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“Our favourite lodge” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ngoma Safari Lodge

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Ngoma Safari Lodge
5.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Overlooking the Chobe River, Chobe National Park 7800, Botswana   |  
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Our favourite lodge”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2011

We arrived on our self drive at Ngoma to a warm welcome - well actually Doreen had sent Bevan,one of the guides, out to find us - which summed up the superb level of service we experienced at Ngoma - before you think you need something they are already there.

We spent two nights at the lodge, and wished that it had been longer. The room and the facilities were first class - twin sinks, a double bath, fridge, air conditioning and the light fittings were great, particularly the warthog. New bedside lights were arriving which would fix the issue mentioned by previous reviewers over reading in bed, the rest spot on! But all of this was upstaged by the panoramic views from our room over the river - we woke up early just to watch the animals moving up from the island - what a magical place!

On safari, our guide Bevan was clearly very knowledgeable, and more importantly, enthusiastic about his work. The lodge is next to Chobe park where we saw a wide variety of animal and bird life, both on the river cruise and the safari drive back through the park. Even on the early morning guided walk we saw porcupine and honey badger as well as the usual culprits. A nice touch for us was with our sundowner we were provided cashew nuts, droewors and biltong - perfect.

Food was of a very high quality, well presented and plentiful - which will be particularly important when we return with our sons. Following previous reviewer recommendations the evening meals offered a choice of main courses and the service was attentive and engaged, which helped to make the lodge experience our most enjoyable during our 3 week travels in the region.

Overall, we really enjoyed Ngoma, wished we had more time to spend there, and look forward to returning. Doreen and Gert's management brings an experience and professionalism to to the lodge that differentiates it from the rest. Our only disappointment was that we visited before the installation of the outdoor jacuzzi which each room is to have - that would finish it off for us.

Room Tip: Rooms nearer the lodge are more convenient
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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157 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (36)
Date | Rating
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English first
Los angeles
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2011

I found the lodge to be very much like the 3 previous reviewers stated (beautifully appointed, rooms 6, 7, and 8 too far; guides knowledgeable and patient; sunset drives and refreshments on the plains excellent)) with exception of the food. While we had no choices, I believe they would work with you for special diets. It is more of a safari and less of a restaurant, so lack of choices was no problem! I don't eat pork and they had pork one night. I gave it to my husband and friends and ate everyting else; I'm sure if I had stated that diet prior to arrival, I would have been given a secondary option. The presentation of the meals at the lodge were fabulous. And they offered seconds, so I was never hungry!! The lunch meal on the drive was less than spectacular. Cold hamburger, or meatloaf sandwich (take your pick of description) and tough chicken leg was unappetizing, and actually was a disjointed meal. It didn't flow. Enjoyed visiting a local village school (made a small donation) and then purchased small baskets from local weavers.

My biggest complaint - very poor lighting in the rooms!! Unable to sit in bed and read. Seeing as you are walked to your rooms after dinner and drinks, the night is still young, and the lack of ability to read anywhere in the room is uncomfortable and poorly designed. Staff suggested we use the emergency flashlight on the night stand. It worked for 1 person, but 2 people cannot read at the same time. I guess another solution is to bring an electronic reader. The manager stated that they would be receiving hadboard lights 3 days after our depature. Hope they did.

All in all, a beautiful experience. A must do.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Sydney, Australia
Top Contributor
247 reviews 247 reviews
151 hotel reviews
Reviews in 146 cities Reviews in 146 cities
285 helpful votes 285 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2011

This is a small very personal resort with only eight rooms.  It is a great base to visit Chobe National Park being very convenient to western side of park.  However it is a fair drive to other side of park for the boat ride and game drives in the eastern sector. 
The staff are extremely helpful and the program of activities is very flexible.
The Rooms very well appointed.  All have air-conditioning which is essential on hot, really hot days, as in October.  Therenis no wifi in the rooms but it is available in the very relaxing restaurant/bar area.
Each room has great views across the Chobe River floodplain.  You can lie in bed and watch the animals out on the plains. 
We thoughtbthat the guides were very good and vehicles very well equipped.  It was terrific to have folding chairs for outside meals, sunset etc
While is a matternof personal taste, we thought that the best rooms were 
probably 1 through 4 as they were closer to main reception.  While the others were not far away, every bit counts on a 100 degree day in the very hot sun.
We loved the restaurant setting and the service is really good. We thought that the food was good too and certainly better than implied by some earlier reviews.
Chobe itself is a truly exceptional park with the elephants being the major feature.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Cruz, Ecuador
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2011

Ngoma is a new, up market lodge just outside Chobe with a fantastic view. The newness is evident in that the staff, albeit very nice, is apprehensive. Things don’t run quite as smoothly as would be expected for a lodge in this league. I believe that these are solely growing pains and once the kinks get worked out, this has the potential to be a fantastic lodge. JJ, the manager, was of great assistance to us. He helped book last minute flights and was always around.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS go a long way. Our arrival was weird and after patiently waiting several minutes after we’d finished our welcome drink, I had to go ask to be taken to our room. That evening, we went for a game drive and saw squat. Not because it was a bad run with nature, but because the first drive is down one long lonely road known to have minimal animal activity – an ineffective time waster until it was time to head to the river for sundowners. The sundowner portion of the evening was spectacular, but don’t even bother with this first drive.

Please note that Ngoma is NOT IN A PRIVATE RESERVE and you have to drive into Chobe to see anything apart from the small strip near the water.

On day 2, we went on a FULL DAY SAFARI. This involved driving one hour in the safari vehicle to get to the launching spot for the River Cruise. The river cruise was great and afterwards, we drove through Chobe as we slowly made our way back to the reserve. Chobe has been devastated by the overwhelming elephant population, but along the river, wildlife is prolific and the scenery nice.

ROOMS were amazing, the view in particular. There was a coffee and tea station with a French press. The bed faces out overlooking the plains and river and we could see a wide-angle view of the animal life. Nothing really up close, but the spanning view was unbeatable. The massive mosquito net was picturesque and ladies – there’s a full size hair dryer.

MEALS were great but also a point of disappointment for us. Not the quality of the food which was fantastic, but the lack of options. At this price point, we felt like there should have been an option as to what you wanted to eat. We had steak one night that was lovely, but we were never even asked how we would have liked it cooked. We weren’t told what we were eating either unless we asked. The plate was just set down in front of us. This, I felt was not out of rudeness, just lack of training.

During our full day safari, we had a packed lunch served out of plastic containers. A weird combination of crackers and melted cheeses, a cold hamburger, a fried chicken leg, and luke warm slaw was not what we expected. Again for this price point, something much better should have been organized.

BEVERAGES INCLUDED. If you want a drink, just go to the main lodge. The girls were always asking if we wanted a drink. LAUNDRY INCLUDED in the price also.

LODGE SCHEDULE
(This is for the full day safari which I assume is what most people do.)
7:30 Breakfast
8:30 Departure
10:00 Riverboat Cruise
12:00 Game Drive in Chobe
1:00 Lunch at picnic spot in Chobe
Return to lodge before sunset.
7:30 Dinner

Our GUIDE was the most disappointing of all the lodges we stayed at. He wasn’t bad but he wasn’t good either. He wasn’t very personable and although he knew a lot about the animals, he rarely spoke unless we asked him something in particular. We received no briefing as to what was going on and wouldn’t have had a clue had we not overheard the other guide going over the day’s itinerary with his group.

I am sure some of these complaints seem niggling, but we had just come from a lodge that was half the price with better service. Our expectations were high and unfortunately were not met. We ended up staying only 2 out of the 3 nights we had originally booked.

ECO-NESS – Standard save your towel approach was all I noticed.

FINAL SAY – I’d wait for a few more positive reviews and give them some time to improve.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tweed Heads, Australia
Top Contributor
87 reviews 87 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2011

I was transferred to Ngoma Lodge from their adjacent sister establishment, Muchenje Lodge, due to a reservations mix up. (See my report on Muchenje Lodge.)

Ngome Lodge opened for business in May 2011 and has been furnished with no thought to expense. The standard of the accommodation is superb. The rooms have large windows overlooking the floodplains of the Chobe river. On the morning I left a large herd of Cape Buffalo wandered past the window in the early morning light. The bathroom was spectacularly furnished with double hand basins, full size free standing bath and the best shower I have ever encountered in 40 years of international travel.

The main lodge houses the bar and dining area and guest lounge as well as a pool and excellent viewing areas over the flood plain. The tariff includes all items from the bar.

A range of game-viewing safaris is provided at the Lodge in well-maintained comfortable safari vehicles. Guests can choose from morning or afternoon game drives (or both) as well as a full day tour, which includes an excursion by boat on the Chobe River. These safari options are identical to those offered by their sister lodge, Muchenje Lodge.

I opted for the full day tour. We drove to Kasane, some 45 minutes drive before boarding the boat for the Chobe Excursion. The game viewing both on the banks of the river and in the river itself was excellent. We were able to get up close to crocodiles, Nile monitors, hippos, elephants and buffalo as well as numerous bird species. Afterwards we enjoyed an extensive game drive in Chobe Reserve. It was an excellent day and our guide was both knowledgeable and cooperative.

My arrival at the Lodge was timed to include breakfast. This was the first of three meals I had in the dining room, as well as a packed lunch. All of them were very disappointing. I ordered bacon and one egg, which took 20 minutes to arrive. It consisted on one minute piece of bacon and one egg fried within an inch of its life. One slice of extra hard toast was also supplied. Breakfast the following day was of the same standard.

The packed lunch on the full day safari was of a similarly disappointing. A hard cooked, crumbed chicken drumstick with some wilted lettuce opened the proceedings, followed by an unpleasant hamburger in a massive bun.

Dinner that night back at the Lodge was no better. There was no choice offered. First we had a small plate of cool soup. The main course was three very small thin slices of pork, with three green beans and cold, lumpy mashed potatoes. It was appalling. It wasn’t possible to pass comment to the hosts, as they had departed for South Africa shortly after my arrival.

There would have to be some considerable improvement in the standard of the catering before I would ever be tempted to stay at Ngoma Lodge again.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Turin, Italy
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2011

A beautiful lodge with a very high quality level of services. Fascinating rooms with a spectacular view on park and sunsets, furnished with with taste and elegance. The kindness of owners is unforgettable, they usually arrange with guests the proposed outside activities at Chobe park, which are great. Absolutely unique.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aussenkehr
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2011

I write on behalf of my mother and her sister (both in their seventies) that were totally spoiled during their short stay at Ngoma Safari Lodge. The two owners were personal in their approach ensuring an experience that will not be forgotten.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ngoma Safari Lodge

Address: Overlooking the Chobe River, Chobe National Park 7800, Botswana
Phone Number:
Location: Botswana > North-West District > Chobe National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Chobe National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Ngoma Safari Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ngoma Safari Lodge is a 5 star bush property located in Northern Botswana within the Chobe Forest Reserve. Accommodation available include 8 luxury suites that overlook the legendary Chobe river and Caprivi floodplain. Designed with an emphasis on space, peace and luxury, from here you get to see and experience the wildlife of Chobe and relax in your own secluded sanctuary, or dine al fresco on our elevated deck with panoramic views. ... more   less 
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