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“Honeymoon continued”

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Belmond Khwai River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Honeymoon continued”
Reviewed March 28, 2009

Our second camp - just like eagle island in layout, but with different focus - here on land game as well as some river life (we did get very close to a hippo who did his best to scare us off). We had a fantastic time here, but in retrospect, perhaps Savute was better. Botswana safaris are extremely expensive, but it is exclusive and you really feel that there isn't that many people around

  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank shaumik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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176 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (42)
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English first
Florida Keys
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed June 12, 2007

This Lodge is in Botswana not Johannesburg. You will notr be disappointed! I have traveled Africa extensively. This is one of the very best! The Lodge is a tented lodge with an openair dining, lounge and sitting room. The large exquitely decorated tents are on platforms. This is the only tented Lodge I have ever stayed in that had air-conditioned tents. There is a desk, telephone, plush chairs, dressing room, carpet and huge closet. The verandah has a hammock, plush chairs and a table for your comfort.
The location is on the Kwai River where you can sit on your verandah or at the main lodge and watch elephants, hippo and plains game at the river. Often times the hippos and elephants are very close. The meals and wine were subperb. Daily morning and Evening game drives are included. This is one of the best gameviewing areas in all of Africa. The help is friendly and courteous. The Lodge is run professionally.

Stayed July 2006
Helpful?
5 Thank chuigk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
331 reviews
305 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 493 helpful votes
Reviewed May 10, 2007

We arrived here from another Orient Express Safari Camp, Eagle Island. Everything had been superb there and so we arrived with high expectations.
Our arrival had been delayed and so we arrived just as lunch was finishing. Instead of being shown to our rooms we were invited to take lunch as it was to be cleared away soon. This we agreed with as we were hungry and thirsty.
I had better point out that we had arrived with another couple who were on the same 'package' as ourselves, but who we had not met until the flight from Eagle Island.
As soon as the other couple had finished their lunch we asked by one of the managers to escort her to our tents. I explained that we had not finished our coffee or wine to which I was instructed that should bring them with us as she did not want to have to do the introductory briefing twice.
My husband and I left the table carrying hand luggage, a glass of wine and a coffee and followed the manager. along a long and uneven path. She never offered to help us. A bad start.
We first accompanied the other couple to their tent and were given the camp instructions there. We then were shown our tent.
All the tents in the Orient Express camps are gorgeous. AC, lovely bathrooms, patios, huge beds. Everything you could want for and set right out in the middle of Africa. Luxurious is too light a word to use for their accommodations.
One of the reasons we had bought our package was that it included 'Private Game Drives'. However this was not to be. The other couple were shown to their private game vehicle and we were shown to one with four other people already aboard.
I asked the other manager who was present why we were not being offered our own private vehicle. She said that she had received a message that we had been contacted prior to our arrival stating that owing to overbooking we had been offered a massage instead of private game drives. This was completely untrue and I asked if she could produce the correspondence that we were supposed to have agreed to. I also added that we would not want a massage.She said that she would look into this situation further and come back to me.
After our shared game drive we arrived back for lunch. Throughout lunch the manager sat eating her lunch on a different table and never approached us with any news regarding the misunderstanding. Instead the Masseur approached us asking us to book the time of our massage. I told him that I had already told the Manager that we would not be wanting our massages. It was private game drives that we had bought not a massage.
Another aspect of our package was 'private dining'. Again this failed to materialize, owing to overbooking. Again the other couple on exactly the same package received what they had paid for.
The rest of the time at Khwai the managers avoided us. They never tried to resolve the problem and just seem to hope that we wouldleave. Added to this the game viewing was very poor compared with other safari holidays I have taken.
Khwai Safari Lodge has wonderful accommodation, a lovely pool, average food and a very poor management team. Its location is nice next to the river but the game drives were long and we hardly saw any game.
We continued onto Savuti where we continued to have problems regarding private game drives but the manager did at least try to provide a solution.
I contacted Orient Express in South Africa and have never received a reply regarding our complaint. The value of the private game drives and private dining was US$1160. A massage was not a suitable alternative.

  • Liked — The luxurious tents
  • Disliked — The Managers. Poor game viewing.
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
17 Thank heb999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed September 23, 2006

Khwai River Lodge is located on the the banks of the Khwai river at the edge of the Delta. Let me note that at the outset of our trip, we were looking for the best lodges to visit. This Orient Express Hotel is no exception. The lodges are in fact well appointed luxury tents. The main lodge is open and on a beautiful setting overlooking the Khwai River.

Perhaps two things disappointed us with our stay here. One, the game drive experience was not what we experienced at other lodges (e.g. Kwando Safaris). Although the Lodge benefits from having access to "community" lands, much of the viewing is done in the nearby national park, which is packed with other vehicles and campers, as well as people in their own private cars. When an animal is found, it is bound to be swarmed by many other cars.

Secondly, the lodge is too big (for Safari purposes) and full of too many wealthy people who have little interest in seeing the wildlife. Accordingly, you have meals with many others and have to go on game drives in cars of 6-8 people, which means that you can't necessarily see what you want to see and are at the whim of your fellow travellers.

Although the lodge is truly a luxury lodge, with a full time diesel generator to boot, we would have excluded this from our trip because it did live up to what we had expected at previous lodges. Lebala, the previous place, was far more rustic and smaller (but equally as luxurious), except that instead of a generator, it had nice oil laps hung everywhere, which gave it a nice romantic cozy feeling. It was also situated on a private game concession, which is key to a safari experience!

  • Liked — Luxury and Service
  • Disliked — Too big, two many annoying guests
  • Tips/Secrets — Go to a smaller place for a better safari experience.
  • Stayed September 2006
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
11 Thank gsesmart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Georgia
Level 5 Contributor
40 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 132 helpful votes
Reviewed September 2, 2006

This was our first experience in Botswana and Khwai certainly made it memorable. It is a very nice Orient Express property located in the Okavango Delta along the Khwai River. The thatched roof tents are on raised lodge poles about 5 feet off the ground and had solid teak floors. They were situated right on the marsh. We loved sitting on our covered deck in the afternoon watching the elephants bathe and hippos float right in front of us. So relaxing with a nice breeze, hammock and good book (however, the book was usually dropped either because of the elephants or a nap that would become irresistible).

The meals were wonderful and varied, always a nice presentation. The staff was very warm and the lodging comfortable. There was A/C available in the tents, which we only needed in the late afternoon. There were double sinks, a separate WC and shower (no tub). Cozy hot water bottles placed in our bed at bedtime. The grounds are not fenced, so after sundown we were always escorted....the hippos and elephants do roam at night as I found out after midnight with an elephant just off my deck.

We felt the game drives were somewhat below par with other lodges only because it seemed so rigid and we, the guests, found more sightings than our guide. Very little, if any, actual tracking. Also, if you decide to sleep in, even for an extra 30 minutes, you've missed it. They don't seem to be prepared for any type of muffin, croissant, yogurt, cereal....anything besides coffee after the designated 6:30 am. At least this was our experience.

I do recommend Khwai as an amazing destination. We did not visit the other OE camps, Eagle and Savute and it seemed that most of the other guests were making the rounds of the three. We were at the end of our travel through South Africa and Botswana.

  • Liked — The scenery
  • Disliked — Maybe too rigid
  • Tips/Secrets — When using Air Botswana, double check their flight schedules, they tend to change frequently and without notice.
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank day1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Belmond Khwai River Lodge

Property: Belmond Khwai River Lodge
Address: | Moremi Wildlife Reserve, Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
Phone Number:
Location: Botswana > North-West District > Okavango Delta > Moremi Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 28 Specialty Lodging in Moremi Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Belmond Khwai River Lodge 4.5*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sink into time-honoured indulgence as you overlook the vibrant floodplains and dramatic big game of the Moremi Wildlife Reserve. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Khwai River Lodge By Orient-Express Hotel Moremi Game Reserve

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