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“A total waste of time and money”

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Belmond Khwai River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“A total waste of time and money”
Reviewed 8 August 2014

When I read previous comments on Khwai River lodge, I feel like we have stayed at a totally different place. Would it be because the Manager had just left (2 weeks before we arrived) and the interim manager was arrogant and only worried about the VIP visitors he was expecting in the coming days and he kept talking about?

The staff was ok but certainly not friendly. A totally different experience from where we stayed before in Botswana. We were indeed used to very warm welcomes, friendly and funny people. We had loved interacting with locals so it was a bit of a cold shower here. Staff were not joyful at all and seemed to be doing their duties reluctantly. When we left, none of them was there to say goodbye (again, comparing with other lodges we had been before). The interim manager came to shake hands and then returned back to his duties, not even staying out to wave goodbye.

The cleanliness of the room was poor (especially the bathroom - clearly the sinks had not been cleaned properly for a while).

Ness - our ranger - was totally useless. We ended up rushing from one place to the over, hoping to see animals he had been told (by other rangers) were around. We got lucky twice, but for the rest of time he was not able to find any animal. Contrary to other rangers we had been game driving with before, he never took out his binoculars, nor did he try to look at tracks on the road, or simply listen to birds who could potentially send alarm calls. He did not offer coffee break or sundowner although it was in the car. He made no attempt to bond with us - an essential part of the trip when you know that you spend, on average, 6 to 8 hours with your ranger per day.
Just as an illustration: he took us to the airport when we left. Other rangers from other lodges were also waiting at the airstrip with guests. While all of them stayed to say "goodbye" and wave at us when our plane took off, Ness had gone...

To try to balance our review and be fair, the room was very nice and the view from our deck was stunning! The location is certainly beautiful and the food excellent. There is even a gym (not super equipped but still useful) which is always pleasant after a few days spent seating game driving and eating... :-)

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank mrc780
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
LouisePheiffer, Manager at Belmond Khwai River Lodge, responded to this review, 11 August 2014
Thank you for taking the time to share your review with us.

We take all reviews to heart, and we have looked into the complaints you raised in your review with the staff at Khwai.

We found no record of any complaints during your stay at the lodge, and our management team, guides and staff would like to take this opportunity to apologize that you were unhappy with the level of service you received at the lodge. It is certainly not our service standard.

Animal sightings can never be guaranteed in the bush, Ness and the other guides are in constant communication with each other to ensure our clients see the wildlife that presents itself on any given day.

Thank you for your compliments, the lodge is indeed in a breathtaking location, and we have been working hard at improving our menus at the lodges, thank you for the positive feedback.

Sadly we missed the opportunity to apologize to you in person, and please also extend our apologies to guests traveling with you.

Warm regards,
Louise Pheiffer (on behalf of Karin van Zyl, General Manager for Belmond Safaris)
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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176 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (42)
Date | Rating
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English first
atlanta GA
Level 6 Contributor
195 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 August 2014

The game viewing here is very different from Chobe but we had a great experience. Ask for Ness to be your guide, he is a wealth of knowledge. The rooms are lovely but ice cold. The heat did not seem to work and often the room was 50 degrees. However, the hot water bottle is a nice touch in the bed. The staff is inattentive when they are full and the meals are adequate but not five star. When they only had us as four guests, it improved immensely.

Room Tip: All rooms the same
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank frequenttraveler051
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Miami, Florida
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 August 2014

Khwai River Lodge was the second lodge we visited on our extended trip to Botswana and we loved the fact that it was totally different from Eagle Island Camp. Located on the banks of a river, we had magnificent sightings of hippos, both in and out of the water, elephants bathing right in front of our tent and many birds in the trees around us. We were also lucky to see a huge crocodile right in front of the lounge. Our guide was excellent and made our game drives informative and fun. The food was outstanding and service fast and professional. The highlight of our trip was the sighting of one of the very elusive leopards, not far from the camp and visiting the hyaena den were we spent a good 30 minutes watching the hyaena pups playing amongst the grass. This lodge came highly recommended by our travel agent and I can understand why - friendly staff, good management and an abundance of game made it a great choice.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Alexander W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
plettenberg bay
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 August 2014

Never been so pampered by staff whose friendliness and co-operation were unparallelled.Very good and quite large range of food.Impressive and very comfortable accommodation. Enjoyed lifetime experience of witnessing pride of 11 lions [4 lionesses, 3 sub-adults, and four cubs] playing and swimming in the 'marsh area' and then unsuccessfully stalking 6 buffalo [they succeeded overnight] Planning next year's visit already

Room Tip: try for tent close to main facilities to avoid long walk
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank derek r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
121 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 July 2014

Just spent two wonderful days at this camp. Staff and management were wonderful. Food delicious. Guides amazing and safari drives fantastic!!! Would love to go back again for longer this time. Advantage of this park is that it has it's own concession as well as Moremi Park. Lots and lots of game and up close encounters. Thank you so much to you all. We took our two teenagers who just loved the whole experience. Wi-fi ??? Yes but who needed or wanted it? So welcoming and accommodating, remembering our names and preferences. Loved the Boma and singing/dancing. Will return again.

Room Tip: Any room is good however being closer to the dining hall means shorter trips in the dark before sunr...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Cafegirl2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mobile, Alabama
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 15 July 2014

The view of hippos and elephants from our tent was amazing! The food was like the best health food restaurant in the world. The staff was all smiles. Sello was an awesome, knowledgable guide with a killer laugh. I wish I was still there.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Sarah H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Beaconsfield, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 July 2014

We very much enjoyed our four nights in this Lodge where the whole atmosphere was relaxing, and welcoming from the moment we stepped off the vehicle. Our room exceeded expectations and the food was varied, delicious and so beautifully presented. All the staff were attentive and friendly and their ability to remember the names of guests was most impressive and made us feel as if we "were at home" which added to the relaxation. Well done Rock for finding the Lions - in the end!! Handsome pictures to show off! Some amazing driving skills through water too. Thank you one and all for all you did you make our visit very special.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jennifer F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Belmond Khwai River Lodge

Property: Belmond Khwai River Lodge
Address: | Moremi Wildlife Reserve, Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
Phone Number:
Region: Botswana > North-West District > Okavango Delta > Moremi Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 28 Speciality Lodging in Moremi Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Belmond Khwai River Lodge 4.5*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sink into time-honoured indulgence as you overlook the vibrant floodplains and dramatic big game of the Moremi Wildlife Reserve. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Khwai River Lodge By Orient-Express Hotel Moremi Game Reserve

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