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“five star game viewing, three star accommodations” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Muchenje Safari Lodge

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Muchenje Safari Lodge
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4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Private Bag K31, Chobe National Park, Botswana   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Orinda, California
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“five star game viewing, three star accommodations”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2011

Muchenje Safari Lodge was our second stop on a tour arranged by Island-Safari, and it was a definite step down in all but one respect from our first stop at Islands of Siankaba Lodge. The chalet was nice enough, but a strange red substance dripped from the thatched roof, through the mosquito netting on to the bed. The manager was quick to come and inspect the problem but dismissed it as “moths.” The management was, overall, one of the disappointments at the lodge: in a number of small ways the resort seemed to be run for their convenience rather than the guest’s. Two examples: the laundry service, which is included in the tour, doesn’t include “smalls,” underwear and socks. For these they provide a clothes line in the shower and detergent. Really, for the prices we pay, they should do all the laundry. A small thing, yes, but enough to give the place the feel of a budget camp rather than luxury lodge. Then there was the coffee. I stopped by the lodge fifteen minutes before the official time of breakfast and asked for a cup of coffee. While they serve an acceptable presse then, they gave me a cup of instant. And the food was not very good. Edible but not really enjoyable. Enough of the bad. What counts most at a game lodge are the guides, and here they excelled. We took an all day drive that was half on land and half on a boat, each with a different guide, and both guides knew their wildlife and could articulate their knowledge in a way that was both informative and entertaining. Absolutely first class. My wife, who did safaris in East Africa, said these were the best guides she had experienced. All told, five star game viewing, three star accommodations.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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244 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (48)
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English first
new york city
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2011

The lodge was modern and in a beautiful setting. However it was far from the chobe game park and it took a long time to drive there and back. The national park closed at 6:30 and there was not time to get to where the animals were and out of the park before closing. They said night drives but it was only one road which was available with little game to see. No night drives allowed in the National park

  • Stayed July 2011
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2011

During our 14 night safari trip this was the only lodge we stayed in. We wanted to visit Chobe National Park because of the large volume of game.
Muchenje is located in Chobe Forest Reserve, on the western side outside the National Park. While the lodge has a lovely location on a height and with great views of the Chobe River, we were disappointed with our stay. The rooms were fine - thatched chalets with en suite facilities and private balconies. However, we felt that the quality of the guides was very poor. Certainly they seemed to be lacking in knowledge and enthusiasm. We also found that the general atmosphere too formal compared with a smaller camp setting. Finally, the shower did not drain and I had to unblock it by removing a huge plug of hair from the drain- I wonder how well the shower had been cleaned in the past!
We personally feel that this lodge is better for groups rather than couples. We spent 2 nights here and there was a large group travelling together on both days while we were the only couple. For couples, the smaller camps provide much more of the personal touch and you also get to know other guests better.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winchester, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
64 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2011

Muchenje is on the Western side of the Chobe national park. It is set on a slight elevation, so has good views across the river into Namibia. Accommodation is in thatched chalets, and is comfortable. Baboons, warthog and other animals come into the lodge, but the main game drives are in the park, which is mainly notable for huge herds of elephant, as well as large herds of zebra, giraffe and antelopes. The Western end has fewer tourists, but the big herds tend to be at the Eastern end, which is also where you need to go for boat trips - well worthwhile for the water birds, crocodiles, and elephants taking mud baths. However, the journey takes only 45 minutes and is on a road through the park, so you can get reasonable sightings on the way to the boat. Food is very good, and drinks are included. Don't rely on the internet here; my Blackberry could get some reception but only occasionally.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2011

The Muchenje Safari Lodge was lovely and the staff were very helpful and friendly. Each villa was clean, comfortable and self contained. Every meal had an excellent buffet style arrangement where you could select from many items, some traditional and some more Western. What I particularly liked was that the staff came and ate with you so you got to know each other during your stay. The safaris and the guides were brilliant and you could see the game very close to the jeep because in Chobe hunting is prohibited and the animals are protected by anti-gaming personal. The guides were very knowledgeable about the animals and had fabulous eye sight spotting animals at a great distance.

Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
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SF Bay Area, CA
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2011

We just returned from a 3 night stay at Muchenje. Getting there from Livingstone was relatively easy (van from the airport, small boat across the Zambezi, van to Kasane airport, and the Muchenje Land Rover from the airport to the lodge). We were put up in the Family Chalet (#11) which has a king size bed and a loft for our two girls, aged 9 and 11. The afternoon after arriving went out for the "afternoon safari" from 3PM-630PM (other options are the Morning safari from 6AM to 830AM, the Full Day from 9AM to 630PM, and the night drive from 830-930PM). The drive to the park entrance is a short 15 minutes, and once down the dirt track and down to the estuary saw hundreds of animals (zebras, elephants, impalas, kudus, warthogs, sable and roan antelope) as well as birds (guinea fowl, African fish eagles, kingfishers, bee eaters, storks, vultures, ibis). Our guide, Nicodemus, was extremely well spoken and enthusiastic, and extremely knowledgeable about all of the birds, animals, and flora that we saw. Had a lovely 'sundowner' cocktail by the vehicle to watch the sunset, and then back to the lodge for showers and dinner at 730PM. Prior to dinner there is an open bar and appetizers where you can recount your day with the other guests (about 20 maximum when the lodge is full), and all of the meals were authentic and outstanding, especially the Bobotie. Our 3 days went very quickly, and we were fortunate in the next 2 days to see a fresh lion kill with 4 lions, as well as ostriches, elands, Nile crocs, and hippos. We recommend the people and staff at Muchenje wholeheartedly.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Top Contributor
148 reviews 148 reviews
97 hotel reviews
Reviews in 71 cities Reviews in 71 cities
174 helpful votes 174 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2011

For the high rates, and after the wonderful Gunn's Camp in the Delta (see separate review), this lodge was a little disappointing.

Positives:
- friendly hosts (Rod and Kathy)
- nice communal areas and views across river valley
- good guides and range of activities

Negatives:
- rooms need updating and badly lacking in unpacking / storage space
- food overly stodgy and disappointing given high rates
- restaurant / bar staff indifferent
- groups / families lumped together for activities
- charged 65 USD to get a lift to Vic Falls with a family who were going anyway and quite willing to take me along for free!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Muchenje Safari Lodge

Address: Private Bag K31, Chobe National Park, Botswana
Location: Botswana > North-West District > Chobe National Park
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 19 Specialty Lodging in Chobe National Park
Hotel Class:4 star — Muchenje Safari Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Small, Owner run property situated on the edge of the Chobe National park. Our remote location means game drives do not reach the masses that inhibit other Chobe Lodges.Recently upgraded, Muchenje offers Rustic luxury accommodation. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Muchenje Safari Hotel Chobe National Park

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