Best Rooms at Kwando Camps?

Jun 11th, 2006, 04:59 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 342
Best Rooms at Kwando Camps?

I've already asked Johan and Hari this in Hari's photo thread but I don't want to hijack Hari's thread - so here goes.....

With the four Kwando properties in Botswana (Kwara, Lebala, Lagoon and Kwara Island) - what are the best rooms in terms of the view from the room? Also do these camps have honeymoon tents?

Are there any guides that you recommend at these camps?

I don't expect an answer regarding Kwara Island, unless you've stayed there during the past week or so.

Thanks

Gaurang
Africa is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 05:18 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,087
Kwara has a honeymoon tent, which is probably the best froma view and seclusion perspective.
Lagoon, tent 1 is my favourite.
No preference at Lebala.

Haven't visited Kwara Island.
Guides, haven't been out with them all, but felt that they were all charming and knowledgable.
mkhonzo is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 05:45 AM
  #3  
santharamhari
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Gaurang,

I'll leave the room choice for Johan to answer.....he has visited Kwando many times.

In terms of guides, for Lebala.....either Steve, Charles, Spencer. Kwara/Little Kwara.... Doctor, Mothusi. Since you hv asked for a private car, any of these choices would be awesome....

In terms of Little Kwara, i will visit early August, so i will hv a detailed report and pics of it then.

Hari
 
Jun 11th, 2006, 06:15 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 342
Thanks mkhonzo & hari - very valuable information. Hari...I'm relying on you to get those exclusive Kwara Island pictures.

Also, I've noticed that with the Wilderness camps, you are provided with soap, shampoo, and insect repellent in the rooms. Do Kwando also provide a similar service? It would mean less things to pack.

I want to travel as light as possible (less than 10kg) during those 4 weeks and use up any extra baggage allowance for my video and photography equipment.

Thanks

Gaurang
Africa is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 08:14 AM
  #5  
santharamhari
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Gaurang,

Absolutely! Yes, Kwando has very nice toiletries in the tents. Infact their body-shop style shampoo etc is very nice. You'll like it....especially, Lebala. That's my absolute fav!!! 4 weeks is awesome!!! And all your laundry is taken care of.......

Food is very good also at Kwando. Not quite upto some of the Wilderness camps....but, still adequate and plenty. I dont think they want to cater to the mega-gourmet crowd! Their wine selections every night are usually very good also.

And, yes, I will keep you posted on Little Kwara in August. However, we will hear from Michael (MV) soon, who is on his current trip to Kwando and is due to stay at Little Kwara. Let's see what his updates are....

Hari
 
Jun 11th, 2006, 08:33 AM
  #6  
johan_belgium
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Gaurang,

Steve and Mothusi are working on a freelance basis for Kwando. So hiring their services will cost you extra.
They are both outstanding - Steve is the man who adores the dogs and Mothusi is very keen on his photography.

At Kwara/Little Kwara: I would say Doctor/Thabo (new guide)/Joe

At Lebala: Spencer (he is a great entertainer) or Charles (very knowledgeable)

I stayed in the honeymoon tent at Kwara (number 8) in December 2005 (although I was alone on that trip) - the view was fine but I didn't see that much game (some elephants from time to time) - in May 2006 everything was flooded so beside some birds and hippos in the distance I didn't see that much from my deck (room 7).

At Lebala I stayed at 2 and 3 but didn't see much animals around - it's gonna be something else in September I think (elephants). I have no preferences at Lebala.

To be honest - I don't care much about the sight from my room because the only time I'll be there is when I am sleeping at night or having a little nap in the afternoon.

I can't say much about Lagoon because I haven't been there. The reason is the following - if I am in one and the same concession I don't like to switch between camps.


Greetings,

Johan
 
Jun 11th, 2006, 10:49 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 342
Johan and Hari thank you so much for the tips and advice.

Johan....I would agree with your view about avoiding the switching of camps, but I ran into availability problems during early November in the Linyanti area.

My full itinerary is:

29th, 30th, 31st Oct, 1st Nov Chitabe Trails Camp
2nd, 3rd, 4th Nov Duba Plains Camp (private vehicle on 3rd Nov)
5th, 6th Nov Duma Tau Camp
7th, 8th Nov Savuti Camp (on the morning of the 7th, I will have a private vehicle from Duma Tau, that will also transfer me to Savuti Because of the stupid Wilderness pricing, the road transfer alone will cost $300. Therefore Id rather pay the extra $75 for a private vehicle and keep the car for the whole day).
9th, 10th, 11th, 12th Nov Kwando Lebala
13th, 14th Nov Kwando Lagoon
15th, 16th, 17th Nov Kwando Kwara
18th, 19th, 20th, 21st Nov Kwando Kwara Island
22nd, 23rd, 24th Nov Kwetsani Camp


I wanted 4 nights at Savuti (but I have to do 2 at Duma Tau). Also wanted 6 at Lebala (but I'm doing 2 at Lagoon). At least I'll be able to compare them in a trip report

The Kwara-Kwara Island switch was my idea as it gives me a chance to compare the two camps. Also that's when I plan to do some "overnight" game drives.

Regards

Gaurang
Africa is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 12:34 PM
  #8  
johan_belgium
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
What a great itinerary.

If would be difficult to miss the dogs with all those camps you are visitin'
(Lagoon/Lebala/Duma Tau/Savuti/Chitabe trails).

I spoke with some of the guides about the overnight drives and they were not that enthusiastic about it because of safety/getting really tired. Who's gonna be your guide when you are planning to do those night drives?

I never came to a scene where I considered to stay out all night.

All day drives were possible but I only did it if there was something interesting going on (or could be going on).

Like I said what paid off for me on most safaris was going out early.

Don't take it as a critique - in the beginning (when I first read that thread) I was more enthusiactic about it then I am now.

But anyway I would be curious to know your thoughts about it afterwards.

By the way, when you planned your trip did you ever take Selinda and Mombo/Chief's camp in consideration.

Greetings,

Johan
 
Jun 11th, 2006, 01:28 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 342
Johan.....you have discovered my dog-finding plan

Regarding the overnight drives, nothing has been finalised but I hope to experience it at least once. I'm already feeling guilty for the poor guide who will be with me.

I did consider Selinda, but Savuti was the priority for me because of the hide and the chance of close-up elephant interaction during the dry season (early November).

I did consider Chief's Island, because of the rhino and predators. But not Mombo (for me....too much money for 1 night), so Chief's camp was the only option. I really enjoy night-drives so I decided against it. The first 7 nights of the trip were only decided last week, but I opted for Chitabe and Duba Plains (more nights for the same amount of money and I wanted to fill those 7 nights).

Regards

Gaurang
Africa is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 05:30 PM
  #10  
santharamhari
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi Gaurang,

Kwara and the new Little Kwara will only be 5 minutes apart and Little Kwara far superior accomodation and quieter at the same pricing. So if i were you, i would stay at the same camp the entire 7 nights. The tents at the old Kwara camp, are really nothing to write home about.

But Wow!!! Fantastic itinerary.....you will definitely see the dogs at some of those locations....and definitely every other possible bird and mammal!!!

I do like to go to both Lebala and Lagoon. Both are slightly different in terms of immediate terrain in their areas and a slightly different feel at the camps. Dont miss this....at Lagoon, you will meet one of the managers jonah (who used to be a guide himself) he has filmed a lot of wildlife footage from the Kwando areas and will be more than glad to share them with you.

Gaurang, i think, you would really like a couple of nights on Chief's island. The game-viewing is really spectacular. You are doing plenty of night drives at the other locations anyways.......i must say, at most times, the night drives i hv experienced are just glorified transfers back to camp from the evening drive.

Anyways, all in all.....i predict an awesome trip.....

Any luck with Relentless enemies dvd?

Hari
 
Jun 11th, 2006, 05:37 PM
  #11  
santharamhari
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Also Gaurang,

Since you start your trip, right at the end of October....if the rains havent begun, the elephant populations of the Linyanti/Kwando may be spectacular then....so, if you start your trip from there? Maybe too late to switch.

Hari
 
Jun 11th, 2006, 09:58 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 342
Thanks Hari

I'll definately keep an eye out for Johah's wildlife videos at Lagoon. I spoke to some guides regarding the best elephant action during the dry season. They all recommended Savuti camp because the only water in the area - is the waterhole outside the camp (traffic at the waterhole = approx. 1000 elephants a day - on your doorstep). I'll have to see if it's as good as they say.

I also checked early November rainfall patterns over the last few years - in normal years, the first rains have fallen from around mid-November so I'm hoping that it's the same this year too.

The only thing that worries me is if the rains come too late - because this will delay the birthing of the antelopes. That is why I have chosen to end at Kwetsani as it is known to have good baby antelope action on the flood plains outside the camp during mid-late November. They also say that the change from brown to green, after the first rains, is amazing and quick.

Regards

Gaurang
Africa is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 10:19 PM
  #13  
santharamhari
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi Gaurang,

Sounds good......the rains can start anywhere from end october to middle november......hard to say. However, the consistent rains are usually from later in November.

All in all, sounds like a fantastic itinerary.....

Hari
 
Jun 12th, 2006, 07:09 AM
  #14  
mv
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 281
Gaurang

I havent been to Kwando Lagoon since it was expanded from 6-8 tents.
Back then tent 1 was probably the nicest and tent 6 would offer the best game viewing (primarily elephants)
I am in total agreement with Johan about the guides.
Hari: I would love to be there now, but my trip does not start until July 8th

Michael
mv is offline  
Jun 12th, 2006, 06:44 PM
  #15  
santharamhari
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Michael,

Oops!!! I thought you were already on your trip....so i guess we'll all look forward to your trip and return....July 8 will be here in no time.

Hari
 
Sep 26th, 2006, 10:56 PM
  #16  
santharamhari
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Gaurang,

Little Kwara. I stayed in tent #1. It is located alone on one side of the lounge. The other 4 tents are on the opposite side of the lounge, which means no other ppl near tent 1. Lots of baboons, so Mel requested that we keep the sliding door to the look-out deck locked when we go out for activities!!!

Lagoon, i dont hv preferences.....

Lebala, i dont hv a preference. I hv stayed at tent 1, 7 and 6 on different ocassions. I can't remember 1 and 7, with any specifics. But 6 i stayed most recently in August....and it has sweeping views of the floodplains from the look-out deck. 6,7 and 8 will be a good walk from the lounge and you will like that....i know people who like tent 1 for it's proximity to the lounge and trucks.

Hari
 
Sep 26th, 2006, 11:16 PM
  #17  
santharamhari
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
As to wildlife around camp....always red lechwe on the flood plains in front of the lounge. One day, a huge ele herd walked thru camp....the same herd we spent an hour with prior to returning from the drive....Pied kingfisher beating up a fish on the wooden rails in front of the lounge on the walkway.....

On my final night, lions walked thru camp(it took over two hours for 5 trucks to finally find them the next day) and on my final morning...we found hyena spoor INSIDE the lounge on the wooden floor....

Hari
 
Sep 27th, 2006, 02:23 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 342
Thanks for the update and info Hari. Just over 4 weeks to go before I leave and my final itinerary has now been confirmed:

4 nights Chitabe Trails
3 nights Duba Plains
4 nights Savuti
4 nights Lebala
2 nights Lagoon (private vehicle)
3 nights Lebala (private vehicle)
4 nights Little Kwara
3 nights Kwetsani

I will now be spending 7 nights at Lebala (following your trip report!!!), which will be broken up by 2 nights at Lagoon. I have also booked a private vehicle for my final 5 days in Kwando.

I will be focusing primarily on video during this trip and my wife will do most of the still photography. I am also taking some new infra-red equipment to try out during night game drives. It will also help me to ID the culprits who are making noise around the camp at night. It is a small powerful device (that I will attach to my HD camcorder), which emits a narrow IR beam reaching over 200 meters. So, now I will be able to zoom in, even in total darkness, using the cameras Super Nightshot mode. Ill be bringing all of these toys to Kafue next year too.

You seem to have lots of luck finding your favourite animal (cheetah), but Im never as lucky. Maybe its because most guides try to avoid my favourite animal the Black Mamba. I love all snakes but the Black Mamba is the ultimate. Its just a very misunderstood animal and has falsely gained a bad reputation. Dont worry Hari, I dont pick them up or anything like that, I just admire them because they are so rarely seen. You have nothing to worry about regarding our trip to Kafue.

My second favourite animal is the Honey Badger, which people find strange considering they eat my favourite animals!!!


Africa is offline  
Sep 27th, 2006, 05:31 AM
  #19  
santharamhari
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Awesome itinerary, Gaurang....7 nights at Lebala sounds awesome. Cheetah, i'd say very good chance. Infact, even at Lagoon, where the two boys hang out quite a bit.

Black Mamba, yes that was during a green season visit....Honey Badger, good luck!!!

My sister got some good footage from that Sony video camera i bought after consulting with you. Thanks for the recommendations. Good choice. I think she is still learning how to use it. On a windy day, the audio quality was up and down....

Hari
 
Sep 27th, 2006, 07:36 AM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 342
Hari have you watched it on a HDTV? The quality is quite stunning (provided it was filmed in 1080i mode). Wind noise is always a problem with the internal mics on most camcorders on safari. The best solution is to use an external directional microphone with a windshield/windsock (that fluffy thing you sometimes see, sticking out of camera).
Africa is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:26 PM.