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Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Carmine Bee-eaters from UK

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

2

Countries visited

1

Lodges stayed in

4

Excursions taken

0

Expert Africa did it for us again

Botswana between 17 Apr 2009 and 26 Apr 2009

Trip rating: Excellent
"We had a great time.

This was our second trip organised through Expert Africa and once again the service we received was excellent. Everything was very well organised by Expert Africa; Susannah gave us sterling advice that was well tailored to provide exactly what we were looking for. The Kwando camps we visited were outstanding and we would recommend both Expert Africa and Kwando to anyone considering a trip to Botswana.

We would also, by the way, recommend that everyone shoudl consider a trip to Botswana.

Suggestions for improvements:

No. I would just like to thank you again for a great holiday."

Tau Pan Camp

Tau Pan Camp

"Spectacular scenery at Tau Pan Camp"

3 nights Arrived 18 Apr 2009
"The new camp at Tau Pan is very beautifully constructed as you would expect from a Kwando camp. There is a lovely large decked commununal area. The rooms are very comfortable and smart. There are both indoor and outdoor showers, which is very useful given that it probably gets very cold at night in the winter, and the thatched, detached suites have a large deck that provides welcome shade and excellent views during the heat of the afternoon.

The view from the rooms and the communal area is really spectacular, looking out onto a waterhole and the wide open space of Tau Pan and the desert beyond. It is set on a ridge, making the most of the one of the key selling points of the destination.

The game here was not as abundant as in the delta or other areas such as Chobe or the Kwando concession. The animals are also still quite shy, as they are not yet very habituated. Having said that, there were some interesting sightings of animals it is rare to encounter in other areas of Botswana - Oryx and Springbok are abundant, and the Jackal are unusually happy to sit beside a vehicle and pose for pictures. We saw Kalahari Black Maned lions, bat-eared foxes and lots of ground squirrels, as well as some close encounters with birds of prey and other interesting birds.

The national park is pretty much deserted - we saw hardly any other vehicles so we felt very much in the middle of nowhere and enjoyed sightings undisturbed by others.

The staff here, as at other Kwando camps, provide an outstanding level of personalised service. The electricity (solar powered) and water (from a pump 100m below ground) were still unfortunately suffering from teething problems at the time of our visit, although the problems seemed to get sorted whilst we were there. The staff dealt with the situation valiantly though, and in fact candle-lit dinner, given the setting, was not a terrible chore. Alvin, the camp manager, was great and really made our stay special. He was very attentive and did everything he could think of to ensure our stay was enjoyable, relaxing and interesting.

Tau Pan provides a very different experience compared to the other Kwando camps in the Kwando concession and the Delta. There is no after dark or off-road driving because of the national park rules (which is why we have rated the activites as good rather than excellent). This is obviously a source of frustration for the drivers and spotters as well as potentially any guest who didn't realise the situation before making the booking. Having said that, it is well worth a visit.

The setting is beautiful and very peaceful, and it is a completely different side of Botswana that it's very interesting to see, particularly if you are going on another area as the contrast between the desert and the delta is very striking and well worth seeing. I would recommend Tau Pan camp to people who want to enjoy the wide open spaces of the Kalahari, see some interesting and unusual game, and enjoy the incredible night skies with uninterrupted views to the horizon in every direction."
Good
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Kwara Camp

Kwara Camp

"We love Kwara camp!"

4 nights Arrived 21 Apr 2009
"This camp is brilliant.

Kwara camp's rooms and communal area look out onto water that is both beautiful in itself, and is frequented by hippos, elephants, crocodiles, impala, baboons, storks, pelicans and who knows what else.

The camp is gorgeous. The tents are built around the trees so it really feels like part of the scenery. The rooms are comfortable, spacious, and well maintained. Something about the camp made us feel instantly at home - maybe it was the friendly and very hospitable and accomdating staff, maybe the manager (who is a lovely man we had met previously at Lebala), or maybe just the general atmosphere of the place. We couldn't recommend it highly enough.

The terrain is very varied and interesting - open plains where the cheetahs and lions roam; mopani woodland where we were fortunate to see the rare sable antelope; and areas of acacias and scrub land.

The game viewing was brilliant. We were lucky enough to come across wild dogs resting and then off for the hunt, as well as general game, lions, cheetahs, elephants and some unusual sightings such as a leopard tortoise, an aardwolf, an african wildcat, and a small spotted genet. There is lots of interesting bird life as well, including the endangered Ground Hornbill. The elephants are a bit shy here, so you don't see large herds that are happy to hang around once a vehicle has arrived as you might in Chobe or Lagoon / Lebala, but we did see several bull elephants bathing and wandering about.

The drivers and spotters here are really passionate and committed both to finding and tracking the game and to imparting their impressive knowledge and fascination with the animals. We learned an enormous amount from our driver and guide, General and BJ, and we certainly had the impression that all the drivers and spotters took a simlar approach. They work as a very effective team, planning their routes to maximise the possibility of all the guests getting a chance to see something interesting. We had some great experiences tracking animals off road into the thickets and looking for nocturnal animals in the dark. The emphasis here is very much on the game, and everything else fits in around that.

The food was fabulous - as a vegetarian I was catered for very well, and the staff were very flexible in working around the timings of our extended evening drives.

The camp manager, drivers, spotters and staff work enthusiastically and tirelessly from dawn until the guests go to bed to ensure everyone has a lovely time. Whilst we were there, a honeymooning couple had a few surprise treats unexpectedly organised by the camp manager and staff and they clearly had a great time. They are very good here at working out how to satisfy a range of guests including repeat visitors and safari first-timers, without making it look at all difficult.

We had a very special and wonderful time at this camp and we hope to return soon!"
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent

Trip to Kwando, August 2008

Botswana between 20 Aug 2008 and 25 Aug 2008

Trip rating: Excellent
"We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Lagoon and Lebala Camps and would recommend them to anyone who is interested in exploring the beautiful landscape, flora and fauna of the area guided by top notch guides and staying in lovely camps."

Lebala Camp

Lebala Camp

"Lebala Camp review"

2 nights Arrived 21 Aug 2008
"Lebala camp was substantially renovated earlier this year, and they have done an absolutely outstanding job. The new tents are huge, beautifully constructed from wood and canvas, and incredibly airy and cool during the heat of the day. We would have loved to have used the claw-footed bath, but there was just too much else to do. The service at the camp was excellent, but the clear priority is game viewing. We had a great driver guide, OC, who was tireless and immensely energetic in his endeavours to track predators for us to see, but equally enthusiastically showed us lots of other interesting animals and flora. The daily routine works really well, with a game drive starting early in the morning after coffee and porridge, then a lovely cooked breakfast followed by siesta to see out the heat of the day. Then at 330 it's time to eat again before the afternoon drive, which usually turns into a fascinating night drive. The night drives are great, you get to see all kinds of animals which aren't active during the day and the night sky is lit up by millions of stars you would never know were there if you normally lived in a city like London.

We had a wonderful time at Lebala and were very sad to leave after two nights (but greatly cheered up when we arrived at Lagoon Camp, our next destination)..."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Excellent
Lagoon Camp

Lagoon Camp

"Lagoon Camp review"

3 nights Arrived 23 Aug 2008
"We spent three nights at Lagoon camp, but time has a way of stretching out and you are made to feel so much at home and part of the life of the camp that it really felt like much longer (in a good way!).

The tents are not as smart as those at Lebala, but they are nonethless perfectly lovely, with verandahs looking out onto the river and the plains beyond and very comfortable interiors.

The staff at the camp were hospitable, enthusiastic, friendly and courteous. Phoebe, the camp manager, has a very informal, friendly and relaxed style which resonates throughout the entire place so that you feel as though you are being welcomed into a family rather than staying at a hotel. OB also deserves a special mention for the great hospitality she extended to us.

The guides here are second to none - highly knowledgeable and able to track, identify and explain all the animals, birds and plantlife you are likely to come across. Our guide, Vundi, and tracker, Thsebo, found some incredible wildlife sightings including a pack of wild dogs (which we followed for over an hour) and a leaopard snoozing up a tree in the darkness. On our last day Pat, another driver, and James, the tracker, spotted lion tracks which we followed until we came across a female lion with four young cubs - a truly wonderful sighting.

Sadly, the resident pack of wild dogs had not been seen for some weeks before we arrived - they had left the area following a lion attack on one of the 13 cubs. However, there are others that pass though, which we were lucky enough to see, and on our last day a driver (Alison) told us he had seen tracks of a pack with puppies near the Mopani forest - he was intending to go back and try to follow the tracks, so there is some hope that the original pack might still pass through even if it doesn't set up a den within the concession again.

The great thing about the Kwando reserve is that there is such a limited number of guests and vehicles. The area feels very remote and untouched, and you are unlikely to see another vehicle all day unless there is an exciting sighting. In that case, there is a rule that no more than three vehicles can view animals at a time. So it never feels crowded and overrun with game viewers as is often the case in other places. There is also an overwhelming sense of respect and admiration for the flora and fauna from the staff, which adds to the overall positive experience of staying at the camp."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Good
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good

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