Nxabega

Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 12:45 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 86
Nxabega

In another thread of mine, another person mentioned Nxabega as a camp with good game. Given its location (quite a wet area from what I remember) and the price of 945 USD a day in high season I wouldn't exactly call it a great deal.

As there is so much info on the internet today, I just googled to see what others said about it and this is what I found some visitors said:

Visitor A:

Nxabega is a luxury camp set in the delta but it is not as game-rich as other lodges. The guide and tracker had to work really hard to find much game at all on some of the drives although we did have a great time with a lone lioness.

The service at the camp was very good although I did not really appreciate the 20 minute "orientation talk" which was fundamentally a commecial for &Beyond.

There was a good mixture of activities both land and water-based. Many people would really love it here but somehow it was not my kind of camp.

Visitor B:

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit here. Our guide Dux and tracker Stanley were extremely knowledgeable and gave us a lot of interesting information about the area, animals, birds, trees and flowers. There were fewer predators around but we were most fortunate to spend time with a leopard, and we saw hyena as well as lots of herbivores.

The concession seemed rather small, so that most drives seemed to take us around the same areas which we came to recognise. We enjoyed a long mokoro ride, but unfortunately the motor boat was out of commission and that was a disappointment.

There was a new management team in place and Grant could not have been more helpful. The food and service at this camp were really top rate, and our "butler" Diana was charming and efficient. A highlight was having a sundowner standing in the waters of the delta - magical !


Visitor C:

Game scarce at Nxabega
The variety and quantity of game indicated in the literature was vastly overstated. This is very much a transitional camp. We were lucky enough to see lions but they hadnt been previously sighted for 7 months.

Our guide and tracker, Dux and KB, worked very hard to make our experience enjoyable but are clearly embarrassed by the claims made in the literature.

The manager was notable by his absense until we were leaving!

Answer of a travel company:

We are glad that these travellers were impressed by the guides at Nxabega. As we noted in our first letter in response to this enquiry, ‘Nxabega is based in an area which is predominantly wetlands, on the western side of the Delta and so activities tend to be water-based, although you can still do game-drives here.’

We must agree with these travellers - Nxabega is in a very scenic part of the Okavango, and although there is a variety of game in the area, activities here tend to focus on the watery aspects of the Delta and birding. We do tend to recommend that this camp is combined with camps in areas of the Delta and further north which have greater concentrations of wildlife – and we’ve changed our latest brochure’s wording to make this even clearer.

We have asked Nxabeaga to comment on the manager's absence during these travellers' stay – and have not yet had a response.

Visitor D:

Now the negative! Luckily it was the single element of the holiday that we insisted upon so you are totally in the clear.

We returned to Nexabega because we enjoyed it so much last time. The camp was largely unchanged from 5 years ago and the food and accommodation is superior to Kwando in small details such as style and the quality of the cuisine. However with water levels in the Delta very high this year the game viewing at Nexabega was very poor. The staff admitted that some 5 weeks back they considered closing the camp because of water levels and the lack of game. The range of area available for game viewing was limited due to the water depth. There were loads of Elephants, Giraffe and great bird sightings. No big cats at all (no Lion for the last 4 months), though there is a Leopard in the area which we did not see..

It is a bit like going skiing when the hotel has failed to mention there is virtually no snow! I would be very careful of sending other customers to this location. It is still pretty scenic with all the water


So what's the opinion of the other Fodorites here??? Also compare this with the info on the official website.
skimmer is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 01:30 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 993
Hi skimmer

I am not really sure what your point is here, but as I have been to Nxabega, I shall add my comments. It was in June 2006 that I was there and I was quite disappointed game wise - what we did see was distant gameviewing at best. We did see lion that were reasonably relaxed but the only leopard we saw was extremely nervous of the vehicle approaching, and that is not a good sighting where we seem to be frightening the animal. I did get a lot of birding done around the camp and of course, I did love the Delta visit by motorboat. We did not see any animal life, but seeing such a pristine environment was a special event in itself.

The camp was very nice as were the staff. It was here that I had some of the worst vehicle guests ever - grandparents with 2 grandchildren and physical confrontations happened on a daily basis, either in the vehicle or at the tea break. After the first one, I should have asked to be moved, as their behaviour was embarrassing for me and really made me quite uncomfortable. I really should have been given another vehicle without having to say anything as the guide may have had to put up with it, I certainly didn't. This can happen anywhere, but I thought the staff did not handle it well.

My experiences with Botswana have been generally disappointing, so it is doubtful I would return to this area of Botswana let alone this camp. But to show how people differ, on the way to the camp we passed a vehicle with guests that were leaving, and they absolutely loved the gameviewing and thought it was fantastic.

If the price is now $945 per night that seems outrageous as my priority is gameviewing and from the gameviewing I saw, it fell far short of being worth $945 to me.

Kind regards

Kaye
KayeN is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 01:51 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 86
Hi Kaye,

My point is the following: it seems that people are not well informed about the expectations (what game is there to see/is it mainly boating or driving) and asking 945 USD for a camp like this in dry season is insane...

I used it again as an typical example ... like Xigera. And I just made another thread of it ...

As mentioned in my other one (my thoughts on safaris in Botswana - part 1), some of the operators are overdoing themselves in their current pricing and I think in other African countries you can have better deals (price/quality + same level of comfort) than Botswana seems to offer at the moment. Botswana is probably overhyped and that also gives rise to this current price bubble.

Cheers,

Johan
skimmer is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 03:37 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 813
Johan, in your other thread it was said that lots of people do not inform themselves (eg by reading on the web), and that 80-90% are first time visitors. Because of that, I tend to conclude:

- there's always going to be lots of people (if not most) who were pleased to have been to Nxabega. Even at these prices. Because they don't know better.

- And for those who are a little bit more critic (ic who remember what was in their brochures, and dare to complain when they get far less than expected), WS has a great trick. In their offers, they combine a camp like this with a camp that has more to offer. Since they have so many camps in their portfolio, they can easily do this.
So they market it as "a package that makes you discover all aspects of the delta". And "yes", they will say, "sometimes game is more prolific here than there. It all depends on the water levels and you cannot predict this. You know nature does not come on demand". When it comes to prices, operators will also blurt out some hoola about "a lot of money being needed to keep the area pristine". Even I myself believed the concessions were extremely expensive to rent.
In the end, the most customers believe this and go home feeling that they "have seen how the delta really is". And WS will have sold an overpriced camp in combination with a ridiculously overpriced camp.

- My last conclusion would be that it isn't going to change much. Not as long as the average customer is not more critic about the product he buys. Not as long as he decides to not inform himself.

Basically, Nxabega is an example of the stuff we know, but most don't.

What I do not understand is that there are people on this board who read this type of info and STILL decide to ignore it.

B.regs,

J.
pixelpower is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 03:43 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 993
Hi Skimmer

Yes I certainly think Botswana is overpriced and certainly Nxabega is overpriced for a gameviewing destination as far as I am concerned. But if people are prepared to pay that sort of money for their experience, then that is their business I guess. I would never be prepared to pay the price that Mombo asks, as I think that is really outrageous, yet people are still prepared to pay that sort of money. I do think, from my limited gameviewing experiences of Botswana, that Botswana is overated in terms of gameviewing, but each do his own. Having said that, I am a fan of Mashatu, but that is a very different area that you guys are talking about. Sorry, haven't really read the other thread as I am not that interested in those debating type threads for many reasons.

Kind regards

Kaye
KayeN is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 03:59 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 993
Is Nxageba now a WS camp? When I went it was a CCAfrica camp. I have a reasonable knowledge of what I want in a camp, and when I am let down, then I don't return. But if other people love that camp, then that is fine. I wouldn't be saying it was because they didn't know better, it would just be that Nxebega suited them and their gameviewing requirements.

I ignore a lot of stuff on this site because I can see very clearly from what I read by certain writers that we do not see things the same way and as everyone is entitled to their opinion, everyone is also entitled to either listen to the advice given or to ignore it!

Kind regards

Kaye
KayeN is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 05:16 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,031
I was at Nxabega 3 years ago, in August. It was managed by CC Africa at the time.

It's a mixed water-based/land-based camp. On land drives, the game was just ok. My guide, Gee, was both knowledgeable and personable -- we had a great time teaching each other songs during the drives (I had a private vehicle). On one occasion, just as evening was settling in, he located a leopard by correctly interpreting a baboon's warning calls. There were several instances of elephants moving through the camp during the day. One of the major fauna treats for me was the bell frogs. The camp is at the edge of a marsh/pond, and the bell frogs made the sweetest racket all night.

I found the management to be just fine. One of the managers was always present, and they helped me switch from a group to a private vehicle during my stay.

The water-based activities did not appeal to me a whole lot. There was a certain serenity to the mekoro, but the power boat trip seemed like a self-defeating exercise. (Beautiful scenery spoiled by the cacophonous boat engine.)

I probably wouldn't return to Nxabega. It certainly wasn't awful, but I don't think I'm as attracted to a water-based camp as I am to a land-based camp. And the land-based payoff at Nxabega just isn't as good as at too many other camps in Bots.
DonTopaz is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 05:34 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,215
I think this is a perfect example of showing how expectations differ from reality.

Nxabega and Xudum both are sold very clearly (by andBeyond and so should the TA) stating that these camps offer more kind of "water experience" as these camps are in really wetlands.

If a camp doesn't comply with visitor expectations - which is often the case - then I would question the TA skills to "sell" a product to the right client.

Botswana might be disappointing if people only visit for the wildlife because the country is as diverse as a country can be offering extremely different wildlife concentrations by area/season plus any kind of other impacts.

I would BTW always see these comments with a grain of salt as we don't know what these people have told their TA BEFORE making that particular choice. Even the routing within the country might have a great impact on to a traveller's experience.

The rate given is not exact as the special "simply spectacular" is valid until end of Dec 2009 which offers significant discounts of up to 33%.

Here the official sightings:

http://www.wildwatch.com/sightings/beyond-nxabega

SV
spassvogel is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 05:56 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 813
>>> The rate given is not exact as the special "simply spectacular" is valid until end of Dec 2009 which offers significant discounts of up to 33%.

In my line of business, on server hardware, we see the same: way overpriced machines, with discounts up to 60-70%. If you have a "bad" reseller, you still end up paying too much.

The whole industry finds the situation silly, but still it persists. Management decision, I suppose.

Anyway, the situation is as silly here. Charge three times too much and then deduct 33%... you still pay double what it should be.
pixelpower is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 06:41 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,215
Pixelpower

You are right and also wrong ;-)

Of course it's hilarious but at least andBeyond has got "specials".
Of course the price tags are outragous but one has to take into consideration that the Government of Botswana insists on high yield/less impact tourism.
f.e. Chief's had to deliver and stick to these outragous rates before it was given the next lease!

I have been to Botswana several times and stayed in Kwando, Sanctuary, andBeyond, Orient Express and WS lodges/camps.

The rates are almost comparable except a couple of outlier.

The most amazing thing is WS.
We love to mingle with all kinds of nationalities which WS mostly - from what we have learnt - can't deliver as this company is frequented mostly by Americans. Not that we don't like to socialize with Americans. We just don't like to stay in camps which are dominated by one nation.

SV
spassvogel is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 07:45 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 813
Spassvogel,

I used to say that too; "price tags are outragous but one has to take into consideration that the Government of Botswana insists on high yield/less impact tourism".

But are you sure of that, or are you just repeating something you've heard?

By now I've heard a few other opinions. Eye-opening, really.
pixelpower is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 08:17 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,215
pixelpower
Of course I have not done a reasearch nor did I count the tourists flocking into BOTs.

Please enlighten me regarding the eco-nonsense which supports/bases these price tags but are fals.

THX!

SV
spassvogel is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 08:48 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 86
If I look at the following description of Nxabega, I don't see that's it's purely sold as a water camp (http://www.ccafrica.com/destinations...abega/wild.asp)

Companies change their "special offers very frequently these days" as business is not running as expected but the official rack rate for high season is 945 USD/a night.

Cheers,

Johan
skimmer is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 09:06 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,215
Johan
When you speak to a TA who is specialised in Safaris who sells andBeyond and Nxabega/Xudum thoroughly then the client learns that both are predominately water experiences. At least the German market is trained towards informing the clients about that fact. Anything else is asking for trouble and post-travel complaints which a good consultant avoids as much as the devil the holy water!

SV
spassvogel is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 09:11 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 813
spassvogel,

>>> Please enlighten me regarding the eco-nonsense which supports/bases these price tags but are false.

Well, first of all, I have heard, over the last days, the remark from a number of people (at least one of them in the industry), that the prices paid for concessions are not at all the reason for the high prices. If those people want to come forward and speak out themselves; I'm not stopping them. But I believe them. After all, the prices have gone up exponentially over the last years. And the prices for the concessions have not. So...

Eco-nonsense; note that I'm not denying any efforts done, I'm just saying that the efforts they do are about the same as they do everywhere. But nowhere else do I see such price increases; so again I am dismissing an argument (the eco-efforts) as source of elevated prices. That's all.
pixelpower is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
scootr29
Africa & the Middle East
6
Mar 11th, 2013 02:34 PM
africa_fan
Africa & the Middle East
19
Aug 8th, 2009 04:02 PM
wildlifepainter
Africa & the Middle East
25
Oct 18th, 2008 09:26 PM
jh6000
Africa & the Middle East
14
Oct 17th, 2006 08:22 AM
Dena
Africa & the Middle East
8
Oct 22nd, 2002 06:35 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO