Kwara Camp: Our full report
In the heart of the Okavango Delta, Kwara Camp sits on a forested island within the private, game-rich Kwara Reserve.From this vantage point, overlooking floodplains and a seasonal lagoon, it offers year-round land and water activities. Following a complete rebuild in September 2019, the camp is now far more upmarket in style than previously, with no under 18s allowed.
Kwara lies within the private 1,750km² Kwara Reserve, which borders the north side of Moremi Game Reserve. The environment here is perhaps more varied than around most Okavango camps. Seasonal floodplains and wooded islands surround the camp; papyrus-lined permanent waterways and lagoons cover the south of the reserve; and extensive dry land to the north supports mopane woodlands and open scrub savannah.
In its new incarnation, Kwara is completely different and much smarter in style than its predecessor, but it retains its relatively good value.
Spaced out along sandy walkways under the riparian forest canopy, Kwara Camp's nine tented chalets are raised on individual wooden platforms: five on one side of the camp, four on the other. Each has a wide deck which looks out onto the lagoon.
Inside, the rooms are massive! Constructed of wood with stretched canvas walls, each is split into three main parts: a lounge area, a slightly elevated bedroom, and an en-suite bathroom. Tasteful décor combines with large glass windows and sliding doors to give an open, airy feel.
Your first encounter is with the lounge area, which is furnished with a comfortable sofa and two armchairs, along with a writing desk topped with wildlife magazines. In the bedroom, twin beds (or a double) lie beneath a ceiling fan and mosquito nets.
The en-suite bathroom is divided from the main room only by a relatively flimsy, see-through curtain. Indoor and outdoor showers, his and hers sinks and a gorgeous bath all have views towards the lagoon. While the toilet is in a separate cubicle offering maximum privacy, the indoor shower is relatively open. Conditioning shampoo, shower gel, soap and body lotion are all provided, and there’s plenty of wardrobe space, as well as a dressing table, digital safe, a flask of drinking water, tissues, mosquito repellent, bug spray and mosquito coils.
At the heart of the camp is a roomy central area where you'll find a library, lounge, bar and curio shop alongside an adjoining dining area. All are raised slightly on wooden decks, with open sides that overlook the lagoon. Sofas in the comfortable lounge are centred around a coffee table. In the bar, where a counter is surrounded by bar stools, attractive glass-doored fridges are laden with drinks. And the library is a place to relax in comfort, reading one of the camp's small stock of books, playing a traditional game of morabaraba, or looking out over the lagoon to spot visiting wildlife.
Down some steps towards the lagoon is a sandy clearing with a firepit encircled by camp chairs, where an early morning bite is served around a warming fire. It's also a magical spot to enjoy a drink or two after dinner, listening to the sounds of the African night.
Kwara has two small swimming pool areas, one at each end of the camp, which provide welcome respite from the summer heat. Each has a small bar stocked with ice-cold drinks, a lounge area and pool loungers.
Kwara Camp offers a good variety of activities, including both 4WD safaris (day and night) and water-based excursions. Game drives always have a tracker as well as a driver-guide, which helps to produce some excellent wildlife sightings.
On our most recent visit, in November 2019, wildlife sightings on our game drives were a little disappointing in what is usually a very productive area. However, compensation came in the form of a pack of 25 wild dogs, which entertained us for nearly an hour. An impressive sable antelope bull put in an appearance, too, as did a breeding herd of elephants.
The team at Kwara is enthusiastic (and sometimes quite single-minded) about tracking predators and the ability to drive off road within the reserve is often an advantage for this. For some visitors, this highly focused approach to guiding is exactly what's wanted. The various guides often work together, reading the bush to find lions, cheetah or wild dogs, and they are often successful.
For travellers who prefer a more relaxed approach, however – taking in a variety of animals and birds as they arise – Kwara is probably not the right choice.
Boat trips at Kwara are usually on a double-decker boat with an engine, with great views over the papyrus. In the past, a visit to a nearby heronry has often been a highlight, particularly between September and December.
Kwara's mokoro trips navigate the shallow edges of the lagoon in front of camp, under the watchful eye of resident hippos, and are often combined with a guided walk on the opposite island. Although not as scenic as some mokoro routes at inner Delta camps, the lagoon is still peaceful, and gliding along gives you a close look at waterlilies and birds such as the African jacana and pied kingfisher. Fishing excursions are also available, except in January and February when a fishing ban is enforced by the Botswana authorities.
Kwara has nine very spacious rooms, all modern in design. There is a minimum three-night stay policy, and the age limit for children is strictly 18 years – a far cry from the simple little camp we once knew. But it holds its same location in a great area with excellent game densities that often delivers really good predator sightings.
- Okavango Delta Safari Reserves, Botswana
- Ideal length of stay
- Kwara Camp has a minimum stay of three nights. It works well in combination with its sister camps, Lagoon Camp and Lebala Camp, in northern Botswana's Linyanti region within the extensive Kwando Reserve; and Nxai Pan and Tau Pan, in the drier reaches of the Kalahari to the south.
Note: If you combine Kwara with Lebala, Lagoon, Tau Pan or Nxai Pan for a total of six or more nights (15 November–31 March only), we can offer a long-stay discounted rate.
- Kwara airstrip is roughly 30 minutes by light aircraft from Maun. It is only a 10–15-minute drive from the airstrip to Kwara Camp, depending on wildlife spotted along the way.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- The food at Kwara during our most recent stay in November 2019 was adequate, with some good dishes, but not consistently so. Meals are served buffet style and a good variety is provided including fresh vegetables and fruit. Vegetarians and most other dietary requirements can be accommodated.
Before the morning activity, a light breakfast is served around the campfire, usually consisting of porridge or a choice of cereals, muffins or biscuits, a fruit bowl, tea, coffee and juice.
After your morning excursion, a wholesome brunch buffet is provided, with a good choice of dishes. We were offered all the components of a full cooked breakfast, as well as quiche, cold meats, a mix of salads, a cheeseboard, home-made bread and a sliced-fruit platter.
High tea sets you up for the afternoon activity. We were treated to yummy beef samosas, lemon drizzle cake and fresh watermelon. To drink there was tea, coffee and homemade juice or iced tea.
Dinner is a four-course meal, which usually consists of plated starters and dessert, and a choice of main-course dishes from the buffet. Traditional local dishes are included on some nights. Our sweetcorn fritter was followed by a cold tomato and sweet pepper soup with a fresh bread roll. The main course was a buffet of roast pork with gravy, baked fish in.a creamy sauce, mashed potato, creamed spinach and butternut squash. Dessert was a poached pear and cream dessert followed by a cheeseboard. A choice of very good white or red wine was served with dinner.
- Dining style
- Group Meals
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Drinks included
- Filtered and purified water as well as bottled water, soft drinks, local beers and classic spirit brands plus a limited selection of (usually) South African red and white wines are included. Champagne, imported wines and premium branded spirits will cost extra and must be requested well in advance.
Guests are usually given a water bottle on arrival, which they are encouraged to top up with filtered water from the camp's main area. Each room is provided with glasses and a flask of drinking water, which is replenished daily. We don't recommend that travellers drink from the tap.
- The environment at Kwara Camp is incredibly diverse resulting in superb birdwatching. Seasonal floodplains and wooded islands surround camp while papyrus-lined waterways, lagoons, mopane woodland and scrub savannah are all easily accessible.
- See ideas for Birdwatching
- Photography holidays
- The safari vehicles at Kwara have a roof-removal option, offering almost unobscured views and are ideal for a photographic safari in Botswana. Avid photographers can take a private vehicle/guide (at additional cost) for ultimate flexibility on activities.
- See ideas for Photography holidays
- Wildlife safaris
- If you’re looking for a wildlife safari in Botswana that focuses on predators, look no further. Kwara’s game and environments are varied, with plenty of tsessebe, impala, zebra, red lechwe, reedbuck, kudu, giraffe, buffalo and elephant – as well as the big cats and wild dogs.
- See ideas for Wildlife safaris
- Attitude towards children
- Kwara does not accept any guests under 18.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Strictly no under 18s. Families with children under the age of 18 may opt for Kwara’s sister camp, Splash Camp.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Kwara Camp
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Kwara Camp have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
- Power supply notes
- Charging facilities suitable for most country’s plug points are available in the rooms 24 hours a day.
- There is no cellphone reception, no direct phone or fax and no email. Communication is maintained with the other camps in the reserve via CB radio. In an emergency, radio contact can be made with the main office in Maun.
- TV & radio
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- All the tents have plumbed hot and cold running water for showers as well as flush loos.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- All camp managers and guides are first-aid trained and a comprehensive first-aid kit is kept at camp. Each guide also has a basic field first-aid kit to take on activities. In an emergency, the camp can arrange for clients to be flown out. Please note that it is only possible to fly out of camp during daylight hours as the bush airstrips do not have any lighting at night.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Because of the Okavango Delta's large population of potentially dangerous animals and the fact that Kwara Camp is unfenced, guests are escorted to their rooms after dark. A safety talk is given on arrival. Air-horns are provided in the rooms to attract attention in case of an emergency.
Baboons and vervet monkeys do come through camp so it is important to keep tents closed whilst unoccupied, and not to have any food visible (or preferably none in the tents at all).
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers in the communal areas of the camp and on the veranda of each tent.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- A laundry service is included, but as laundry is washed by hand, the service excludes underwear. Washing powder is provided so that guests can wash personal items.
- No currency-exchange facilities are offered. There are digital safes in each tent.
- Accepted payment on location
- Mastercard and Visa credit cards are accepted; Diners and American Express are not. For curio shop purchases there is a 3% credit-card commission. South African rand, British pounds, US dollars, euros and Botswana pula are accepted for cash payments.
Other lodges in Okavango Delta Safari Reserves
Alternative places to stay in this same area.