- Beautiful waterfront location
- Spectacular wildlife
- Boat trips and fishing
Kwando Lagoon Camp is nestled among the ebony and marula trees on the banks of the Kwando River in the Linyanti area of northern Botswana. This area offers one of the finest safari experiences in Africa with its superb concentrations of wildlife and discreet number of small-scale, high quality camps. Linyanti is accessed via light aircraft and trips here are frequently combined with camps in the Okavango Delta to contrast water-based safari with the superb game drives of this region. It’s best to visit during the May-October dry season when large herds of elephant and buffalo congregate on the Kwando-Linyanti river front and lion, leopard, cheetah and wild hunting dogs can be seen in action.
The main, thatch-roofed area of the camp is spacious and well set out on multiple levels. The first floor houses a lounge and bar area complete with small library and elevated views of the river and wetlands. Food is of a high standard, served either in the covered dining area or outdoors beneath the shade of the trees. There is also a gift shop and a small plunge pool and viewing deck complete with swing chair and steps leading down towards the riverfront. The camp’s double-decker boat is moored here and a campfire is lit in the mornings and evenings.
Activities in this private concession are plentiful and visitors are free to explore unhindered by the strict regulations and often heavy vehicle traffic that characterise the national parks. Evening and night drives are a speciality. There is a highly professional and serious approach to safari guiding here, with game drives taking place in custom-designed, open-topped vehicles which seat no more than 6 guests at a time so everyone gets a ‘window seat’, providing superb viewing and photography opportunities. The camp also provides a highly skilled guide and a tracker for every vehicle meaning that guests are very well informed and no sightings are missed. Whilst some travellers love the firm focus on predator sightings, notably lions, hyenas, leopards and wild dogs, others may prefer a slower-paced walking safari or a relaxing trip in a mokoro (dug-out canoe). Note that walking safaris may not be possible at certain times during the dry season due to the large elephant population in the region at the time. Boat cruises are a particular feature of this camp, providing soothing respite from the somewhat intense vehicle safaris and a chance to view the resident Kwando River hippos and fish eagles. Fishing is offered for ten months of the year, although prohibited during the January and February peak breeding seasons. Basic equipment is supplied, although avid fishers may prefer to bring their own.
The accommodation comprises 8 luxury tents which can accommodate up to 18 guests at any one time. Each room has a thatched roof, a private veranda with comfortable loungers overlooking the river, and a lounge area, raised bedroom and dressing area. All tents house a spacious bathroom with free-standing bath, indoor and outdoor showers and a separate WC. There is one family unit. The camp has 24-hour solar and generator power for low voltage lighting, but note that high powered items such as hair-dryers cannot be used. There is a central charging area for electronic equipment, although no internet access, and a laundry service is also available.
Children aged 6-12 years are welcome with children under 6 able to stay if the whole camp is booked for exclusive use. Specialist family safaris are available at additional cost. Programmes for children are offered and might include making castes of footprints, crafting cards out of natural materials, or fishing. Note that the camp is unfenced and whilst it’s true that animals tend to stay away from tents and humans, children need to remain under the constant supervision of their parents.
Kwando Lagoon Camp was fully renovated in 2011 and is run by an enthusiastic team. It provides a comfortable and relaxed place to stay in an extremely privileged location. The atmosphere is pleasant and laid back, with warm and professional service. The exclusive nature of the Linyanti region, with its small number of high-end accommodations and relatively low visitor numbers, mean that the camp’s price tag is necessarily high so this is not an option for those with a limited budget. However, for a top-end safari experience with spectacular wildlife on tap, a stay at this property is very hard to beat.
The safari trip was excellent! The stay, the food and the people were all very nice. We were happy to have Ryan and Stanley as our game drive guides they brought us up close to the animals and Ryan gave very good information throughout.
Would definitely recommend to friends who are interested in safaris :)
Also, thanks much for your help, particularly keeping the room for my Brother and his wife they’ve enjoyed the safari very much too!
Woan Chyi L reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 16 October 2019
We had a fantastic time and all the arrangements worked perfectly.
We were very impressed with the quality and service levels of all 4 locations visited and it was truly a holiday of a lifetime.
Thank you to you and to Lisa for giving us this experience.
Particular highlights for us – really the whole experience, but of particular impact:
Breathtaking scenery at Cathedral Peak Hotel
Rhino Ridge game drives incredible, thanks to guide (we had their head guide, Hala, who’s knowledge, enthusiasm, kindness, interaction, ability to spot wildlife was out of this world)
Luxury of Rhino Ridge (shower, food, views, service)
Immersion in nature, torch lit meal on last night and beach trip at Kosi Forest Lodge
Level of service, quality of food throughout
Catherine F reviewing South Africa Safari, Beach and Wetlands on 04 September 2019
We had a fantastic time. Thank you and it went smoothly in the main except for British Airways!
The trip had the right degree of luxury and relaxation (for me) and adventure (all of us).
A few points:
Driving directions to Umlunghi Lodge were slightly wrong. The driving directions should read at the 4th roundabout take the first exit and turn right over the railway. We loved it there. Anton, Bianca and her son and Harriet were very informative and entertaining. The snake talk and handling, night walks and seeing scorpions and the walk in the bush and "bumping" into a giraffe were really special. The kayak trip to Makuzi pan that the lodge organised was good and Tomaz was very informative and kept a respectful distance from the hippos.3 nights was plenty.
Rhino River Lodge game reserve was incredibly luxurious and we felt very looked after. The lion siting in camp the day we arrived sent an extra frisson of excitement down our spines. It was easy to forget there were predators that could attack us with all that luxury. The staff and guides (Karl) were knowledgeable and invested in their set up. We saw rhinos with baby, cheetahs with young, porcupine, Genet, wildebeast, Impala, Lion with young, buffalo, a puff adder, ostrich, zebra and giraffes. 4 nights was also plenty.
They all served great food but I felt Ghost Mountain Inn topped the lot. The variety was amazing. We arrived at 10.30 but could not get into our room until 2 ish. The service was not so personal I guess because it is larger (far more than 50 rooms). We had been a bit spoilt at Rhino River! My daughter and I had some treatments at the Spa and loved it. We also went on a large boat trip on Jonzi and had a closer encounter with a large bull hippo and also a hike up Ghost Mountain with Patrick who was very informative and passionate about his people and his country. Isaac the other guide there took us on the boat trip and pointed out the sugar cane harvest on the way. he was very informative also.
Lastly, Lalaria Lodge was fabulous and we all piled into the surf of the Indian Ocean. There was hardly anyone on the beach. It was "too cold" according to the landlady. The view from her terrace was of the ocean and whales breaching in the distance. I could have sat there all day. She very kindly provided us with a Scrabble board of her own for us to play. We took a Microlight ride from Ballito over the coastline in the hope of seeing whales and dolphins but no luck. If we had stayed longer we might have gone on a boat trip from Durban. We had a meal at a restaurant called Mozambique which was great fun with vast portions, plenty of carbs and fresh seafood!
The value of the Rand to the Pound was excellent and therefore we felt that we got excellent value which also played a large part!
Katrina P reviewing South Africa Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 02 September 2019