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 Mr C. W. from London, UK

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

4

Excursions taken

0

Excellent game viewing

Botswana between 19 Oct 2011 and 29 Oct 2011

Trip rating: Good
"It was difficult for us , having been to Botswana many years before and many times to come to grip with the new order...ie Camps run by big Organizations and with a clear division between camp management and game viewing.

We were used to Lloyd Wilmot at Savuti , Gavin Blair , Randall at Abus , Michael Lorentz,Phil OShaugnessy at Chobe Chilwero , Tim Braybrooke etc etc.These were owner run camps with a love of the bush and their camps.All with a sense of adventure and discovery . This is no longer the case.

Camps are now run by the camp staff and the game drives ( your real pleasure zone ) run by independent guides ( sometimes free lance guides )

I think this is a real shame but I understand that the market is possibly looking for this experience and we are the odd ones out.I cannot help feeling that camps like Abus will not survive . In 1994 it was smaller , simpler , more beautifull and offered an extraorindary elephant experience. This is not the case now at all.

CL and LK were very good given this new order and we really had excellent viewing. I think the guides should be aware that these are phtographic safaris and so positioning is a good idea. All guides should have a basic training in this . The upside on client satisfaction is bound to be huge at very little expense.

The food was good and well managed . The wine was dreadfull. I think a little effort on this would not go amiss especially as it is currently out of sink with all the rest of the camp.

The staff at the camps were generally excellent ( 9/10 )"

Arranged By Lucy Copson


Chitabe Lediba

Chitabe Lediba

"A good overall safari epxerience at CL."

3 nights Arrived 19 Oct 2011
"I will split my review into 2 parts as most camps seem to segregate Lodge / Camp management from the game experience. This is a pity as this was not the case when I was last in Botswana 15 years ago but is a sign of the times. As a self confessed Africa snob ( excuse the expression ) I think this is in great detriment to the safari experience but there are few lodges now run independently so I imagine this is the norm.

Camp Management.
Excellent support from all areas : Kitchen to room cleaning and dinning areas.This was a notable feature of this camp and we loved the family unit set apart at the end of the camp. These are 2 tents next to each other and made the family experience first class.The design of the tents is good with very comfortable beds and bathroom areas.Despite being very up market the design of the tents gave the camp a moderate bush feel . Gone are the days of real tents and feeling immersed in the bush.Elevated walk ways and access were useful.The pool and communal areas were also first class with smiles from all the staff.These were very well set out and gave one a sense of proximity to the bush.Food was good but one always had a sense there there was not quite enough of the key ingredient of the main course. ( ie very little meat but lots of fillers in ) The wine was undrinkable.I would rate this overall camp management aspect 7/10.

Game experience:
9/10. We had an excellent guide ( Thuso ) who had the most extraordinary eye sight and was a first class companion in the bush.Thanks to him a female Leopard was the prime viewing option for a film crew and some other guests.We also had a good session with 2 other male leopards and wild dog ( all within 200 metres ) . Elephant were not in abundance as the breeding herds had left . They had had rain a few days before. The walk was also well timed and managed . Viewing was also very well organized with never more then 2 vehicles at the sighting. And Beyonds next door camp were having a very tough time finding game and were driving 2 hours every day to CL concesion for viewing. They were suffering too much water I believe.CL is a camp set in attractive surroundings with a wide variety of terrain. We saw few Buffalo but otherwise were spoilt with our viewing."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Good
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Average
Facilities
Excellent
Image alt

Little Kwara

"Superb tracking at Little Kwara"

3 nights Arrived 22 Oct 2011
"As with CL [Ed: Chitabe Ledibe] 2 SECTIONS.

Camp Management :
We did not enjoy the luxury of 2 adjacent tents as this not possible at LK . It would be a great asset. LK was smiles all round and despite an intitial feeling that we were to be disappointed at LK this was not the case.
We were greeted at the airstrp in 40 plus degrees with no canvas top on the jeep. I later requested one and this was up for the afternoon drive. The pool upon arrival was also deep brown but cleared up later on....after CL [Ed: Chitabe Lediba] we had been spoilt.

Besides this LK has a great bush feel . The breakfast area is on the ground ( what a relief ) and you felt part of the bush. Animal life at the camp was abundant with Elephant , giraffe etc all very close. We had good food but rotten wine ( again ) . This is a pity with SA just round the corner. My son was ill for a few days and the staff were superb but with very little back up supplies. This was also true of CL so good adivice is always to take along a general antibiotic if required. We were saved by a friendly belgian couple. Decor at LK is more basic than CL and it feels genrally a grade below CL in all respects but in the end for us the expereince was better and more bush friendly. We were sad to leave LK and would recommend it but it is certainly below CL in terms of smart decor etc but it depends what you are looking for.

Game viewing.
We had Hobbs as a guide with Kenny as his tracker. They were first class and found cheetah in impossible mopane terrain.We saw no Leopard and few Lion but saw good sized breeding herds of Elephant . The terrain at LK is attractive BUT can be frustrating on the sand as the jeeps wobble around and take for ages to get anywhere. This can be very hard on the nerves sometimes.Despite the excellence of the tracking and the REAL HARD WORK on the trackers we felt that the guides need to smarten up on their understanding of a photographic safari. We missed some superb shots of a 250 strong breeding herd of elephant by not thinking far enough ahead. ( sun , elephant movement etc ) and there is a limit to how much you can suggest and we also missed shots on lions feeding on a hippo carcas as we arrived there too late. I was rather disappointed at this but the Hobbs / Kenny team were first class otherwise.Coordination between jeeps again excellent.Our walk could have been a little more ambitiuos."
Excellent
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Good
Facilities
Good
Abu Camp

Abu Camp

"A diasppointing experience."

3 nights Arrived 25 Oct 2011
"Camp Management :
A fantastic set of comitted individuals stuck in the middle of the bush in 6 star hotel . The room facilities at Abus are outstanding with a little too much emphasis on the look of the designers ability. It is overdone and could have achieved the same impact with a little less decoration and more bush.The rooms are superb with every convenience avaliable. The showers were much better at LK despite Abus efforts to astound ( it is all solar ) . The food is magnificent , as was the wine and the attention to detail . My son was still ill at the time and the staff were extraordinary in their thought. Supper in the bush and sun downers were esxquisitely prepared.

The pool was a blessing in 40 plus degrees and looked astounding near the lagoon. However despite all these accolades the feeling at Abus is a little artificial and not authentic. The star bed overlooking the elephant boma is a joke and looks totally out of place. I do not think that Abus will survive long at this price unless focussed on Business Executives wishing for a weekend break ....you do not really have to leave the camp to feel pampered at Abus.We were extemely fortuntate to basically have the whole camp to ourselves. The other American couple left befor us and did not use the elephants besides the fact thet this is what they had come for.

Game Viewing :

We came exclusively for the elephant and were HUGELY disappointed in this area. We had been to Abus in 1994 and this is not what we had expected.

We have been reviewing our videos of when we visited with Randall and Michael Lorentz to ensure our memories were not romantic longings and they were not . Then they had over 11 elephants , they are now down to 6 . The walks and day plans were well thought out and designed , now they are not , The terrain was a beautiful mixture of open flood plain and riverine forest ( a la Mombo ) now it is not .The walks were all through thick sand in deep bush ( camel thorn and mopane ) and basically revolved around the same small island . Game was scarce , except a few breeding herds of elephant which they made their best to avoid. The game guides were very weak ( the best one IKE was free lansing ) .

The elephant guides however were much better and led by Wellington. Big Joe was still there from our last visit. The elephants are now split into 2 groups as they do not get along so well and consequently the walks are very distinct to those we enjoyed with Randall. Now you no longer walk in a small herd of 10 or so elephant with lots of good interaction and with lots of game , you walk behind Cathy ( the matriarch ) and then the elephants are dispersed at 25 metre intevals behind you so you might just as well be walking with elephant.You are all split up into a line. This was very upsetting for us as we had only come for the elephants and they are now quite secondary to the camp.The camp will not survive selling an elephant experience because it is not . Possibly we were massively spoilt with Randall and seeing the videos we took we had a 10 experience in 1994 . This time around it was closer to 2 . After a great deal of effort we managed to get some tiem with the Elephants but they are generally split into 2 groups ( so max 3 elephants at a time ) . The feeding is also a farse.

I felt that nobody had really thought of a creative day plan with the elephants at Abus as all the energy had been devoted to designing a camp.It is now a highly overdone camp in difficult terrain with a very weak elephant plan.We went on one game drive and the terrain is difficult but there are more open areas that would make for a good days outing.We were limited however to the island and criss crossing the mopane scub.Game finding is limited to a number of jeeps who patrol the area looking and then the guides are radioed as to their location.As in LK the thick sand makes for very frustrating driving.Our walks were probably never more than 90 minutes. So we were always back in camp by 8.30 in the morning or 6.00 in the evening which is at least 2 hours ealrier then all the other camps at both ends."
Poor
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Poor

Location
Poor
Service
Excellent
Activities
Terrible
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Image alt

Palazzo Montecasino

"Montecasino Palazzo"

1 night Arrived 28 Oct 2011
"Adequate hotel ...very overdone SA kitsch on Italy."
Poor
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Poor

Location
Average
Service
Poor
Activities
Poor
Rooms
Poor
Food
Average
Facilities
Poor

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

  • 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