Any knowledge of Kwetsani Wilderness Camp?

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Jan 12th, 2003, 10:51 AM
  #21
Maaary
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You are really great what with the time you spend discussing this with all of us, Kavey. It is rather adicting. It makes sense to try to get near Mombo. Chief's is 19km from Mombo in the Mombo concession. It sounds pretty comparable to the WS camps, but I haven't figured out who runs it. I'll ask the operators about it. The only real drawback I see is that it is bigger - 12 tents.
 
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Jan 12th, 2003, 11:32 AM
  #22
kavey
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Mary
Nah - purely selfish I assure you - I LOVE talking about this stuff - I LOVE reminiscing about my trip, dreaming about the next one and sharing the excitment of anyone else dreaming about a trip too!!!
Kavey

PS What's with the "Maaaaaary" above? Is that just an excited version of Mary?
 
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Jan 12th, 2003, 12:53 PM
  #23
kavey
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PS Feel free to peer at my trip photos:
http://www.ofoto.com/I.jsp?m=31872652303.26313793503&n=977408959

You will need to register with ofoto and login though that takes moments.

Excuse the inferior quality - I scanned the prints using an old and low end flatbed scanner - we've since bought a decent negative scanner but it takes so long to scan that I'm only part way through rescanning.
 
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Jan 12th, 2003, 04:38 PM
  #24
jill
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Mary, you're right--since it is nature, you're not guaranteed to see what you want to see at a given location and time. Timing is everything and it's nothing you can control. But what you miss at one camp, you will likely see at another which I think is why it's important to go to several areas rather than stay at one place. The animals travel/migrate. In terms of Kaveys comments on the personalized touches at all of the places--it's true, they all do a little something, but Chitabe went far above and beyond the others in making our stay feel special and adding many more personal touches than any of the other camps.
Regardless, if there is any "guarantee" of game sighting, your best bet would be Mombo or Chief BECAUSE it is an island. The animals can't go anywhere. In the same sence, that bothered me a little in the fact that they transplant animals onto the island rather than it being a natural migration event--and, again, they can't go anywhere. I just feel like it's a huge zoo in a sense. However, regardless of how they got there, you will still see animals in the raw, how they survive, etc....and you will surely see all of the game you want to see. If you can't do Mombo--go to Chiefs. I haven't been there, but it is on the same island so you should have the same or similar sightings.
 
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Jan 12th, 2003, 08:32 PM
  #25
Mary
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You don't miss a trick, Kaaaavey. I will check out your photos later this week. Gotta get through some evening meetings at work.
Jill, your point about the island is well taken. It is not, then, one of those places that "becomes" an island during the flood season. By the way, I understand your aggravation when your guide wouldn't accomodate your wishes. Thanks for the warning.

Mary
 
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Jan 13th, 2003, 12:02 AM
  #26
kavey
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Jill
We had that same issue with a number of guides on occasion - we really enjoyed seeing the lions but after a while we were happy and wanted to concentrate on elephant, birds and all the other animals. Guides were more used to people who wanted to see lions all day. Although we did need to balance our wishes with the guests sharing our landrover we were lucky in that we were with people of similar intent, and we just communicated our desires to our guide who, after a few repetitions, amended the drives. I am sorry that didn't happen for you, because you are quite right, it's not up to the guide to decide what you want to/ should see - it's your trip and your money. I know they can't guarantee any viewings but from the sounds if it the animals were there but he didn't take you to them. Did you lodge a complaint with WS about this?
Kavey
 
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Jan 13th, 2003, 06:30 AM
  #27
kim
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Abecrombie and Kent run Chief's and do an excellent job. They are well known for their really expensive safaris! Next to Wilderness' Clinton, who could make a blade of grass interesting, we had the best guide there. By the way Chitabe looks like it is near Chief's Island on the map, but I was told by no less than Burt that it has has habitat nothing like Chief's. By the way, my nasty guide was dealt with by the management and demoted to bagage person. I felt a little bad for about a second but Wilderness is a first class act and cannot afford people like that.

 
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Jan 13th, 2003, 07:38 AM
  #28
kavey
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Kim
I agree - one of the most important strengths of Wilderness is the expertise of it's guides. Guides who do not respond to their guests requests, or even attempt to, are not really up to par.
I am just posting to agree - Chitabe area was not really very similar to area around Mombo. Mombo seemed more open, and it was easy to spot animals. Chitabe area was much denser in grass/ trees and harder to spot anything - or maybe there was just less to spot.
Kavey
 
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Jan 13th, 2003, 03:28 PM
  #29
jill
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Kavey,

We tried to talk to the owners of the camp while we were there (Kwetsani), but they were unavailable to their guests once a problem arose--one was napping or something when we asked to see her (that didn't go over well with us either--she didn't want to deal with a complaint). We ended up talking to a manager who set us up on a private outing with a different guide. I wrote up my complaint on the comments sheet they give you in the rooms and took it with me so it didn't get thrown out planning on mailing it. I ended up never sending it. I guess I had mellowed out about it after my return. I probably should have let them know for future vacationers....
 
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Jan 13th, 2003, 03:42 PM
  #30
Liz Frazier
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Jill-
The managers at Wilderness Camps work on a rotational basis. I believe it is 2 months on, 1 month off. A temporary manager(s) come on while they are off and they are different. Sounds like that is what happened to you. Not something you can control when visiting the camps but it does happen. People get a bad taste for that camp. I'm hoping it doesn't happen on our trip coming up, but it may. Also managers change and the flavor of the camp changes also. I understand that happened at Little Mombo. The manager was moved to Mombo Camp. Some comments from guests were not very favorable about it. So I guess, you pay your money and you take your chances. Sorry to sound so negative about it, but that was the feeling I got when I brought it up. Liz
 
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Jan 13th, 2003, 06:27 PM
  #31
jill
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That's true. There are so many variables that can change the trip--managers, guides, weather, animals....you take your chances on all of it, each time/place you go. That's why I did and would spend time in different camps (we met people -thought only a few-who spent the entire time at one camp). One more thought for Mary--although it looks as though you're doing it anyway....We spent 2 nights in each location and felt we wanted just one more night in each to get the full flavor and not feel as rushed. My husband and I both agreed next time will be 3 nights per camp.
 
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Jan 13th, 2003, 06:52 PM
  #32
Mary
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The recommendation I got from Bert was to spend all 3 nights at one camp. He says that you spend too much valuable time making the transfers for a one night stay somewhere. He feels you can get to know the guides and managers better and perhaps they may even accomodate you more if they like you. My decision will have to be made soon as the choices are narrowing due to bookings. Oh, another operator, Classic Africa, says the floods may not have reached the delta by mid April and there may not be water at many of the camps. Even Kwetsani. So many variables......
 
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Jan 14th, 2003, 07:44 AM
  #33
kavey
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Mary
I agree with Bert.
If you only have 3 nights in the delta it really isn't worth changing camps.
If you have 4 nights then I'd say it's worth it - on our first trip we had two nights each at most camps (except Mombo where we had more). At each camp we could happily have stayed longer but we didn't feel rushed with 2 nights or that we missed lots of opportunities at a camp. 2 nights was adequate.
1 night at a camp really wouldn't have been worthwhile - the only exception is for Gudigwa which is a camp set up to allow visitors to learn about and interact with a local group of San bushmen and only offers 1 night bookings.
Kavey
 
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Jan 14th, 2003, 08:00 AM
  #34
Mary
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Yes, I saw that you are going there next year. Sounds interesting. YOu are going to have a great trip. I will let you know how ours turns out. Say did I mention that we are doing a winged safari in Namibia for a week as well? That may be an opportunity to see some of the plains wildlife. We are staying at wilderness camps at Soss, Damaraland, and Ongava. Hopefully this will round out our viewing.

Mary
 
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Jan 14th, 2003, 12:57 PM
  #35
kavey
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Mary
If your question was to me, yes you did mention it in your original email to me, the reply to which I included above.
I am sure you'll fall in love with the splendours of Namibia as we did...
Kavey

Let us know what you opt for!
 
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Jan 26th, 2003, 03:34 AM
  #36
bharat sumaria
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Hi Mary

I have been to most of the camps which have been mentioned. I liked Kwetsani in April as you could do land/water based activities. It is in the same area as Jao and Jacana Camps, both managed by wilderness camps. Kwetsani's location is superb as well, however,
the game in the area in April was not outstanding - 2 male lions, one leopard on a night game drive, a couple of wildebeeste, some buffalo and elephant but saw the Pel's fishing owl - a rarity - on our walk after a mekoro trip.

While everyone has recommended Wilderness and A&K camps, there is another operation which in my opinion is outstanding. Kwando camps offer probably the best guiding in Botswana and their camps are in vast private reserves with so much wildlife during that time of the year. Accommodation is in very comfortable East Africa-style tents with ensuite showers, etc. and the locations of the camps are excellent too. Kwara camp in Moremi provide mekoro, walking, boat trips and unrestricted game drives. The local Botswanian guides are superb and really polite and friendly. The food is comparable to wilderness camps and all drinks are included (including premium brand drinks). They will also put a bottle of South African sparkling wine ( equivalent to champagne) for you in your tent on arrival - must request your agent.

Kwando provide a very good experience with very comfortable accommodation. If it is the experience you are going for then choose Kwara camp, if it fancy accommodation, then Kwetsani (not that much better) or Mombo (completely overpriced) or Chief's Camp(nice ).

Hope I have not confused you too much but had to tell you that the Kwnado experience was the best for me. One little thing happened to me which convinced me that Kwando really believe in giving the customer a good wildlife experience - at 04hr00 in the morning, the guides at Kwara heard a leopard calling near the camp. They immediately got up and sent out 2 vehicles to locate the leopard, which they did half an hour later. The stayed with the leopard until 06hr00 and then called the camp and asked staff to get us up to go and see the leopard. We managed to follow the male leopard the whole morning and the guides didn't rush us back to the camp. Some guests eventaully wanted to return and they sent another vehicle for them. This is what I call complete dedication to guests!

Kind rgds
Bharat
 
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Jan 26th, 2003, 05:55 AM
  #37
bharat sumaria
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Hi Mary

I have been to most of the camps which have been mentioned. I liked Kwetsani in April as you could do land/water based activities. It is in the same area as Jao and Jacana Camps, both managed by wilderness camps. Kwetsani's location is superb as well, however,
the game in the area in April was not outstanding - 2 male lions, one leopard on a night game drive, a couple of wildebeeste, some buffalo and elephant but saw the Pel's fishing owl - a rarity - on our walk after a mekoro trip.

While everyone has recommended Wilderness and A&K camps, there is another operation which in my opinion is outstanding. Kwando camps offer probably the best guiding in Botswana and their camps are in vast private reserves with so much wildlife during that time of the year. Accommodation is in very comfortable East Africa-style tents with ensuite showers, etc. and the locations of the camps are excellent too. Kwara camp in Moremi provide mekoro, walking, boat trips and unrestricted game drives. The local Botswanian guides are superb and really polite and friendly. The food is comparable to wilderness camps and all drinks are included (including premium brand drinks). They will also put a bottle of South African sparkling wine ( equivalent to champagne) for you in your tent on arrival - must request your agent.

Kwando provide a very good experience with very comfortable accommodation. If it is the experience you are going for then choose Kwara camp, if it fancy accommodation, then Kwetsani (not that much better) or Mombo (completely overpriced) or Chief's Camp(nice ).

Hope I have not confused you too much but had to tell you that the Kwnado experience was the best for me. One little thing happened to me which convinced me that Kwando really believe in giving the customer a good wildlife experience - at 04hr00 in the morning, the guides at Kwara heard a leopard calling near the camp. They immediately got up and sent out 2 vehicles to locate the leopard, which they did half an hour later. The stayed with the leopard until 06hr00 and then called the camp and asked staff to get us up to go and see the leopard. We managed to follow the male leopard the whole morning and the guides didn't rush us back to the camp. Some guests eventaully wanted to return and they sent another vehicle for them. This is what I call complete dedication to guests!

Kind rgds
Bharat
 
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