Reviews of Shinde Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Shinde Camp review
Unfortunately we have very little positive to say about Shinde.
Our gamedrive guide, Mr Bee, was so unskilled, that we just can´t believe he has passed any necessary training to become guide. Against our clear wish he for example drove again to show us a wounded lion that was unable to move. He repetitevely steered the wehicle directly into the herds causing the animals to escape. Most of the animals he spotted we had spotted much before him. There were hardly any breaks unless we forced him to stop in order to listen to nature sounds. On other camps this was how the guides spotted animals that were not visible yet.
The „managing“ youngsters (Magda and Falie) appear to lack the necessary experience and natural born competence and have not gained the undestanding on how to run a camp. They master small talk and entertainment but from our perspective such suits better a cabaret. This is however not what we do expect on a camp in Botswana.
One guide being a low light could be acceptable as one just can't always get the best cards but we are confident the problem was not just our guide. Merely the root here is the camp management. They appear to be totally lost and as young, dynamic and career minded persons try to hide it behind all that „hahaha hohoho, you guys, see any big stuff -management“.
Just one of the countless occasions: On one meal one of the guests shot a picture of a dove sitting inside our salad bowl and holding a piece of olive in bill. Magda asked the guest not to upload such a picture into internet as they are not allowed to feed wild animals. The animals, various birds and squirrel were there always and nobody from the staff seemed to care. On other camps all the food was always covered when unattended or not being taken to the plates. This was not the case at Shinde.
Our stay at Shinde camp was waste of time and money!
Expert Africa comments
Expert Africa and Shinde thanked these travellers for their feedback. All our traveller’s feedback is taken seriously, but especially so when improvements must be made to a camp or service. Shinde was happy to read that these travellers particularly enjoyed Footsteps – Shinde’s sister camp – as this is the kind of service that Ker & Downey Botswana aim for in all their camps and it gives them something to work towards at Shinde Camp.
In light of this feedback the General Manager and Managing Director of Ker & Downey Botswana have both been to Shinde Camp to investigate. They have discussed the various incidents with the managers to ensure that they don’t occur again. The General Manager will be staying at the camp for some days to monitor their performance. The guide, Bee, has been a member of the guiding team at Shinde for some years and has always garnered good reports from guests, even on Expert Africa's website – so it was particularly disappointing to hear of his recent conduct. The matter of Bee’s guiding methods has been taken very seriously and he has been suspended, pending an evaluation by management.
On a positive note Shinde consulted closely with the Botswana wildlife department and veterinary department regarding the wounded lion. They flew in a consultant who checked on the lion’s progress and we are happy to say that he has now been given a clean bill of health.
Shinde was a different experience and although on the water the waterways are not as pretty as Kanana we had our best game viewing of all three camps including lion just a few feet from us.
It is quite something to hear the elephant and hippo crashing around the tent at night and we had a family of genet chasing around on the decking. Service was amazing with an incredible eye for detail including hot water bottles on game drives.
Wonderful, we just loved it.
Shinde Camp review
Again, I rated this camp very highly. Though I found the Staff, not unfriendly, maybe a bit reserved.
Game viewing, for the time of year, extremely good.
Shinde Camp review
Not much game to see .(Or just bad luck)Read more about the whole safari
Good place to be, good people to be with.
Maybe not the best location in Okawango. Very nice landscape, not so many animals as in Lynianti, very nice staff but somehow more stiff and formal. Outstanding member was the moroco padler whose name is Kaykay or just KK, nefew
of our guide Bee.Period of the year not the best for the location, but the staff did everything possible do proportionate a very good stay.
Larger camp but very welcoming
We did not really do this camp justice by only staying one night. Larger than footsteps and I would not want to stay in a larger camp, but it was nevertheless very welcoming.
It provided the outstanding highlight of our trip whilst out walking when we saw two lionesses kill (One Eye and her daughter) at 50 feet. This was trully exhillerating, but nothing like as scary as hippos stampeding throught the camp in the middle of the night.
Nice stay at Shinde
Shinde is located in a beautiful place, close to the channels of Okavango and, in the dry season, with an extension of dry land that allows to go for game drives and safari bush walks.
Staff is friendly, the tents are quite Ok, and one can find at all times something to do (even resting for siesta). Food is ok, and the ambience in the camp is quite informal which allows easy going with other guests. Fauna is the one expected at the Delta, with dominance of red lechtwe, tsesebee, blue wildebeest, zebra, giraffe and hippos and elephant, also hyena,and cats as lion and leopard (those late ones more elusive to see).
I myself didn't give a chance to the pool, which I see useless in such a place, but some other guests tried, so it depends on one's moods. Guides are pretty good, with a good knowledge of the area and the ecosystem, and eager to talk to visitors about anything.
Very efficient, but arguably a touch too efficient. Shinde had a rather regimented feel, with everything happening when the management wanted it to, with very set timetables. However it was very comfortable and everyone was very helpful.
Some of the other guests were great fun, but others were rather reserved and stuffy. Any reservations about the atmosphere were more than made up by the quality of the game drives, with excellent guides (our guide, Trust, was really good company, found lots of animals and told us lots about them with a relaxed and chatty manner. We also had very interesting long chats with him about Botswanan (and wider southern African) social issues and politics over sundowners (he did a good line in G&Ts too).
Shinde Camp review
The most luxurious of the sites for us, with large tented 'chalets', fixed cubicle showers, twin washbasins, decanter of sherry on bed side table, impressive dining area etc, but poor guiding and with a rigid attitude to game viewing being confined by meal times.
Our fellow guests liked it a lot apart from the 'low' density of game compared with Chobe. So it depends what your priorities are.
We found our guide Alberto very disappointing, monosyllabic, would grunt 'zebra, hornbill, giraffe' etc without any attempt to inform about the animals/birds/habitat or what he was doing in looking for game.
Our guide had very much a take two photographs and move on approach, rather than knowing when to sit and watch.
To give two examples of how camp routine overrides game viewing:
A pride of lions was feeding on a dead elephant and rather than wait and observe, we had to leave to have our 'sundowner' at it's appointed site and be back in time for dinner. Another vehicle from Ker and Downey's adjacent sister lodge stayed with the elephant in to the evening (able to because the kill was closer to their lodge) and saw the arrival of many hyaena.
On our last morning we saw fresh leopard tracks on our way back to the lodge but couldn't look for the leopard as it would have made us late for lunch
A minor irritation was Ker and Downey's failure to provide the quides with binoculars, our guide borrowed ours as his personal pair had been damaged. Niggling when you go to pick up your binoculars to view something, to find the guide has got there first!
Managers felt superficial and inflexible, and amazingly ignorant about bird life. Food perfectly adequate but not as good as previous camps
If you want a four star hotel that happens to be in the bush with added 'activities' then this is for you. If you want to see and learn as much as you can during your trip to Botswana, then I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole
Expert Africa comments
We are sorry that these travellers did not enjoy Shinde. We forwarded them to the team at Shinde, who commented as follows:
We were surprised and disappointed to hear the comments regarding the guide, Alberto. He is normally rated very highly and even has a mention on Expert Africa’s website. Other guests staying at the same time as these travellers gave excellent feedback on Alberto. We have, however, discussed these travellers’ comments in full with him as we are always striving to improve our service and our guiding.
With regards to returning early to camp, we have looked into this thoroughly. The incident with the lions feeding on the elephant was regrettable, but in order to return to Shinde, the vehicle needed to cross a fairly high river. Alberto left the sighting to cross this river before dark, as crossing it in the dark would not have been safe. Perhaps had he explained this fully to the guests, they would have understood his reason for leaving earlier – and we apologise that this was not communicated to them.
The leopard tracks which were found just before lunch were right on the edge of the game-viewing area, and were heading in the direction of the concession (game-viewing area) next door – through which Shinde does not have permission to drive. In addition, the tracks disappeared into an area of very long grass by the river so the guide took the decision not to follow them so as not to get stuck or damage the vehicle with any hidden hazards in the grass.
With regards to Alberto borrowing these guests’ binoculars, we can understand that this must have been frustrating for them. It is not usually our policy to provide guides with binoculars and Alberto does have his own pair which he usually uses. We asked him about this and unfortunately the day before he had dropped these into the water and they were currently in Maun waiting to be fixed! We usually have a spare set in each camp and we are not sure why Alberto did not use these.
Expert Africa has also noted that these travellers had previously stayed at a private mobile camp, Santantadibe, run by a superb guide with individual attention. Their comments on this camp speak for themselves! We realise that after such an exclusive experience, moving to a slightly larger camp where there were other guests may be a slight anti-climax. We have learnt from this and will, in future, strongly encourage our travellers to visit private mobile camps at the end of their trips, rather than at the beginning or in the middle.
Shinde Camp review
Shinde is in a great location - you get the benefit of both water and game drives. We saw the best big game here (lion and leopard) thanks to some very clever tracking by the ever-knowledgeable guides.
It was also the most luxurious camp we stayed at - but also probably the most formal. The atmosphere was not as relaxed or welcoming as at the other camps, and one of the guides was a little too gung-ho (especially for the 12-year-old in the party - eg inviting elephants to charge).
Nevertheless, a great and memorable time, and an ideal camp if you have limited time and want to sample both kinds of Delta experience.