Monday, 30 May 2011

Audi Camp – Maun [Botswana] review April 2011

Quite often, as a self-drive tourist, circumstances dictate a change of itinerary. Last-minute accommodation is frantically sought in unfamiliar surrounds and usually under trying circumstances. The pontoon driver who would have ferried us across the Botete River to Khumaga Camp was nowhere to be found which necessitated a last minute dash for Maun. We arrived just before sunset and stayed the night at Audi Camp.
Audi Camp is situated on the Thamalakane River just outside Maun en route Moremi. At first glance Audi seems a little run-down. The entrance is certainly unappealing and so was the dusty reception. The pool gardens are generally unkempt, so too is the encroaching bush near the large house. The facilities are certainly well worn-in, which is a kindness considering the green-tinged pool and the weary furniture. No doubt, this large operation has seen better days aesthetically.

Our party of four stayed the night in two of the four luxury en-suite tents which supposedly overlooked the Thamalakane River. The unattended invasive shrubbery dispelled any chances of a river view.  The tents on raised wooden decks were therefore surprisingly well-kept, clean and comfortable. The linen was crisp and unblemished. Extra towels, linen, blankets and pillows were also provided. Each tent had the obligatory tea and coffee but no milk. Coffee creamer in tea?

The bathroom en suite was an outdoor affair but functional. Notwithstanding, the wooden pegs provided for towels presumably, were arranged dangerously at head-height and is an accident waiting to happen. 

Dining is at the restaurant. No self-catering facilities are provided. An old outdoor braai / barbecue facility is provided for ambiance outside each tent. There are no discernable lights outside the tent nor on the unmarked pathways to the restaurant. Unless you carry a torch, arriving unscathed at the restaurant is a feat in itself.

The menu was a pleasant surprise. Notwithstanding the outrageous prices the food was well-prepared, well- presented and in adequate portions. Close inspection of the restaurant’s clientelle yielded very few travellers amongst the many local patrons. Wildlife film crews and other semi-permanent residents in a discernably rising crescendo as the night wore on, provided a little of that famous Maun hospitality. Audi is like an old friend, life-worn and tired but also comfortable and fun. There are no pretentions, secrets or extras. It’s a place to meet old friends, drink the local brew and have a warm shower before like most who visit here, returning to the bush.

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