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botswana accommodation - what does "little" mean, really?


Sep 23rd, 2004, 06:23 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 830
botswana accommodation - what does "little" mean, really?

dear kind experts-

i was wondering what the difference is between staying at "little" this that or the other versus the main camp?

are you in an entirely different location with your own facilities for dining/relaxing?

are you so far away that at night you are "trapped" in your tent?

i'm having a hard time figuring it out from the various websites, and while my instincts tell me that smaller is better, i would hate to feel far from the "main" area if all that we do at night is sit around the fire.

specifically, i am wondering about: little mombo/ chitabe trails and little vumbura.

i would ask the agents offering quotes, but every email back and forth takes a full 24-48 hours due to our time zone differences.

thank you, again!

(and no, this does not mean zambia is out, mr. rocco...i am actually now considering BOTH botswana and zambia thanks to your great web links).

kerikeri is offline  
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Sep 23rd, 2004, 09:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 814
First of all, when you are in Botswana you are ALWAYS confined in your tent at night, for safety. After dark the staff will always walk you to your room/tent...when they take you there after dinner (and after drinks at the bar or by the fire, if you so desire) you MUST stay inside until they come to get you in the morning.

Each camp has its own drinking/dining facilities, and you stay in your camp, even though the other may just be a very short walk away.

In all of these cases, the "Little" camp is smaller, but that may not be the only, or even the major difference.
In all of these cases, you will do activities only with the people in your immediate camp, and the camp is run by its own staff and management. big camps usually have 8 or 10 rooms max, so they are not so big. Little camps have 3 or 4 rooms.

At Mombo the actual "tents" (that's what they call them) are the same at both camps, so its more a choice of being around more people or fewer people at dinner.

At the 2 Chitabes, the tents are the same, but the Trails tents are on the gound, while the main camp has raised platforms under the tents and walkways. Common areas in the Trails camp are a bit more rustic too. So in this case it may be a choice of whether you want to be on the ground or not...I love being on the ground, it just feels like you are more a part of the environment. Others like being elevated for the view, or because they feel "safer".

In both of these cases, the camps are land camps, and the same activities --game drives--are offered.

In the case of the Vumburas, all tents are on the ground, BUT Little Vum is on a small island, and so is more of a water camp. There is more emphasis on water activities here--mekoro and boat. Big Vum doesn't feel like a water camp-- you drive a short distance to get to the channel, where you can do both mekoro or boat activities, and it is a beautiful area for both. In this case, because of the different sites and emphasis of activities, there is a significant choice to make. Game drives are fabulous at the big camp, and I would be hard pressed to give these up. But Little Vum has its own charms...

While smaller is generally better, even the big camps here are quite small. I love the smaller camps, but sometimes it is enjoyable to meet "other" people at dinner and around the fire...in the small camps you see the same people all day long, for every activity. Maybe you'll be completely sympatico...maybe not! So I'd make your choice based first on the other differentiating factors, then on the big/small issue, if it matters to you. You'll meet more people at the bigger camps, and that's often a big plus.

PS-- we're happy to help here, and we will often say things that an agent might not. But this is one of the advantages of being able to pick up the phone and call your agent, and have them know you as a person rather than as an itinerary! I got great advice from my agent about stuff like this...
tashak is offline  
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