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Wilderness Safaris Kings Pool Camp
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Reviewed April 27, 2013

Having spent 3 nights at Jao Camp in the Delta, we arrived at Kings Pool Camp to a frosty start.
Ndebo was to become later, a wealth of knowledge but when he picked us up at the airstrip, there was little introduction and welcome. We didn't know he was to be our ranger for the duration until we arrived for high tea and our first afternoon drive.
The drive from Chobe airstrip is 45 mins and we arrived at the camp to meet Brett.
The Reception area is beautiful and overlooks a stunning river and the river border of Namibia. A few hippos around and elephant in the distance as a welcome.
The rooms are lovely, spacious and impressive double shower (no tub). The balcony area has a lovely daybed, deck chairs and a plunge pool.
The overall food was average, nothing special. I am a veggie and I found one high tea with no veggie savoury! Meals in general average.
There seemed to be some sort of separation/friction between staff and management and although Brett and Sherie are a lovely couple, management visibility could have been a lot better.
On our last night for instance, our ranger was supposed to join for dinner but didn't and then no-one from management even said goodnight. They just disappeared. We were just left for kitchen staff to see to us. No-one to tell us the plan for our last morning and departure timings. I thought this was very poor.
Most staff seemed to be in training positions and unsure and I feel this is poor for a Premier Camp.
We asked to see the 'hide' which is highly publicised on the Wilderness website and also to see the newly installed Solar panel system. Neither of these were realised, even though we asked again.
In terms of sightings, we saw lots of birds, lots of elephants, some lions that we tracked one morning and a bufalo. The river cruise was good - lots of hippos.
On our last morning we had lions pass through the camp (footprints) and heard roars in the night. Nice hippo activity at night also.
The drives seemed to be of a better knowledgable quality when a more senior member of staff joined us.
For the price we payed and the service we got, I would say, choose another place - we hear Duma Tao is a Classic Camp but better for sightings and service.
I will say when I like a place - this I was disappointed with :-(

Room Tip: Choose a room close to the main reception area - there are works going on and so alot of dust and noise in the day.
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank PratimaMahajan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WildernessSafaris, Manager at Wilderness Safaris Kings Pool Camp, responded to this reviewResponded May 16, 2013

We would like to thank the guests for their feedback and are glad that they enjoyed their overall stay with Wilderness in Botswana, albeit a few disappointing comments on King Pool camp. This is not the normal type of feedback we get on Kings Pool. We have addressed the comments below with the management, staff and operations team to ensure the high standards are maintained and the bar set even higher.

Our standard policy is that there is always a manager on duty that stays up until after the last guest has gone to bed. If there is private dining with our guests, the manager will host the evening and manage the floor. There was a manager on duty on the last night, Frank, one of our citizen managers. We are therefore unsure why this comment has come up, and apologise if there was a misunderstanding or if this was not made clear.

As part of our dedicated training program and upliftment of staff, we are constantly training staff in all areas of the business. Subsequent to this, we have reviewed our staffing and are confident that we will always have a combination of well trained and experienced staff supporting those trainees.

We apologise that the solar walk and the hide visit was not followed up with, by management, these are both two standard offerings that we make available to our guests. These comments have been addressed with management and we will ensure this does not happen again.

Kings Pool Camp does deliver a Premier offering and service, and we are disappointed that this was not the case with your stay. We are hopeful that by seeing the other positive TA postings on Kings Pool, it will be recognised that this is not the normal feedback for Kings Pool, and we would welcome the opportunity to see you back in camp one day to allow us to deliver a memorable experience.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

It is hard to say anything different than previous reviewers. The lodge is a wonderful retreat and our room was spacious with a plunge pool, reclining lounges and an outside shaded area in which to enjoy a siesta or just relax and enjoy the views over the river and if you are lucky you will be able to watch the hippos. Food was varied and of a very high standard with choices at all meals. The staff joined together on a Monday evening to provide entertainment in the form of songs and dance which was a joy to watch. Our guide Ndebo was fantastic and certainly knowledgable about both the animals and birds.
One of the highlights of the 3 night stay was the sunset river cruise. We were blessed with fantastic weather, sunny and not too hot and were able to watch hippos and the more spectacular river crossing by a herd of elephants. This was followed by a wonderful sunset.
We will certainly recommend this lodge to any friends who wish to visit Botswana

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank StIppolytstraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 28, 2013

It's hard to say what is the most impressive aspect of Kings Pool. The public areas of the lodge are chic and wide open, with a firepit to gather round should the weather require it. Food was fantastic. Executive Chef Wayne does a wonderful blend of European and traditional Botswana fare and makes every meal (and there are plenty of them) something to anticipate. Individual rooms are spacious and comfortable, perched on the banks of a river. Though day time temperatures were in the 90's F, the rooms are all shaded and a ceiling fan is more than adequate to keep them pleasantly cool.
Game viewing is great - big cats, fantastic birds, loads of ellies and giraffes. The gentle cruise on the river is probably the high point, watching elephants wallow in mud and then swim across to the Namibia side.
Ndebo is a first rate guide with an encyclopedic knowledge of the flora and fauna, including their Latin names. He, like all the staff, are personable and professional, taking care that every aspect of your stay is flawless. They are also great fun to chat with; we discussed everything from Botswana history to The Foo Fighters and Them Crooked Vultures. It really is like visiting old friends who happen to live in a game reserve.
Possibly the best aspect of all is that it can be powered entirely by their recently-inaugurated solar plant. In case you had any qualms about the environmental impact of your visit, you may rest assured that they have reduced their carbon footprint significantly.
No matter how much I have enjoyed visiting a camp, I never contemplate returning because there are just so many places to see. For Kings Pool, I would make an exception to that rule.

Room Tip: Room 2 is nice - there is one hippo highway (pathway from river inland) between there and the main area so you may get a close look at one as your guide takes you to your room.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank SATravellerMaryland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2013

We stayed on Kings Pool a couple of years ago for our honey moon. It was our first stop in Botswana and it was just amazing and perfect in every way. The room was beautiful, food was very tasty and service was impeccable. I really hope we will have the opportunity to go back again. We are planning our trip to Sabi Reserve in South Africa this year, but all I can think about is our Botswana trip!

The only 4 star I gave was for sleep quality. We had what sounded like a large animal roaming around the tent on our first night and scared us to death. You can hear EVERY movement through the fabric. Of course it is not the camp's fault! We got used to it eventually. Ear plugs are probably a good idea.

Word of advice, we made the mistake of underestimating Africa winter temperatures and literarily had to put on 6 layers of everything we've got every morning. So my advice is to be prepared!

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank li_wa6605
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2013

Kings Pool Camp was wonderful, as was Vumbura Plains where we also stayed. Both are premier camps run by Wilderness Safaris who are a highly professional company.

The following things apply to both camps:
We travelled in early January 2013. The weather was hot but this was not a problem because the game drives occur in the early morning and late afternoon when it is cooler. During the hottest time you are relaxing in your fantastic room, looking at the great view and possibly using the private plunge pool or selecting a beverage from the complimentary mini bar. The staff attend the room 3 times daily when you are out, to do bed making, cleaning and a turn down service. There is no aircon – only fans – but we found that to be OK. The same-day laundry service was complimentary.
The common areas (dining, lounge, bar, toilet) and all modern, open plan and in the open air looking at the fantastic landscape. The rooms are reached by raised wooden walkways either side of the common area. The walks to the rooms can be long (e.g. our Kings Pool room was in the middle of the 5 rooms and took 250 steps to get to the reception). So people who dont wish to walk a long way should request rooms nearer to the common area. The camp is unfenced and in a few places the walkways sink to ground level to allow wildlife to pass. During darkness you need to be escorted to and from the room for safety purposes. (An indemnity form is required to be signed on arrival).

We saw lots of wildlife on the game drives. All staff are professional and do everything they can to make you comfortable. The guides are amazing. They can drive in sometimes-difficult conditions and simultaneously listen and watch for signs of wildlife (including footprints), explain things and answer questions, and at night, also hold a search light in one hand. Their knowledge of all the living creatures and plants was outstanding and they also listen to the needs of different guests, position the vehicles correctly for photography and sometimes do a little vehicle recovery/maintenance as well.

For comparison purposes – these are the things we experienced at Kings Pool only. The camp looks out onto the Linyati River which is full of hippos. Those same hippos can be noisy at night but we loved it !

We did a really lovely boat cruise which consisted of slowing floating down the river seated on an upper deck and watching more hippos than we could count.

The management that were on duty whilst we were there were not only professional but very natural, caring, humorous and friendly. You felt like part of the family.

The rooms have a rustic feel with matted floors and chunky wooden furniture. There was previously a problem with baboons messing up rooms when guests were out. They have now hired a baboon patrol person to stop this, but nevertheless, we stored all our possessions in the cupboards each time we left the room. On the deck was a small plunge pool and a day bed.

There was also a larger plunge pool in the common area, which might be useful if people are travelling in groups and want to spend some time together.

At dinner two of the staff came to the table and explained the menu items and accompanying wines which we thought was a really nice touch.

The Laundry service included underwear.

Room Tip: Some rooms are a long way from reception, so request a closer room if you dont like walking.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Julia B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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