Reviews of Little Kwara
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Little Kwara Review
This small 6-tented camp is superbly located on the edge of the Okavango Delta just north of the Moremi Game Park in its own private concession. Accommodation is very good with the tents built on stilts and the animals able to wander through(wart hogs, baboons, impala, elephant while we were there plus giraffe close by). Although the wild life did not appear to be as plentiful as at previous camps, we did see a large pack of wild dog on several occasions, hyena and lions. Also a cheetah that appeared to be badly injured and therefore very vulnerable. Hippos were plentiful as well as zebra, tsessebe, reed buck etc. We enjoyed the varied terrain of open grassland, expanses of water and mixed vegetation, much greener than we had seen elsewhere. In addition to seeing the wild life above the highlights were the boat trip with Alex on a double decker boat and enjoying the heronry plus yet another magnificient African sunset and a mokoro trip and walking safari on a nearby island.
Our stay was marred by our temperamental guide, Hobbs. On our first day he didn't engage with us in the way that we had been used to. All the other guides on our trip had been knowledgeable, enthusiastic and had great personal skills. Hobbs appeared unfriendly and taciturn. Getting information was like getting blood out of a stone. We discussed this with the camp manager, Carlos on our return and he then switched us to Alex who was excellent. Hobbs apologised and said that he had been upset by the behaviour of the other guests on our vehicle who talked incessantly about personal matters - very rude and distracting for us as well as Hobbs. When we were then told that Hobbs would have to be guide for the last 3 activities because no other guide was available, we didn't then expect there to be a problem. The first activity back with him was the mokoro trip & walking safari when he was excellent, displaying his knowledge & passion. We had the impression that he was also training 2 other staff in guiding. However by the afternoon of our last day we were back to the Hobbs from the beginning of our stay. He gave us very little information, was reluctant to answer questions in fact he gave the impression that he resented being asked anything. He also seemed to go out of his way to delay arrival at 3 lionesses such that we were only able to get photos of 1 in the evening sun rather than the 3 if we had arrived earlier. At the stop for sundowners he spent the time with guides from Kwara who had stopped close by. Much of the time in the vehicle with us, he was chatting to the tracker in Setswana. All of this was a very disappointing end to what was otherwise a fabulous 2 weeks in Botswana.
We did wonder whether there were some management issues at Little Kwara. Greetings seemed more perfunctory and we sensed a lack of team spirit. Having said that we did enjoy good conversations with several members of the staff. We also find it hard to believe that the issue outlined above had not come up before and been dealt with. Whilst staying at a small camp such as this has its attractions, it also brings limitations: the fact that we had to accept Hobbs as no other guides appeared to be available being one.
We don't feel able to recommend Little Kwara in spite of the obvious potential that this camp has.
Expert Africa comments
With this traveller's permission, we sent their comments to the camp. They commented that Hobbs is one of the most requested guides for return visitors, having been with them for many years. So this less than stellar report had the camp and Expert Africa exceedingly concerned because it is out of character with his usual professional performance, and also the usual high standard expected of their guides. Having discussed the issues with the camp, they've apologised to this traveller and the issues have been addressed in a meeting between senior management and Hobbs. We're confident that Hobbs can learn from this experience and have been assured they will continue to monitor his performance.
Little Kwara review
Little Kwara is in a beautiful area with lots of wildlife. The camp was well run, but we wish the cabins were equipped with fans as it was very hot (42+ C) during the afternoons. The cabins are raised on stilts; we could look down on antelope, warthogs, baboons and elephants from our verandah.
We saw lots of hippos, lions, elephants, zebra, and a big herd of cape buffalo. Two highlights here were watching a pack of wild dogs hunt an antelope (no luck) and a warthog (successfully) and a boat cruise into the Okavanga Delta. The boat ride was exciting as we sped along the narrow twisting channels, stopping at one point because 4 young elephants were blocking our way. Our destination was a bird rookery with large numbers of storks and kites and we ended our last night in Africa riding back to camp under a magnificent sunset.
Big fun in Little Kwara
Little Kwara was our first camp and therefore our first experience of a safari in Botswana.
From the start, the staff there made us feel incredibly welcome and special. I don't think we can name anyone in particular because all of them were friendly and efficient and contributed to the intimate atmosphere at the camp. We also liked the fact that all the staff, including the managers, were Botswanan.
TJ and Chester, our guides, were excellent and passionate about the tracking and animals and worked well as a team. Litte Kwara was the only camp where we had both a guide and a spotter and we think this made a real difference in terms of tracking game. I will never forget the moment we found the 2 wild dogs and then the rest of the Kwara pack and the joy on TJ's face only to be saddened when he counted the pups and found that 3 out of 10 were missing. TJ's knowledge was extensive but he also gave opportunites to his juniors (Chester and Galaxy) to shine. TJ was also good showing us different aspects of the concession. As well as 4 game drives we also went on Makoro, went rod fishing and on a boat trip to the Moremi Game reserve. We were also lucky enough to have 2 drives alone. TJ weighed up what we'd already seen (which was a lot), the animals that he knew were around at that time and the other options and he decided to take us 'birding' - this was a great option and thoroughly enjoyable, but in fact turned into more serious tracking as game was unexpectedly located!
Our best experiences at Little Kwara were - breakfast round the 'boma', the relative 'wealth' of lions (we saw 8 lions there out of a total of 10 on the trip), chasing the wild dogs and then finding their pack and pups, the 2 boat trips, the sundowners on the first day (viewing a herd of cape buffalo in the mist against the blood red of the dying sun) and our interactions with the staff.
This was the only camp that had a series of maps in the lounge area that allowed us to see where we were relative to the surrounding consessions and where we had been each day. These were quite useful and possibly something the other camps could implement.
Our only suggestion for the camp is that of the three camps, they were the only ones who did not do anything special for our honeymoon. It may perhaps be because when we told them, they did not fully comprehend (as we are an older couple).
Little Kwara review
We liked Kwando camps in the past and we liked this one too. We actually prefer them to the (lately) more artificially showy Wilderness Safari camps. The camp is simpler, emphasis is on the safari experience rather than luxury.
Our drives and guide (Paul) very good, interesting sightings. We saw leopards, followed a pair of cheetahs for two days, saw them feasting on their kill, the clean-up by vultures, jackal, etc.
The Kwando method of having a guide/driver and aalso a tracker works very well indeed, helps finding animals.
Little Kwara review
Once again, Kwando Safaris didn't disappoint.
We loved the guide and tracker set-up. Mothusi and Chester were a pleasure to spend four days with. And once again we were out tracking a pair of cheetahs. This time I was not surprised when Chester returned to the vehicle and told us that they were "close". Sure enough, ten minutes later there they were, lounging on a termite mound.....outstanding!!! Half the fun was observing the trackers work. Mothusi was also a wealth of knowledge about bird life in the delta. Another wonderful and friendly camp.
Little Kwara review
Our stay at Little Kwara was perhaps a little coloured by the fact that wild life viewing during our time there was not particularly good. Nothing to do with the guiding, just that the animals were not at home.
The camp was intimate, the tents perhaps a little worn but still comfortable, but the management was maybe a little more "laid back" than the other camps we visited.
We did see a number of lions and a leopard and lots and lots of giraffes - no wild dogs alas.
Great safari experience
Little Kwara surpassed our expectations.
The scenery is stunning, the staff really friendly, lots of bird life, animals viewed at close proximity, boat rides, mokoros and game drives. What more could you ask for.
It was a great stay and makes us want to go back for more Kwando lodges. They understand what makes great vacations.
Little Kwara ... big experience
This was our last camp and we stayed for four nights. It was the smallest with five tents and a total of nine guests. That suited us very well.
The guide and tracker were very pro-active and on a number of occasions we actively tracked animals rather than seeing what turned up. Dutch the guide was very good at positioning the vehicle to get the best light for photographs. Both he and the other guide Tom proved good company at mealtimes and were a mine of information.
All the guests were leaving on the same day so we had a great farewell dinner with dancing and singing. The accommodation here may be a little more basic but our tent was in a great location overlooking the lake and in our eyes was just as good as the other two camps. Particular highlights for us were: watching Dutch and Chester go through the fascinating process of tracking (and finding!) cheetahs; the evening boat dash back from the heronry and our mokoro trip with Tom at the helm and hippos watching our every move.
Little Kwara is great for visiting the heronr
The standard of the tents here was not quite as high as the other camps. There was no electricity in the tent hence no fans. As it is very hot in September during the day we were quite uncomfortable.
There were also small details such as not being given wet flannels on our return from the game drives that meant the service here was not of quite such a high standard as in other camps. However the staff sang to us before dinner on two nights which was very special.
We took a trip out to the heronry on the double decker boat which was the highlight of the trip.
Little Kwara review
Little Kwara was a great start to our trip. We particularly liked the intimacy and informality of the camp which conveyed a real authentic feel.
The real highlight was the guiding which was first-class in a terrain which is very varied with lots of dry land and water. The tent was large, spacious and comfortable, the food was good (though not outstanding) and all the staff were very friendly and helpful throughout.
The highlight of our stay at Little Kwara was seeing the pack of wild dogs seeing off a hyena which they saw as a threat to their 10 puppies followed by the frantic search of the pack to find the puppies who had hidden in the bush and their eventual joyous reunion.