Reviews of Khwai Tented Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Best safari of our entire trip
What makes this place special are the people. It is a small camp--just six tents--so you really get to know the wonderful staff intimately. They join the guests for meals, so it feels like you are eating with family. Special kudos to Mercy, the camp manager, Kwest, the big boss, and Mwamo, our incredible guide. He has only been doing it for six months, but he is a complete natural at it.
Mention a type of animal you would like to see, and he seems to magically find one--in the pitch black dark, just by waving a flashlight into the bush. The entire camp sings a welcoming song upon your arrival, and wishes you off on departure with yet another song and dance.
We loved every minute of our stay.
Khwai Tented Camp
The tents, while small, were quite comfortable and contained all the necessary facilities. The bucket shower was a novelty and okay for a short stay.
The food was good and the staff was very friendly. Canaan and Abali (sorry if I misspelled that) helped my husband with his quest to learn some phrases in Setswana which he very much enjoyed.
The game viewing was good but our guide seemed to feel that he needed to get us to where the game was as quickly as possible and drove very fast over some bumpy tracks. I don't think the pressure came from us, we were quite happy to see any and all animals. A slower pace would have suited us just fine.
Great place to begin
Khwai is a permanent tented camp with basic accommodations and great service. The tents had
modest beds with down comforters, flush toilet, bucket shower that they filled with water heated
over the fire, separate dining tent where they served surprisingly good meals. The staff met our
After landing at the Khwai airstrip, Pilot and MP took us on a great game drive on the way to the
camp. Since there were only five tents, my husband stayed with one of our daughters in one
tent and I stayed with our other daughter in another tent. We were zipped in at night and heard
lion growls, hyena laughs, and elephants strolling through camp to munch on the acacia pods.
A night game drive on our second night at Khwai we experienced many first sightings. Pilot would
stop the 4x4 vehicle at almost every sighting or when we asked to spend a bit more time.
We thought this was the perfect place to start our adventure in Botswana.
Great Safari at Kwhai Tented Camp
While the traditional East Africa tented camp is not for everyone, it was for us. We enjoyed the small size and personal attention of every staff member. For wild life viewing it was excellent and our guide, Pilot, was truly outstanding. You could tell he loved his job, the country and its wildlife, and worked hard to see that you got to see everything it offered--from watching leapord devour its kill in the tree on the night drive, to tracking that same leopard the next day, to tracking mama lion and her cubs--both day and night.
We saw a wide variety of mamals and birds too numerous to mention--but I photographed them all.
Food was excellent--prepared by the very capable Temptation, who had been trained in the culinary arts by Orient Express. She had to prepare her meals on a small four top gas stove stove and every meal was presented beautifully and hot. By the end of our three days we felt like part of their family.
Tent life was what we had expected from a previous trip on the Serengetti, and we always had hot water for showers and morning game drives--cold temperatures at night were made more comfortable by hot water bottles in bed. This was the first of 3 camps visited in Botswana, and for personal attention and devotion/skill of the guide/tracker, it was not exceeded.
Great time at Khwai Tented Camp
We had 3 nights at Khwai Tented Camp in November 2009 - our second camp of 3 on this trip. We were picked up from the airstrip by our guide Pilot and driven 10 minutes to the camp, where we were greeted in song by the camp staff - a lovely welcome!
The camp is quite small (only 4 tents) and is quite different to the more typical permanent cabin type structures in other camps. It is, however, exactly what we were hoping for in that it is more basic and you feel closer to the animals and your surroundings. The tents are perfectly large enough for two substantial beds, bedside tables, storage chests etc. with a wash basin and flush WC in the adjoining 'room'. The outdoor bucket shower was perfectly adequate and provided plenty of water for the two of us to shower comfortably and the very willing staff would fill it up with hot water on request. A shaded area with chairs at the front of the tent was much appreciated during siesta.
The communal dining tent had 24 hour bar and tea and coffee areas, together with comfortable settee/chairs with coffee table and supply of books and magazines. Outside the dining tent was a fire area with seating and a hammock. The camp overlooked the River Khwai with a wooded area on the far side.
The camp staff were very efficient and friendly and could not have looked after us better. Nothing was too much trouble and we couldn't have asked for more. The food was absolutely magnificent - cooked by Thaelo and served by Joe. Without doubt the best food of our stay in Botswana - and the other camps were pretty good! Salvation and the other staff were pleasant, cheerful and very efficient. We wrote some very favourable comments in the guest book but were surprised to be told that the staff were discouraged from reading the book! I can't help thinking this is a bit short sighted.
The guiding was excellent - Pilot was very knowledgable and good company. We enjoyed game drives and a guided walk with him - game viewing was excellent - including lion, elephant, impala, kudu, leopard tortoise, giraffe, cheetah, hippo, leopard, zebra, side striped jackal, wildcat, baboon, buffalo, tsessebe, red lechwe, warthog, waterbuck, dwarf mongoose, spring hare, honey badger, vervet monkey, crocodile. Birds too were fabulous - far too may to list, but we were very happy to see such a variety.
We very much enjoyed Khwai Tented Camp and we would not hesitate to return.
Camping at its best!!!
Maruska came up with the KTC and said, “This place is quite new to us but we are getting good feedback and hopefully you will like it, it is a bit like the camps used to be in the old days”. She was right and it really was a brilliant place.
This place was the highlight of our trip not least because of the enthusiasm of the Guide called Pilot and all the camp staff.
We were greeted with a beautiful welcoming song and dance and shown to our tent. Our tent was the first in a line of four semi permanent tents. Beautifully clean with a very comfortable bed, plenty of luggage space and the outside bucket shower!! Toilet and washbowl were in a separate section of the tent separated by a zip up tent wall!
Warm water was available for washing in the outside washbasins whenever we came back from a drive and first thing in the morning. The smell of wood smoke and the glowing fire at breakfast each morning and after the dinner was something to remember. The food was consistently excellent and always served with beautiful smiles from 'Open' the newly recruited waiter and Tilo the wonderful cook.
Pilot the guide was outstanding. We couldn't praise him highly enough and was the best we encountered during our entire trip. His enthusiasm was never ending- for a man who has been in the business for 22 yrs! He would make new roads through the bush to track leopards and his tracking instincts were amazing!!
His enthusiasm was such that when we found 2 leopards he took even more photos than us!! Time was never a problem and he gave us that luxury of being able to spend as much time as we wanted with the animals. These 3 nights here in many ways made our trip. Maruska, very well done and thanks for getting us here.
lovely stay being spoiled at kwhai
We spent three-nights at Kwhai tented camp and were spoiled rotten from the first to the last minute by the friendly and competent staff. Everyone went out of their way to make us feel at home and our needs were catered for at all times.
The tented rooms are smaller than in Linyanti Bush Camp, but nevertheless extremely comfortable. The lack of running water and electricity in the camp simply adds to the experience! We always had plenty of hot water whenever we needed it and the bucket showers were just great. The food and service at mealtimes were excellent too.
The game drives were a real treat with our guide Pilot. Polite, friendly, extremely knowledgable and a whole lot of fun, he enabled us to see lions on three different occasions, spend around an hour observing and then following a cheetah and then shortly afterwards to see a leopard.
Game was generally easier to spot in the Kwhai area than it had been in our previous camp in Linyanti because of more open areas and Pilot certainly helped us get "our money's worth" with his skill.
If you are travelling in July make sure you do bring some warm clothes as it certainly does get chilly after sundown and stays so until well into the morning. The warm ponchos provided for the game drives and the hot-water bottles in the beds were great!
The only negative comment is that we were asked to sign a form in which we exonerate African Bush Camps from any responsibility even in the case of gross negligence. The wording needs to be changed here.
Khwai Tented Camp review
The Kwhai Tented Camp set itself apart from any other place we stayed when we were greeted by the staff doing a song and dance upon our arrival. We were told by Shaka that we would be spoiled during our stay at Khwai Tented Camp and we were. The accommodations struck a great balance between rustic and luxurious. The fact that there is no running water or electricity didn't distract from anything, in fact it added to it. Plenty of gas lamps and hand-powered torches were provided for lighting. Canvas basins were filled with warm water so that we could freshen up before our morning game drives, we had water for drinking and basic needs readily available within our tent. Upon our request the "bucket" for our bucket shower was promptly filled with warm water that made for a great outdoor shower that seemed to last forever! In addition, our game drives often lasted longer than what was scheduled.
In the mornings we had a wonderful fire that warmed oats, which were a part of the breakfast buffet that was set up on a table. The food was of the highest quality and even more impressive when one takes into account it is prepared over an open fire.
Shaka was definitely one of the best guides we encountered on our trip. His knowledge and expertise of mammals, birds, etc...set him a part from others. While we saw many wonderful things (birds and mammals) a couple of highlights that stand out are locating a pride of four lions feasting on a buffalo and the tracking of a leopard. The tracking of the leopard was particularly impressive as it took about an hour of tracking before finding her. Once Shaka found her, we had the gift of about 25 or more minutes to watch a range of behaviors that ranged from stalking to sleeping.
Upon returning from each game drive we were greeted with song and dance and a warm/wet wash cloth to freshen up. Staff would also ask us how the drive was and were more than ready to hear our story of what happened. In addition to the areas in front of our tent , there is a nice lounging area for all people within the camp, complete with a hammock and several chairs and a couch. What also makes this camp unique is its close proximity to a local bushman village.
All meals were served family style and Shaka joined us for them. This was a great time to learn more from him about his experience in Botswana and the surrounding area.
Khwai Tented Camp review
Good transfer to Mbona island with lots of info from guide (Shakaa), but no lunch. It would have been useful to know an overnight bag was all that was required. We were slightly unsure of what was to happen on this leg.
Guide knowledgeable but although not offensive he was a little too familiar. Meal adequate (chicken stew with pasta, tinned fruit and tinned cream) but not elegant. Bedding a bit grubby - a basic camp OK for one night; might have stayed at three bridges?
Good time at Khwai with excellent game drives. Again we were the only 2 guests so evening conversation limited. As the tents are plumbed for water for the toilet, piped water for the basin might have been preferable to the large, heavy jug. Otherwise very comfortable and very good staff