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“Fantastic Lodge, staff and wildlife”

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Muchenje Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 4, 2013

We stayed here in early February and had a wonderful time. The accommodation is just lovely and the food is very good. The staff are extremely friendly and helpful and go out of their way to make you feel at home. We saw some superb wildlife, with more elephants in one day than we had seen in a whole holiday previously - mind blowing!!! Having a mixture of water based and land based safaris was just great. Thanks to our guide Kabelo, for being so informative and such good fun.
As the lodge is one of only two lodges on the west side of Chobe it means that you don't have as many vehicles on this side of the reserve which is lovely. Wish we going back tomorrow.
Enjoy!!

Room Tip: Room 8 has a great view of the flood plain.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank africaval
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 23, 2013

Turning off the macadam road and following a winding rutted track you could be forgiven for being concerned. Then you drive up to the entrance of the Muchenje Safari Lodge where you are welcomed into the large imposing thatched open plan building which contains the reception, lounge area and dining area.

We had one of the ten thatched rooms that are sited on the escarpment edge providing a view across the Caprivi Strip. The room comprised a bedroom with a large double bed encased with mosquito nets. The bed linen was a clean crispy white. The bedroom had en suite facilities. Outside was a balcony
with a stunning view. Bino’s are a must. The laundry service means that you do not have to take vast quantities of clothes.

The lodge has a swimming pool that is built amongst natural rock formations, and takes advantage of the views. Due to it being the rainy season we were unable to take advantage of the facility.

The lodge provided game viewing which is undertaken in open safari vehicles, either Land Cruisers or Land Rovers. These vehicles can carry 9 passengers but the maximum carried was 6 so everybody had a “window seat”. A professional guide led each safari. A typical day was a call at 5am, breakfast then out until about midday. Then back for lunch. Rest until 4pm, high tea, then out again until between 7 and 8pm. After which diner was served. The food was sumptuous and everybody sat at the long table to eat and chat. The driver/guide joins you for all meals. The early morning game drives often saw us surrounded by literally 100’s of baboon’s and impala.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank mikewelham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 22, 2013

What can I say -- I felt so sorry to leave Muchenje I was almost in tears when I took a look outside its sweeping verandah.

We spent 2 nights at Muchenje and our schedule went as follows:
Day 1 Afternoon drive + Evening drive
Day 2 Full day safari (drive + boat trip + drive)
Day 3 Walking safari + Village trip

This is probably as much as you can pack into a 2 night schedule, and we were honestly so tired we cannot add more activities.

We had KB as our guide -- a tireless young man who after knowing we had Obie as our guide earlier upped his game significantly, to the point both me and my friend became budding bird nerds by the end of our 3 day trip. The pocket-sized checklist Muchenje provided certainly helped us record what we saw. (See my other review on Chobe Safari Lodge. Obie is known within the Chobe guide circle as the best you can find) Wildlife and birdlife is amazing -- we saw so many elephants we didn't even bother to raise our cameras until we saw a respectable herd, and even had a couple roans, sables and duikers!

If you are a twitcher, JJ will happily discuss IDs and sightings with you for hours...

The main building is airy and lofty (with a resident polecat up in the rafters, and starlings that will not hesitate to steal cereal) with a sweeping verandah overlooking the plains. The huts/rooms are small and cosy (maybe a bit too small if you have some luggage) and nicely furnished. Meals are under the gazebo great.

I'm also happy to report that laundry CAN now wash personal items -- all you need to do is place your socks, underwear, etc, in a drawstring bag. The issue they had in the past was whoever did the washing didn't want to directly touch others' smalls.

Muchenje does have some issues though. It's on the other side of Kasane, and every time you have a boat trip, or go to the airport, you have to go through a lot of asphalt and dirt road. This trip takes 45mins to 1 hour and can be quite painful (literally) if you're in an open vehicle (a lot of sand blasted in your face as your guide will drive fairly fast).

The night drive was also a bit disappointing -- Muchenje can only operate night drives in a very small part of the park, and honestly it felt more like driving on tarmac and hoping an animal will pop out from the surrounding trees.

All in all, this was still a very positive experience -- loved the land and the people very, very much. I still miss it today.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank karlykay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 7, 2013

Having only done deep bush safaris in Zambia before and recently experienced safari on asphalt at The Kruger, in some ways Muchenje felt like an in-between. It is on the edge of 'wildness' with the flood plain below and animals are in camp, but it is also very near asphalt. Because of the gate schedule and drive to the Park, it had some 'hurry up' aspects I did not expect on safari. The variety of species in the Park is stunning, but the traffic jams are, too. Because Muchenje is exclusive and not more than say 20 guests, the in-camp experience feels bush. But because of the huge hotels in Kasane with hundreds of guests crammed into enormous caravans, plus the self-drive blokes who generally got stuck in the sand or presented themselves as tasty meals hanging out of the windows of their vehicles, the people watching was pretty entertaining along the river. And the animal and bird watching rarely disappointed. Lips was AMAZING in his knowledge and in his understanding that we weren't just 'show me the big five' photographers.....he did what he could to get us where we could see and experience the best of this area of Botswana. The boat trip is a fabulous way to see the ellies and buffs crossing the water, sable antelope, baby hippos on land and unique bird habitats on the islands....and Muchenje thankfully takes guests in the mornings. With the crush of people on party boats in the afternoon/evening, wildlife takes a back seat. And we did not come to party with humans. The least favorite part of Muchenje for us was the brutal daily flogging of driving across miles of deep deep sand to get from the asphalt to the river. But the tradeoff would have been much worse, being stuck in Kasane with a few thousand others who had to lottery for a drive to the river as well as the much longer commute to the Park. And sit in the middle of 15+ people with no possible photo opportunities. To see the rich wildlife of the Chobe River in this area, Muchenje was a great choice.

Room Tip: The pool was under repair when we were there....but it wasn't that big of a deal as we were gone...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank AKDogartist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2013

Stayed here for 3 nights in January 2013. The huts are small but nicely appointed and the view from the verandah is amazing. Lots of baboons in the garden. Food was good and plenty of it. The main building is very airy and cool and the small pool is lovely. The game drives were great. KB was our guide and he made the days really enjoyable. Saw loads of elephants a few lions and many other animals. The sundowner stop on our last evening was amazing. Staff all friendly and welcoming. Loved sitting by the fire after dinner.

Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank njwoodhouse1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 24, 2013

We stayed three days at Muchenje and what a three days they turned out to be. From the moment we stepped foot in the door Joy made us feel exceedingly welcome, in fact the drive from the airport with Kebelo (KB) who was to be our main guide was exceptional. The lodge is a wonderful place in all aspects, rooms are clean, with delightful views into Namibia, they are light and airy, the dinning area is very well maintained and the food is wonderful. Eating together with Robert, Joy and the other guests turned into a friendly and sociable experience. The days are quite long discovering the Park but this is what we went for. KB was an exceptionally talented man who was well informed on all aspects of the wild life and the diverse nature of Chobe. In addition, his tracking abilities were first class. Always in control, he knew when to go in close to the animals and when to leave well alone. We got up close to some Lions on a two occasions, firstly a couple of males and a female, followed later in the day by a pride of females and their offspring. On the visit to the local school we encountered a Spitting Cobra in the school reception. KB in his usual calm manner, dealt with the matter by removing the snake from the building. We encountered many animals in the three days which is why we returned to Africa. To conclude, go Muchenje you will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank dmf30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 22, 2013

I cannot say how much Muchenje impressed me. Normally I don't believe in giving a perfect score as there is always room for improvement. Not in this case. The lodge itself, the staff, the food, the activities were second to none! I stayed 10-12 Jan 2013 as a single female traveller and I couldn't have been made to feel more welcome or looked after any better! If you are tossing up between Muchenje and anywhere else, there is no contest! Joy and Robert and the staff really make you feel like you are in a home away from home!

  • Stayed: January 2013
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Thank Bectap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Muchenje Safari Lodge

Address: Private Bag K31, Chobe National Park, Botswana
Location: Botswana > North-West District > Chobe National Park
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 21 Specialty Lodging in Chobe National Park
Price Range: $794 - $1,420 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Muchenje Safari Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Small, Owner run property situated on the edge of the Chobe National park. Our remote location means game drives do not reach the masses that inhibit other Chobe Lodges.Recently upgraded, Muchenje offers Rustic luxury accommodation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Muchenje Safari Hotel Chobe National Park

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