jao combines an idyllic location with high levels of luxury and service, and a top-end spa.
Beautifully located in a private concession overlooking the Gomoti River, the traditional Mma Dinare is very well-priced for the Okavango.
Setari Camp stands on an island dotted with palm trees, close to the base of the Okavango’s ‘Panhandle"
Abu Camp is an exclusive safari camp on the western side of the Botswana's Okavango Delta - offering superb elephant-back safaris and opportunities to walk with them too.
Okavango Walking Safari
The Okavango Delta Walking Safari camps in a secluded Okavango Delta Reserve where there are few roads; the ideal location for a walking trail led by an expert guide.
Kiri Camp is the latest Okavango offering from the excellent team behind Machaba. In an exciting new location in the heart of the Delta we cannot wait to visit this new camp.
4 Rivers is a new camp in a previously in accessible area of the excellent Kwara concession.
On a remote island within a vast private concession, the eclectic Duke’s Camp is nestled among mature trees overlooking wildlife-rich plains of the Okavango.
Eagle Island Lodge
Eagle Island Lodge is a luxurious camp with international-style facilities including air conditioning and intercom in each room; offering water based activities in the Okavango Delta.
Deep in quintessentially 'Okavango' territory, between deep-water and dry-land habitats, promises to be a great combination from a team who know all about the best in the Okavango.
Sitatunga Island Camp
Sitatunga Private Island: in this pristine corner of the Okavango Delta, even the name is evocative.
Xudum Delta Lodge
Xudum is a beautifully crafted lodge well situated to explore the Delta waterways. Each air-conditioned suite has a private plunge pool and a lofty viewing deck with a sala that doubles as a 'star bed'.
Luxurious and contemporary, the relatively new Qorokwe Camp is a gem in the Okavango Delta, offering land- and occasionally water-based activities in a prime wildlife area.