Monday, 30 May 2011

Khama Rhino Sanctuary – Serowe, Botswana – review April 2011

One of two stop-over options for travellers from the south en route northern Botswana is Khama Rhino Sanctuary. Situated just west of Serowe on the A14 this reserve is a welcome oasis at the end of a long day’s travel. Principally established, relatively recently, as a central hub for the reintroduction of the regionally extinct white and black rhino,  a stop here is usually rewarding.

Unusually though, the frontline staff are astonishingly unapproachable, poorly trained and generally surly. Given Botswana’s propensity for top-class service and its generally friendly peoples, Khama’s attitude is sinful.

The self-catering thatched chalets are adequate. An open-plan dining room/ kitchen doubles as the second bedroom. The main bedroom is not walled to the double-volume ceiling and is therefore semi-private. Both rooms have two single beds. The linen needs replacing but is clean. The kitchenette provides utensils, pots, pans, cutlery and crockery for four people.

Outside, the braai / barbeque facility is new and well-tended. Notwithstanding, the only exterior light was filled with rainwater and was therefore non-functional. No external furniture is provided. Guests are therefore expected to bring their own chairs or remove the dining chairs from the chalet.  Guests can also make use of the restaurant and pool facilities nearby.

The sunsets and the night skies are incomparably spectacular and sitting around the fire with family and friends under Camelthorn Acacias is memorable if not indisputably magical. Sunset or an early morning drive in the sanctuary is a must. The roads are well-kept but occasionally narrowed by overgrown Candlepod Acacias. Caution is therefore advised for travellers in larger 4×4 vehicles.

Undoubtedly the sanctuary’s worth is the haven it provides for rhinos, extinct elsewhere in Botswana, but sans the staff, it’s also a brilliant soul-cleansing elixir.

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