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“Very good guides and staff”

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Wilderness Safaris Davison's Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 5, 2013

Our family of four (including two children, ages 10 and 13) stayed at Davison's in July 2013. It was one of five safari experiences we had in this most recent trip. Davison's strongest suit is its guides. Livingston was absolutely fantastic. He was incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about his work. You point out any bird and he can even tell you the page of the guide on which to find it. I got the impression that he is kind of a father figure for many of the guides in the area given his 25 years of experience. From talking with others, it appears that the other guides are very good as well. But I think we were very fortunate to have Livingston. In fact, I spoke with a couple of different folks who knew many of the lodges in Hwange and they all knew of Livingston's stellar reputation. The rest of the staff were also great. They struck the right balance between professional but personal. Big smiles and pleasant conversation. Notably, the camp is run by Zimbabweans and not ex-pats which we greatly appreciated.

Hwange, like all parks, has its strengths and weaknesses. A big plus here is the frequency of the animals to the watering hole in front of the lodge (as well as to the other lodges close by). Every day, there were huge herds of elephants, buffalo, sable, and other antelope making their way to the watering hole. Often, the groups of animals would practically queue up behind one another to wait their turn. The number of elephants is truly astounding and every day there were many opportunities to see large groups of elephants interacting. All of this you could easily view from the porch of your tent. The drivers had good communications with other drivers from other camps in the area and shared information well so that you maximize your opportunities to see some of the harder to find animals. At the same time, they did a good job at ensuring that there were not too many vehicles at any time around any particular sighting. We saw lion on three of the four days we were there. We also cheetah on two days. The lodge has a log book/checklist in which the guides note the wildlife that has been seen on any given day. From the book (and I appreciated the lodge’s openness about this), there had only been a couple of leopard sightings in the month that we were there. However, there were lion sightings on most days and cheetah on quite a few. We saw lion very, very close feeding on a buffalo and a cheetah also close feeding on a waterbuck. I thought that overall the wildlife sighting was very good. I am a bit puzzled by the review below that criticized the game viewing. Unfortunately, rhino are seldom found in most of the national parks in Africa. Hwange is no exception. Leopards are also difficult to find in most parks. The profusion of elephants and buffalo and the very close up experience with lion and cheetah more than made up for me.

The food at Davison’s is very good. Not gourmet, but very solid. We stayed in the family tent which, while fairly basic, was very comfortable. One constructive criticism: the family tent, which consists of two tents, co-joined with two separate bathrooms, is oddly and awkwardly laid out in that those in the second bedroom look straight into the toilet area of the first bedroom without any door or screen. We had to drape up a blanket to ensure a bit of privacy.

All in all, we had a very memorable experience at Davison’s. We will most remember the smiles and friendliness of Livingston and the rest of the staff in addition to the very good game viewing.

Room Tip: The family tent, which consists of two tents, co-joined with two separate bathrooms, is oddly and aw...
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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Thank TravelhoundPortland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 18, 2013

This was our 2nd safari camp - both are run by Wilderness Safaris. The game drives here were very good and the guides are excellent. However, the tents are considerly smaller than the tents at Ruckomechi and are poorly designed (bathroom area is cramped & dark). Even the bed was less comfortable because the sheets were rough & did not fit properly. The staff & service here was not as good and neither was the food. Also, getting to the tents here from the main lodge is more difficult as you must trudge through the sand (they need to put boardwalks in).

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank ClevelandJP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WildernessSafaris, Manager at Wilderness Safaris Davison's Camp, responded to this reviewResponded September 4, 2013

Thank you very much for sharing your experience on your recent Zimbabwe trip.

We appreciate your comments and recommendation which we have passed on to our Zambezi Operations Team.

We would like to take this opportunity to explain the differences between a Classic camp (Ruckomechi) and an Adventures camp (Davison’s Camp).

Besides the difference in the nightly rate there are additional brand differentiations we felt you should be aware of -

Our Classic camps are generally tented camps, although a few are lodges built from permanent structures. All these camps offer superb facilities and accommodation, the bedrooms being slightly smaller than those of our Premier camps. Many of the Classic Wilderness tents are raised off the ground with interconnecting walkways. All tents have en-suite bathrooms. The room size is approximately 65 sqm and the camp is located in an excellent location mainly in private reserves/concessions. The total number of rooms varies between 6 and 12 rooms and works on a 1 – 1.5 staff per guest ratio. A Classic camp allows a maximum 7 guests per vehicle.

Adventures Camps are comprised mainly of thatch and canvas although a few are constructed of more permanent materials. The rooms are smaller and more rustic than Wilderness Safaris Classic Camps but extremely comfortable and form part of a larger camp than the Premier or Classic camps. The room size is approximately 45 sqm and the camp is located within national parks/concessions. The total number of rooms is between 10 and 20 rooms and works on less than 1 staff per guest ratio. An Adventure camp allows maximum 9 guests per vehicle.

We hope that the above information is of assistance in explaining the major differences between these two camp categories and we apologize if this was not explained at the time the booking was made

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Reviewed July 10, 2013

Game Viewing: The camp overlooks a waterhole with large herds of elephants. There are also plenty of water buffalo. Unfortunately Zimbabwe has a big problem with poachers who have killed off all the rhino. There is also a hunting concession right near Davison's that kills the other animals. None of the visitors during my stay had seen a rhino. It was also quite rare to see a leopard. Hence, no one saw the big 5. Even seeing a lion was difficult since the rangers are not allowed to drive off the roads. Sometimes the lion was 300 feet away which was a strain to see even with binoculars. There was 2 giraffes during my 4 day stay. They do have occasional ostriches and some hippos. Sometimes we would drive for hours and not see any animals. In addition, the rangers have poor radio communication and can have difficulty sharing sightings. Guests who had previously been to Masai Mara, Kruger, or the Okovango Delta were disappointed at the lack of animals.

The camp is a leased area of Hwange National park. It has 2 sister camps (Makalolo Plains- 9 tents with boardwalks and Little Makalolo- 4 tents with board walks). Davison's is the largest and holds 20 people. Dinner is around one large table and social time is around a campfire. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are delicious. Tents have a fan, lights, and a bathroom with a hot shower. It's basic living, but better than camping. At night in the winter, tents can be quite cold so bring plenty of clothes. Free laundry. The camp is unfenced and hence not suitable for young children. Service is absolutely excellent. The staff was very friendly and hospitable. The vehicles are older 4x4 land rovers.

Winter schedule: 6AM wake up call, 6:30AM continental breakfast, 7AM-10:30AM morning game drive, 11AM brunch, 3:30PM afternoon snack, 4PM-6PM afternoon game drive, 7PM dinner.

Overall: Zimbabwe wants to be the next up-and-coming safari destination, but it just isn't ready for prime time yet. It lacks the variety and volume of game viewing of Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa. Don't expect to see the Big 5 because it's not here.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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6  Thank krawner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WildernessSafaris, Manager at Wilderness Safaris Davison's Camp, responded to this reviewResponded August 6, 2013

Thank you very much for your feedback on Davison’s Camp which we value greatly. We are sorry that Davison’s Camp did not live up to your expectations, in particular with reference to your game viewing experience.

It is very unfortunate that you feel the game drives have been unproductive, which we would like to assure you is not the norm and we certainly understand how this can be disappointing. However, due to the size of the National Park – 14 650sqkm – and it not being fenced it offers the wildlife all possibility to roam in search of areas to graze and browse. The Park hosts over 100 mammals including elephants, white and black rhinos, lions, wild dogs and so on, as well as 400 bird species making it a bird watchers paradise. All Zimbabwe's specially protected animals are to be found in Hwange National Park and it is the only safeguarded area where gemsbok and brown hyena occur in reasonable numbers.

Davison’s Camp is situated within the Hwange National Park and the no off-road driving is a National Park rule everybody needs to adhere to. On www.pininterest.com you will find numerous fantastic images taken in the Hwange National Park and you will surely agree that the no off-road rule does not hamper the quality of the game sightings or the quality of the pictures in any way.

We are very happy that you enjoyed the service and staff at Davison’s Camp and hope that you will afford us another opportunity to host you again.

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Reviewed July 9, 2013

After three days in Victoria Falls, visited four safari camps for three days each and also did three day canoe trip in Mana Pools National Park on the Zambezie River for a total of 18 days in Zimbabwe.. The Davison's Camp was my second camp to visit plus the hotel in Vic. Falls. And though each camp had their individual appeals and unique experiences, Davison's was the best managed and had the most genuinely friendly and wecoming staff I experienced on this trip and including previous trips to South Africa and Kenya. Special thanks to managers Themba and Buhle (and best wishes for their upcoming wedding) and guides Michael and Robert. I wish I had written down names of other staff and had a better command of phonics so I could also list/spell their names. Camp activities included early game drives, nature walks, walking safaris. evening game drives and night game drives. A typical day would be a light breakfast and game drive at 6:30 or 7:00 am. Return to camp for a very nice brunch. Afternoon seista during heat of day. Coffee, tea and cakes at 3:30 followed by evening game drive. Sundowner often with cooked food, chairs and linen and drinks followed by a night game drive. Return to camp for a cold drink, then good wine and food at dinner followed by time by camp fire and conversation with other quests. First evening, while enjoying sundowner, we heard a male lion calling for the females. Just before dark, we found him as he crossed a river bed and climbed a hill. We stayed for about 30 minutes watching and listening to his roars for the females as the roars echoed through the the surrounding area. Not to be forgotten! The old 50's song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" takes on new meaning given the power of those roars. On another evening game drive, a radio call informed our guide that a leopard had been spotted at a watering pool. We arrived in time to see an adult male parellel to our view with it's body reflected in the water drinking at the bank. Great pictures! This private concession has three other camps but you rarely saw other camp guests. The concession also has 22 water holes and the large one in front of Davison's often has herds of elephant and sable present. You will also see garaffe, buffalo, many bird species, etc. So you get a great location with very comfortable, large tents with shower and mattress beds, great food with a wonderful staff and yet right outside your tent or the camp, you are truely in the bush. I highly recommend Davison's.





and Kenya.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled solo
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3  Thank MJSellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2013

We were warmly welcomed by Managers Bee and Timba and staff. A refreshing washcloth and welcome drink was waiting for us. Brian was our guide and we saw several elephans and giraffe just on our way into camp. The rooms were tents under a roof with bathroom insuite. All rooms looked over a waterhole. We were escorted to and from rooms in the early morning and at night since there was no fences. One night after supper we had to return to the loung as there was a large elephant just steps from our tent. After the guides chased him away we went safely to our tent. We were in room 7 and it was very nice to sit on the portch and watch the animals at the waterhole. We saw apack of wilddogs - at least 7- and was told it was very rare to see them. Also 5 Sables which was rare also. We saw lions mating on a night drive. A couple who was in our truck enen got engaged wlile they were there. We were there in June and the nights were quite cold but we had bushbabies - hot water bottles - in our bed every night. Days got warmed so we dressed in layers. Food was excelent and drinks were included as well as laundry. On one of our morning coffe stops we watched a family of hippos. African Travel suggested Davison and a sister property in Botswana Banoka. They were both wonderful and would go back again. Staff called you by name and made you feel like family. a bush walk with Timba was a highlite.

Room Tip: All rooms faced the waterhole and they had a built in converter for charging batteries.
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank carol33708
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 20, 2013

Everything about our stay was superb. The people, guides, staff, managers, and the lodging and the food. If you truly want to see elephants in every size, grouping, and activity, this is the destination. It was a very special experience.

Our trip was planned by the Africa Adventure Company, and their planning and recommendations of lodges was spot on. On our first safari we saw animals that people sometimes don't see for years. I would recommend them highly. They listened to what we wanted to see and structured the perfect trip for us without bankrupting us. We stayed in luxury accommodations and had top notch care for the entire trip.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Bigapplejds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 11, 2013

This review is long overdue but we felt we had to express our gratitude for all davison's camp provided. Our guide was Dixon, who was incredible throughout our stay. We consider everyone at the camp our friends. Because of the number of other guests at our camp, my wife and I were fortunate enough to have all game drives by ourselves. The highlight of our stay was seeing a pride of lions take down and devour a buffalo. This lasted over 2 days!

The camp is small and very private. Baboons, elephants, hyena's, and other animals can be seen from camp itself. Amenities were wonderful. Nice essentials with en suite showers and toilets. The game drivers are several hours and cover many different terrains. The guides are very knowledgable and are willing to accommodate any request. They also make you feel very safe.

Do yourself a favor and stay at this excellent camp. Location is a nice drive from Vic falls, with game viewing on the way!

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Rick R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Wilderness Safaris Davison's Camp

Address: Linkwasha Concession, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Location: Zimbabwe > Matabeleland North Province > Hwange National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 24 Specialty Lodging in Hwange National Park
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Wilderness Safaris Davison's Camp 3.5*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set under a shady grove of ancient false mopane trees, Davison's Camp overlooks grassy plains and a shallow pan that entices a steady stream of plains game and elephant herds in their hundreds, especially in the water-scarce winter months. Named after Ted Davison, the first warden of the Park who devoted 30 years of his life to it, Davison's offers the quintessential Hwange experience combining excellent wildlife viewing with the opportunity to visit a local village and participate in community projects. • 9 tents (1 family) • game drives • nature walks • village visits • viewing platforms ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Davison`s Camp Hotel Hwange National Park

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