New Leadership at Kwando

Jul 10th, 2006, 02:15 PM
  #1  
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New Leadership at Kwando

Just an FYI: Kevin Leo-Smith has resigned as the Managing Director of Kwando. He has left to pursue a more broad business focusing on African environmental issues called Sustainable Forestry Management Africa out of Joburg.

For those that don't know, Kevin was one of the founders on Phinda and CCA before moving on to Kwando many years ago.

It will be interesting to see if the Kwando experience changes at all because I think Kevin was the guiding influence behind most of the policies such as two row vehicles and much more. I do not know who is now the managing director -- perhaps someone closer to Botswana will know more.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Jul 10th, 2006, 06:09 PM
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santharamhari
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Pred,

Thanks......i think couple of fodorites are at Kwando right now. MV (Michael) i there for sure....

I do hope Kwando does not change it's style of operations. However, i am happy for Kevin, if he feels he has to move on....

Hari
 
Jul 31st, 2006, 01:35 AM
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Back from a visit to Little Kwara - Simon Blackburn the Kwando overall manager has also resigned. My guide and tracker were not happy that Kevin had left but now are very unhappy that Simon is going too, they say there is no one in Maun with a safari culture now. Seems that there are too many changes for them. That said I had a great trip and the camp is lovely better than Kwara and Mel was wonderful as before.
westernsafari is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 02:01 AM
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santharamhari
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Hi! How was the game-viewing in the Kwara concession? Did you go to any of the other camps?

Hari
 
Jul 31st, 2006, 10:56 AM
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Only went to LK for a few nights. Game was good with lots of general game, saw cheetah, lions, a leopard, great boat trip - as always. Not many elephant only bulls and some sable too.
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Jul 31st, 2006, 06:53 PM
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santharamhari
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Thanks
 
Aug 9th, 2006, 09:12 PM
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My tour operator called me recently to find out how the trip went. He was very concerned, as he says that his information from people he knows in Maun (he used to work in Botswana) indicates that the new Manager of Kwando is very unpopular in town and with the office staff. Apparently they are all looking for other work. So seems I will have to wait and see what other Fodorites have to say before I book my planned return trip for next year.

Have any of you been to Islands in Africa camps in the Caprivi recently?
westernsafari is offline  
Aug 9th, 2006, 09:15 PM
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western~I'm going to islands in africa camps (Ntwala, Susuwe) at the end of October.
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Aug 9th, 2006, 09:22 PM
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santharamhari
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Western,

I hear that Kevin has taken up a new venture and has moved on....

I have been given a vote of assurance that, things are in order at Kwando. I will be there shortly, so, will be glad to report.

Hari
 
Aug 9th, 2006, 09:33 PM
  #10  
santharamhari
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I think it's fair to be anxious when there is a change over of the management of any establishment. Especially, in the case like Kwando...where things were run a certain way!!!

However, i must bring to light that Kevin was responsibe for Phinda in the early days. Today, Phinda has moved from strength to strength keeping their focus on the values they believe in....so, in short i think Kwando is going to be okay. Kevin and Simon probably want to move on to bigger things and plans....

Hari
 
Aug 10th, 2006, 12:14 PM
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Hello,

While I was in camp, none of the guides I spoke to mentioned plans to leave Kwando. I think the heart of an outfit like Kwando really is the guides, and the news that Spencer, Doc, and others will be staying on indicates that things won't change too drastically.

I have to admit that I'm not all that fond of the Uris, though - their stiff suspension was absolute murder on my back. Bring on the Land Rovers or Land Cruisers!

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 10th, 2006, 05:10 PM
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And I hated the Mombo Land cruisers when compared to the Landrover.
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Aug 10th, 2006, 07:05 PM
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santharamhari
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Julian,

Since you mentioned them....both Spencer and Doc will be guiding me later this month.

Hari
 
Aug 11th, 2006, 02:15 PM
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Hari, you're in good hands -- if there are dogs to be found they will find them for you.

Matt, I've found the Land Rovers marginally more comfortable than the Land Cruisers, but either one works fine for me. For me the key to comfort is bucket seats rather than bench seats, as they provides a bit more support. Those Uris were in a class by themelves (thankfully!). Did they feature in your trip to Kwando?

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 14th, 2006, 09:17 AM
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Has anyone got an update on this.. I am due to stay for three nights in mid September - my friends say it is a great place and run much more by local people and that they are really good - worried it wont be so good if management has changed.

We're also staying at Delta Camp and Jack's camp and then going to Vic Falls - we had a problem booking accommodation but are staying at the Tongabezi at the end. I'll post a full report on my return but any tips would be appreciated - first time on safari!
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Aug 23rd, 2006, 01:49 AM
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Anyone got any response on my note above?
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Aug 23rd, 2006, 08:30 AM
  #17  
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Woolfie: Hari is at Kwando currently so near the end of the month there should be a recent first hand report.

I don't think you have anything to worry about, the staff and guides are still there and if there is any change it will be gradual over time. In September Kwando for you should be fantastic!
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Aug 31st, 2006, 06:16 AM
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Thanks - I was getting worried I'd made a bad decision. Hopefully, it will be great. really looking forward to Jack's Camp too...
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Sep 1st, 2006, 02:16 PM
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Hi Woolfie,

You'll love Jack's. If you want a preview, take a look at my trip report from July 2006:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34844345

Definitely one of my favourite camps in Botswana -- I'm headed back next April to experience the Makgadikgadi in the wet season.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 2nd, 2006, 12:39 AM
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santharamhari
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Woolfie,

I'm at JNB right now, on my way home after Kwando. Kwando was smashing!!! You are in perfect hands, and you will have a blast!!! FANTASTIC!!!

More about my trip from India. Got to get my flight shortly....

Hari
 

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