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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs GJ from Chester

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

3

Excursions taken

0

Wonderful time in beautiful Botswana

Botswana between 17 Jun 2011 and 26 Jun 2011

Trip rating: Excellent
"Absolutely wonderful! Botswana feels so much wilder than the other places we have been to on safari in South Africa. For me, the sense of remoteness and being so far away and cut off from every-day life, was a refreshing experience. Everyone we met in the camps was warm, friendly and very helpful. We were very pleased with all the Kwando Camps we visited and the following general comments apply to all the camps.

I was interested to know about policies on waste, water supply and energy use and it seems that the camps are keen to do all they can to minimise their impact. The solar water heaters are Lebala and Lagoon were particularly good. Considering how remote the camps are, the facilities are fantastic. There are no electric points in any rooms for charging camera batteries, etc., but this is not a problem as the staff will charge any batteries or gadgets during the day. You just need to make sure you have spare batteries, and since there are many chargers and batteries from other guests, (especially for Canon and Nikon), I took a waterproof pen and marked our initials on our chargers and batteries.

Since all camps follow a similar daily routine, it's very easy to get used to. All the camps are very flexible on the duration of game drives. If game viewing was going well, then vehicles tended to stay out longer, rather than sticking to fixed meal times. The food in general was good and the home baked breads, cakes, quiches and pies for afternoon tea were excellent.

It was difficult to separate out any individuals who were particularly good or helpful as all guides, trackers and camp staff were so pleasant, helpful and informative. All of our guides were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. It was great to sit and talk to staff who had grown up in the delta and were to talk about their old way of life, before their families were moved to villages.

The weather in June can be very cold, so it's best to take lots of layers. Thermals would be very good. I was really glad that we took our warm duvet jackets, which are very light and compressible to pack in the luggage and many other guests commented that they wished they had similar! It was beautiful and warm during the middle of the day, but the temperatures soon dropped after sunset. It was particularly cold first thing in the morning and some camps provided a hot water bottle (as well as the usual blankets), which made things much more comfortable.

It may have taken four flights just to get to the first camp, but it was certainly worth the long journey and we'd love to go back as soon as we can.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

I'm always paranoid about our luggage not arriving with us, especially when on a trip with a complicated itinery. The last few times we have been away on such a trip, I have made special luggage labels, which hopefully would give it chance to catch up with us, if it was delayed. I typed up a very small version of our itinery, with passenger surname name, dates and flight numbers, destinations, names of camps, with Kwando Safaris contact number in Botswana and my mobile number. (It is possible to get all this in). I printed all this onto a credit card size piece of paper and laminated them with some special luggage labels I found on the internet. They were really durable and a least gave me some confidence that we may see it again ! The format is quite simple to copy. I thought that it would be a valuable service (although very cheap and easy to do), if Expert Africa could provide such labels for customers. You could put the Expert Africa logo on the back. Please let me know if you would like to see an example of the label I did for our trip."

Arranged By Lucy Copson


Lebala Camp

Lebala Camp

"Hippos galore at Lebala"

2 nights Arrived 18 Jun 2011
"We certainly had an exciting start to our stay at Lebala. As we were being guided back to our tent on the first night, we were half way along the open path to the tents when we came to realise that there were hippos on both sides of us looming in the dark. Some very careful, quiet and decisive footwork and we all reached our tents safely, but it made us realise just how cautious you need to be, especially after dark.

Having water on three sides, the camp is very open and during our stay many hippos came out to graze around the tents at night. Don't expect to get a quiet night's sleep as they make the most amazing range of noises, but it's great to listen to them. Being woken in the dark by the deep rumble of an elephant only just the other side of the canvas was really amazing, if slightly scary!

The rooms/tents are very spacious, stylish, spotlessly clean and very comfortable. The only slight down-side is that all the walls are made from strong fly-screening material, with just thin curtains that are pulled around some of the walls at night. Whilst this is very pleasant in the day (and probably excellent when it's hot in the summer), I did feel that it gave less privacy when the light is on at night and when the temperature drops significantly at night, it can feel quite draughty."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Lagoon Camp

Lagoon Camp

"Lucky find at Lagoon is holiday highlight"

3 nights Arrived 20 Jun 2011
"Although we weren't lucky enough to see the wild dogs or cheetahs at any of the camps, we were absolutely delighted to see something that had always been a favourite of ours, but we never expected to see on any trip. It was an early evening drive on our first night at Lagoon. We were sitting on the rear seats of the vehicle and since others on the vehicle were mainly looking forward, we were making sure to check around the back side of each termite mound and bush as we passed. It certainly paid off. We were just checking behind one such mound, when we both spotted something fairly small scuttling away. We were so excited we could hardly say the name of the animal to alert everyone – It was a pangolin! Bali, our guide pulled the vehicle to a sudden stop and we all jumped off the vehicle and managed to catch up on foot. To get such a close look at such a rare and magical animal was an absolutely amazing experience. Pangolins are creatures that are associated with luck and we were certainly very lucky.

The new camp at Lagoon is beautiful. The rooms are more like thatched lodges rather than tents are very luxurious and private. The camp is in a lovely location and the view across the lagoon from the room delightful and very relaxing.

The only downside at Lagoon was the vehicles. They are based on the Toyota Hilux and are starting to get very old and unreliable. I think that the worst one was usually left for our guide who was a pretty good bush mechanic too! One evening, we were stuck in deep sand, completely in the dark with no 4WD and the battery failing. He did an excellent job coaxing the vehicle back to camp and although we were probably quite safe in the vehicle, it was still a bit spooky. The following evening, the owner of Kwando Safaris came to see the new camp and dined with us. We raised the condition of the vehicle with him and we were told that replacements were due, but it may take a while to renew the whole fleet."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Excellent
Kwara Camp

Kwara Camp

"Close encounters at Kwara"

3 nights Arrived 23 Jun 2011
"In general the game at Kwara seems a lot more relaxed with the vehicles here compared with Lagoon and Lebala. We had great sightings of lions chasing vultures away from the hippo carcass which they had claimed for their own, but by far this was the best place for sightings at night. We were particularly please to see an aardwolf and one evening we saw a small spotted genet, a civet, an African wild cat and two servals, all within a few minutes of each other. The serval showed up on a couple of evenings and seemed to be at ease with the vehicles.

Since the animals here were much less wary of vehicles or people, this led to some very enjoyable sightings at close quarters. During siesta time in the middle of the day, we were sitting very quite on the ground near the water's edge and had a family warthogs come within a few feet as they foraged their way through the camp. Later that afternoon, we were unable to leave our tent for the game drive, as a large bull elephant was taking his time collecting fruits from around our veranda. As he wandered his way towards one side of the tent, our guide came to collect us around the other side, only to come face to face with the elephant as we tried to get away at the back of the tent. We carefully retraced our steps, as the elephant strolled away.

The vehicles at Kwara were great - brand new Toyota landcruisers which were only a few weeks old, however, they still get stuck from time to time. The Delta was flooded to a very high level when we visited and we were only a few feet from a group of lions when it was our turn to get stuck.

The tents at Kwara are old style safari tents, which are quite small compared with Lebala and Lagoon, but they are still very clean and comfortable. The only problem we had was with the hot water supply, especially to the shower, as the gas boiler to our tent was a little temperamental. The solar systems at Lebala and Lagoon are excellent, but there are a lot of baboons Kwara, which can cause a lot of damage to solar panels.

On our last morning, instead of taking the usual game drive, we had a mokoro trip and bush walk with an armed guide and tracker. This was certainly well worth doing, as it gives such a different close up view of the water and all its beautiful plants. The walk was very interesting and we also spotted a lioness in the distance."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good

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