Reviews of Little Kwara
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Great Camp but long safari drives
Little Kwara was a lovely lodge. The rooms were spacious with a king size bed and plenty of amenities. There was a large balcony with two comfy chairs and a table overlooking the grassland and bush where we spotted elephants and impala.
The food and staff were both very good with plenty to eat and drink. We eat at a long communal table where there was plenty of banter and chat with the other guests and staff.
Our guide was Hobbs who, although was very pleasant and a good guide, was relentless in trying to find 'big cats' whose tracks he found. This lead to a marathon 10 hour game drive on one day with a coffee break at 1.00pm and lunch which was brought out to us at around 2.30pm. Hobbs driving left a bit to be desired with no respect to the landscape - he seemed to be on a 'deforestation project' and at times hacked down the thicket with machetes and axes and often seemed to be lost. The fuel tank was punctured which could have been a major fire hazard. We eventually arrived back at the camp at 5pm after a nightmare of a drive. He really should slow down and have more consideration for his guests.
The problem was we were not told we to be out all day and were expecting an afternoon rest after 6 days of game drives.
We did, however, see plenty of game including lion, 3 cheetah brothers, leopard, kudu, baboons, ostriches hippos etc.
On our last day we took a mokoro ride in the lake with the hippos - a bit scary.
Little Kwara review
Lovely camp! Staff and guides were wonderful. Excellent meals.Read more about the whole safari
#2 in order of visiting only
Great guides and staff, wonderful wildlife
Although very comfortable, one must realize this is Africa with the right amount of luxury and convinience to make it fun.
Safari with a wonderful team - Little Kwara
Our guide was George and we had 2 trackers, Mike and Chester. George was very experienced and light-hearted at the game drives and mokoro ride. Thanks to his guiding and an excellent radio communication and coordination with the other vehicles / guides, we saw plenty In a short 2 day safari . We saw 3 cheetahs lazing under a tree and 2 lions crossing the bridge in the same evening ! - well, I should say it was night safari, cos by the time we returned to camp, it was easily past 9pm! and the team - George & Mike maintained energy and enthusiasm, the team at camp were receiving us as we drove in, waiting for us to serve supper !! Thank you for your hospitality, Litttle Kwara team.
Credits to the manager - we told him that we 'd like to take some warm water in the room in the morning - and he was so responsive !! that evening, a thermos flask of hot water was readily placed beside our cold water tumbler !! excellent attending from him and he surely runs an efficient team to support this high level of customer service !!
The dinner served on the 2nd evening was not appetising, and items were not ready here & there e.g. plates not prepared, buffet trays not opened, serving spoons not available. It was unlike that on the first day/evening, served by another team - able Cassy & attentive T-Bone. We prefer service and lunch/dinner spread on day 1.
We enjoyed the sundowner in the evenings a lot. The finger food with the drinks/cocktail were an absolute thrill. Overall, we saw a good range of game, including a full close up view of elephants swimming across the river, hippos bathing in the hippo pool. It is our first safari and it's a memorable, fruitful safari - we were glad we chose Little Kwara.
Little Kwara review
Kwando guiding as its best. Dutch is a enthusiastic guide and I enjoyed the time to be out with him.
I prefer Little Kwara much more than Kwara.
Little Kwara review
An excellent safari experience.
At one occation we followed lion tracks for more than 1,5h over open plains, high grass, through bushes and sandy patches. Finally we spotted 5 lions resting. How on earth did the guides manage to find them? Amazing!
Little Kwara is a diamond
Arriving at the airstrip in a little 6 seater plane to find you are the only guest in camp, albeit only for a day, makes you feel a bit special. Picked up from the airstrip by my guide Dutch and tracker Kenny, a quick checkin at the bar which is fused with the open sided eating area. This is wood and canvas but plush dark wooden floors give it the feel of opulence of african adventures of old. My room has a double facing large sliding doors which open to reveal a few hippo and red lechwe. Out on the balcony and the afternoon heat is too much to be able to sit out but the view from the bed is amazing. The outside shower looks great and having tested even at 5am it's never too cold to stand outside naked.
Off for the first game drive and the first 15 minutes I am wondering what I am doing here, not a single animal. Then the first impala and a few zebra, then an owl, giraffe, jackal and hippo. We haven't been out long and we come across two of the seven lion brothers and drive up so close I worry about driving over their tails. Engine off and I am sure I can hear them breathing. Over walks a female, giving a low grunt to announce her arrival to the two males. The sun low in the sky and this is the golden hour for photographers as the evening sun cascades from the lions mane to accentuate the majestic beast in all his glory. It's then off for a sun downer at the local hippo pool and a glass of red watching these great lumbering beasts at a distance the nervous might find a bit unnerving but I enjoyed. The sun sets and the drive back to the lodge is an adventure on its own. Serval and a wild cat then what I like to call a kalahari kangaroo and we arrive back just in time for the heavens to open with a lightning show the like of which takes your breath away. Day one is over.
Day two and I am still the only guest so Dutch asks if I want to try and find the cheetahs. My enthusiasm gets the better of me and I say yes please. The game drive vehicles are open topped which is great as the eagles and hawks fly on the thermals 30 feet above you which is an amazing sight but you have to be aware of the heat. Hat on and factor 40 suntan lotion applied every hour and we find the tracks of the cheetahs about 11am. Kenny jumps off the front seat every few hundred meters to check the tracks and we soon spot 3 male cheetahs under a tree, as we approach they mark the tree and move off into the bush, lost forever, or so I thought. Now when you are told that the vehicles go off road you don't quite realise what off road really means, we drive though what appears to be impenetrable bush following the cheetahs as they mark the boundary of their territory. Finally we enter the open marsh lands of the delta and the trio split ready to hunt some red lechwe so we hold back and allow them to hunt. They get close but sadly no kill today.
We head back for the camp at about 2:30pm and I think the day could not get any better when we stumble upon a small herd of elephant doing what elephants do - feeding. We pull up about 10 feet away from a 40 year old female who is digging up a root with her feet. I take a few pictures then put the camera down as she starts to move off then she turns towards the vehicle and very slowly moves towards me. She seems to cover that 10 feet in what feels like an eternity and gets closer and closer, and closer and closer, and closer until she is less than a foot away from the vehicle. Dutch turns on the engine and she stops so close I could have touched her were I not frozen with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. She slowly turns left and ambles off as I turn to Dutch and Kenny with a tear in my eye and mouth "wow".
Not every day is like this, when I was joined by a great Canadian couple and told them how good it was our next game drive we saw very little, but that's what safaris are all about and the next morning we had a great drive.
The food was superb and meals were great fun with conversation both from other guests and the guides. Room service was amazing, having left all my clothes on the floor the first night I arrived back on the second day to find everything laundered including socks and pants, on day two the same despite me leaving them folded on the chair. After a morning drive I was asked if I wanted a drink in the room, a glass of red please, "why not take the bottle" came the reply.
I know good game drives normally bump up the perception of a camp but I have seen more wildlife in Kenya and Tanzania. What they offer is the chance to get close and spend time watching these animals. It's not for those easily bored and I would not recommend for those with young children but I would return in a heartbeat.
Little Kwara review
We generally had a good time here with good game sightings and service. Our guide was due for leave and it showed, but as I have provided Kwando with feedback will not pursue that issue here
. All radio conversations between the 2 Kwara camps guides were in Setswana, which I understand is contrary to company policy, and some guides speed unnecessarily ( e.g to view resting cheetahs and for lunch} to the extent that one of our car companions complained.. Hobbs and probably other guides were not involved in this, but some guide retraining/supervision is needed at the Kwara camps. In hindsight I should have raised this issue with Lizzie but did not.
Lizzie and her staff ( particularly Cassie) provided a welcoming and happy camp environment, and we had an excellent tracker in Kenny
This was the only camp which did nor provide the specific tent which we had requested, but tent 4 was perfectly satisfactory so we did not raise the issue. You should be interested, however, in the fact that our vehicle companions, a couple from the U.S who had been married for 30 odd years, and had only booked in August, were allocated the honeymoon tent.
Safari at Little Kwara Camp
Again the Kwando staff were very friendly and welcoming. They made our stay an exceptional experience.
The guide (Hobbs) and tracker (Chester) were excellent, being very knowledgeable and going out of their way to ensure we saw cheetahs. We also saw lots of lions, elephants etc as well as many bird species. Being a photographer the guide always placed the vehicle in the best position for the really special photos. He also lent me his lens to get a good picture of a Bateleur Eagle - much appreciated.
Safari vehicles were comfortable but six people in two tiers is extremely restrictive, especially for photographers with big lens. The middle seats are particularly problematic. We were very lucky and only suffered this situation twice in eight safaris but this was purely because of special circumstances at the camp while we were there. Kwando should think very seriously about this situation if they pride themselves on the true safari experience. The guide did his best to enable everyone got a view of wildlife whenever possible.
The camp setting was very nice and the room was comfortable but not to the same standard as Lagoon Camp. The food was plentiful and enjoyable.
I would be reluctant to visit this camp again (specially at high season prices) with the prospect of being cramped in the current vehicles. This is a shame because the staff, guides, trackers and wildlife all deserve a return visit.
After two 25-minute long wrenching Cessna-hops, we gracefully landed on the Kwara airstrip where Dutch (guide/driver) and Chester (tracker) greeted us. We were escorted to our tent by Lizzie, the manager on duty. The 5 canvas tents are all on wooden stilts and overlook the savanna. Although the view from our tent at Camp Lagoon was more appealing, the tents at Little Kwara were more to our liking as they were smaller, with a lower ceiling and therefore comfier. They are all equipped with a nice bathroom, including an outdoor shower. Unlike in Camp Lagoon, they are strangely enough devoid of any ceiling fan. Given that the temperatures rose to as high as 43C° during the "siesta", such an equipment could have assuaged our daily discomfort. All meals, equally tasty each day, were taken communally with the guides at a big table. We were treated to a typically Botswanan dinner on Monday consisting, among other things, of pap (maize meal) and seswaa (grounded beef meat). Delicious !!!
As is the case at all Kwando camps, guests are accompanied by the same guide and tracker throughout the whole stay. Dutch happened to be Paul's cousin, our guide at Camp Lagoon. Dutch's driving skills are second to none. Guides at Little Kwara drive faster than at Camp Lagoon, most probably because more uniform roads ensured a less jouncy ride. Dutch and Chester were equally good at tracking animals. We saw a flurry of lions, most notably a pride of 4 male lions feeding on a dead elephant cub, and a pride of 3 lions which we photographed by one of the wooden bridges. The apex was reached when we finally spotted the coalition (yes, that's the word) of 3 cheetah brothers dozing off in the shade of a mopane tree in the middle of a big prairie. Once again, we were thankful to the close "radio" cooperation between the 3-4 cars driving in the concession for this unforgettable sighting.
We were under the impression that there were fewer antelopes, buffaloes and elephants at Little Kwara than at Camp Lagoon. I recently read that the Kwando concession has more resident elephants than in the whole of South Africa, hence the inevitable impression. On the other hand, lions were plentiful at Little Kwara, which explains why we did not see a single leopard there. The most memorable moment was undoubtedly when we spotted a big lion just after sunset in the middle of the prairie. It started roaring crescendo and we could feel the vibrations passing through our bodies. Each night was punctuated by roaring sounds, some closer than others ... lions are not a rare sighting in the camp.
We did the boat safari one afternoon after high tea. This was a nice change to the usual herky-jerky ride. We had a paramount sundowner at the heronry together with hundreds of noisy nesting birds. Unlike most guests, we chose to stand on the roof of the flat-bottom boat to get a better sense of the Okavango Delta's shape and features. I regret not being able to spend more time in the Hippos Pool because one of the older female guests felt uncomfortable in the presence of a rather small group of hippos. Once we had reveled in the majesty of the African sunset while sipping a perfectly prepared Gin & Tonic, the guides decided to return to the pier before it was pitch-dark. We were in for a special treat with the boat hastily slicing through the bugs-loaded air. One piece of advice: close your mouth and use your sunglasses.
The day at Little Kwara is organized in the same way as at Camp Lagoon with an earlier return to the lodge after the morning safari. Here too, free access to the bar was the rule and all sorts of beverages could be had at will. The only drawback at the camp, a minor one though, is that some of the clothes that were returned to us smelled like fire. We could live with that.
In conclusion, once again an impeccable stay at a Kwando lodge. "You gotta like the Kwando spirit". My feeling is that to get a sense of completeness and wholeness, one should ideally combine Camp Lagoon with Little Kwara as one location offers what the other one does not propose.