Overlooking the Kwando River, Lagoon Camp (GPS: LAGOON) is the smaller and more northerly of Kwando's two camps here in the riparian forest belt. It stands amidst tall, mature forest that includes some fine marula (Sclerocarya birrea caffra
) and jackalberry (Diospyros mespiliformis
The large tents here are of a custom design, with two three-quarter size beds, or a double, overlooking the river. The large front door can be opened into an entirely gauzed area; wonderful to wake up to! These have a solid wooden bed-head, matching the tent's wardrobe and furniture – though no fan. Outside each the veranda has two khaki chairs overlooking the river. All is covered by a canvas shade, shielded from the sun by a thatched roof. At the back of each is a private, en-suite, reed-walled enclosure with an open-air shower, a washbasin (in front of a large mirror) and a flush toilet. Hot water comes from individual gas-fired boilers.
The food at the camp is good, and served in a thatched dining room which overlooks the river. The bar's largely self-service, and a small curio shop has local handicrafts and some useful books. The lounge area has comfortable armchairs, a small library and various boardgames.
Game frequently wanders into camp and on my last visit here one old bull elephant came to within touching-distance of the dining room as we ate brunch, in search of some tasty morsels in the tree above. It was very relaxed; apparently oblivious to the camera flashes and general fuss that it was causing.
Lagoon Camp has a plunge pool for the hotter months, but its main activities are 4WD game drives, usually one early in the morning (after coffee and biscuits), and the second in the late afternoon, which usually turns into a night drive as the light fades. With a tracker accompanying every drive, and a maximum of six people per vehicle, there's a willingness here to drive cross-country and actively track coveted game – like the big cats and wild dogs. The guides are enthusiastic about their big game here, and sometimes positively zealous in their tracking of it.
There is also a two-storey floating pontoon-type boat on the river, which can be used for gentle sundowner cruises. If you're keen on fishing then spinning for tiger fish and bream is also an option.
Lagoon's atmosphere is laid-back, friendly and not at all regimented – mealtimes are usually adjusted around game-viewing times, rather than vice versa. A slight minus is that the tents are quite close together (although all have canvas blinds that can be closed.