Reviews of Little Kwara
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Basic Camp + Excellent Bird/Wildlife Viewing
Little Kwara was the most basic camp of the 4 that we stayed at in Botswana. We were a little concerned by the number of insects inside our room and the lack of mosquito nets around the bed when we first arrived. However, the staff that sprayed the room whilst we ate our evening meals were clearly experts as we were not in the least bit troubled by insects as we slept. An elephant with a bad case of flatulence that arrived in the early hours one night did disturb our sleep, but we did not mind.
Game drives were very good with excellent lion and wild dog sightings, plus the only cheetah sighting of our 8 day stay in Botswana. The night drive was very good too, with sightings of a genet and several bush babies.
A particular highlight, and good reason on it's own to stay at Little Kwara, was a boat ride to a heronry in Moremi National Park. Highly recommended!
Food was good and the staff were very friendly.
We were able to charge camera batteries in a cupboard behind the bar.
the dogs were amazing at Little Kwara
We are not dog people, and we really didn't care if we saw the dogs or not. I had no idea just how exciting it would be to watch them hunt, and to watch and learn about their family interactions.
Hobbs, our guide, told us, "Hang on." Off he zoomed, and I do mean zoomed. With heels down, and legs wide-spread, we braced ourselves as Hobbs accelerated across country. He said the dogs were hunting--he could tell by the impala's speed and straight-line run. Sure enough, we see first one dog then another. They are spread out trotting along making use of of all the old island mounds to look around. Unlike any pack of dogs I've ever seen, these dogs were hunting independently though moving as a group making a wide sweep of the area. When several of the dogs gave chase--the impala leaping and bounding--Hobbs drove the vehicle hard, slowing only to navigate through pockets of dense brush. When we happened on the dominate male standing alone Hobbs knew they had given up on those impala. We followed the male, watching as he listened to locate the remainder of the pack.
By now, multiple Kwando vehicles were giving chase following different dogs. One vehicle happened on a successful kill. Hobbs aggressively out drove another vehicle to get us #2 arrival on the scene. The dog was devouring the impala, ripping it to pieces, swallowing without chewing. When the 3rd (Kwando policy--no more than 3-vehicles on a scene) arrived it begged for us to move so it could have a better view. Hobbs said it was first-come, first-serve, we needn't move unless we wanted. Of course we moved; treat others like you would like to be treated.
Whichever dog is successful in making a kill, gulps down as much as it can as fast as it can, then signals to the other dogs to feed while s/he goes back to feed the pups by regurgitating the chunks it swallowed. Only the dominant male and female reproduce, then the entire family pack supports the upbringing of the one litter. We counted 16-puppies, so thus far the entire litter has survived. The group dynamics are astounding. I'm so glad we were able see this.
Also while at Little Kwara, we had a wonderful encounter and photo-op with a male cheetah; watched a morning puppy-feed and the resultant tug-a-wars and other games; watched and listened from a very short distance as 2-hyenas crunched on what remained of an impala's skeleton; and spent an entire day at the heronry watching and photographing the many different birds' antics, nest-building, feeding of chicks, grooming, mating, etc.
An amazing stay at Little Kwara!
Loved Little Kwara
A small camp with an intimate feel to it. Friendly welcoming staff. Kwando has a rather formulaic approach to the daily activities but it seems to work vey well.
Huge variety of game with the current star attraction the wild dogs and their puppies. Heavy emphasis on game tracking and fascinating to watch the interaction between the guide and the tracker which is not a feature in most Botswana camps. Boat trip to the heronry well worth it - even if not an avid bird fan then go for the sunset. Mokoro trip very relaxing (even with the hippos) and informative.
A nice time of year to visit - a bit chilly first thing in the morning but not too hot during the day.
Loved Little Kwara
As soon as we arrived at Little Kwara we knew we were going to love it. Charles, the manager, along with all the staff were passionate, enthusiastic, efficient and friendly - all you could hope for on holiday.
The camp was great and our tent - No 1 - comfortable and private being the only one on one side of the main camp. The view was of the floodplains with local residents such as kudo and impala visiting daily. Food was very good and plentiful and service excellent.
Dutch was a most knowledgeable guide and along with Kelly, our tracker, wonderful company. They went out of their way to show us as much as possible and were more than happy to extend the game drives whenever anything special turned up. The highlight of our trip was visiting the den of 16 wild dog pups and we were lucky enough to be there when some adults arrived back from a hunt. It was amazing to see them regurgitating their kill to feed the pups plus alpha female/baby sitters with the sound being phenomenal - I'm so glad I managed to film it to get all the sound!
One night drive we witnessed a fierce and noisy encounter between an intruder, adult male lion and a young male resident - more great soundtrack, and the next night we followed a huge black-maned resident male with the furriest black tummy ever! We saw more giant eagle owls than ever before and a serval hunting and even had a snake encounter ............ well, a purple roller had the encounter when he attacked and ate a small snake swallowing it from head to tail.
Oh, how could I forget - on our very first drive we followed two cheetah brothers as they stalked, ambushed, chased and killed a lone impala stag. The next morning the two brothers looked more like very pregnant females with their tummies almost dragging on the floor - priceless. We were so glad they didn't get disturbed whilst feasting. Once again we were thankful we had paid for a private guide/vehicle as it meant Dutch could drive as slowly and carefully as possible to avoid jarring my husband's back - and having experienced the very same back complaint himself, Dutch was the best possible person for the task!
All in all we loved our time at Little Kwara and would return tomorrow given the chance. Thank you one and all.
Last stop on our six day safari and probably my favourite camp - very small and possibly less luxurious but great atmosphere - lion in camp one morning, charged by hippos whilst on boat trip.
We were looked after by Hobbs and Justice/TJ and Chester - fantastic guides and trackers who made sure we had an amazing time - family of wild dogs with 6 week old puppies.
Ocavanga Delta is one of the seven wonders of the world!!
A lot of different activities here which we enjoyed. Again staff was great.
Food was good, but even though the camp asked about dietary restrictions they didn't make any accommodation for one person's allergy to tomatoes.
Wild dog den at Little Kwara
It was a 5 minute flight from Shinde airstrip to Kwara. We arrived at the camp around 1pm and were given a cheese sandwich for lunch. We stayed in Room 1, which is a beautiful room with a lovely view from the verandah. There is a super pool in a sunny position with comfortable sun loungers. The guiding and tracking were magnificent. It was just the food that did not come up to expectations.
Our guide was Hobbs and our tracker Mike. On our first game drive we found 3 male lions (two with a dark mane and one blond). We showed Hobbs the photos that we had taken of the 3 lions at Footsteps and he confirmed they were the same ones! These lions had fathered 3 young cubs on the Kwara Reserve. Unfortunately we did not manage to see the lionesses and cubs. Hobbs thought they must be in the marshland where we could not take the Land Cruiser.
On our second drive we found a pack of 13 wild dogs playing by a pan. The alpha male and female were missing. Another guest in our Land Cruiser was due to catch a flight later that morning so we left the dogs and went off to look at other game and found 2 cheetah brothers resting in grassland. The other guest vehicle stuck with the dogs for five hours eventually finding their den in the wilderness a long way from the camp. Not to be outdone, the next day Hobbs and Mike set out to follow the wheel tracks of the other guest vehicle. Finally we found the den, saw the alpha female dig her way into the den, heard the cubs squeaking, and saw the alpha male. We just managed to get back to a familiar dirt track in the reserve before dark. Hobbs and Mike did a great job!
There was a complicated set up of lions at Kwara. Besides the 'Footsteps' lions, the lionesses and cubs - there were 2 brothers who were part of the pride but had now been kicked out, and a solitary lion who had been the dominant male but had now been usurped by the 'Footsteps' lions. We saw the solitary lion on several occasions and got a great cine of him roaring. On our last morning we spotted two of the 'Footsteps' lions just outside the main Kwara camp, and picked up the tracks of the 2 brothers who were running away. We followed the tracks for a long way until they disappeared into the marshland and we had to stop. Thwarted by marshland again!
Night drives were more successful here than at some other camps. One night in pitched darkness a saddle-billed stork flew very very low over our Land Cruiser. We also saw a wild cat and a rock python.
little kwara review
sadly our transfer to little kwara was delayed by 30 minutes and we spent a further half hour or so at the airstrip on arrival while we waited for other guests to be flown out by a different airline which was also late. consequently by the time we'd had our briefing and got to our room we were 10 minutes late for the game drive, which had left with the other new couple and given a lift to catch up with them, but left in no doubt that we would miss the drive if it hadn't been for them. we wouldn't have minded a shout that the game drive was about to go, as we were as quick as we could be sorting out stuff needed for our first night drive, had been delayed by circumstances beyond our control and were not too far behind time (maybe the other jeep could have collected us from the airstrip earlier?)
despite the shaky start the staff here were great, I remember O a waitress especially for her lovely smile and quiet ways
our guide Wago and tracker Mike always did their best for us, following a roaring lion and battling the elements on a cold, windy mokoro ride
our room had everything we needed except central heating (joke) which would have been great during a 48 hour cold/windy spell, we wish we'd learnt a day earlier we could close up more of the windows
Little Kwara review
More informal, but very warm service and accommodating staff. Our guide was very focused on tracking animals and did a good job with this, but he lacked some of the interpersonal skills that guides in the other camps exhibited.
Saw amazing animals in their natural states (fighting, eating, playing with cubs, etc.) Loved the late afternoon motorboat ride through the delta. We also enjoyed the makoro ride the last morning in camp. We appreciated the later start in the morning and the peaceful afternoons (when there was no staff to be found). We loved the rooms - basic, but very well designed with a nice big bathtub and the best outdoor shower.
Also we liked staying in the woods with various game surrounding our tent. We liked having the early morning breakfast around a fire in the boma - hot coffee, great porridge and freshly baked muffins.
Little Kwara review
I really liked the informatility and small size of this camp. Also, to my delight, the morning tours start an hour later than the others, so we could be more rested and we were able to walk to breakfast on our own volition because it was daylight. (See my comments on Duma Tau about the problem with waking guests at 5:30.) I also liked the boar ride (in the small canoe boats) a lot, It was the best part of our stay. And, of course, gliding on the water is such a pleasant change from bumping around in the Kalihari sand.
Regarding the early rising issue, you may consider telling your guests that if they are traveling in a group of 4 or more people, they have the option of having their own Landrover and then could alter the departure times. I am not sure guests would realize this unless they were told. Guides seemed willing to depart later if everyone was willing to (but it was not apparent that we had the option to request this).