Reviews of Shinde Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Great camp, good location, needs renovating
The location and camp are good on the Ocavango delta . However rooms are a bit run down and need renovating.
The food was good at all three meals. Staff hospitable and welcoming.
The guide although very knowledgable, had an attitude problem and was a bit offish with us.
The night talk on the southern sky was very good.
It is unfair to compare but what I say is based on comparison with our previous two camps.
This camp seemed to be rundown and leaderless. The service seemed to be routine and we missed the large variety of foods the we have come to expect. Pierre was the temporary manager and he was like lighting bolt of energy, delightful, but contrasted with the ho-hum atmosphere by the staff.
We were lead to believe that Pierre was there to give the camp a facelift and the work was to start soon. I know that he will be successful, but my experience would lead me to not recommend this camp until the facelift is complete.
Pleasant staff and wooded feel
The lodge and Room
Upon arriving at the lodge, I immediately felt like it was quite a bit larger than the others (too large for my taste) and lacked a certain ambiance. It's main feature is a large wooded deck, which houses the common areas (dining room, sitting area, fire/tea break area). It is covered by trees so I found myself not wanting to hang out there very much as it was very cold that week and the trees obscured the sun. The common area has a computer with dial up internet access, which was much appreciated in a region without cell service.
The walk to the room felt a bit like a KOA campground in the States. There wasn't a charm about it. The room was a tent-based permanent structure with a great shower. The small deck was shaded by trees and didn't offer much of a view. I heard a couple hippo sounds during the night but generally animals were not wandering through the camp, a feature I quite enjoyed in other lodges.
The managers and staff were friendly and meals were eaten as a group, Food was very good.
Wildlife and Guides
Unlike my other lodges, Shinde doesn't limit the jeeps so that everyone gets a "window seat". I skipped the drive on my first day, in part, because I thought the jeep would be too full. Ultimately, I only went on 1 game drive. The landscape is beautiful there. Bee, the guide, seemed very experienced and impressed us all with an outstanding sighting of a leopard. I still don't know how in the world he saw it! Beyond that, though, it didn't seem like there was as much concentration of game there as I had in Zambia. Also, they don't seem as keen about the night drives. They play them down and don't even have a separate person manning the light.
Given that this was my only wet camp, I was quite excited about taking a break from the game drives to do water activities. I did both the speedboat and makoro. It was lovely to be on the water..very tranquil. We didn't see too much..one tree frog, a few cool birds, pretty vegetation, 2 hippos and 1 elephant across the two outings. It was very nice, although in talking to other safari goers at my next lodge, I think there might be other wet camps that offer better bird and animal sightings from their waterways.
Superb Shinde: needs met;thoughts anticipated
We chose Shinde (our 3rd camp) to give us the chance to experience mokoro and motorboat rides, together with a shortish walk (about 1 hour). A couple of game drives were also provided. The mokoro ride was a lot more comfortable than I had anticipated, as the craft have been adapted for tourists. I got an excellent close-up shot of a painted reed frog, after my guide Patoki had very patiently pointed it out with his pole. My wife and daughter were in a separate mokoro with a guide called Colin. Both guides manoeuvred and glided so that we could take photos of each other. This experience is so peaceful and relaxing.
The previous evening we had a motorboat ride and on our way back, news came over the radio of a sighting of lions. We were asked if we wanted to try and see the lions. When we agreed we made a bee-line for the water's edge, landed and quickly transferred to a waiting vehicle. We then sped off in pursuit. This was a true James Bond-like experience. It also showed what lengths this camp will go to make your stay fulfilling, of which more below. We found the lions just before dark and were able to use an infra-red lamp to light them up. They were unbothered by this and we had another great experience.
On our walk, our main guide Aubrey explained the nutritional significance of the different grasses and trees. And the effects of elephants on various types of tree. We also learnt about the relative efficiency of the digestion systems of elephants, zebra and giraffe. Later we were instructed in how lions digest and excrete the remains of a meal; this after we came across a pile of fur which had once been a red lechwe.
A special mention to Jono and Justine, the camp managers. They are excellent. Nothing is too much trouble for them; they treat everyone individually and their attention to detail is a lesson for many hotels. One example is the provision of a decanter of sherry and glasses in your lodge prior to evening meal!
Shindi Camp was as I expected, fabulous. There are water based activities and land based activities, and that was what we had asked for. The camp was full and we met some very interesting people here, including one of the original owners of Shindi….he had many interesting tales to tell us round the camp fire. The camp staffs were outstanding, working hard to make your stay special and the guides of good quality.Read more about the whole safari
Beautiful location, beautiful lodge.
A nice place in a great environment, with interesting land and water activities.Read more about the whole safari
Shinde Camp review
A "luxurious" feel to this camp, both in communal facilities and individual accomodation. Latter had good views over either wetland or grassland depending on location, was very comfortable and even had a sherry decanter topped up every day!
Staff friendly and helpful and good management on site.
Laundry facilities good - we flew in a small plane in a thunderstorm and our baggage got soaked, but was dried and pressed as soon as we arrived.
Guides managed to find pretty much every animal we hoped for (leopards every day, jackals, hyenas, baby giraffes as well as the usual elephants, lions and a huge variety of zebras, wildebeest, antelopes etc).
Food and drink excellent.
Best all round camp we have stayed at !
This rates as the best camp we have stayed in over a number of safaris. This is primarily due to the staff, their knowledge, attention to detail and all with a smiling face. Jono and Justin should be proud of the camp they run and the quality of their team. The tents aren't up to the same standard as Kanana but your not there for the bedroom and they are more than adequate. We loved the decanter of sherry at the end of a hard day's viewing.
We were extremely lucky to see leopard on every game drive together with assortment of lions, elephants etc and we owe so much to our guide Adam.
Not the best time to be at Shinde?
I have rated this camp as good, as it probably is compared to many places, but it was our most disappointing camp on this trip. The common areas were impressive, but our room was small and dark, under a tree that constantly shed stuff onto the canvas so it sounded like it was raining! Sounds like others had better rooms.
No-one was in overall charge; there were 3 young trainee managers who were all very polite but didn't always respond to requests. The wild life was mixed: not much to see on the boat trips and the game drives had been affected by a large bush fire three months ago - this meant no small mammals but easy to see the big game without the normal long grass.
But the main problem was our guide - he seemed grumpy and it felt like he didn't want to be doing the job. We tried hard to make a connection with him, but it was difficult and we certainly didn't feel looked after, as we did in the other 2 camps. But we enjoyed the company of other guests and the plentiful good food!
Shinde gets the holiday off to a great start!
Shinde provided an excellent introduction to the Okavango Delta region of Botswana. From the welcome choir onwards, the staff were attentive and knowledgeable and made every effort to make sure our stay was enjoyable.
The tents were comfortable and well spaced with a wonderful view over the savannah. The food was varied, plentiful and well presented. It was nice that the guides had dinner with the guests.
The area provided a mix of water and land based outings enabling us to see some wildlife that we hadn't seen elsewhere in Africa including a rare sighting of a rock python thanks to the eagle eyes of our guide.