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Holiday review by Dr Ian Macdonald

Name:
Date of trip: 03/06/2018
Number of people: 2
Country: Botswana

Overall level of Satisfaction

 
Tribes Overall: "Quite splendid."
 
Tribes Service: "Sinead did a great job. I guess we were a bit late in booking, but the mix of locations and camps she came up with were ideal. If I had thought more about it I would have asked for small camps where the illusion of 'wildness' is greater (and would have paid more). We could have done with a bit more advice on the cold. It is bitterly cold at this time early in the morning and we were not well enough prepared. Little Machaba provided insulated ponchos but none of the others did."
 
Guides: "Those at Leroo La Tau and Machaba were best."
 
Social & Environmental Responsibility: "Strong impression of good governance on the part of the Botswana government. Keeping a lid on mass tourism seems a sensible policy given the sensitive nature of the delta ecosystem. The apparent lack of poaching is impressive."

Accommodation

 
Chobe Game Lodge
It is just a large hotel so, had I thought about it, I should have opted for something more intimate. Their desire to pack in stuff by squeezing in three activities a day - early morning drive with a wake up at 05.00 (!), late morning river cruise and late afternoon drive is ill-considered. It is exhausting rather than pleasant. Three shorter activities might well work. It is important to allow for leisure/recovery time - bouncing about in a Land Cruiser is quite punishing. Ranks third of the four.
 
Leroo La Tau
Number two on our list. Brilliant guide (very good on birds) and a wealth of wildlife - all close to the lodge. The river floodplain is a magnet for every kind of creature and the vast numbers of zebra are remarkable. Huts well situated close to the water and with things to see straight outside. Wonderfully friendly staff keen to make our stay memorable.
 
Splash Camp
Our least favourite. It is situated far from the game viewing areas so there are long drives, and the roads around it are by far the worst - a lot of deep sand, very bumpy and slidy - and very uncomfortable. The views out from the camp look good in pictures but the river is so far away that it is well nigh impossible to see what might be over there ( a bird-watching telescope on the veranda of each 'tent' would be a welcome enhancement). I am a fan of modern architecture but the architect's reimagining of the concept of 'tent' just does not work very well. Hard composites create a cold, less friendly feel than canvass. A vast space, yet with very little storage for our belongings. Open plan bathroom facilities offer little privacy and just feel uncomfortable. The 'tents' are spaced so far apart that it can be a very long walk to the central facilities. The central dining and lounge areas are completely open so, at this time of year, are uncomfortably cold. Altogether it just doesn't quite work, and the staff are having to try too hard to make it work so it lacks a relaxed atmosphere.

Our Memories

"The people of Botswana. The surprise was, presumably through many years of no hunting, that the animals take no notice of the giant Land Cruisers and it is possible to get very close. That is less so in South Africa and Zimbabwe where we had also spent some time. Then there are the clear skies. Over Surrey you are lucky to see a dozen stars. It is relief to be reminded that we have company."

customer rating

5/5 from 115 reviews

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facts and information

Time: GMT +2hrs

Flight time: Overnight flights to Johannesburg then connections to Maun, total flying time about 13 hours.

Language: The official language is English. Tswana is spoken widely.

Visas: Not required for British travellers (up to 90 days). EC nationals can ask us for further advice.

Health: There are no compulsory vaccinations, except yellow fever if you are coming from an infected area. Malaria prophylactics are recommended in the north.

 

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