Kwando Lebala Camp
Predators galore in the lush reaches of Botswana's Linyanti region
Kwando Lebala Camp
Lebala Camp sits near the headwaters of Botswana's Linyanti River, which forms the boundary with Namibia's Caprivi Strip. The region is famous for its prolific game, namely, its robust numbers of elephants and iconic predators. The Linyanti's reputation precedes itself as perhaps the best place to view wild dogs, an especially illusory and endangered species. But the geography is also spectacular, with its wooded savannahs, scattered palm islands and vast horizons - in fact, Lebala means "wide open spaces" in Tswana. At Lebala you can expect very reliable game viewing and a relaxed camp atmosphere that prioritises the bush above the hotel-like extras. Rest assured you're getting a bit of luxury in the wide-open bushveld and not a bit of bush shrouded in excessive luxury.
At the lodge
Dark Rhodesian Teak dominates the main area, which is perched on stilts above the fluctuating swamps of the Linyanti River. The unfussy but comfortable furnishings create a relaxed, homely atmosphere. The deck, with its fire pit and circular seating make for an inviting and convivial arrangement in the early morning for a cup of coffee, or in the evening, whiskey in hand. Pull up to the free-standing bar and help yourself to a drink. A small plunge pool has views of the plains beyond. Between drives, enjoy some secluded in-camp game viewing on the raised viewing deck behind the main area, or shop for handmade souvenirs at the well-stocked gift shop.
Eight tents are well-oriented with views over the wetlands and built in the classic safari style with canvas and mesh walls and sliding screen doors - wonderful for aiding natural air flow. Rooms are large with deep claw-foot baths, outdoor showers and a double washbasin. A family room consists of two adjoining rooms, comfortably sleeping four. With the dark wood furnishings and somewhat tired decor, things can feel slightingly outdated, though the beds and chairs are no less comfortable. The porch, stocked with wooden deck chairs, is a perfect platform from which to witness birds, elephant, kudu, wild dog - any manner of wildlife - as it wanders past your tent.
Game drives are the focus in this region full of the big-name predators, as walks are not an ideal means of approaching dangerous game. However, walks are still a fantastic way to slow the pace and experience the oft-overlooked flora and fauna and can be done, depending on the season and access to the amenable geography. Night drives are permitted and are often very productive, especially when they involve following a predator tracked before sunset.