Reviews of Kwara Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Kwara Camp review
i was interested in seeing Leopard and as there had been a kill we went back several times to see if we could find it/them. in fact we did not see the mother, but did see the cub briefly at night, and it was marvellous. Our viewing might have been longer but unfortunately, whilst I realise it is common practice to share sightings, the next jeep arrived at the spot at high speed and so caused the leopards to move away.
Still, the only 3 vehicles at any sighting, and not following any predator which is clearly stalking prey, seemed excellent rules, and we appreciated the care the trackers and spotters take of their wildlife.
The rooms are fine, although a little more rustic than some camps, but the food was good and I would not worry about any tripadvisor reports to the contrary. The staff are fabulous and Hilda was a star, always cheerful and kind and considerate of the dietary needs of the diabetic in our group.
Kwara Camp review
Rooms were in need of updating but did not spoil this fantastic camp.
Driver George and spotter Josiah were a joy to get to know and incredibly knowledgeable, also great fun. Would go back anytime.
Great location and safari
We really enjoyed this camp as well, staff were very friendly and efficient,
Our guide Master was truly delightful and he endeavoured to meet our wishes
To see everything possible. Fantastic location.
Kwara Camp review
Whilst the accommodation is not of the quality of Little Kwara the quality of the guiding and the experience is not affected.
Besides again seeing abundant elephant, antelope, hippo and co we were fortunate enough to have good sightings of wild dogs, jackel, mongooses, cheetah and even a distant sighting of a honey badger. The guide and tracker went to great lengths to meet our request for cheetah and lion hich they succeeded in meeting.
We've deceided that we should get up earlier because we missed wild dogs hunting an impala in sight of the camp. The impala escaped into the lake only to be killed by one of the resident crocodiles, all within view of some of the guests. We also go to bed too early as one evening whilsts guests were sitting round the camp fire one of the elephants joined them forcing them to stay up even longer drinking their delicious Amarula!
Keara Camp-great Memories, Great Sightings
We feel most fortunate to have launched our Safari experience at Kwara.
The staff was excellent. Our Guide Bate and Tracker KP were quite a team. Our Safari drives covered various areas. We had a lagoon boat ride to the Godikwe herony and got great pictures. We traveled in a mokoro to an Island walk. We even saw the seldom seen Sitatunga.
On our last day we were treated to a brunch by a Hippo pond. Unbelievable. Such memories!
Kwara is the oldest camp we visited and it shows it's age in places but we still enjoyed it very much. Which may explain why it was also the busiest camp we visited being fully occupied while we were there.
Our tracker KP and our guide TJ did a great job finding the animals we most wanted to see, big cats and wild dogs. The highlight was the wild dog hunt which was excellent! We missed the moment of the kill but it was still exciting and amazing. The mokoro ride and nature walk were also very interesting with TJ teaching us about the termites and also the animals in the area.
Our favorite spot in camp was the sofa overlooking the lagoon where we sat and watched the birds and animals that passed by. It was a perfect place to complete our African adventure.
Kwara was a seamless continuation of our bush camp experience. The camp was more rustic than Lebala but for the most part very comfortable. My one criticism was the tents, which were canvas, got uncomfortably hot during the middle of the day, when we were in camp. They need either overhead fans or easily accessible flaps to open. The staff was very professional, courteous, anxious to make our stay as enjoyable as possible. The wildlife viewing was fantastic.
Our guide, TJ, was very knowledgeable and a good communicator, but he either did not like me or didn't like the clients in general. He reprimanded me 3 times during our first drive not in a tactful or caring way at all. I was angry and offended. Our last night drive was miserable. He wanted to find the wilddogs, which we had already seen, for a new couple that had joined us in the jeep. So we spent two hours tearing around at a very uncomfortable speed, getting thrown around. I was exhausted when we got back to camp. I think he showed poor judgement in his decision to favor the new couple over the two others who were leaving the next day. You also did not question his decisions on what we were doing. The simple thing to have done was to give us a choice.
On the other hand, our tracker, KP, was a delight.
Kwara Camp review
We spent the longest time here (4 nights versus 2 nights at each of the other two camps). This camp is probably a bit older and it shows particularly against Lagoon. I think if we hadn't seen the others we may have thought this was excellent too!
The staff were extremely friendly and not put out by elephants constantly damaging the camp in the night.
Guide and tracker probably also the best, but that may be because we spent most time with them and forged the strongest relationship. All the guides asked what we wanted to get out of the game drives.
Excellent adventures in Kwara
Although perhaps not as luxurious as the previous camp we had been in (Lagoon), Kwara sure did not lack for hospitality or service! This time our guide was T.J. and tracker (H?)Orace. I must admit that we were worried we might be disappointed after having such a fantastic time at Lagoon, but we quickly realized that although very different, Kwara camp had just as much to offer.
The tents were smaller but warm and clean and comfortable, and this also went for the main buildings. None of really mattered though because it was the staff who worked there that made it an experience not to be forgotten. As I mentioned with Lagoon, it was my boyfriend's birthday on the day we switched camps, so our first night at dinner he was treated to a birthday cake and both the English birthday song and a very enthusiastic traditional song of celebration. This really set the tone for the rest of our stay.
I can't say enough about the knowledge of our guide! While Spencer in lagoon camp satisfied our thirst for action, T.J. satisfied our thirst for knowledge. Although still very willing to follow the excitement, T.J. was able to point out smaller things that we might not have otherwise have noticed. Examples include: a missing tail on a giraffe due to lion attack, and one with an injured eye from a dispute with another giraffe, as well as a baby elephant with a missing trunk. He was also able to spot and identify many birds, and if he didn't know something, he'd find out. Since we were a crowd just as interested in the small things as the big game, T.J. made for an excellent guide! Not to mention (H)Orace, our tracker who was also fantastic. I jokingly asked him to find a leopard for us while he was waiting for us to return from our evening boat ride, and when we had returned, he lead us to a baby leopard up in a tree. It was a really memorable moment on our last night at Kwara. We were quite late for dinner that night from enjoying the leopard, which seemed to be quite alright with the staff as well. They are really very accommodating when it comes to meal times!
Overall we had such an excellent stay, I don't have enough words. As someone who had never been to Africa before, both Kwara and Lagoon camps absolutely exceeded my expectations in every way!
Not the optimal
My husband and I stayed at Kwara for four nights and were a bit disappointed. We realize Botswana is an expensive destination so we expected nicer facilities and better service than in Zambian camps but it was not the case. The toilet & sink were outdated, there was a recurring problem with hot water supply to our tent. We complained to the staff once & they tried fixing it but unsuccessfully so we just had to make do. Then another couple from another tent who were a bit more demanding complained so the staff took it more seriously and on the last day of our stay it was fixed. We understand that we are in the bush and getting hot water can be difficult but they advertise that their heating system supplies hot water at any time of day except it didin't work.
Secondly, both my husband and I found that quantity of food was a little scarce, particularly at lunch time. A few times we would have to limit our portions seeing that if we took the food in quantities we wanted, there would be very little left for others (i.e. taking the last sausage on the grill without knowing if they have extra). As a side note, my appetite is not gargantuan but rather moderate. Breakfast options were rather limited too.
The most disappointing experience were the activities. We were hoping that we could have at least a couple boat rides (the reason we went to Okavango was that we wanted to see the area being on the water). Well, as it turned out, we could not choose the activities: we were told what we would be doing each day. We only had one boat ride & by the time we go back all five of us (including three fellow tourists from UK) were rather glad it was over. The guide (Hobbs) was assigned to take us for a boat tour but we understand he normally works at Little Kwara so I guess he didn't really care. He showed up late. There was another guide (Wilson) who was driving the boat and he was obviously on a learning curve which is totally ok as long as you don't practice with tourists on board. We crashed into a dead tree one our way back. Luckily, nobody was injured but I had to assume "brace position" as airlines call it which saved me from scratches and bruises. We laugh at it now in hindsight but strictly speaking, it shows lack of operational skills on management's side, it's not just the guide's fault.
We had one short mokoro trip on the morning before we departed - better than nothing... The morning safaris were good. There was one guide, Master, whom we only had for one day, and he did great job tracking cheetahs on our first morning at Kwara. Then he had a death in the family and we were reassigned to another guide, George. He was good too but something tells us our experience with Master would've been better.
The night drives were totally useless. As soon as the sun would go down and it would get dark, both the guide and the spotter would head back to camp without any serious attempts to make it a memorable experience for their guests. I understand that wild life is called wild for a reason & not one guide will guarantee anything... However, it seemed our guides were slacking off during night drives but again, we picked up on it only because we had good night drives in Zambia before (good not only in terms of what we saw at night but mostly in terms of effort which went into finding the creatures of the night). Other guests at Kwara would probably be ok with night drives there thinking that it's normal not to see any nocturnal creatures except the usual game which you see during the daylight (i.e. Impalas, zebras, hippos, elephants etc).
Expert Africa comments
Kwara Camp was sorry to receive the feedback from these guests and understood that their experience fell below their expectations. The camp has taken this feedback very seriously and is now doing what they can to learn from it.
The general managers of Kwando Safaris visited their camps, including Kwara Camp, soon afterward receiving this feedback to work through things with the teams and to do any training/updating where it would be useful. One of the things they planned to work on is their communication, both amongst the team and with the guests. For example, the camp managers at Kwara explained that for meals they cook two of each dish, but only bring out one to the table at a time. Therefore there would be enough food for all guests to have their fill, but currently the guests are not being made aware of that and so they may be holding back on their servings.
Another point raised that both the camp and Expert Africa have learnt from is that if the camp is fully booked, flexibility over the daily choice of activities may not be possible as there might not be enough guides/vehicles available. However, Kwando Safaris assures us that if the management team are aware of the guests interests either before they travel, or once they arrive into camp, then they will be able to ensure that the guests are able to do each activity that interests them at least once during their stay.
The camp agreed that on one occasion they unfortunately had to put 7 passengers on a vehicle this was due to them being a guide short because Master had to return to Maun unexpectedly. This is not their usual practice, and they do try to keep to a maximum of 6 passengers per vehicle wherever possible. The Kwando Safaris team will also be working on their night drive and boating experiences.