Holiday review by Margaret Lovett
Name: Margaret Lovett
Date of trip: 10/02/2017
Number of people: 2
Kalahari in Green Season was exceptionally good, beautiful flowers and grasses, very good game viewing. Everyone should go in the Green Season to enjoy the desert at its best and most lush. Letaka mobile camp was first class, many special moments shared with fellow travellers and guide Lucas, and hard working camp staff. Memorable nights lying in the tent listening to lions roaring close by, and seeing their tracks in camp the next day! Bat-eared fox families, jackal with babies. Stunning sunrise and sunsets over the Kalahari, star filled night skies, and seeing the famed black-maned lions of the Kalahari. The Kalahari Road Block! Lions lying on the tracks taking in the morning sun. Korhaans clacking their way up in the air performing their courtship display. Hundreds of butterflies flying alongside us in swirling colourful flocks. Kwai - seeing the catfish making their way along the flooded tracks towards the river. hippos out of the water in daylight. The tiny frogs clinging to reeds on the Mokoro rides The tinkling bell sounds of the frogs at night. Water birds and chicks, water lilies. The amazing sight of a pair of spotted hyena at their den with their young babies. Kwando - too many to mention! but outstanding view of young elephants playing in water after heavy rain: batchelor groups of wildebeest performing trial battles ahead of the rutting season: a female leopard resting on a termite mound in the golden light of sunset: learning how to read the signals of the animals when predators are about. Kwando at any time of year is very special, but just beautiful in the Green Season, with its rainbows and water. Carmine bee-eaters flying along with us catching insects as we drove through the long grass. Unbeatable!
Excellent planning and all ground arrangements went smoothly. Anastacia met us both times we were at Maun to make sure we were OK.
The trip was trouble free and we enjoyed it immensely. Going in the Green Season was a good decision for us, it lived up to our expectations, the Kalahari section was a particularly stunning experience.
We were very happy with Tribes as always, please see the comments below in the "Anything else" section re: Machaba Camp. Sinead was very keen to book us the right safari for us, and I want to stress that it was not any fault of hers that we did not enjoy that section of the trip.
Sinead worked very hard for us and delivered a well put together safari. Thank you.
All our guides were excellent and knowledgeable. Lucas with Letaka, Albert at Machaba, and Spencer at Lagoon, all worthy of mention for their enthusiasm and skills.
Social & Environmental Responsibility:
It's difficult for us to know how much the local people benefitted from this holiday, all staff in the camps and on the mobile safari were from Botswana, and the two San Bushmen at Dinaka were clearly local, although the reserve is owned by people from South Africa.
The wildlife and environment seemed to be respected throughout our stay.
The places you stayed
With only one night here we had little time to assess the Lodge, but it seemed very good. the owners were so helpful, and took us out as soon as we arrived, to see lions nearby.
Walk with San Bushmen in the morning was very interesting, the men were keen to show us the old skills of survival in the desert, it did not feel awkward at all, just very interesting and absorbing.
Totally wonderful. Lucas and the camp staff and chef KK simply could not have been better. Our fellow guests were also very good company and we all bonded really quickly. There is nothing we can think of to criticise as the quality of the trip was so high. We would be very happy to use Letaka again. A wonderful experience and a wonderful time of year to go to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Don't worry about the rain! Just go and see the desert at its most lush and beautiful.
Machaba Camp would suit many people but not us. We did not enjoy the atmosphere of the camp at all. It was well appointed and comfortable, the food was good and the staff well trained. But the camp lacks atmosphere, and manages to keep guests apart very effectively. The quintessential camp fire atmosphere of safari where guests can chat and swap stories at the end of a game drive did not exist. We were kept apart on separate tables at breakfast and lunch (no morning tea around the camp fire - no fire!) and on our last night we were horrified to be led away straight from the game drive to a "surprise" (some might say "shock" ) private dinner outside our tent in the pitch dark all on our own. We could hear the staff laughing and joking but could not join them as we were unable to leave our tent in the pitch dark due to safety reasons. We felt lonely and isolated, and our fellow guests told us the next morning that they also felt the same.
There were way too many staff, and also some mysterious girls who were working for the camp in some way but would not say in what capacity. They accompanied us on game drives and mokoro rides taking photos of the guests on activities, when asked said it was "for the facebook page". We did not appreciate having a camera pointed at us all the time.
Morning game drives start too late, wake up call isn't until 5.30, and we didn't get out until gone 6.30, getting on for 7am before we got out into the bush.
This camp clearly suits some people but was much too formal for us and lacked any kind of atmosphere or camaraderie. We would not stay there again.TRIBES REPLY: We're sorry you didn't enjoy Machaba. Most people we send here love the camp, but we accept that not all places are right for everybody. It does seem that the atmosphere here really wasn't your cup of tea. I'm sorry we got this wrong for you but glad you enjoyed the rest of your trip.
Kwando Lagoon camp was very good, we enjoyed our stay very much. Guide Spencer and manageress Lebo, tracker Ike, the other guide and tracker, and all the cooks and ladies were so very friendly, the atmosphere in camp was fun and sociable. The camp fire was going every morning with breakfast served from hot iron pots on the fire, everyone sat round the fire warming up and talking about what the day would bring. Same in the evening, camp fire welcoming us back after the game drive, letting us have time to have a drink before dinner. Meals were congenial and friendly, with the guides joining us every night to join in the banter.
Spencer is a legend, his guiding is so enthusiastic, he has not lost his love of every aspect of the wildlife, he calls it his paradise. Lagoon camp has got it right, we would definitely stay there again.