twaffle

What is the ONE thing which would put you off using a camp or lodge?

97 posts in this topic

We all have our views on what constitutes the ideal camp and what we try to include in our safaris. Some of us are quite vociferous regarding what is acceptable and what is not and this covers the style of camp, the number of tourists catered for, the infrastructure, the guiding, the wild feel, the sort of animals likely to be seen and in what volumes … the list is endless.

 

I think that many frequent visitors would have at least one feature on which they will not budge and staying at a camp or lodge that had that feature would be unconscionable.

 

So assuming everything is pretty much ideal is there ONE (note only one) thing that would turn you away from booking. Any more than one and then it really isn't an ideal camp in the first place.

 

To give examples of my own: there are things that I don't rate highly such as preferring small tented camps with a low environmental impact over big lodges … but I will and have stayed at Sopa Ngorongoro because of its price and position.

 

I like wilderness areas with low tourists numbers but am a repeat visitor to the Masai Mara and the wider conservancy areas but always in the January, February period to reduce the possibility of huge crowds.

 

I don't like the idea of fenced conservancies but happily visit Lake Nakuru NP for its bird life; Aberdares as you'd never realise that they are fenced and Lewa WC although it does have a 'gap' even though I hate coming up against the fence.

 

I am wracking my brain to think of the one thing which would make me say no and I can't come up with just one. Two or three together, certainly but then it probably wouldn't have been on my 'possibles' list.

 

I'd say no to a camp which had a swimming pool if it was in an arid area with no regard to water conservation … or would I? What if it was the only possible place to stay and the area was especially attractive for a number of reasons.

 

I think I'd sell my beliefs for access to somewhere that I really want to go and that's a salutatory lesson for me.

 

Depending on what answers I get, I may open a topic restricted to TWO features which would make you abandon a camp. I think I could manage two.

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I think the permutations and combinations from all of the above, will narrow my choices and short list the desired safaris in Africa (given time and financial and logistical planning) .........

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Yes, a fenced reserve would feel too much like an open range zoo to me.

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Any camp in Sabi Sands :-)

 

Sorry this is not a dig and I know many people like it but this is the one thing I am 100% certain of. If I think of more, will add.

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Yes, I'm with @@Anita re the SSGR - won't return there........

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I don't like fenced National Parks, as well as camps where the wildlife is barred from entering. I love hearing the sounds of all the wildlife at night. It's also important having wildlife even during the daytime. I remember not being able to leave my cottage at Kaingo for 45 minutes because there was a bull elephant in the door!!! This is what safari is really about.

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Posted (edited)

@@twaffle, I think you said it yourself but whilst there are many things that would put me off using a camp or lodge they only come into consideration if there is an alternative choice available.

Although I can't think of an example of a park with only one camp/lodge I can't imagine that I would boycott a park simply because I didn't like the only accommodation available.

 

I much prefer small camps to 'hotels in the bush' like Sopa lodges. BUT, not everyone can afford Lemala Ngorongoro and it is not ideal for older clients so I do use Sopa Ngorongoro. No-one complains.

 

One thing that would put me off though is a crap location. ( I mean really crap) Why anyone would want to build a camp/lodge ina crap location I don't know, but that would be a deal breaker for me.

 

another one thing would be if someone whose opinion I respect tells me to avoid a camp or lodge and gives a good reason.

 

@@Anita @@madaboutcheetah - why don't you like Sabi Sands? It is certainly a bit cramped but if you like leopards it is one of the best places to get close to them.

 

 

edited to correct typos - big hands and computer keyboards were not meant for each other.

Edited by Soukous
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@@Soukous - the wait list at sightings(queue system), the size of the reserve, the terrain etc etc., I do agree with you - it has exceptional Leopard sightings, but, one can have those sightings in several other locations too......

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Posted (edited)

@@Soukous I agree leopard photography would be great in Sabi Sands. In my view ( and just my personal view), thats not the same thing as a quality sighting. I have had some tremendous leopard sightings elsewhere in a number of places and some tremendous ones in store for me and the whole cramped, packed vehicle, hotel like feel and the radios and the sighting quotas puts me off. But this is not a criticism of SSGR- Just that I cannot say that I would never say in Ngorongoro Sopa even though I will try my best to avoid it, but I can safely say I would never get to SSGR. Rest camps and maybe a guided safari in Kruger with a guide I trust and know well - maybe even that ( though very less chances).

 

Re fences - Again this is probably hypocrisy in my end but I believe the fence in Lewa and Malilangwe to be different to the fence in Phinda- and it isnt at all. But I would not go to Phinda but will to the other 2 places. D

 

Anyway, Eastern CAR is where I really want to get so everything else is a moot point right now :P

Edited by Anita

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Any place where they use a tracker to track the animals and a driver (in those places often called guide or ranger) to rush to those animals. Hell, I would want to go with the tracker!

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Only one?!

 

@@twaffle you are a hard task manager!!!!

 

Well, whilst the aforementioned fences would be a big no-no for me, when I have the luxury of a week away when the time is 100% my own, I want it to remain that way - so as little contact with the outside world as possible is very important - no phones, no internet and ideally no other people, other than those I choose to travel with.

 

I appreciated this is a tad limiting!

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Anyway, Eastern CAR is where I really want to get so everything else is a moot point right now :P

 

Eastern CAR @@Anita ?

I'm intrigued.. Assuming you mean Central African Republic, what is the attraction?

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I don't like fenced National Parks, as well as camps where the wildlife is barred from entering. I love hearing the sounds of all the wildlife at night. It's also important having wildlife even during the daytime. I remember not being able to leave my cottage at Kaingo for 45 minutes because there was a bull elephant in the door!!! This is what safari is really about.

 

@@optig so the entire Kruger is a no go zone then? We were able to hear lion and hyaena every night, although no large wildlife in camp as the rest camps are fenced

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I'm curious if those of you who don't like Sabi Sands have been there or just heard things about it? I have only been to one camp there (Londolozi) but it was amazing, felt wild and there was not a lot of queueing. It's true that someone who found something might radio it to another guide/tracker team and if there were already 3 vehicles there, we'd just drive over more slowly and look at other things on the way, but I see nothing wrong with that and I prefer that to a sighting that's packed with a lot of vehicles.

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Vehicles crammed full.

 

I can take 4 in a vehicle -- in fact, I like the interaction. Beyond that, and I'm out. On our last trip to Botswana, only one camp (Savuti) put six in a vehicle. We stayed in camp on two days to avoid being six and took a private vehicle on one other day. It just feels too much like being on a bus.

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Dear Td Graves,

 

The fact that the camp itself is fenced demonstrates my point. I've never been to Kruger, but some people don't like the paved roads, and the sight of telephone poles. I do understand that it's cheaper than other National Parks.

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Dear Simply Red,

 

Did you enjoy Savuti Camp? I'm strongly considering going there on my third trip to Botswana next year. I particularly enjoyed Lagoon(twice),Lebala, Little Kwara, as well as Tuba Tree and Muchenje. Thank you for your kind consideration.

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The fact that the camp itself is fenced demonstrates my point. I've never been to Kruger, but some people don't like the paved roads, and the sight of telephone poles.

 

I agree with you on this @@optig

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@@Anita in my trips to Sabi sand I have not encountered many vehicles, at most one or two vehicles. What I am not keen on with Sabi sands is the regimented bane drive times,would rather be out longer.

 

Kruger on the other hand can be very crowded at cat sightings...

 

The biggest thing that puts me off is too high cost. :)

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Posted (edited)

Well, if somewhere costs more than I can genuinely afford, it certainly puts me off, but that isn't really the answer @@twaffle is looking for I suspect. So imagining that someone is treating me, and that value is guaranteed, the only things that I can think of that would absolutely stop me would be that management or owners treated staff without respect, or that the lodge or camp was known to have done something I consider unethical, without shame.

 

Otherwise I'll manage to enjoy myself anywhere I think. Other things I just try to avoid, and there are plenty of them - some sensible, some a bit silly and some almost superstitious.

Edited by pault
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I would not want to stay at a camp that has a fence to keep the animals out. I love having the animals wander through and have spent many happy afternoons observing elephants in camp. I also love hearing animals right outside my tent at night.

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Anyway, Eastern CAR is where I really want to get so everything else is a moot point right now :P

 

Eastern CAR @@Anita ?

I'm intrigued.. Assuming you mean Central African Republic, what is the attraction?

Will tell you during Milan GTG if you do a CAR retro report before that :P

 

Just I think it's possible to have a very wild safari there if the political crisis can be figured out and if done a bit out of box. Anyways that's digressing on this topic so more during the GTG!

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I guess there are a few turn offs for me.

I agree with all those who would hate a camp that was fenced off from the wild(life);

One might be camps that no longer have a camp fire;

Or alternatively camps that do have a campfire but they make you all sit in a regimented semi circle with a concrete fire pit;

another might be camps that charge way more than they are actually worth simply because they can get away with it;

I am sure I would avoid camps that had internet and phone connection (and allowed guests to use such anywhere other than their rooms);

...

But I think the clincher for me would probably be anywhere that used enclosed vehicles for game drives.

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@@SafariChick @@kittykat23uk

 

OK, I was worried about having to explain this and being misunderstood as it wasnt a criticism of a safari style but just a personal choice , no I have never been to SSGR ( or SA safaris or even planned for them ) but there is not one thing I can think of thats important to me , which I wont get somewhere else with more exclusivity and remoteness than in SSGR. As @@Soukous said its great for leopards, and I love leopards just as much as anyone else and to see 2 even 3 of them together - seems the best bets are in SSGR- and even that doesnt convince me or excite me remotely. I think I should just sell my camera equipment :D

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Yes I've been to the SSGR - Mala Mala etc etc., won't return ....... I have not been to Londolozi, though I'm sure it is a fantastic destination!!!

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