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“Great value and atmosphere”
Review of Planet Baobab

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Planet Baobab
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 31, 2013

Background: Planet Baobab is a small mixed-use lodge located dead smack in the middle of a desert wilderness area along Route A3, near the town of Gweta in Botswana, between the towns of Maun to the west and Francistown to the southeast. Originally an overland staging post, it now consists of 6 overland campsites, 7 Baobab (mud) huts and eleven Bakalanga (Rondavel-style) chalets. The abundance of Baobab trees probably contributed to its name. Our overland tour group stayed in the campsite for 2 nights as a convenient stopover enroute to Livingstone, Namibia. (As we were a self-catering tenting group, this review only covers the condition and price of the campsite -- nothing else. Not the huts nor the restaurant.)

PROS: The location and atmosphere are two of its best assets. Situated by the side of the road, under the watchful eye of a giant statue of an aardvark (you read that right!), it can't be missed.
Being inside the Makgadikgadi NP, at the edge of the Ntwetwe Pan and in the vicinity of the Makgadikgadi Pan is a big plus. A nearby resident waterhole doesn't hurt, either. The overall atmosphere is tranquil, relaxed and laid-back -- more so if you are the only guests. The ablutions are relatively clean and in satisfactory condition, albeit open-topped (no roof). There is a good, decent-sized swimming pool on site to beat the heat, although the water can get quite chilly. Brrr! At the rear of the shower area, there's a row of sinks to do your laundry. As it turned out, our stay became a relaxing laundry stopover for us. (We did not have water issues while we were there.) Costing about £6 pp per night for camping, it is relatively cheap compared to its peers in the area.

CONS: Watch out for giant spiders and swarms of blood-thirsty mosquitoes! I think they followed me into the tent and pestered me all night. While my companions slept outside under the stars, I stayed inside my tent -- bug spray applied and covered head to toe inside my sleeping bag -- while the mosquitoes bled me dry. The next morning as I opened my tent, I swear a black cloud of happy mosquitoes went flying out.

Verdict: Catering to non-fussy, budget travelers and overland tour groups needing a base to explore the Makgadikgadi National Park, this is adequate for this purpose. If you wish to splurge, may I suggest the more upmarket San Camp or Jack's Camp? Unless you're an arachnophobe and mosquito-hater, then this is worth a look. Recommended. Grade B+.

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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Eternal_Nomad_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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167 - 173 of 326 reviews

Reviewed October 12, 2013

brilliant place - very chilled, very relaxed. the rooms, all self contained thatched huts are divine. no aircon so be prepared to sweat it out. look out for the very cool bar area and do walk around to take in the baobabs...beware of some very large spiders in very large webs

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank CelestialNomad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2013

We just came back from a two week camping/self-drive through Botswana and had the pleasure of staying at Planet Baobab. Initially, we booked a night from home, but as we ran into unseen issues in Botswana making it impossible for us to make it there on the date we booked, we simply called them up (they all speak good English) and re-booked. We even ended up having to do this three times - and no time was it an issue. The staff was extremely flexible and understanding providing more than excellent service. They even recommended us doing a tour with competitor Gweta Lodge as this was more our budget.

We cannot recommend this place enough; giant baobab trees all over the compound, a great and icy cold (and clean!) pool, great building/art work, and a very lovely bar. If anyone's in the vicinity, do NOT miss out on this place.

- Sara

Room Tip: Camp! Very quiet and secluded
See more room tips
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Skovso
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2013

Wes stayed 2 nights here in August, the campsite is good, the ablutions clean and the pool area is fabulous.
Service is a little "strange" - we paid for their wifi connection, then ended up having to ask how to get it working 3 times as each time we were only given the information "for the next step"! Odd. By the time it was working we didn't have much time to actually use it (and it was terribly slow).
The location is stunning, set amongst large mature baobabs - there's a waterhole next door that is sometimes visited by elephants at night (you can hear them), but the lodge doesn't really provide any access to see them.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank yenrab666
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2013

Having spent time at Planet Baobab some 7 or 8 years ago we were excited to be returning. We decided to do the same that we had done on our previous visit and camp there for a couple of nights and then opt for eating in the restaurant. The food and service were both good and was of the level we remembered of our previous visit. The ablutions were clean, lots of hot water and are perhaps starting to show a little wear and tear but on the whole very good. Our biggest disappointment was the booked excursion that we had booked and paid for 9 months in advance. We were to go out to the pans on quad bikes there were 11 adults and 6 kids booked. When we arrived they said that we should meet 6am the next morning we asked if it would be possible to go a bit later to which they obliged and said that we should meet at 9am the following morning. We duly arrived at the right time after about a 30 min wait a guide arrived and we made our way to the vehicles that were to take us to the quads for the trip onto the pan. At this point things started to go pear shaped. Bearing in mind there are 17 of us two gentleman guests arrive to join the trip. Shortly there after a British couple arrived to join the group. One of our group then posed the question ...are there enough quad bikes to which one of the guides replies that they have 8 and some people will just have to ride on the vehicle. Then the other guide says that they have 10 but they will have to "fix" two of them. Bearing in mind this was booked and paid for nine months ago. Also turns out that the British couple had booked and paid for an overnight Quad and sleep out on the pans which they had politely canceled that morning and offered them the quad bike trip out on the pans. At this point 5 of our adult members decided that they were no longer going as there appeared to not be enough bikes for everyone and thereby giving the remaining adults and kids who by this time were hyped up about the trip the chance to go. I am disappointed about the poor communication and the confusion by Planet Baobabs staff when it came to the excursion and especially when you make bookings months in advance only to discover that when you get there you do not get to enjoy the excursion due to poor communication and disorganization. Once on our trip we thoroughly enjoyed the quad bike excursion and the visit to see the meerkats but were left with somewhat of a sour taste and the impression that we as Rand spending South Africans are perhaps second to our Dollar, Euro, Pound spending brethren from overseas. Just my opinion and everyone has one. You decide!

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank JohannesburgBretski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2013

Our child had to sleep on a roll bed, but without mosquito net so we had to share a single bed with him. Very unconfortable. The next morning, when we advise reception that we didn't use the bed, they ignore us and say it had to be charged, When we explained they could obviously see it was not use, they didn't want to check, we really had the feeling they didn't want to make any effort to go and check...It is true the rooms are a bit far , not ideal for families,

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Geraldine B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2013

Planet Baobab seems to get mixed reviews and I can see why. To really "get it" you need to go with the flow and take it on its own terms not on your pre-conceived ideas of what it should be. The reception area is very stylishly different and the welcome most friendly and efficient. The chalets are on the simple side but well equipped, clean and comfortable in quiet settings perhaps 100m from the dining/reception/bar. Yes, there might be occasional animals in the roof but you are in the bush and they dont bite!

Caltex as a guide is an absolute star!

We went on the salt pan overnight sleep under the stars experience which was spectacular. Yes there was a toilet, the food was as good as in the lodge and the stars were unbelievable - but I will leave you to find out the rest. We managed it at our advanced age of 66 but you do perhaps need to be slightly adventurous to manage the quad bikes and the sleeping rolls.

Thank you Planet baobab for a wonderful two day experience.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank arkivist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Planet Baobab

Address: Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Botswana
Location: Botswana > Central District > Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 9 Specialty Lodging in Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
Price Range: $28 - $56 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated close to the village of Gweta, 290 km from Francistown & 200km from Maun, this family friendly camp accepts children of all ages. Planet Baobab combines style with comfort while remaining true to its African inspiration. Accommodation provides different options at all price levels. Traditionally styled, beautifully painted Kalanga Huts with en-suite bathrooms or the shady campsite. The Africantastic ‘shebeen’ style central mess features a tasty bar menu, and when it heats up, cool off in the biggest coolest pool in the Kalahari. Activities on offer all year round include: guided bush walks; traditional cattle post and village visits; incredibly friendly habituated meerkats; historical baobabs. Dry season (25th April to 31st October) activities include quad biking on the saltpans; a sleep out under the magnificent Makgadikgadi night sky. Wet season (1st November to 24th April) activities include the spectacular zebra and wildebeest migration experience. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Planet Baobab Hotel Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

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