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“Front Office Theft”

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Cresta Mowana Safari Resort and Spa
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Kasane
Reviewed October 7, 2009

I have booked this hotel through a travel agent for some of my clients. We have pre-paid dinners and breakfasts. Upon arrival - after 3pm - our rooms were still not ready. The dinner is ok, but most definitely not 5 star. The rooms are in serious need of repair and renovations. We were quoted a price for the game drives and boat cruise but charged a higher rate which took more than half an hour to rectify. Then, one of the front office staff charged my client (not my room) the full dinner fee for the whole group - more than US$500 as well as a US$30 so-called 'cash out' which is when a client request cash in local currency. Because the client is Italian and didn't understand the conversion rates as we only arrived the previous night, he paid and only realised the following day when we were in Zambia what he was charged. The lodge told my booking agent they will reverse the charge immediately but not the cash-out (even though they could not find the docket where the client signed for it). This is now already nearly mid October and after numerous telephone calls and emails they still have not refunded the client's card.
The game drive rangers did not show much enthusiasm either at showing clients the animals.
So travel agents and direct clients, read many other similar comments on this lodge and be aware... If I am the only one complaining, you could have ignored this, but there are numerous other complaints.

I for one will never stay here again and will not book another single client to go there.

  • Stayed: August 2009
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1  Thank TravelingWilbury005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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436 - 442 of 559 reviews

Reviewed September 30, 2009

My problem with this lodge may just be a case of poor management and training and perhaps that when I pay a premium price I do expect a premium product. The location of this lodge is stunning and the safari personnel were wonderfully educated and trained for their jobs. They also seemed to enjoy themselves, which was a pleasure and helped us to enjoy our safaris both on land and on the boats. My problems began with my first lunch when I thought to inquire about the safety of the drinking water...we were told that for 2 weeks people had been having diarrhea and that the water was a problem. I HAD TO ASK TO HEAR THIS! I took my concerns to the Guest Relations person and she echoed the information, but said we should have been told this at check in. I agree, but we weren't. Bottled water was available for purchase and it was relatively inexpensive, so that's what we did. We didn't eat fresh fruit or salad or use ice, and we brushed our teeth with bottled water. We were there two nights; the first night was uneventful. The second day/night the water pressure was low, then non existent in the cold tap, then non existent in the hot tap. There was no running water in the hotel for a number of hours. Mid afternoon we noticed that our room air conditioner was not putting out cold air. Maintenance did come up to our room twice and 'fixed' it, but it would only work for a bit. Then we had a storm and a power surge knocked out the air con again. We asked to change rooms (the temp was high 90's and we couldn't open the windows because of the mosquitoes), which they did, but the fan didn't work in the next room and we were hotter than the first room when the next power surge knocked out the air con again. We changed again, this time to a suite. The ceiling fan was working in this room so we stayed put when the third power surge knocked out the air con again. So for our last night we barely had water (not enough to take a shower as you didn't know if it would last long enough to rinse off) and no air con. While the Guest Relations and Manager on Duty did help us out, it was only because I went to the desk and stood there until they came up with the next idea of solving the problem. Whenever I went away and left the problem with them, there was no change until I returned and asked about it. I never felt that my needs were anyone's concern and I found it necessary to manage the problems myself. I find this unacceptable in an expensive lodge. If I was paying to go camping, I would have been happy with what I received; but I ended up paying a premium price for a cheap service.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank travelinf00l22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 16, 2009

Due to car issues, my colleagues and I had to stay in Kasane for an extra night, and chose to try the Mowana Safari Lodge. We were very impressed. The grounds were beautiful and our dinner at the restaurant was absolutely delicious. The rooms were very comfortable and clean.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled on business
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2  Thank Etoile983
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 23, 2009

Arrived at the Mowana from a wonderful time in Zimbabwe, only to be ignored in the lobby and at the front desk. Four people behind the desk and no guests - when finally acknowledged it took 1 1/2 hours to check in. Hotel was prepaid and with voucher in hand the front desk was asking for payment. We had to escalate to management. The rest of the stay was more of the same. Staff who seemed annoyed when we asked for help or directions, but were quick to put out their hand for a tip. Waiters who were more interested in running up the bill for a tip than providing a service. Safari drivers who were unable to locate at least one of 60,000 elephants in Chobe. Management tried to make things right, but the staff left such a bad taste. I would never stay again nor recommend the Mowana to anyone. My advice would be to choose any other lodge in Kasane or postpone your trip.

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Taymark08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2008

Mowana is tired and really needs a renovation.Im sure at some stage it was 4 or 5 star but definately doesnt deserve that ranking now.We like some of the other visitors to this site had issues with our bill.Even with vouchers they took a little persuation not to bill us for our game drives and park fees.Our game drives and safari guides were great.The food was ok.

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled with family
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Thank jennywe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2008

We made a one-night stop-over at Mowana Safari Lodge to catch our plane back to Gaborone the next day. While I cannot say that we had a terrible time I also would not recommend staying at this lodge. We paid a high-season price of $682 per night, and in return we got the flair and charm of a cheap motel.

The whole facility is not exactly brand new, and the interiors are very dated. The rooms are reasonably spacious but neither particularly nicely furnished nor particularly clean. We found some spider webs in the corners, and the windows hadn't been cleaned in a while. The doors to the patio did not shut properly, which can cause problems with insects (but did not, in our case). The air in the room was also a little bit stale and musty.

The lodge is indeed constructed around an old Baobab tree, which is nice to look at but still doesn't make the place worth its money. The usual local safari excursions are offered, and the room rate includes two excursions per day (we had just come back from a 2-week camping safari, so we didn't make use of this offer).

The food was buffet style and of average quality. The offered selection is pretty large, though. On the positive side, it must be mentioned that Mowana Lodge also offers traditional foods and local meats, and you have the opportunity to try exotic meats like kudu or warthog, if you feel like it. For dinner, there was a one-man entertainer with a keyboard, which reminded me of vacations in tourist traps on Mallorca back in the 80s. Drinks were not included but reasonably priced (still, at the nightly rate we paid, we found this somewhat odd).

The whole place smells distinctly of tourist trap, so to speak. We had the impression that we were the only guests who had specifically booked Mowana Lodge. Most other travelers were with large groups and had been accommodated at Mowana Lodge as part of a package deal. The style and luxury you would expect from a lodge in this particular price range is definitely left to be desired.

If you want to stay in a charming place in the Kasane area it makes much more sense to stay at the nearby Kubu Lodge, for example (for a fraction of the price). If you don't mind paying a premium room rate but expect the corresponding value the Royal Livingstone across the border in Zambia is just an hour drive away. Mowana Lodge is acceptable as an overnight sleeping place if you can get a rate of $150 or $200 (or get it as a package deal), but short of that you can only call it an overpriced tourist trap.

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled as a couple
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Thank raner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2007

This is a large lodge with two wings either side of the main communal area. The rooms are spacious with a balcony and view of the river. The bar area is open air with a lofty roof and an eclectic array of sofas and chairs.
The food was good and the staff were great, particularly the safari vehicle drivers who were knowledgeable and interested in the local game. This lodge is not in Chobe National Park and there is a 15 minute drive to get to its gates. The river cruise is impressive for animals coming to drink, particularly at sunset. You need to make sure you wear a hat at all times, the sun is mighty fierce here!
A quality and seemingly well run safari lodge, too large to be intimate but ticks most boxes for a two night stay.

  • Stayed: October 2007
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Thank Ruskieray
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cresta Mowana Safari Resort and Spa

Address: Chobe River, Kasane, Botswana (Formerly Mowana Safari Lodge)
Location: Botswana > North-West District > Kasane
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Kasane
Price Range: $438 - $701 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Cresta Mowana Safari Resort and Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 114
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Cresta Mowana Safari Resort & Spa situated on the banks of the mighty Chobe River in Botswana is one of southern Africa's sustainable tourism destinations where luxury exists in harmony with nature, providing a unique location from which to explore the magical wonders of untamed Africa. Game, including herds of elephant, antelope, giraffe, zebras, lions, leopard and many more, roam freely in the nearby Chobe Game Park. Sunrises and sunsets in this part of the world, with the Chobe River and Namibian flood plains as a backdrop are the substance of dreams. Birdlife is in abundance. Bird species unique to this part of southern Africa can be seen on the property as well as on the banks of the Mighty Chobe River. Facilities at Cresta Mowana Safari Resort & Spa include 110 luxury air conditioned bedrooms and 4 suites all with river views, a 9 hole golf course and fully equipped spa. Each guest room has a private balcony. In these tranquil surroundings you will come to experience true comfort, superb accommodation, gourmet cuisine and African inspired menus and only the best in personalised 'African-style' service. Play a round of golf on the famous golf course or enjoy bird watching on the banks of the mighty Chobe River. Take time to interact with the un-spoilt natural and beautiful surroundings while enjoying a leisurely massage at the Mowana Spa. All 110 bedrooms and four suites boast spectacular river views and have been tastefully decorated in an ethnic style to compliment the natural ambiance. Both the Serondella Restaurant and Savuti cocktail bar overlook the Chobe River and Namibian flood plains, the ultimate place to watch the abundant wildlife gathering at twilight. The Spa at Cresta Mowana is beautifully designed, featuring natural textures and ethnic elements. It is in harmony with the surrounding Chobe National park, a serene space that offers sanctuary from the stresses of life. With four private treatment rooms complemented by a raised deck overlooking the mighty Chobe River on which open air pampering sessions are highly recommended, the Mowana Spa offers state of the art facilities and a range of Clarens treatments and therapies that will have you spoilt for choice. Life doesn't get much better than this. Day trips can be organized to Victoria Falls, just 80 kilometres away from Cresta Mowana Safari Resort & Spa. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mowana Safari Hotel Kasane
Mowana Safari Lodge

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