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Any visitors to Camp Kuzuma near Chobe?

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Any visitors to Camp Kuzuma near Chobe?

Has anyone stayed at Camp Kuzuma, near (but not in) Chobe (http://campkuzuma-bw.com/) ? It seems to be about 13 Km from the park. It's a relatively new lodge in the Kuzuma Forest Reserve. I have found a year-old thread on this forum discussing it, but almost nothing else. I've found a well-priced package that includes it & I am intrigued, but just a bit leery at the lack of info compared with many other places.

Maun, Botswana
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1. Re: Any visitors to Camp Kuzuma near Chobe?

Camp Kazuma is located in the Kazume Forest Reserve. It is a luxury Lodge, with good facilities, and good reviews. However, if you want a Lodge from which to explore the Chobe National Park, you should be aware it is a hours drive to the Gate.This can make a game drive very long compared with Lodges actually based at Kasane,

Kasane
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2. Re: Any visitors to Camp Kuzuma near Chobe?

When you say it is approx 13km from the park you are correct, although Chobe is 11000km2 approx so you're about 13km from the Eastern boundary. You are looking at approx 70km to Sedudu Gate which is the entrance to the Chobe Waterfront (which is what most people mean when they refer to "Chobe National Park"). The forest reserves down there are very nice although the game isn't as prolific as the most northern part of the park. You'll see less tourists in this area although the game may not be as evident. Lodges in the Kasane area are mostly 5-15 minutes from Sedudu Gate. Chobe Game Lodge and Chilwero are in the park itself and you also have options at the Western end of Chobe Waterfront with Ngoma and Muchenje.

Enjoy!

Clive.

Safari and Guide Services.

Kasane.

Pretoria, South...
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3. Re: Any visitors to Camp Kuzuma near Chobe?

I visited Camp Kuzuma about a year ago after hearing about it both on the forum and from it's marketing agents, and I like exploring new places.

I think it's important to understand that Kuzuma is in an entirely different situation to the "conveyorised" lodges up in the Kasane area, and I loved that fact that it was off-the-beaten track and that there weren't eight self-drive or game-drive vehicles competing for the same sighting.

The lack of the river does mean that there's generally less game in the area. However, there's a waterhole at the lodge that attracts wildlife and you can sit peacefully and enjoy the bushveld without stress. I didn't manage to go on a game drive, but I understand that the drives are conducted out near Kuzuma Pan (more open bushveld). You're not likely to see 100's of elephants at a time, but I think the game viewing will be just as rewarding, if not better. I also think there's a good chance of seeing different animals.

The lodge itself is well appointed and reasonably luxurious. The Victorian style doesn't quite appeal to me, but it has it's appeal for others. The service was excellent.

It's also about 70kms from Kasungula. It's probably not the place to stay if your definition of Chobe National Park is limited to the riverfront, but Chobe N.P. is quite a big place. It's a place to consider if you are happy with ellies grazing peacefully outside your door, and you don't want to hear the local shebeen party carrying until 2a.m.

I'd take Kuzuma anyday in comparison to most of the lodges I know around Kasane.

Edited: 12:43 pm, April 08, 2013
Minnesota
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4. Re: Any visitors to Camp Kuzuma near Chobe?

Here is a copy of the e-mail I sent to our ICON Expeditions agent who booked Camp Kazuma for us. We were there in Feb. 2013:

I am trying to review Camp Kuzuma on trip advisor, but they are not listed yet. The attempt by this camp to market themselves “In the Chobe National Park” is misleading at best. It is 80 km from Chobe. Their marketing of game viewing and boat rides in the National Park do not include the caveat that one will drive 90 minutes in an open air jeep to get there.

Our transport from Tongabezi to Botswana went on schedule and very efficiently. We were met at the boat ramp by the new assistant manager Chris and the guide Tabiso for the transport to the Camp. The transport vehicle was a small truck that was not very comfortable for someone 6 feet or taller. After stopping for gas, we were on our way for the journey which was not described in any of the publicity materials we received. Their website says the camp is 45 minutes from the airport. That may be true if you are on the main highway already and in a vehicle that goes 120 kph. It takes 10 – 15 minutes from the main highway to the Camp.

We were the only guests and the right hand did not appear to know what the left hand was doing. They asked immediately to see our itinerary and realized we were on the full package. They then came out with an “activities list.” I enquired about their wellness center and a massage. It was not open so they “booked” a massage following the morning game drive in Chobe and before the “sunset” boat cruise. It was supposed to include a buffet lunch, but that didn’t happen since lunch was not starting until 12:30 and the massages were at 1 p.m. but we had to immediately be ready to get to the boat by 3 p.m. even though it didn’t depart until after 4 p.m. so we could be back by 6 p.m. even though sunset was at 6:45 because Tabiso didn’t want to drive in the open air jeep after dark. These add on activities cost us an additional $550. With the $400 per person per day charges, we got 3 hours in an open jeep on the highway; a “bush” breakfast consisting of a bowl of cereal on the shortcut road by the airport; a drive through Chobe; a to go sandwich on the way to the “sunset” cruise which did not last until sunset. Was this a good value? Absolutely not.

The “game drives” at Kuzuma were mediocre at best. Tabiso actually went off the path twice (both times when the Manager Jacko was with) once because he “saw something” (an impala) and one other non-descript time. They have 4000 square kilometers in Kazuma that they kept talking about, yet we were on the same path, going and coming a total of 6 times. I saw the same tree 6 times. I felt like I was on a ride at DisneyWorld. Each time we started, Tabiso had the same rehearsed line about “We are all going on an adventure together…” I am sure management either the new one or the last one required this, but seriously it was silly.

This camp has 5 tents, 6 since the “wellness center” was not being used. They are very nice, as is the main tent. Service for drinks and meals was good. The food was average to very good. Unfortunately since we were the only guests my wife said it was like we were being babysat every time we were out of our tent. Because it was so hot, we spent a couple of hours in the pool one afternoon which was necessary but disgusting. You couldn’t see your feet in waist deep water. Not a high class experience.

Camp Kuzuma may be worth it for those that simply want to get into the bush and get away in a nice bush camp. It is certainly not worth it as part of an excursion in Chobe National Park. Perhaps if this place had been first on our journey our expectations would not have been so high. Following Londolozi and Tongabezi however, this place is going to need something different to succeed. I would be happy to answer any specific questions you might have. I know when we booked this place nearly a year and a half ago, it was a new camp. That they are already on their second set of managers says something and it felt like we were a trial run for them. They really need to improve the game drive experience; the transport vehicles; the inclusion of Chobe activities if they want to market that; the pool cleanliness; the “bush breakfast” experience and generally liven up the place.

How is that for feedback? Let me know if you have any questions. I am happy to be contacted by your clients if they have specific questions about our experience. By the way, we loved Cape Town and touring with Selwyn Davidowitz.

5. Re: Any visitors to Camp Kuzuma near Chobe?

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