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Lion, Khwai
Lion, Khwai 2007


Home -> Reviews & Tips -> Trip Reviews -> Khwai 2007



In July 2007 13 of us went to Khwai for a short trip. Once again Khwai confirmed its reputation as one of the best safari destinations in Botswana. With its vast open floodplains bordered by mopane forests, Khwai is one of the most beautiful places in Botswana as well as being very rewarding in terms of game viewing.
The public campsite at Khwai is pleasantly situated among the tall trees along the banks of the Khwai River and is frequently visited by animals coming down to the water to drink as well as by the monkeys and baboons that sleep in the trees above the campsite. Hyena and occasionally Lion visit the campsite at night so care must be taken and all food items must be kept in the vehicle overnight.

During the trip we saw numerous animals (including Lion, Elephant, Hippo and Zebra) as well as a wide variety of birds such as Ground Hornbill, Saddlebilled Stork and Yellowbilled Duck.

Tuesday 17th July
Palapye - Nata - Maun
After leaving Palapye mid-morning and stopping at Francistown and Nata Lodge along the way we didn't arrive in Maun until after sunset. Our accommodation for the night was at Audi Camp where we had booked the 10 bed house with 3 extra mattresses. The house was simple but comfortable consisting of 3 rooms with 2 beds and 1 room with 4 beds with a bathroom and kitchen joined on.
The restaurant at Audi Camp is to be recommended and we enjoyed a tasty evening meal there before retiring for the night.

Distance travelled: 654km











Wednesday 18th July
Maun - Khwai
The next morning we had breakfast in the restaurant before going into Maun to do some shopping at Spar and Ron's Fresh Produce. The trip to Khwai took about 3hrs and we arrived early afternoon setting up camp before leaving for an evening drive east along the river.
The highlight of the day was the sequence of photos below of a hippo which opened its mouth just as I was focused on it. The whole thing was over in seconds however thanks to the 400D's 3fps I was able to capture the whole thing on camera much to my delight!
After spending time watching elephants coming down to drink we made our way back to camp, passing a herd of Wildebeest, Kudu and Impala along the way, where we enjoyed a traditional beef stew before getting into our tents and falling asleep to the sounds of the night - Hyenas sniffing round the tent, Baboons squabbling in the trees above and Hippos feeding in the river!

Distance travelled: 150km




















Thursday 19th July
The next morning we headed west along the river from the campsite on our only full day in the Reserve and were rewarded with an excellent sighting of lion - 1 male, 3 females and 3 cubs. The females and cubs crossed in front of the vehicles before disappearing into the grass, however the male walked along the road before eventually backtracking to join the females, posing majestically for photos on the way!
Shortly after we headed back to camp for a late breakfast, taking the main road through the mopane forest which yielded Zebra, Impala and Warthog along with numerous birds such as Redbilled and Yellowbilled Hornbills, Redbilled Woodhoopoe and Forktailed Drongo.

After breakfast we just stayed around the campsite until just after lunch with some deciding to go into Khwai village to buy soft drinks at the semausu. The tall trees along the river make it a very relaxing spot to rest as well as being a good place to watch birds - we saw Pearlspotted Owlet, African Fish Eagle, Saddlebilled Stork, Bearded Woodpecker, Kurrichane Thrush and Arrowmarked Babbler in the campsite to name a few. Vervet Monkeys and Baboons are regular visitors too and you have to be vigilant if you want to prevent them stealing food from off the tables or even out of boxes!




























After lunch we decided to head to Dombo Hippo Pools taking the direct road through the mopane forest before making our way back to camp along the floodplain later on in the afternoon. Most of the hippos were resting in the sun when we arrived at Dombo however it wasn't long before they entered the water again with the usual grunts and snorts. One hippo took the performance a step further and rolled right over in the water with his legs sticking up in the air!

On the way back we passed a number of herds of Elephant which had come down to the river to drink as well as numerous herds of Impala, Lechwe, Wildebeest and Zebra. On one of the roads we came across an African Wild Cat sitting in the road whilst further on 3 Ground Hornbills were foraging close enough to the road for photos. As the sun set we headed back to camp with the prospect of a sumptuous braai drawing us - spare ribs, chicken pieces and boerewors!!
Distance travelled: 50km





























Friday 20th July
Khwai - Xwaraga Campsite
On our last day in Khwai we spent most of the morning packing all the tents and equipment before heading back Maun, arriving early in the afternoon. We had lunch at Riley's Hotel in Maun before heading further south towards Xwaraga campsite our accommodation for the night. We arrived just after dark after having some difficulty getting the trailer through the deep sand between the tar road and the campsite! We had booked into the self-catering chalets for the night however when we arrived we found that the chalets were in a state of disrepair with both of them having leaking toilets, poorly kept bedding, beds propped up with bricks and lights that didn't work not to mention the numerous holes and gaps in the flyscreens! After complaining to the management we finally got them to agree to allow some of our guests to stay the night in two A-frame tents at the main lodge at a reduced rate.

Distance travelled: 250km




















Saturday 21st July
Xwaraga Campsite - Palapye
Early the next morning we went on a walk down to the river and found a waterhole where Impala, Wildebeest, Zebra and two Elephants were drinking. On the way back we saw Kudu and Bushbuck just by the campsite as well as numerous Vultures circling round.
After rejoining the tarred road we inflated the tyres (we'd deflated them to navigate the sand) before driving back to Palapye, stopping along the way at Last Chance Tuck Shop for drinks and Granny's Kitchen in Letlhakane for a hearty meal!

Distance travelled: 470km









Landrover Defender Td5 with trailer
Toyota Hilux Raider
Hippo, Dombo Hippo Pools
Impala, Khwai
Khwai Campsite number 6
Khwai Campsite number 6
Vervet Monkey, Khwai Campsite
Vervet Monkey, Khwai Campsite
Barred Owlet, Khwai Campsite
Kurrichane Thrush, Khwai Campsite
Hippo yawning, Khwai
Hippo yawning, Khwai
Grey Heron at sunset, Khwai
Grey Heron at sunset, Khwai
Lioness on anthill, Khwai
Male Lion, Khwai
Male Lion, Khwai
Male Lion, Khwai
Burchell's Zebra, Khwai
Red Lechwe, Khwai
Elephant, Khwai floodplain
Southern Ground Hornbill, Khwai
Elephant, Boteti River
Inflating the tyres
Xwaraga campsite group photo
Last Chance Tuck Shop, near Rakops