This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines open now

User menu

Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by The Pangolins from Atlanta

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

5

Excursions taken

0

Seven exciting days in Northeast Zambia

Zambia between 24 Oct 2009 and 1 Nov 2009

Trip rating: Excellent
"Overall our trip was excellent.

Once again the advice and recommendations from Expert Africa allowed us to plan a trip that met our needs and expectations. No doubt other camps in South Luangwa are also very good but Kaingo Camp met or exceeded our goals and expectations for this trip.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

The Expert Africa website remains one of the most thorough and informative websites I have encountered and the staff we worked with on this trip and our previous trip to Botswana were superb.

I will use Expert Africa again when we next have an opportunity to travel to Africa."

Arranged By Lucy Copson


Kaingo Camp

Kaingo Camp

"Photographers delight at Kaingo Camp"

4 nights Arrived 25 Oct 2009
"One of us had previously visited South Luangwa Park during the green season staying at Mfuwe Lodge. This time we wanted to go deeper into the park and chose Kaingo Camp for two reasons.

One of us was an avid amateur photographer and we both hoped to have extended encounters with leopards, the only one of the "big 5" that neither of us had seen at length in the wild. Most past reviews had indicated that wildlife viewing was excellent in the area of this camp area and in particular leopards sightings were very common. In fact the camp boasts a 95% sighting success rating. In addition Kaingo Camp had an excellent reputation of catering to photographers of all levels to include the use of a number of superb photo blinds. Within an hour of our first drive we could be included in the 95% of people who saw leopard with an extended sighting of a mother and cub in the late afternoon. We had two additional extended encounters at night over the next three nights of our stay.

Combined with those superb photo blinds our experience was excellent. Our guide Patrick always was accommodating to our needs and as we were the only people in the vehicle he helped us to mold the experience to fit our interest with extended visits in the hides, a great walking safari and of course the previously noted leopard sightings.

Added to that was the friendly family feel of the camp as a whole. Kaingo operates inside the park in a beautiful location along the Luangwa River. Power at night was provided by solar power and kerosene lanterns giving the camp at pleasant unpretentious rustic feel. With no generator to interfere with the night sounds you felt you were in a private remote location deep in the bush. But all amenities were still provided for with excellent meals and comfortable lodging including a lovely outdoor bathtub overlooking the river outside our chalet.

Traveling in October we were advised it would be hot. The vehicles were open top (there was an option for a top but we preferred not to have the top to improve game viewing and photography) so one must use protection from the sun. While it was hot and dusty on the trail and the landscape rather barren it was never unpleasant and it made the game viewing that much better as the animals congregated near the water holes. It was still warm at night but we had no trouble sleeping because the active schedule made you ready for a good nights sleep! (I recommend a silk sleep sack which was all the cover I needed at night. I wonder if a solar powered ceiling fan is possible? It would be a nice addition to help with the heat).

In fact another plus at Kaingo was the willingness to conduct 3 activities a day rather than the usual two. You don't have to do three but this was perfect for us as we have never been big fans of the prolonged mid day down times at other safari camps we have stayed in. Instead we spent mid day in the "elephant hide", built up in the trees, each day and had one particularly exciting day when a herd of elephants walked directly beneath us in the hide on their way to the river. Even when it was relatively quiet the elephant hide and the new river deck are great locations to spend time during the day between the morning and evening safaris.

If we were to have one small quibble it would be with the solar panels which were scattered about camp collecting power during the day. They didn't cause us any problem but they did detract a bit from the overall appearance of the camp which was otherwise very pleasant."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Shiwa Ng'andu

Shiwa Ng'andu

"Living history at Shiwa Ng'andu"

3 nights Arrived 28 Oct 2009
"For anyone with an interest in the history of Zambia and the colonial period then a visit to Shiwa N'gandu is a must. It is important to note that this is a much different experience from a safari camp and while there is some wildlife viewing and excellent birding opportunities this is not a resort or safari destination. Rather it is a working farm and a slice of life in rural Zambia. The opportunity to talk with Charlie and Jo about the past, present and potential future of the region is as interesting as the estate itself. We also enjoyed the beautiful but demanding hike to the top of Nachipala hill.

The Manor House itself is fascinating as are the archives of the writings of Sir Stewart Gore Brown. The home is a museum in itself and the enormous work that has gone into preventing it from being reclaimed by the bush is a full time and ongoing challenge. Guests reside in the home and are treated as family visitors rather than just a "hotel guest". The home has a generator for power during the evening but depends on solar power for other times so keep your flashlight/torch handy! We found it to be an interesting change of pace from the standard safari and well worth the trip."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Superb 8 day adventure with Kwando Safaris

Botswana between 5 Nov 2008 and 13 Nov 2008

Trip rating: Excellent
"Because we were traveling on our own to Livingstone, Zambia prior to the start of our Botswana adventure we needed to make arrangements to travel from Livingstone to Kasane, Botswana and back again by ground transport. These arrangements were initially a concern for us as they required car transfers, boat transfers and meeting up with our scheduled flights to the camps. But these details were planned and arranged without complication helping to begin and end our trip on a positive note especially considering the many things that can potentially go wrong when crossing borders in Africa and using multiple forms of transport!

November is considered a shoulder season in Botswana and thus the costs are usually a bit lower. But this is because it is also the start of the rainy season. Weather is obviously beyond the control of any planning and if you travel during this time you must plan for possible rain (Of course it could just as easily start earlier or later). In our case the first rains happened to occur on November 4th, the night before we arrived in Botswana. Nearly every day there was at least overcast and the threat of rain for some portion of the day with occasional light showers on several occasions. We were prepared for this and it did not dampen our enthusiasm for our trip. If you travel during this time you should be prepared for this possibility too.

Kwando provides nice ponchos on every game drive but it is recommended you carry at least a light or medium weight jacket and personal rain gear as desired as it is surprising how quickly one can get cold in a moving vehicle once you get a little wet, and especially in the evening, even when it had been 90+ degrees earlier in the day. That all said we had only one game drive that was significantly impacted by rain enough to return to camp and most game drives had little or no rain. Game remained plentiful during our visit.

Laundry service is available in each camp but drying is at the mercy of the weather so keep that in mind. At our last stop in Kwara things never really got dry (towels, socks, shoes) even though it didn't rain all that much. Can't imagine what it might be like at the height of the rainy season!

Kwando uses custom safari vehicles that are completely open (no roof, canvas or otherwise). This is absolutely fantastic for photography but be advised it provides no protection from rain or the sun. So bring sunscreen, hats and long pants and long sleeve shirts if sun exposure is a concern for you as it was for me. The vehicles have 2 rows of seats with room for 3 people in each row. If you happen to get lucky and have only four passengers in the vehicle this is very comfortable and great for amateur photographers like myself who bring way too much gear! If you have 5 or 6 it is not quite so great especially for the person in the middle particularly if they are an avid photographer. Each vehicle has both a guide and a tracker which is an excellent luxury to have for game spotting.

Suggestions for improvement:

The superb Expert Africa website was what first drew me to the company and contributed to my booking with Expert Africa despite being from the US. This feedback form is a nice feature although it tends to time out quickly if you tend to be overly long winded with comments as I am! I suggest you write and save your comments elsewhere and then cut and paste to this from when you are ready."

Feedback response

Thanks for these very helpful and insightful comments. We'll look at extending the 'time out' time on the website 'feedback' forms - which we sent to our travellers when they have returned. It's a good point; thanks for making it.


Lagoon Camp

Lagoon Camp

"Superb experience at Lagoon Camp"

3 nights Arrived 5 Nov 2008
"Lagoon Camp was our first location on our 8 night visit to Botswana with Kwando Safaris and proved to be an excellent start to our safari. We spent three nights there in early November. The camp uses large tents located directly along the edge of a lagoon with a beautiful view of the lagoon from the tent. Although the tents were relatively close together such that you could easily hear your neighbor they otherwise felt quite private.

Our guide and tracker were both excellent and game viewing was superb with exciting lion, elephant and especially wild dog sightings during our stay. Our guide Alson (I hope that I am spelling that correctly!) was extremely knowledgeable and really proved he knew his wildlife in finding the wild dogs while our tracker Baruti had amazing skill in spotting game, especially at night. He even spotted a chameleon at night high in a tree even though it was doing its best to look like just another leaf! In addition to game drives there is the option to take a relaxing river cruise which was a nice change of pace and highly recommended if available.

Food and service was excellent during our stay and I liked how the guide and guests from each vehicle sat together at dinner so that we could discuss the day's events and plan for the following day. There was still plenty of opportunity to mingle with the other guests as it is not a large camp.

The camp has a most welcome plunge pool for the mid afternoon break and a beautiful deck overlooking the lagoon where one afternoon a pied kingfisher spent the afternoon entertaining us with a fish he had caught that was nearly as big as he was! He would try to swallow it and then smack it on a large tree branch as he apparently was trying to break it into smaller portions. This went on over the deck only a few feet away as he seemed completely unconcerned with the audience he was attracting. I still don't know if he ever succeeded in swallowing his prize!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Lebala Camp

Lebala Camp

"Delightful stay at Lebala Camp"

2 nights Arrived 8 Nov 2008
"Following our stay at Lagoon Camp we spent two nights at Lebala Camp which is located south of Lagoon Camp in the Kwando reserve. Because it was relatively close to Lagoon we were able to make our transfer part of a game drive where we drove about halfway between the two camps and transferred to a vehicle from Lebala to continue our game drive.

Although close to Lagoon the area around Lebala Camp was a little more open in places and so the game drive experience was a little bit different. Again our guide and tracker proved to be excellent with an exciting chase with wild dogs through the mopane brush one morning. Tthe dogs, apparently the same pack we saw while at Lagoon as their den is between the two camps, had lost their pups, possibly to hyenas, just before we arrived in the Kwando reserve. So it was not clear if they were hunting or searching but it was exciting just the same (although it was a shame not to be able to see the puppies which had been seen only a few days before). Game drives were the primary activity here.

Lebala had just undergone an extensive upgrade to the facilities a few months earlier and the rooms can no longer be described as tents. They are wood frame and screened panel "chalets" on a raised deck with a beautiful interior and the addition of more extensive solar lighting, a bath tub and ceiling fan (a most welcome addition that Lagoon and Kwara do not have). Supposedly the solar powered batteries will not run the fan or lights indefinitely but with judicious use we never had a problem with power in our room even though this was the start of the rainy season and we did not have constant sunshine.

Some might not like the new rooms since it isn't the true "safari tent" experience but we thought they were excellent. They are still close enough together that you can hear your neighbors at times but were otherwise quite private. There does seem to be some additional engineering that needs to be done with the white curtains that cover the screen panels. While they look beautiful and work fine when conditions are calm when it was rainy and especially windy the curtains were easily blown around and bang against the structure. They perhaps need a better way to anchor them at the bottom during storms.

The location at Lebala is quite beautiful on an island with a stream in front and a marsh behind even though there is less water readily visible here than at Lagoon or Kwara. The common areas have also been refreshed and are spacious and airy with beautiful views. The only downside is that Lebala seems to have a much bigger problem with mosquitoes than either Lagoon or Kwara. In fact we rarely noticed them at the other two camps but they were quite common here and that is why the location rating is slightly lower. Also the airstrip at Lebala has been flooded for some time requiring a relatively long drive to a neighboring camp to the south to reach their air strip. This really wasn't too big a problem as it just proves to be another game drive of sorts. Our drive to the airstrip was in fact quite productive for wildlife viewing although the one limitation is that you don't have the luxury of following the game."
Excellent
Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Kwara Camp

Kwara Camp

"Lovely Kwara!"

3 nights Arrived 10 Nov 2008
"Ah, Kwara, such a lovely place and highly recommended for a safari experience. After spending time at both Lagoon and Lebala our 3 nights at Kwara was a nice way to conclude our safari experience. Kwara is on the edge of the Okavanga Delta and yet still has a large reserve available for game drives with a variety of environments to include open savannah, woodlands and marsh areas.

Our guide David and tracker (whose name escapes me at the moment, my apologies!) were excellent. David clearly knows his business and we found him to be an excellent guide. Kwara provides a range of opportunites to include game drives, mokoro rides, river cruising in the delta and even the possibility for walking safaris. Perhaps it is because it was the end of the dry season but we found the mokoro ride a bit underwhelming (the weather was also a bit dicey as well that morning) but I suppose it is one of those things you should do at least once.

The river cruise to the Gcodikwe Lagoon is well worth the trip but although Kwara is on the Delta the focus here is still on game drives. Perhaps to have a more "in depth" Delta experience another camp deeper in the Delta might be better but since we did not do that it is hard for us to say. But the quality of game drives here was excellent with lion, cheetah, elephant, buffalo, giraffe and various antelope (to include lechwe, waterbuck and sable) all in abundance. Only the elusive leopard evaded us despite our best efforts. One of the many highlights was David's superb work in tracking a lioness with a young cub in tow on the prowl. We were right there for the chase and while the lioness missed her prey we didn't miss any of the heart stopping action!

Kwara Camp is perhaps the oldest of the three we visited and as such has a comfortable lived in feel about the place. The views are lovely and in November the lagoon is smaller leaving more grassy areas where lechwe, hippos, baboons and even elephant wandered by close to camp. The rooms here are tents and they appear to be slightly smaller that the tents at Lagoon Camp.

We stayed in tent 8, the "honeymoon" tent, which appeared to be slightly different and perhaps older than the other tents in camp. It is a little more isolated from the other tents which is nice as the other tents are farily close together and it has a nice view (although I wouldn't have minded a bit of the brush being cleared back to open up the view even more). It is the only tent I saw not on a raised deck and contains a bathtub at the sacrifice of a double vanity and smaller shower area. Personally we did not have much need for a tub and would have preferred the larger vanity and shower area of the other tents.

The main area has a nice view of the lagoon with a nearby elevated observation deck and a plunge pool for hot afternoons. The staff was very attentive and helpful particularly during a brief illness one of us experienced right at the end of our stay. Located near Kwara is the newer Little Kwara camp although you can't see it despite its close proximity. I think we might have enjoyed a visit to see the other camp during one of the mid day breaks. I do not know if this was possible or even allowed but I confess we have only ourselves to blame as we did not think to inquire about doing so until after we had departed."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link


New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Order a brochure
  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team