Reviews of Kwara Camp
Wildlife sightings and reviews
181 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Kwara Camp and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"Kwara - An Excellent 'All-Round' Camp"
We really enjoyed the trip down the river to the nest site of many ibis, cranes and heron - elephant crossing the waterway was a great sighting, but so also was the snake doing the same! The boat is covered (with a solid roof you can go onto for a higher view) and the rest stop opportunities were well planned and explained. These points haven't always been the case at other camps with boating activities, so bonus points to Kwara.
We had two excellent cheetah sightings and the lions were prominent (especially on the airstrip!) but not the sole focus. A good balance of viewing options and time. We saw more zebra here than at other camps on the trip, and many tsessebe - much less nervous here then is the usual case. Other vehicles came to the site of excellent sightings, but it was less intrusive than our time at Selinda.
The tents are comfortable, but showing their age, especially in the showers. Although there were no mosquito nets over the bed, we had less issue with bugs (mainly because of the spray / mosquito coils deployed at turn-down). Even so a net over the bed is recommended when refurbished, since the camp management were (rightly) concerned to ensure visitors were aware of malaria.
The camp was very popular, and seating in the lodge area felt over-crowded with a full camp (as in 'turn up early to get a seat'). Dinner under the lapa for 20+ guests and staff was well managed, but the size of table means it gets both loud and hot! On the other hand, this camp is *justifiably* popular and provided excellent viewings of birds and game we had not seen elsewhere.
If I had to pick one camp from this trip to send a friend to on a first visit to Africa, it would be this one. The varied terrain, activities and the experienced know-how make a very good visit." See all these reviews: 13n in Botswana
"Kwara camp review"
guides were excellent" See all these reviews: 9n in Botswana
"Kwara Camp review"
The guides really focused on what we hoped to see, and we saw a lot, a cheetah close up, a pack of painted dogs and a leopard stalking its prey as well as spending time with her cub. Night drives were particularly good.
The setting was great - able to watch game from our deck." See all these reviews: 7n in Botswana; 6n in Zimbabwe; 1n in South Africa
"Kwara Camp review"
Despite my being responsible for making a mistake about the dates, the staff graciously accommodated the changes. In addition, they knew that we were particularly keen on seeing wild dog and suggested that we change our 2nd camp to Lagoon Camp in order to maximise our chances of seeing them. And, indeed, they were right!" See all these reviews: 6n in Botswana
"Kwara Camp review"
The staff were excellent as were the game drives.
The location of the camp was lovely and the communal areas were excellent." See all these reviews: 6n in Botswana; 3n in Zimbabwe
"good variety of activities"
I had similar activity observations here - guides were slightly unprofessional and the activities seemed so structured and left no room for flexibility. We were not asked if we wanted to mokoro - we were told which morning it would be done. We weren't asked about the sunset cruise to the rookery - we were just taken to the boat. It just wasn't the flexible, "what should we do today" attitude I was used to - and valued most - from Kwando.
During our stay at Kwara we came across a large male cheetah warming up and getting moving for the day. We had a lovely time with him as he rolled on the grass and got up to start the day. He marked a couple of spots and then climbed a tree to watch a herd of impala nearby. As he was climbing down and starting a stalk, we were told we needed to move along to make room for another vehicle. I was gobsmacked. I've never left an active cheetah hunt before and I never expect to do so again. In the end he was unsuccessful, but that hardly matters.
Another time we were notified by another vehicle of some mating lions. We arrived late in the morning to find them snoozing, and the other vehicle left when we arrived. The guide asked if we were ready to leave after just a few moments. I asked him how often they mate, and the guide said about every hour. I asked how long it had been since they last mated, and the guide said, "about an hour." I asked for 10 more minutes and sure enough we had a spectacular sighting. He seemed very anxious to get back to the lodge, and indeed the others were finishing up brunch when we arrived, but we didn't come to Botswana for brunch. It was just another example of misplaced priorities in my opinion.
On the boat ride, we were told that we needed to be off the water by dark since it was inside the national park - and thats completely fine. (No reason guests need to know that - just do it.) But then the "night drive" was 20 minutes from the dock to camp with no detours. The whole point of a private concession is driving at night, and I found overall - at both Kwando camps, that the night drives were essentially just the trip back to camp from sun downers. So much so that all the vehicles were all on the same road again, 70 meters apart, and arrived at camp at the same time. We had so little time driving at night at Kwando camps that we didn't see any nocturnal wildlife (saving the 2 big cat sightings we had at sundown.) We never saw genet, civet, bush baby, small cats, bat eared fox or porcupine with Kwando. Try to imagine how little time you must spend in a private concession in Botswana at night without seeing at least ONE of the above. It was shocking.
One other incident that I noticed to illustrate the point - and I don't know which of the Kwando camps this was - may have been Lebala - was that after we left a leopard sighting and were on our way to a sun downer spot 30 minutes away, the tracker and guide essentially gave up. The tracker stayed in the front seat chatting with the driver and didn't return to the jump seat for a 30 minute drive to a dam. Not a big thing if it was an isolated incident, but this was definitely a pattern." See all these reviews: 9n in Botswana; 5n in South Africa; 2n in Zimbabwe
We would like to thank this guest for her very positive comments regarding the camp staff at Kwara and will certainly pass on her appreciation to the team.
Again, we are sorry to hear that Kwando’s usual flexibility was not made obvious and will definitely follow up with the team at Kwara about this that they should consult the guests more as to which activities that they want to do on a given day. We have spoken to the guide at Kwara and he could not recall the guests preferring a different arrangement to the plan that he suggested. It would be useful to know if this concern was raised at all with the camp management at the time, or if the guests requested alternative activities/itinerary at any stage.
We have spoken to the guide, Chester and he did recall the male cheetah sighting. We are sorry that your client felt frustrated at being asked to leave. Chester said that they stayed with the cheetah for approximately 30 minutes and at the time, it was the only cheetah located in the concession. We do operate a three vehicle rule to ensure that the wildlife is not harassed and the only way to manage this in a fair way so that all guests have equal opportunity to see the key predator species is for guides to give way to one another after allowing a reasonable amount of time at the sighting. On this occasion, Chester has already informed the other guide that he could come into the sighting when the cheetah started to move; it was unfortunate timing, but to have stayed would have prevented other guests having their chance to see the animal which would equally have frustrated them. (Lucy, as an aside, there were 8 vehicles operating in the concession at the time, so the guides did need to be mindful of the time spent so that all guests could enjoy the sighting)
With regards to the mating lions, Chester said that he did remember checking with the guests if they wanted to leave since not all guests have the patience to wait for snoozing lions to spring into action. We are pleased that in this instance the guests were happy to wait, the guide accommodated their wishes and that ultimately they were rewarded with an excellent sighting. Although the guests were late back for brunch, it seems that in this situation we did offer the flexibility that this guest was looking for.
Chester agreed that the drive back from the boat activity was not a true night drive. The route back includes some deep water crossings and thus the vehicles do go together to ensure that all vehicles are safely through before it gets dark. However what he should have done after the crossings is to check whether these guests wanted to then extend their night drive and continue to look for smaller nocturnal mammals. He sincerely apologises that he did not do this and that they found the night drives in general to be lacking.
Feedback about the guide and tracker essentially giving up after a leopard sighting and heading to the sun downer spot is unusual – usually the tracker only stays in the front seat during a sighting with a potentially dangerous animal and then reverts back to the tracker seat. We need to do some further follow up with the guides further to ask why this happened, but are very sorry that the guests felt that the team were not committed to finding game during that period of the drive.
Again, it is pleasing to see that the overall experience at Kwara was rated as good and that many aspects of the guest’s stay were rated as “Excellent”
Lucy, we are very sorry that your client had concerns regarding some aspects of our activities and would ask you to please pass on our sincere apologies that she did not feel that the overall guiding service was of the same standard that she enjoyed on her previous stay. We would like to thank her for her valued feedback and have already spoken to our guide coordinator to ensure that the points that she has raised are addressed with the specific guides in question, but also at a broader level across all camps to ensure that Kwando continues to consistently deliver a high quality of guiding and flexible approach.
"Kwara Camp review"
"Kwara Camp review"
Our guide Jacob and tracker Goms were both excellent. Jacob looked after us extremely well throughout our stay. He and Goms were very knowledgeable and made an excellent team as they worked together to ensure that we had many wonderful wildlife encounters. Their tracking skills were amazing - we saw a large number of animals, birds, and reptiles. We thoroughly enjoyed the two water excursions they took us on - one on a boat and one on a mokoro.
A great place to stay." See all these reviews: 9n in Botswana
"Kwara Camp review"
The elephant grass growth was too high to allow walking, thus drives dominated activities. Possibly due to guest pressure, a mornings Mokoro tour was arranged using all 5 canoes, and by moving access point a boat trip through the delta in Moremi NP was arranged. Both were very enjoyable, although animal sightings were infrequent.
Whilst the animals were well spread out reasonable sightings were had, but the variety of birds was very good throughout.
We were told bird spotting was a minority pursuit but it was a great time to see them. In fact we would say that the green season was not for new Africa hands. The guides were exceptionally informative and knowledgeable. However for us the drives were too long and without sufficient break time for sundowners etc. The spotlight drives were very perfunctory given the vegetation.
As recognised by a forthcoming refurbishment the tents were old fashioned poorly positioned and with very inadequate plumbing." See all these reviews: 7n in Botswana
Activities in the green season are often quite different to the dry season - in that guided walks do depend on the grass levels and visibility, game drives can be delayed or cut short because of rain, and water activities all depend on water levels and whether or not there is enough shallow water around in a safe area to allow for mokoro activities, and enough deep water to allow to boat activities.
With regards to the tents and their refurbishment... we're anxiously awaiting news on this. Watch this space!
"Kwara Camp review"
The area was just beautiful and lush, and we did see a pack a wild dogs as a bonus. Other game was somewhat hard to find, our guide worked really hard to track cheetahs and lions with limited results, though.
We did have a leopard kill an impala about 20 feet from our tent, though!" See all these reviews: 10n in Botswana; 2n in Zimbabwe
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