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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr H & family from Sussex

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

3

Excursions taken

0

My Dec 2012 trip

Botswana between 21 Dec 2012 and 28 Dec 2012

Trip rating: Excellent
"Our 7-night trip to Botswana over Christmas 2012 was excellent. Expert Africa recommended a very good mix of camps and locations, with good contrasts between the vast Central Kalahari and then two quite different locations in the game-rich Okavango Delta. Camps were very high quality throughout, with a few minor areas for improvement which are covered in individual camp reviews.

We definitely felt we were getting good value for our money in each of these places - not only because of the accommodation and guides, but also because of the exclusivity. We rarely saw another vehicle at any point, and never more than one.

We had some concerns about travelling in December, when Botswana is often hot and wet (and when the wetland areas of the delta can be dry with high grass). These proved unfounded - weather was fine throughout, except one grey day, and not uncomfortably hot at game drive times (apart from one very long drive in the Kalahari). Bush fires in the delta actually meant that the grass was short in many areas and game viewing was excellent. And we were able to take boat and mokoro trips in both locations in the delta.

Huge thanks to all at Expert Africa, especially Megan, for the advice and for the quick responses to endless questions!"

Arranged By Megan Green


Tau Pan Camp

Tau Pan Camp

"Tau Pan Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 21 Dec 2012
"We enjoyed 3 nights at Tau Pan just before Christmas. The setting is spectacular, with views over the vast Central Kalahari reserve. The accommodation surpassed expectations - the rooms are the biggest and probably the most luxurious we had in Botswana. Outdoor showers are a bonus. Food was very good (buffet style in the evenings), and the timing of meals is very well planned with a small breakfast, good-sized brunch, afternoon tea before the late game drive, and an evening meal later on.

Game in the CKGR definitely isn't on the same level as in the Okavango Delta, and the park is best enjoyed for its scenery and the vastness of the landscape rather than trying to seek out particular animals (though we did find a cheetah), particularly since vehicles can't follow animal tracks off road or drive after dark. Though Kwando provide a tracker in the vehicle, we felt that the quality of the guides here was generally lower than in the delta - both in terms of expertise and in listening to what we wanted (we ended up on an 11-hour game drive on one very hot day, having asked for a shorter drive in the morning). And this was the only camp where our party of 4 was asked to share a vehicle with other guests (though there is a maximum of 6 per vehicle, in 2 rows of 3 people).

It's worth being aware that the "bush walks" offered are a short stroll to a "demonstration area" near the camp, where a tracker will describe survival techniques used by local people.

Overall Tau Pan is a very good camp and worth a couple of nights to experience the CKGR."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Shinde Camp

Shinde Camp

"Shinde Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 24 Dec 2012
"We spent Christmas at Shinde Camp and loved our time here. Overall this was probably the best camp we stayed at in Botswana.

The camp itself is beautifully set among trees - at night the lights look spectacular. The communal areas are very well designed, and the rooms are very comfortable. Note though that not all have views, because of the trees (we asked to move to one which did). Food was always excellent.

The highlight of Shinde for us was the game viewing, which was the best we experienced. Our guide was extremely impressive - probably the best we have had anywhere in Africa - and we were able to track a pride of lion through the concession at night, and see a leopard with a recent kill. Much of this is down to luck, but the staff at Shinde will find game if it's out there! We certainly didn't think that the lack of a tracker was any handicap. The heronry at Shinde has recently been destroyed by elephants so it may be disappointing if that's a particular reason to visit, but the boat and mokoro activities on the water were great nevertheless - including seeing a sitatunga near the camp from a mokoro.

Overall excellent. But we thought that a couple of days at Shinde was probably enough, and were glad that we had planned to see another concession (at Kanana) afterwards rather than spend more time there."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kanana

Kanana

"Kanana review"

2 nights Arrived 26 Dec 2012
"Like its sister camp Shinde, Kanana provided an excellent experience for 2 nights.

The camp is extremely comfortable, and a communal area with views over the water is a good touch. Service and food was generally very good - though we had one meal which was definitely below the normal standard.

The Kanana concession has a lot of wetland areas, so in December this was a good choice with a good mix of driving, boat trips and mokoro activities available. During the floods it might be harder to drive around the concession. Game was abundant, including large herds of elephant passing through the area, and wildcat during a night drive. The quality of the guiding was very good.

One point to note is that for some reason Kanana are using an older set of vehicles than other camps we stayed (including Shinde). These are less comfortable, give a bumpier ride, and have less visibility (because the seats are higher and the canopy more obstructive). Upgrading the vehicles would definitely improve the overall experience.

Kanana was a great choice as a complement to Shinde camp, with a very different concession, different game, but still excellent standard of accommodation and service."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Average
Facilities
Good

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