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“An amazing experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kwando Lagoon Camp

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Kwando Lagoon Camp
3.5 of 5 Lodge   |   Kwando Reserve, Chobe National Park, Botswana   |  
Hotel amenities
Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, UK
Top Contributor
225 reviews 225 reviews
102 hotel reviews
Reviews in 104 cities Reviews in 104 cities
198 helpful votes 198 helpful votes
“An amazing experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2008

Had 2 nights at the Kwando Lagoon Camp in Botswana and travelled there by speedboat transfer from Lianshulu in Namibia.

We were taken to an open sided tent on the Botswana side of the river where our passports were checked and stamped. A game vehicle then collected us and we were taken to the camp.
At first in the pouring rain it didn't look much.

The tents were great though - quite large with comfortable beds, a sink/vanity area, flushing toilet and outdoor shower. Each had a view over the river with a deck area at the front.

At night you could hear the hippos come out of the water next to the tents, chomping on the grass and moving around the area. Quite scary at first, but very exciting once you get use to it.

Although we didn't pay for a private vehicle, as the cost was unbelievably expensive, we were lucky enough after the first game drive to only have to share the vehicle with 2 other guests - although this cannot be guaranteed. The experience was still amazing and on our first drive we saw a leopard with its kill, chased with the wild dog pack and saw them make a kill.

The reason Kwando is so special is because you get the chance to track the animals with your guide and tracker. This lead to some amazing experiences and photos.

Evenings were spent at a communal table with a buffet style rustic meal, which was very tasty. One evening we even had a special guest - a huge hippo hovering in the lapa entrance, which was an amazing sight. Mornings started with a chance for some porridge or muffin before a good 4 hours game drive or river cruise, before returning for a hearty brunch.

Everyone was so friendly and it was such a special place - will most definitely return once we have saved up again !

  • Liked — Being up close and personal with the animals
  • Disliked — Cost !
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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114 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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
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Canton of Vaud, Switzerland
Top Contributor
92 reviews 92 reviews
42 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
139 helpful votes 139 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2007

We stayed at the Kwando Lagoon camp for two nights, following a three night stay at Lianshulu Lodge and a boat transfer down the river Kwando provided by them. It's amazing, skimming down a small, crystal clear river, with hippo and fish eagles to be dropped off on a river bank, next to a tent, which turns out to be the border control, and to be met by two guides, Russ and Barute, with the funkiest off road vehicle in the universe, its called a "uri" if you're curious.

From the border post its about a 10min drive down dirt tracks to the camp. I have to admit to be slightly taken aback when we arrived and it took me time to work out why I felt that way. We arrived at about 10.30am and the main lodge building is small and open, with a single large dining table and a small bar and seating area. As we entered we were warmly welcomed by the staff team, but I was surprised at the quietness the guests who were at the dining table eating a substantial breakfast, I didn't realise at that point that these guests had been up since 5am and so were entirely entitled to look tired.

We were led to our tent, which we found to be made up of twin beds, rather than a double which we had hoped for. This was quickly resolved and we were shown to a different tent, with the pre requisite double bed as well as an amazing view over the lagoon. The tent is large and luxurious, nicely furnished and with a lovely dressing area with double sinks. However with no door to the lavatory some delicate negotiation had to be made with my travelling companion. The shower, which was outside,was awesome, lots of hot water and really good pressure. Electricty in the tents was limited to battery lighting, the bed side lights were converetd parrafin lamps which were very sweet, but bona fide parafin lamps are placed within other parts of the tent giving a romantic ambiance. Don't worry, the staff light the lights for you while you are out on game drive, all we had to do was blow them out before getting some much needed sleep.

Kwando has got a very simple ethos, guests come for the game viewing and everything, meals included takes secondary place to this. We had two game drives, the first from about 6-10.30am and the second from 5-9.00pm. I give the times as a rough guideline, if the game viewing was good then you would stay out later and id the weather wasn't quite so good you might get an extra half hour in bed. The quality of the game drives was excellent. I've already mentioned that our guide was "Russ" and his tracker was "Barute", they make the game drives interesting and a true bush experience. Idea being that Barute sits on a small seat thats perched on the bonnet at the front of the uri whilst Russ drives. They gave me a chance to sit on the trackers seat and what an experience, playing the game at the beginning of the drive, pretending that you know what you are doing in the bush whilst I am but a child in relation to the skills and knowledge that Barute and Russ have. As you may know, the wet season is not the best season to see game by a river, most animals take advantage of the rains to head further into the bush. However we saw Impala, Kudu, Tessebe, Giraffe, Ostrich, Zebra, Buffalo and Elephant and of course the obligatory Hippo by the river. Unfortunatly I have to admit that with all of the time spent in africa I still have not seen wild Lion, Cheetah or Leopard. Barute was able to point out tracks and spoor of these big cat and also wild dog, but alas I didn't get a chance to see any of these elusive creatures. Which fortunatly gives me an excuse to go back. One delightful part of the game drives is that you get a chance to stay out after dark, it's delightful, around sunset the vehicle is parked up so that you can, as we did, watch the golden sunset play over a herd of 25 giraffe and accompanying zebra while drinking gin and tonic, or whatever your choice is, and eating biltong or other delectable nibbles. Game driving in full dark was a new experience for me and it is amazing, we saw plenty of springhares as well as striped jackal and wandering hippo. I should also point out two more things about the game drives, it is supposedly a very good time of year for bird watching and we saw some stunningly beautiful birds. Secondly the game drives are off road, the camp has only three game vehicles and there are no other camps in the area. The guides if they see something, an animal of interesting spoor, will leave the dirt track to see what they can find, or to try to maximise your view of a particular animal.

The camp also does cruises on the river, but as I didn't go on one I cannot comment on how good they are. Although a fellow guests comments after a cruise on seeing a queue of about 30 hippo waiting to get onto land did sound stunning.

The camp is all inclusive, which includes meals and drinks. It's made easy to access hot drinks and guests have free access to the "help yourself" bar. The food, although not elaborate is good and tasty and the chef made efforts to ensure that Karen, as a vegetarian, ate well.

Before I conclude there is one further comment that I would like to make about our stay at Kwando Lagoon. One of the delights for me was that all members of staff, from the resident manager down, were all Batswana. It was good to get away from the white/black hierarchies that you get in many camps and lodges. This is not meant to be either a political or critical comment, it is purely to elaborate the fact that I found Kwando Lagoon to have a very special atmosphere compared to some other camps that I have stayed in or visited over the years.

So, to conclude, Kwando Lagoon provided a very special experience, the staff were excellent and I enjoyed sharing a dinner table with them and swapping tall stories. The small number of guests, there are only 8 tents, provided an intimate atmosphere that made it easy to talk and gossip with fellow travellers. The game viewing was of an extremly high standard and the willingness of the guides to be flexible to the needs of guests was superb, and the night drives....... Will I go back to Kwando Lagoon Camp, definitly!

  • Liked — Atmosphere and location
  • Tips/Secrets — Fit in a trip with the contrasting Lianshulu Lodge, 20mins up the river in Namibia
  • Stayed January 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kwando Lagoon Camp

Address: Kwando Reserve, Chobe National Park, Botswana
Location: Botswana > North-West District > Chobe National Park
Amenities:
Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Chobe National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Kwando Lagoon Camp 3.5*
Number of rooms: 6
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Kwando Lagoon Camp Hotel Chobe National Park

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