Roccco-Kwara Camp

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Mar 23rd, 2004, 07:43 PM
  #1
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Roccco-Kwara Camp

Roccco, I've seen many of your posts on this site and am almost intimadated to suggest some alternatives to to your expeiences in Africa. I've only been there twice the first time at Governors Camp in Kenya in 2000 and last year at Kwara camp, Kings Pool amd Lobomdo. We also took yhe the Rovos Rail from Jo'Berg to Cape Town. We spent 6 nights at The Cape Grace so you can see we have experienced a good deal of South Africa. When I said that I enjyoed Kwara kamp it was because The Delta location was indescribable. Our guide, Obie, Was very good, the the twice a day trips were similar to other camps but the boat trip into the Hippo filled lagoons were fantastic as were the journies ito the bird sanctuaries. Although we never expected much from this camp we got the most. If you go there you won't be dissappointed.
B_Eames.
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Mar 24th, 2004, 04:21 AM
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B_Eames,

Thank you very much. I am going to try my best to do the Kwando circuit in 2005. I mean I carry around my little Kwando brochure daily and I am nearly tempted to cancel South Luangwa this year in place of Kwando, but I already have free airfare (frequent flier seats) between Johannesburg to Lusaka, plus incredible rates at the South Luangwa lodges (not to mention a lot of good will from Star Of Africa and Shenton Safaris in South Luangwa).

The managing couple (not the owners, but a young couple hired by the owners to really run the day to day operations) at Kafunta in South Luangwa had just come from a now-forgotten game lodge in Botswana and they told me that Kwando was supposed to be the best in Botswana. I think this is great since Kwando is so much less expensive than Wilderness Safaris lodges, in some cases half the price.

This is what I have in mind if I run Comrades Marathon on June 16th, 2005(otherwise, I would wait until August or even September to visit)

June 13th - Depart LAX (late PM flight)
June 14th - En Route
June 15th - Morning arrival at Johannesburg. Connecting flight to Durban. Durban (3 nights)
June 16th - Comrades Marathon. (55 mile ultramarathon)
June 17th - Durban
June 18th - Johannesburg. Saturday night so hopefully that will open up my possibilities for fun, that is if I can even walk.
June 19th - Johannesburg to Maun or Kasane. Kwando Lagoon (3 nights).
June 20th - Kwando Lagoon.
June 21st - Kwando Lagoon.
June 22nd - Kwando Lebala (2 nights)
June 23rd - Kwando Lebala
June 24th - Kwando Kwara (3 nights)
June 25th - Kwando Kwara
June 26th - Kwando Kwara
June 27th - Livingstone - Johannesburg - LAX.
June 28th - Arrive LAX.

While it is a short trip, it will allow me to hopefully visit India in February, 2005, so that Scared To Death can shop herself silly.

The amazing part is that the above itinerary would likely only cost about $3,000 USD per person, since I will use frequent flier seats for my Los Angeles - Johannesburg and Johannesburg - Durban segments, paying only the extra cost to fly from Johanensburg to Maun. Kwando includes the cost of their inter-camp flights in their already very reasonable tariffs, and I don't expect these tariffs to be more than about $325 per person per night for shoulder season (high season starts July 01st).

I had considered adding Mombo, but I would have a hard time swallowing $725 per person per night, when I can get Kwando at $325 per person per night, especially now that the camp that I was least interested in, Kwara, has been favored over Singita by you, B_Eames. Kwando Lagoon seems to be the one that is the most raved over in Kwando's brochure, so I am sure that it is also at the same high level as Kwara. Kwando goes as far as saying that Kwando Lagoon is in the most beautiful location of any game lodge in Botswana, and such confidence by them is definitely not lost on me.

I have a great trip planned for this year, hopefully running a marathon or who knows, dare I say a 50K (31 miles instead of 26.2 for a regular marathon) right before I leave for Italy and Zambia. However, my heart really looks forward to 2005 when, God williing, I will visit India, a new part of South Africa for me (Durban), and the incredible Botswana.

While I had entertained thoughts of going with a private guide, the one that I had got to talking with, Gavin Blair Safaris, whom I found through a link on Kaingo (www.kaingo.com), was VERY expensive, about $450 per person per night for a mix of luxury mobile camping and staying at top lodges. The other, Wild Lifestyles, (Mad Mike Penman of television fame) has not yet gotten back to me with pricing two weeks after the fact (but in all fairness I told his assistant to take her time since I didn't plan on booking anything for a couple months).

Anyway, thanks again, B_Eames. Your opinion is very valuable to me since you are the only Fodorite that I have yet come across who has stayed at one of Kwando's camps.
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Mar 24th, 2004, 09:34 AM
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hey rocco, i have been to lagoon and lebala camps in june of 2000. if you have any questions let me know.
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Mar 24th, 2004, 10:54 AM
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bigcountry,

Thanks for stepping forward!

How was the food?

How was the staff at each camp?

How were the game drives?

Were the game drives always a team of guide and tracker, as advertised?

Was it worth going to both Lebala and Lagoon, since they are only separated by about 18 miles?

Did you prefer Lagoon or Lebala?

How did Kwando measure up to the other lodges you may have stayed at such as Wilderness Safaris camps?

Were you hit with any extra charges at the end?

Were their vehicles in tip-top shape?

How did you like the accomodations?

Thanks in advance!
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Mar 24th, 2004, 12:56 PM
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hey rocco,
in general the food and lodges were on par with wilderness safari ones. we had a guide and a tracker which i think is very valuable especially when you are bothering the guide so much with questions like my family does. the guide we had was steve. you can find him on their website. i have been to several wilderness camps (vumbura, pom pom, kings pool, mombo, duba plains) and he had the best vision of any guide i've had. sometimes i would have to use my binoculars to see off in the distance what he found with his naked eyes. it was pretty amazing. he was very knowledgeable as well. the volume of game wasnt as good as say at vumbura or mombo certainly but we had very high impact viewing. over the last sevreal yrs a large pack of wild dogs has denned in between lagoon and lebala camp (closer to lagoon) and so we followed them pretty much each day. we witnessed them kill a steenbok and drive a kudu into a lake taht they eventually swam in after and killed as well. we also followed 2 male cheetahs and sped after them as they chased and just barely missed getting a warthog. we didnt see many lions ( i think we saw only 5 lions in 4 days) probably bc i dont remember seeing taht many buffalo. there were plenty of elephant giraffe, impala, hippos, crocs etc. At lebala we saw 1 leopard and followed it hunting impala with little success.
overall i think that the experience was on par with wilderness camps. my only complaint was that as u suggested lagoon and lebala are driving distance apart so the diversity of game/scenery wasnt as good as say going from vumbura to kings pool. of the two camps lagoon was better mainly because it was closer to the wild dog den (personally my favorite animal) and the lagoon (as the camp is named after has a lot of hippos/elephant sightings). another thing about lagoon camp is the tents are set among marula trees so elephants come in at night and eat right above your tents. that's pretty cool.
one last thought, we didnt go to kwara so maybe that will have the diversity i like but i seem to get the feeling that kwara is more of a water camp like pom pom or xigera and not as much a land based delta camp which i prefer more because i like to see the predators. but i could be wrong.
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Mar 24th, 2004, 01:00 PM
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oh and we were not hit up with any extra charges etc. its just like wilderness safaris for the most part.
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Mar 31st, 2004, 07:01 PM
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Thanks for sharing bigcountry!

I just hope that Kwando's prices remain pretty stable for next year. From all accounts I have seen, they are on a pretty equal level to Wilderness Safaris, yet their prices seem to be about 1/3 to 1/2 less.

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