Kubu Lodge - Caveat Emptor

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Thanked: 3

    Default Kubu Lodge - Caveat Emptor

    (Source: Anonymous)

    - by “Some Spoilt South African Tourists”

    During September 2008 we contacted an establishment called Kubu Lodge in Kasane which is listed in The Shell Tourist Travel and Field Guide of Botswana by Veronica Roodt, to enquire about camping availability for 4 adults and 1 child (aged 4) for 4 nights during the last week in October 2008, which was to be the first leg of our intended 2 week safari in Botswana. We visited their website (www.kubulodge.net) and was quite impressed. We did however notice that no mention was made of their campsites (and with good reason as we were to discover later!). Kubu Lodge’s response to our enquiry was within a reasonable time and may we just add that they were the only lodge in Kasane to actually respond to our enquiry. They did in fact have campsites available over the period in question. A booking was subsequently made and paid for in full a few days later.

    En route to Kasane, we met up with a tour guide in Nata who mentioned that he has been to Kubu Lodge before and can recommend it. On arrival at Kubu Lodge we made our way towards reception and were greeted by lush green lawns and beautiful shady trees – exactly as it looked on their website. After reporting to reception and receiving all the necessary documentation (more warnings than anything else), we set off to the campsite in the direction pointed out to us. We were absolutely horrified! Had it not been for a lonely two-man hiker tent pitched in the close vicinity, we would have driven right past the place. The area purporting to be Kubu’s campsite, was stripped of anything that even remotely resembled a campsite. As we stared across the dry, bare, desert landscape that greeted us, our hearts sank, and we prayed that surely this had to be a mistake.

    There was absolutely no shade and even less grass. Regarding our specific requirement for electricity (as we had two fridges to run) we also discovered that there were only two electrical points in working order and both on other campsites! There was a rather neglected little plunge pool for campers with (yes, you guessed it, no shade) as campers were not allowed to use the Main Lodge facilities (one of the earlier mentioned warnings at reception). As the average temperature in Botswana over this period is 37˚C and we had a 4-year-old with us, it would seem that we were going to be the proverbial “unhappy campers.” Back at reception we attempted to explain our predicament and enquired whether they could possibly accommodate us with a chalet or room of some sort until we could secure alternative accommodation, as staying in that desecrated area was not an option. They were regrettably though understandable fully booked.

    Next we attempted to secure at least a partial refund as our booking was already paid for in full. We were told that the manageress was not in the office and will only be back the following day. We decided to try and find accommodation elsewhere as this was completely unacceptable. Chobe Safari Lodge came to our rescue where we remained for the next four nights and had a fantastic time!

    The next day we went back to Kubu Lodge to see the manageress, to discuss the situation. Their policy, as with most establishments, states that accommodation should be paid for in full before arrival, which is understandable although some offer the option of paying on arrival. This means that once a reservation is made and no deposit is paid, the establishments rely on and trust these guests to arrive and cannot take any additional reservations. Now as we all know in practice, this does not always happen and the establishment loses money.

    Now this is where those well established successful business principles known as “customer care and / or client satisfaction” comes in.

    We explained to her that their website is misleading as the impression it creates, will inevitably lead anyone who view it to believe that their whole establishment may be justly compared to the botanical gardens.

    Without even the slightest indication of understanding, Kubu unsympathetically threw their triumph card on the table which entailed a strict 100% cancellation policy they had in place. We were going to forfeit all our money. Management could not have been more unhelpful and I actually got the impression that they adopted an “every pula counts” approach regardless of how it was earned, nor how it would effect business in the long run. A type of “in your face sucker!” approach. When confronted with the question on why Kubu didn’t deem it necessary to inform us of the state of their campsite, which clearly contradicts the rest of the property, we were told that “It is only South Africans who complain about the campsites at Kubu Lodge.” In other words, the condition of their campsites are apparently satisfactory to other foreign tourists, according to management!

    More to get rid of us than anything else, the manageress offered to forward our request to her directors, which would take approximately two weeks before any feedback could be expected and that we would be contacted although, “we were wasting our time”. This was on the 25th of October. Needless to say, we were never contacted. After numerous e-mails to Kubu Lodge, the only feedback we got was that refunds are sent to their bank where it is out of their hands – how is that for customer service!

    On 11 December 2008 purely by accident we discovered that Kubu Lodge finally made a 50% refund after the directors supposedly discussed the matter. Regarding the manner in which the situation was handled by those cold hearted and unsympathetic management staff I say, “Shame on you! You treated us with such contempt and made us feel like lepers so much so that we now feel compelled to do anything in our power to warn our fellow unscrupulous, ever complaining and nagging South Africans that you do not tolerate such nonsense at Kubu Lodge, and that they should steer well clear of your establishment, as us South Africans are definitely out to take you for a ride! People like you do not belong in the hospitality industry as your attitudes are detrimental and directly opposed to good business principles.”

    We spoke to a number of establishments in Botswana with regards to their policies. All of the Lodges stated that if guests were that unhappy (obviously with good reason), regardless of the policy in place, they would do a refund. Some establishments would even offer to upgrade the guests to better accommodation (if available) or meals on the house. Please allow us to state that we were not looking for a “freebie”, but we were P1056.00 (+- R 1900.00) poorer for which we received nothing in return as a result of misleading advertising. We got nothing of the sort at Kubu Lodge. Being in the Hospitality Industry ourselves we know that customer satisfaction is the most important thing for a successful business – if this happened at our establishment, the customer would have received a refund without a question.

    We would like to make the following recommendation to Kubu Lodge:

    • Inform all potential visitors of the condition of your campsites, regardless if they stay there for one night or more. This may mean that you might lose money but hey, it would only be from a small market like the ungrateful South Africans!
    • Ensure that all your electrical points are working and that each campsite has a point.
    • Grow some grass and some more trees at your campsite – as you are situated on the banks of the Chobe River, there is absolutely no water shortage, therefore no reason for the condition it is in at the moment. The other establishments are able to do it, you should too.
    • Learn from the other bigger establishments in Kasane who are not out to make a quick buck. Take Chobe Safari Lodge for instance. They work on a “first come, first served” basis regarding their campsite. That way the customers can view the site for themselves and make an informed decision.
    • Send all your staff for training in the Customer Service department and ensure that there is always a manager on duty.
    • If all of the above is too much effort, close your campsite.

    Due to our experience with the staff and management at Kubu Lodge, we would like to recommend a visit to Chobe Safari Lodge. The campsites are clean with shade in abundance and patrolled by security 24 hours. Even the restaurant, bar and pool at the Main Lodge is open to campers!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Thanked: 100


    Well done for warning us. Ron

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Palapye, Botswana
    Thanked: 29


    Ron - you do know that the OP posted more than 3 years ago?......

    2014 Prado TX D4-D

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Thanked: 152


    We visited Kubu Lodge campsite in July 2011. It was very good quality, 8 spots, neat ablutions and..... very well organised tours to Chobe and the river cruises...


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Chantilly, North of Paris France
    Thanked: 1



    I was at Kubu Lodge in April this year and in July 2008 and had no special reasons to complain.

    Of course, the campsites themselves are not fantastic, but the place is quiet, there is much more room than for example in Chobe Safari Lodge (which I did not like at all), ablutions are in a very good shape.

    But staff is very helpful and friendly, and you can take advantage of all the facilities of the lodge (Internet for free, restaurant if you want, activities, etc..).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Cape Town
    Thanked: 3021


    Quote Originally Posted by eric60260 View Post

    I was at Kubu Lodge in April this year and in July 2008 and had no special reasons to complain.
    Of course, the campsites themselves are not fantastic, but the place is quiet, there is much more room than for example in Chobe Safari Lodge (which I did not like at all), ablutions are in a very good shape.
    But staff is very helpful and friendly, and you can take advantage of all the facilities of the lodge (Internet for free, restaurant if you want, activities, etc..).
    We also stayed at Kubu last time we were through Kasane (about the same time as the long poster above). Absolutely no problems - yes, the main lodge area has rolling green lawns and the camp site does not have grass, but it was perfectly adequate. Good shade, security all night long (there's lots of intermittent petty theft around Kasane because of the Zim refugee issue), and the staff were friendly and helpful. The first post, made a couple of years ago, seems to expect a first world campsite in a place that is only one degree away from the bush.

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