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“Fantastic experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Chitabe Lediba

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Chitabe Lediba
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Botswana, Botswana   |  
Hotel amenities
Orlando, Florida
Top Contributor
87 reviews 87 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
121 helpful votes 121 helpful votes
“Fantastic experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013

We stayed in November 2013 for 3 nights. The room was beautiful with a wonderful view, deck, and outdoor shower. There is an indoor shower also.

There were only ever about 5-6 guests there total during our stay. Meal times were very intimate with some of the staff joining us. We had many laughs and pleasant meals.

The game drives (with Gordon) were great. He was disappointed that we hadn't seen a leopard yet on our safari, so on the last day when another guide had a sighting, he RACED to make sure we saw it before our flight left for the next camp.


We have high praise for all of the Wilderness Lodges we have stayed at over the years and for Wilderness Air. We look forward to doing a third safari with them in 2015.

  • Stayed November 2012, 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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44 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
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English first
SF
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013

Chitabe Lediba camp was our first camp of three in the Okavanga Delta, and our first safari experience ever. In sum it was a fantastic experience, and we loved our three nights there.

Chitabe Lediba is one of three camps operated on this particular government concession area. The other is the sister camp Chitabe, and another camp operated by another concessionaire (&Beyond) that is about an hour drive away. The two Chitabe camps are managed by a large newly-listed South Africa based safari company, Wilderness Safaris.

You don't really have any contact with the larger Chitabe camp when you are on the Lediba side, since although they are spitting distance close, you are not supposed to walk off of the camp for safety reasons, so you can't just saunter over there. The only contact is that you might have is to occasionally see a Chitabe safari vehicle with people you don't know (since Chitabe Lediba has at most 12 guests whom you eat all your meals with, you get to know all of them quickly enough!). I was told the two camps have the same meal menus, and follow the same schedule and format. The only difference is that the Chitabe camp is larger accommodating 18 guests. Staff may rotate between the camps but at any given time, they are working only at one camp or the other. Looking at the pics of Chitabe camp, the tents seem different at CL - seemingly a little newer.

The Lediba camp is set up with common areas like the dining room/lounge/firepit, and the take off point for safari drives in the middle, and and a boardwalk extending to either side with three tent cabins coming off the boardwalk set under the cover of some large trees. The tent cabins have hardwood frames and wooden doors are quite well furnished with rug covered hardwood floors and beautiful darkwood furniture and a covered front patio that looks out onto an open field and a water channel beyond the field. The tents have wall "flaps" that open up and allow ventilation and view of the trees around you and in front of the cabin. The bed as comfortable and large as any in a deluxe hotel room with high quality, warm, beddings and pillows. The cabins have an indoor bathroom with shower, as well as an outdoor bathroom. The water is heated for each cabin with a solar water heater, so there is plenty of hot water for showers. The camp is kept immaculately clean and well maintained. Boardwalks are constantly swept and shiny clean, as are the common areas -- quite a feet considering the dust and vegetation all around.

The only reason they are "tents" is because by contract the concessionaire can't build permanent structures and must be able to remove the structures and return the area to its natural state if the goverment decides to end the concession.

There are nice extras I didn't expect at this camp. First there is a pair of good binoculars for you to use. We didn't know that and we each lugged a pair of binoculars to Africa. We could have just taken one pair and saved the weight! Also the rooms come with insect repellant (though we did not get any bites and didnt see any mosquitoes during our late June stay as we were told it was too cold for mosquitoes). Every night at turndown, staff lights a fragrant mosquito coil in the room. There are charging outlets with 24 hour electricity for charging batteries, etc., but if you want more than one US outlet at a time, you should bring some adapters, since the power strip only has one port of each type of four plugs. No need to bring the heavy voltage power converter that I bought for the trip either! Laundry is done for you on a complimentary basis, except your underwear (they have laundry soap in each roomand a line in the shower for air drying). Note - this is different from the two other camps we stayed at after, which provide a small mesh bag for you to put your underwear in, which is then washed and dried, and then taken out of the bag and folded and returned to you

As stated earlier, the camp is very intimate. You have dinner with the guides and the manager every night at one table. When we were there, there was only one other couple there the first night, until our third night when a large family of five with their hired guide arrived. That night we had an amazing outdoor dinner in a barbecue pit area, which was beautiful.

What I appreciated most about this camp was that it was managed and staffed entirely by Botswanans. The Botswanans were so gracious and happy to show off their country and talk about the language culture and history, and were clearly proud of Botswana and in particular its efforts to preserve its pristine park areas and the wildlife there. This wasn't the case in other camps where we stayed at, where the staff was "seen but not heard".

Our co-managers for our stay were Kay and Mloosie, who proved to be warm and very helpful professional managers, who attended to every need and desire of their guests, and seemed to have a wonderful relationship with all of the staff members there. All the staff seemed to be so happy to be working there and all worked cooperatively with a smile on their face. I also appreciated that the managers made an effort to have the staff introduce themselves to the guests and had the cooks and servers address the diners each evening before the meal to tell them what was being served. It made it feel much more like being guests at dinner rather than having workers serving you but not being heard.

Food here is well prepared. It's not gourmet, but it is tasty and plentiful, and there was always many choices of meats and vegetables and sides, such that it will appeal to any American or European palate. There wasn't any real "African" cuisine served, save for some dessert options were were told were traditional sweets.

As for the wildlife sightings - I hesitate to make any reviews of this because what you see at any particular camp is a hit-or-miss proposition that can vary by the day or hour and is out of control of the camp itself. I can say that our guide,however was excellent and well trained. His name was Ebs, and clearly he had lots of experience and intuition, as well the knowledge of all the varieties of animals and plants were were seeing to enable him to identify them on sight. But we were able to see nearly every animal that was in the area at the time, impala, elephants, jackals, leopard, cheetah with cubs, lions with cubs, kudus, wildebeest, giraffe, and all sorts of birds small and large. No wild dogs were in the area, though, despite that being one of the things Chitabe is known for. But that didn't really detract from the experience at all!

What was surprising to me on our first drive was how close we were able to get to all the animals, including lions. On our first drive out, Ebs told us that the other truck had spotted lions so we were going there to see them. I took out my binoculars when we headed their way, but we ended up driving right up to the field where the lions were sleeping and parked no more than four feet away. The lions woke up and were walking around, totally ignoring the truck. It was amazing, and somewhat thrilling to be so close to the wildlife.

As I discovered, that is one thing you get from staying at a camp such as CL on a private reserve, vs. staying in a lodge that is not on a concession but near a national park and doing safari within the national park. In the latter case, the safari trucks must stay on the road in the park, which limits the guide's ability to spot and get in viewing range of animals. Also, since a large private concession of 40000 acres may only have two or three small concessions on it, your truck is usually watching animals and following them alone. According to the rules, there can be no more than three trucks at an animal spotting, so at most there will only be two other trucks around you. In national parks we were told you can get crowds of vehicles on the road watching sightings (think Yellowstone National Park when a grizzly is sighted), which takes away from the wilderness experience.

I cannot comment on value, as the stay at CL was part of a package booked with our agent, Ultimate Africa Safari (who I can also highly recommend for putting together an itinerary exactly customized to our general interests and desires). I suspect the per night rate here is higher than we would have paid for a lodge in Chobe in Botswana, or Kruger in South Africa, but based on what I've heard of the comparison in experiences, I think if you can swing the extra cost (part of which comes from the cost of the prop flights to and from the Chitabe airstrip) it's worth the cost to get a really wonderful unique Botswana safari experience.

I have heard that CL just recently had its 5 star rating from the Botswanan concession administration approved, and I totally agree with that assessment!

  • Stayed June 2013, 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florida
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay! The personnel are magnificent and anticipate your every need! Here's to Josephine! She runs a tight ship. The guides are well-educated and great trackers. Only real problem was that we did not know how very hot it would be in October! But it is a great month to see the "babies"! Heads above some of the other camps we visited.

Room Tip: The camp is very tiny, only a few guests at a time which is a big plus! All tents are fabulous! Ple...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new york
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

We had a great 2 days at Chitabe Lediba and after 3 days at a different camp (Little Vimbura), I wished we'd had more time here. The rooms were lovely, and the wooden deck was a perfect place to do yoga in between game drives. I also loved the outdoor shower. The staff was friendly and accommodating, and while spent a lot of time at the sister camp, Chitabe, where our friends were staying, it always felt nice to return to our smaller, cozier camp of Chitabe Lediba.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2012

This was our first camp in Botswana and what a beginning to our trip!
Within the first 40 minutes driving from the sirstrip we had seen elephants, lion, giraffe, leopard and much much more! I could hardly believe my eyes! The amazing game viewing continued thoughout our time here and was the best we experienced anywhere in Botswana or Namibia.
The camp is lovely, relaxing and beautiful, tented rooms gorgeous, staff friendly, professional and very nice, the food was excellent and last but not least - our guide Anthony was absolutely fantastic.
We had a wonderful time here and just like some other reviewers - I would rarely say that I would return somewhere but we fully intend to return to Botswana and Chitabe will be on the top of our list of camps.
Just awesome, wish I was there now!

  • Stayed October 2012, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2012

Chitabe Lediba was our second safari destination on this trip. Thinking it was still winter, we didn't realize that their summer was fast approaching. Each day of our four day stay reached a very uncomfortable 95 degrees (F) between 11:30 -3:30pm. The only way to get a bit of comfort was a cool shower. The fans in the room, only really helped at night when we went to sleep. After all the reading we did, thinking we were totally prepared, the intense heat was unexpected. Wound up sleeping in a T-shirt as everything else would have been uncomfortable. That being said, we found the accommodations and general service provided, quite acceptable.
Saying we slept in tents is really an understatement. They are very sturdy, well appointed accommodations with ample space and a larger than expected bathroom/dressing area.

The food was very good and we were able to get plenty to drink due to the intense heat. We were surprised one evening by having the staff set up a romantic dinner with lanterns all around our deck by the "tent". A lovely touch, however, the elephants were a few feet away and we didn't feel totally comfortable eating dinner with the elephants so close. We also had a lovely lunch set up in the bush where we met up with two other groups from Chitabe.

Note that there is no communication with the outside world and when there was a change in our Air Botswana flight, it was difficult to get word to our pre-arranged ride from OR Tambo to our hotel in Jo'burg.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Vannes, France
Top Contributor
122 reviews 122 reviews
57 hotel reviews
Reviews in 68 cities Reviews in 68 cities
119 helpful votes 119 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2012

Chitabe Lediba was our last camp of a 16 day trip and yes it was very luxurious, seemed more like a premier camp than a classic camp. Game viewing here is excellent too. Lots of predators and we actually found a dead giraffe that had died just minutes before we found it. It was a very sad experience, but it died of old age so it was a natural part of the cycle of life. What it meant though is that there would be lots of action here over the next few days and we were right. The next morning Bateleur eagles were eating the eyes and a hyena had begun feasting on the inside abdominal area. As the carcass began to decompose the odor traveled and in the night we heard the lions roaring all night long and well into the morning. They had found the giraffe and were feeding on it. When done they moved aside for a nap and in came the jackal for a taste. It was awesome to witness. We also saw a female leopard with her impala kill which she fed on for days, we witnessed her feeding on it, then hiding it, then napping. We followed the Chitabe pride of lions while they hunted. We also saw 3 other leopards here 2 different ones on the hunt and 1 in a tree napping on our way to the airstrip. We also witnessed a baboon fight - they were fighting over a female, and then we saw who won, as he strolled off with his girl afterwards. Meals, tea and sundowners were always fabulous. One important note is that Chitabe Lediba has lost its' resident wild dog pack for now. There was once a pack of 31, but it split up and then the remaining pack lost its' alpha female - killed by lion, so there were then only 10 left, and now there are currently only 4 dogs left, no one knows what happened to the other 6. The remaining 4 have not been seen for a couple of months.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 4 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 Chitabe Lediba

Address: Botswana, Botswana
Location: Botswana > North-West District > Okavango Delta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #39 of 66 Specialty Lodging in Okavango Delta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Intimate Chitabe Lediba is a perfect game viewing base for families or small groups. A lediba is a lagoon that has become a waterhole, where a variety of wildlife comes to drink. Chitabe Lediba's dining area, lounge, and pool all overlook just such a vista. The sister camp of Chitabe, it lies on the other side of the same tree island and echoes many of its sibling's qualities. The same well-appointed canvas tents are raised on decks with uniquely styled interiors, but the smaller nature of the camp offers a more intimate experience, ideal for small groups or families. Highlights: Chitabe Lediba sports that classic Okavango Delta scenery, from palm-dotted floodplains to open savannah and woodlands. This mix of Okavango (water) and Kalahari (land) makes for an excellent home to an abundant array of herbivores: giraffe, buffalo, red lechwe, tsessebe, impala and elephant, which in turn support the larger predators: lion, leopard, spotted hyaena, cheetah and the rare and charismatic wild dog. The Camp is composed of 4 Tents (including 2 Family Tents): Spacious en-suite Meru-type tents, individually styled; outdoor shower with a view; family units withadjoining en-suite bedrooms. Experiences Include: Day and night game drives and Guided walks (on request) ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Chitabe Lediba Botswana/Okavango Delta

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