Chitabe Trails vs Chitabe

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Jul 6th, 2004, 07:55 AM
  #1
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Chitabe Trails vs Chitabe

Which is nicer? Also, we are planning a trip there is December. How is the game viewing during that time? Any info would be appreciated. Thanks!!
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Jul 6th, 2004, 08:17 AM
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Both camps are effectively at the same location, it's only a few minutes walk from one camp to the other.

The main difference when I was there was a) the size of the camps - Chitabe Camp hosts more guests than Chitabe Trails and b) the fact that the Trails tents are on the ground and one walks on paths on the ground whereas the main camp tents are on raised platforms connected by raised walkways. The tents themselves are identical inside, or were when I visited a few years back.

So it depends on what you prefer.

Some guests find being on the ground scarier and prefer raised tents. Others like the connection of being on the ground. We have a preference for smaller camps with fewer fellow guests so that's the main concern for us.

Sorry, I have only visited in June both times to Botswana so can't help on season.
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Jul 6th, 2004, 09:25 AM
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Hi,
Kavey is exactly right-- as usual! (Can't wait to read her full trip report.)

In addition, I'd mention that Chitabe Trails seems to have lots of elephants and rather brazen baboons in camp. Since the tents are on the ground, this is excellent for those who like to be separated only by canvas from the wildlife, but scary for those who are more nervous.

Because of the raised decking and the need to accomodate more guests, Chitabe's common areas seem a bit more upscale than a small camp on the ground will have, and thus dinners seem a bit more formal. (But these differences are minor.)

Chitabe/ Chitabe Trails is still one of my favorite camps. I think it has one of the more diverse wildlife experiences in Botswana.

It should be really hot in December...you might want to check average temperatures before you book! And there might be some rain-- check this to see if the rain that falls is enough to disperse the game. (Botswana is so dry that this might not be a big effect...the bigger effect is when the floods arrive, and this will be much later...

When I was at Chitabe Trails in 2001 management did a great job showing flexibility to accomodate guests. We wanted to go out earlier than usual, and they arranged this. But one couple wanted to sleep in, so they matched them up with a group from Chitabe main camp that also wanted to sleep in...this sounds simple, but believe it or not, some camps are not so accomodating-- instead they make the fixed group with a guide vote to chose instead of moving people around in the guide's groups.
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Jul 7th, 2004, 06:58 AM
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Thank you for all of the helpful information! I really appreciate it
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Jul 7th, 2004, 08:22 AM
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We stayed at Chitabe in May and absolutely loved it. My preference was for the main camp, because the tents are sit on 12-foot platforms. The suspended walkways are enchanting. Bob was an excellent guide and we saw everything, including wild dog. Enjoy!
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Jul 9th, 2004, 09:02 PM
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The staff at Chitabe was outstanding. Best hosts and welcome of any camp on our safari. After staying on raised verse on the ground camps, we definately vote for raised camps.
This allows for less insects in your tent.
Request Bob, his is the best guide. We did not have him, but wished we had. Our guide was good, but Bob had a great attitude and very upbeat along with spotting skills.
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Sep 4th, 2004, 07:19 PM
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Did any of you so the two night walking safari ??
If so, would love to hear details...we are planning a trip in May 2005 and are strongly considering one of these camps.
I had heard through two SA tour operators that they thought Chitabe Trails was looking a bit tired.
Any thoughts...
Thanks,
Brenda
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Sep 5th, 2004, 09:23 AM
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I'm not surprised that the SA agents say the place is looking a bit tired...don't think it has been re-done in year (pre-2001). But you definitely DON'T go to Chitabe (either camp) for style. It's a simple tented camp. The gameviewing there was so diverse that I'd choose Chitabe for that...it's just in a wonderful area. (I have a strong preference for "simple" as opposed to "luxury" in the bush. Really, I'd rather be camping, but in a great game area...in fact sometimes I wish Wilderness Camps were even more basic...)

Sorry, didn't do the 2day walking trails (this is a new option in the area). If you've done lots of gamedrives before, this is a nice option. But you must be resigned to not seeing many animals (if you do, consider any animals a bonus). You'll be looking at animal spoor (tracks), scat (poo) birds, insects and vegetation. If you do encounter any large animals, expect the guides to keep you well away from them! (But there IS always the chance of a suprise encounter with lion-- happened to people I know on 2 occasions--and that must be the thrill of a lifetime.

I love bush-walks, but you must know what you are getting and not getting, otherwise you could be very disappointed. Ideally, you'd do 2 days of drives at Chitabe and 2 days of walks...or at least one day of drives.

Also not sure how WS handles the overnight...but if they set up a real bushcamp for the overnight on your walks, that is a BIG, BIG plus. Two of my major BEST memories of Africa involve simple bushcamps set up to sleep away from camps. There is nothing else in the world like it...my heart is aching to do it again as I write these words...

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Sep 5th, 2004, 01:57 PM
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Hi Tashak,
Sounds like two days in the bush isn't overkill.
Would love your impute on our priminary Itinerary for May or early June 2005.
4 nts cape town
2 nts winelands ( we love wine)
3 nts Chitabe with two of those nights out in the bush
3 nts Savuti Camp
3 nts at Kwetsani Camp

Thanks...
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Sep 5th, 2004, 06:05 PM
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This looks like an excellent itinerary. You have allowed enough in each place to really enjoy (and you will love the Winelands--very beautiful, lots of history, charming towns).
Haven't been to Savuti, but those who have seem to have wonderful experiences (I think it is definitely preferable to Duma Tau, and less expensive than Kings Pool).
Kwetsani is one of the loveliest camps in the delta--much more beautiful setting than Mombo, and call me crazy, but I preferred the accomodations to Mombo! You might request the honeymoon suite...its's the same as the others, but set off a bit away from the others. In May, you'll do game drives on Hunda island (where there is another great camp, Tubu Tree-- you might consider this as an alternative to Kwetsani if you are more interested in game drives than in mekoro/water activities. And Tubu Tree does have one of the very best guides, Grant...a big plus for Tubu if he is there again next year). If you stick with Kwetsani, you might arrange in advance to do a full-day drive on Hunda with a picnic lunch-- that was a lovely day. I think they can arrange this once you arrive, but ask in advance just to be sure.

During the high water (May) you can never tell which islands things like lion will be on-- when we were there in early June they were on both islands, which was really nice. In early June there were no insect problems other than the tiny gnats which fly in your face when you are on the water-- so you'll enjoy the water more if you take a mosquito headnet.)

One more thing-- the time of year that you are going is probably the very best time to be on Chief's island-- where the choices are Mombo (ultra pricey) or Chief's Camp (more reasonable...than Mombo). I would be remiss if I didn't suggest Chief's Island to someone going in May!

But the itinerary you've set up is really great...you are setting up a super trip!
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Sep 5th, 2004, 10:15 PM
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Hey Tashak,
It's the Mombo vs Chiefs camp debate...
Yikes, I couldn't decide so I left them out entirely.
If you were delete one camp from my itinerary to add Chiefs Camp or Mombo which would it be ??
It would be sooooo much easier if there weren't so many good camps to choose from, then add the time of year factor and wow, then you really need to make informed decisions.
This board has been so helpful. Thank you to everyone who shares their wonderful travel experiences.
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Sep 6th, 2004, 06:04 PM
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hahaha...I was actually afraid you would ask me that! And I don't know!! That is a really tough question.
You need a water camp...(Kwetsani...or Tubu or Vumbura, as I said)
Savuti covers the dryer north (and since I haven't been here, only to Duma Tau, which was not all that great in early June, I'd have to admit bias if I said drop this one... also, I'm not sure exactly where Savuti is vis-a-vis the Savuti channel. But DT is on the Savuti Channel, and we were told (after we were there!) that this area is rather hit-and-miss in the early (May-June part of the season). I'd be tempted to drop this one, just for that reason. But poll others, and see if they had great sighting there IN MAY OR EARLY JUNE.

Chitabe did have excellent sightings during this period, according to tourist who were there (when I travel in Africa I ALWAYs ask people I meet where they have been and what they have seen, so I can learn more for my future trips. The thing I really like about Chitabe is that all the big cats and wild dogs are there, while on Chief's Island the lion population has grown so strong that it is much harder to see cats like cheetah and serval (we saw both at Chitabe, as well as wild dog, which are no longer in the MOmbo/Chief's area). And you can do night drives at Chitabe-- our night drives there were really good, including an African wild cat, and most of the nocturnal things.

If Chief's Camp is also in the actual Moremi Reserve, you cannot do night drives there, so no chance to see the nocturnals... this area is super-packed with lion and habituated leopard, and our drives were one big experience after another, BUT most of the excitement was from these two. So not much diversity, relatively speaking.

Hopefully you will get a few more opinions from people who have been to these camps during this May/early June period, and you can weigh which animals you are most interested in seeing.
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Sep 7th, 2004, 06:29 PM
  #13
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Hi there, I just want to mention that I stayed at Chitabe Main camp this past July. There had been a fire and the main lodge was completely new. I haven't been to as many camps as Tashak but I thought Chitabe was lovely and did not appear 'tired' at all. On our walking safari we got close to a breeding herd of elephants and watched them for quite awhile. But yes, it was mainly about the land itself. Don't forget, you only walk in the morning at Chitabe and at night you have your regular game drive so you really get the best of both worlds. The hides we slept in were unbeatable for location, atmosphere and charm. They are permanent.
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Sep 8th, 2004, 05:36 PM
  #14
JamesEOA
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Hi anissrob,

One more tidbit...

WS plans to link Chitabe and Chitabe Trails in the near future by a common raised wooden walkway. This will allow them to create a 'Camp within a Camp' theme similar to that which presently exists at Mombo and Little Mombo.

I personally prefer Chitabe main camp but I have many clients who prefer Trails.

Cheers
 
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Sep 8th, 2004, 08:14 PM
  #15
 
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We were at Chitabe the end of May. It was excellent. The staff was the best of our 4 camps. We loved the tents. This was our favorite location. The game was good too.

We also stayed at Duma Tau and Savuti on this trip. They both cover the same area. DT definately had nicer facilities. Savuti is very basic. Savuti looks over a human controlled watering hole. They do not fill it until the dry season. We did see some game at the end of May (zebras, etc), but not the ele's we were hoping for.
We did see several lions and cheeta. We saw more cheeta that we saw ele's.

The game was not predictable this past May at Savuti or DT. Some days were great and some a bust.
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Sep 8th, 2004, 09:21 PM
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Jackie,
Were the cheetah and wild dog still around Chitabe when you were there in May?

If so, then I'd "vote" for Chitabe, Kwetsani, and Chief's Camp for WallyBrenda's trip/ net May/Early June, and drop Savuti. I think Savuti is excellent when it gets dry and that waterhole is the big gathering place in the area, but that won't be the case in May/June (not likely if they have any kind of wet season). For that reason, if it were my trip, I'd substitute Chief's, where May/early June is prime season, even though it means you won't see the northeastern part of Botswana...better to go there to see it in its best season.

I think you'll see more if you stay at Chitabe and Chiefs-- especially since you will be walking for 2 of your days at Chitabe, which is a completely different experience. This would be a great "heart of Botswana" type itinerary, in the wonderful green flood season. What a cool trip!
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Sep 8th, 2004, 09:32 PM
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Thanks for the skinney on Savuti Camp. I've really been on the fence about that camp during May/June. Also, read the WS newsletters and there wasn't much reported until July and August.
I'll definely look into Chief's Camp.
On the botswanasafari.info website it was priced at $417US per night thru June 05. Same price as Savuti, but the travel agents are telling me it costs much more...HMMMM.
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Sep 9th, 2004, 11:30 AM
  #18
Lin
 
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Hi all, More about Chitabe. In July 2004 there was a pack of about six male wild dogs living on Chitabe concession, as well as cheetah and leopard.
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