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“Just about perfect”

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Muchenje Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Just about perfect”
Reviewed 15 September 2013

Muchenje was our first safari stop on a 2 week trip through South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Its funny to think back on scrambling to grab the camera as we made our way through Chobe from Kasane airport to Muchenje when we saw a group of elephants, fearing we might not see elephants so close again. Wrong. Our four days at Muchenje gave us seemingly limitless exposure to every type of game we could have hoped for -- elephants, lions, leopards, hippos, buffalo, all sorts of buck-type animals, dozens of birds. The drives were structured well; morning and evening drives in the land cruisers, and a daytime river safari that put you right in the middle of a plain that allowed for viewing of all kinds of animals all together.

The guides were fantastic (Lips deserves credit for our experience, but I interacted with most all of the guides at one point or another and they all seemed great). Joy and Roger to a great job balancing making sure the place is running well, and spending time with guests and getting to know them and talk to them as friends. Dinners were always fun, both because the food was good, the drinks flowed, and the company -- staff and fellow guests -- was great. Unlimited free bottled water was a very nice touch, as were the insulated ponchos for chilly morning drives.

No serious complaints about the accommodations. Great views, plenty of privacy, but still a compact enough plot that you never have to walk far or rely on escorts/transports. The lodges were nice and well maintained -- maybe a bit smaller than some other places we stayed, but to be honest, I'd rather not pay for space ... if you're spending a lot of time lounging around your room, you're probably doing something wrong. The power had a habit of going out at night, which was really only a nuisance as far as trying to charge camera/phone batteries ... light was always provided by lanterns when needed.

Its always nice to try new things, but given how much we loved our first stay at Muchenje, I have to think that if we're back in Chobe, we'll be back at Muchenje. Just an outstanding experience.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Benjamin802
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
36 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 September 2013

Having honeymooned in Kenya in Tsavo and loved staying at a lodge that looked over the plains, I was keen to find something similar in Botswana. When you spend so much time driving around parks, it is special to sit of evening and watch herds of different animals roam around as the sun sets - the view from Muchenje lives up to all the pictures. Its worth getting up for the early drives and rather than head back for breakfast we chose to stay out all day and the big advantage of this approach is that if the guides spot something special then you have the time to get there and enjoy the moment rather than rush back. This approach meant that when a leopard cub was spotted on the top of a tree we were able to sit and wait for the mother to return (about 40 minutes) while others had to head off back to breakfast. Special mention must go to our guide, Ocean, who was simply great fun. Ocean has a smile and a joke for everyone he sees, but he made a special effort with my 14 year old son, and they were like two long lost brothers by the end of our 4 day stay. All the staff were super friendly and they really made a big effort to make our stay both enjoyable and comfortable. Overall an excellent experience.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank TravellingNewt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
muchenje1, Owner at Muchenje Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 16 September 2013
As Owners of Muchenje we never tire of reading such lovely comments about our guests experiences, and passion we all share for the bush. You clearly deserved your time with the leopard cub and just thinking about it brings a smile to our faces.
I hope your love of Africa brings you back soon.
Tsamaya sentle! (Go well, see you soon)
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 August 2013

We stayed at Muchenje on the western boundary of Chobe National Park for three nights in June 2013. The Lodge sits on a promontory overlooking the Chobe River and a flood plain with animals. In addition to the typical early morning and late afternoon game drives, Mucheje offers a full day safari from 9 to 5 which we took one day. This includes land game drives and about 2 hours on a small boat on the Chobe River. The river ride on Chobe Rivers was one of my favorite times as the water is smooth (no bumpy roads) and relaxing. We saw many animals and birds along the river including hippo, elephants, crocodiles, buffalo, giraffe, heron and ducks. We anchored for lunch (roast chicken, quiche, fruit, wine) in some reeds just yards away from elephants who were munching on the reeds. At Muchenje we also saw lions, a leopard, black sable antelope, baboons, zebra and a tree full of vultures. This lodge was the most homey of the lodges we stayed at in Southern Africa with excellent hosts and staff. Each room is a separate building and includes outdoor sitting area with view of the river, modern bathroom, and air conditioning.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank honeylaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edison, New Jersey
Level Contributor
288 reviews
89 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 179 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 August 2013

As others have noted, the lodge sits atop a hill over looking the plains (and a watering hole) proving fantastic views. Few things compare to sitting on the viewing deck in the evening watching hundreds of animals in the distance on the plains and a variety of specieis jostling for space at the watering hole. Also, although the lodge is right near a paved road (and the entrance to the park) it feels very remote and has wildlife circulating in and around the facility. The rooms were nice, but smaller than the other lodges we visited and when the osquito tents were up, there was very little space in the rooms.
Joy and Roger were excellent hosts and the rest of the staff was very good. (They had temporary managers running the place who were very nice, but seemed a bit over their heads).
The full day safari, including the boat were tremendous - the amount of wildlife seen in one day is astonishing.
The main downside is that most of the big cats and other wildlife are seen on the Kasane side of the Park, so the trip in and out of the park is very long both on the paved road and then on the dirt roads. (Driving on the paved roads on chilly winter mornings left all of of frozen solid). Also, in the evening, we rushed to try to get back to the park exits by 6:30. While this is not Muchenje's fault, it took away from the over all experience. Having seen all of the lodges on the Kasane side and the ridiculous number of vehicles there (we saw a leapord along with 14 other vehicles!), I am happy we stayed at Muchenje even with the few draw backs noted above.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Blaw10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scarborough, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 August 2013

We loved every moment of our time at Muchenje Lodge. Everything about it was amazing - Staff and management, guides, food, accommodation, views and activities. We were lucky enough to see 4 leopards during our stay, thanks to the excellent spotting skills of our guides. Nothing was too much trouble for any staff but the guides were particularly brilliant and couldn't do enough for us. We met some wonderful people, both staff and other guests, whom I am sure we will keep in touch with. The amount and variety of wildlife and birdlife in Chobe National Park is incredible and you really do enjoy some fantastic encounters and as another reviewer has said, the all day boat experience is a real highlight, especially seeing the swimming elephants. A top place to stay in Chobe!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank 2seasiders
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Luton
Level Contributor
103 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 August 2013

The road from the airport at Kasane is silky smooth, your drive interrupted only to give way to elephants and antelope as they cross from the forest either side. A short drive down a sandy track through close scrub and you are at the lodge. Nothing prepares you for the view as you draw to a halt. Through the front windscreen you see the Chobe meandering across the green plane below you, with Namibia in the distance, a view that goes on for miles.

The lodge has been designed to make the most of its position. Laid out along the top of the steep escarpment above the river you get the best of the view and the breezes. The lodges are very comfortable and have everything that you could need on safari. Outside, squirrels run across the balcony, Waterbuck blunder past and at night you may be lucky enough to see the ghostly stripes of a Genet hunting through the undergrowth.

The staff create a very special atmosphere at the lodge, going out of their way to help you get the most from your stay. The game viewing along the Chobe is excellent for the big herds of elephants and for the variety and numbers of antelope. The all day cruise and game drive that Muchenje do was a particular highlight.

I have to single out our guide, Synack, who was quite simply the best safari guide we have ever had. Not just for his encyclopeadic knowledge - all the guides in Botswana have to know a great deal just to get the job – but in the way he explains things. If you want to know more about any subject, he is a natural teacher, explaining things with quiet enthusiasm.

It is now a couple of months since I was at Muchenje. In the English summer, on hot days sitting in the garden, I imagine myself on the terrace at the lodge, looking down at the water hole just below and watching Water Buck, Zebra, Impala and Warthog ambling to and fro. I can still feel the warmth of an African sun.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Max M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zurich, Switzerland
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 12 August 2013

We were extremely satisfied and positively surprised from our stay at Muchenje Safari Lodge despite we could only spend one night there.

Staff was amazing:
extremely helpful, thanks to their organization we could make the most out of our stay(1 boat safari, 2 car drives during the day - afternoon and early morning - and a night drive too! as well as having some time to enjoy the incredible view of the Chobe river and flood lands from the lodge.
extremely friendly, including the owner whose passion for nature, animals and sagaris is probably the reason for the greatness of the lodge!

Safaris perfectly organized: cars/boats were never filled so that there was always plenty of space to put our stuff (camera, bag, etc.), guides are extremely competent and do their best to satisfy all the needs, just ask!

Location excellent: Besides the views over the chobe river and its flood-lands, placing the chobe park between its location and Kasane, Muchenje lodge is unique in offering a very calm and relaxing environment far away from the noises of a small but tourist-crowded town such as Kasane.

Food Delicious: breakfasts and dinners at the lodge are incredibly tasty, with a mix of local and foreign delicacies we enjoyied all our meals there, including the lunch on the boat. During the activities, we never had to ask for any refreshments since the guides pay a lot of attention to the potential needs of the people their taking along.

If we were to go back to Chobe again, we would for sure get back to this lodge!

Safaris are

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank g u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Muchenje Safari Lodge

Property: Muchenje Safari Lodge
Address: Private Bag K31, Chobe National Park, Botswana
Region: Botswana > North-West District > Chobe National Park
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 20 Speciality Lodging in Chobe National Park
Hotel Class:4 star — Muchenje Safari Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Small, Owner run property situated on the edge of the Chobe National park. Our remote location means game drives do not reach the masses that inhibit other Chobe Lodges.Recently upgraded, Muchenje offers Rustic luxury accommodation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Muchenje Safari Hotel Chobe National Park

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