choosing 1 camp in Botswana

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Feb 4th, 2006, 07:31 AM
  #1
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choosing 1 camp in Botswana

hi guys,
i have a friend whose family is looking to spend 3 nights at 1 camp in the delta. their priority is to see good general game along with the cats and the scenery of the delta without paying for the ultra high end camps (Mombo etc). my top choices to them were in this order:

1. little vumbura
2. chitabe
3. kwara
4. tubu tree

if anyone has any suggestions/agreements that would be much appreciated. they are palnning to travel in aug 06 so booking may end up being an issue. thx in advance.
bigcountry is offline  
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Feb 4th, 2006, 09:33 AM
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Tubu Tree is a good choice for a general camp - especially if you go in the right season you can do water activities from there too even though it's primarily a land camp.

Accommodation is a step above the other 5 paw camps and game viewing is a good all round mix.

Staff and guides are wonderful.
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Feb 4th, 2006, 10:45 AM
  #3
johan_belgium
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Bigcountry,

I would say definitely Kwara for the following reasons:

- You have the option to do both land and water activities;

- In that area you have a good chance to see some predators (also a nice variety of antelopes);


I wouldn't choose the other camps that you mentioned for the following reasons:

- Chitabe: no water activities available - it's maybe the best place of the four for predators but in terms of scenery it's not as beautiful as the other areas mentioned.

- Little vumbura: you can be restricted on your game drives because of the floods that time of year

- Tubu tree: less game to see if you compare them to the other ones

I have visited them all on prior trips.

I've been thinkin' on other camps in the delta but no of them would beat Kwara I think.

I would highly recommend to book a private vehicle so the guide can stick his attention only to them. I think that's very important if you are only there for a very short time.


Greetings,

Johan
 
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Feb 4th, 2006, 12:23 PM
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Interesting question, and the answer probably depends on whether your friend wants maximum wildlife with the widest possbible variety of predators OR to see the delta landscape. If the former, I'd choose Chitabe (Trails would be my choice, but the drives are in the same area) because it has the highest probability of seeing the widest variety of wildlife, especially cats and dogs. Also at Chitabe Trails, the camp should be full of elephants at this time of year, and I view that as a big plus. But no water/delta activities, so they will miss that.

I disagree about water hampering activities at little Vum in August-- the Vumbura camps are very good at shuttling people by boat to the areas where they can drive, which will be very good by August. This area is even good when the water is high in June!

But you have some good places listed...at this point, if trying to book for August 06 the real question might be what is actually available for the 3 days they have in their schedule? Better check that first, and if there is any choice, THEN post for opinions.
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Feb 4th, 2006, 12:50 PM
  #5
johan_belgium
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I agree that you can still drive around at Little Vumbura but your game drive circuits are limited if the floods have arrived. This can have an impact on the game you gonna see. I have been there when the floods were low and when they were high. The game viewing was completely different.

Greetings,

Johan
 
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Feb 4th, 2006, 06:18 PM
  #6
santharamhari
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I agree with Johan........for predators, chitabe.....overall experience in terms of different activities...Kwara.

I havent been to Vumbura area, but should be pretty good also.
 
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Feb 4th, 2006, 06:30 PM
  #7
santharamhari
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Johan,

Quick question for you.....in August....how would you compare predator sightings at Lagoon and Lebala compared with Kwara???

Bear in mind, in my opinion, Kwara is pretty good for lions even during the rains.......but all the other cats we saw (Cheetah and leopards) were so nervous and fleeting, that we just had a glimpse and poor photo opportunity....

 
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Feb 4th, 2006, 07:32 PM
  #8
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thanks for the responses so far guys. johan, it's very interesting what you say about vumbura. i have only visited once and that was back in sept 02 and we had phenomal game viewing. only second all time for me to mombo. but that may have been a low flood year. i will have them check availabilities and get back to u guys for final decisions.
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Feb 4th, 2006, 08:34 PM
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I'm with bigcountry on this; I was there in early September, and the gameviewing was superb. Again, they shuttle people over by boat to the vehicles for the drive. In fact, by early Sept. the water was so low that the boats could barely make it from Vumbura, and they planned to stop using the transfer boats the next week. Unless there is an unusually high flood wet year that still has high water in August I don't think it would negatively impact gameviewing, and possibly not even then. In fact, I spoke with tourists who were there in early June 2004, when the flood waters in the delta were as high as they have been in decades, and the gameviewing around Vumbura was nothing less than superb. I was really sorry I didn't visit it again that year...in fact the only reason I didn't was that I wanted to visit new camps. (That was a mistake.) This is not to say that Tubu & Kwara are not good choices...they are, but I don't think they have any edge over Vumbura. Also would add Kwetsani to this list, it is in the same concession as Tubu, and is a wonderful camp.







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Feb 5th, 2006, 12:00 AM
  #10
johan_belgium
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Hari,

I think both camps are wonderful that time of year. I must say I haven't been to them in August.

But if you are looking for predators I should prefer Lebala/Lagoon (also according to the guides of Kwando).

About the shyness of cats, I have seen very relaxed leopards in some areas and others you couldn't approach at all. It seems to me that females are more relaxed than males. The female leopard I saw at Kwara in December 2005 was mobile but wasn't that skittish.

Most of the cheetahs, I've seen, were not that skittish except a few females on Chief's island (maybe too much lions around).

About the vumbura concession, I was there in June 2003 and June 2004. And gameviewing was completely different in terms of animals.

2003 - lots of lions, big herds of buffalo

2004 - only a glimpse of "Big Red", quite a few cheetahs, good sightings of carracals

But in 2004 I did remember the roads very well and for instance we went back to Kaparota lagoon and you couldn't recognise and cross it at all.

I agree it's a very nice area and gameviewing is very good but in my opinion Kwara has a bit more to offer if you are looking at the complete picture. One of the things I like, is the access to Godikwe lagoon. But I wouldn't be complaining if I had to go to Little Vumbura instead.

I think both camps are not that far from each other anyway.

In fact, I find it sometimes difficult to recommend which camp to go to if I have only been there briefly.

Greetings,

Johan
 
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Feb 5th, 2006, 12:36 AM
  #11
santharamhari
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Thanks Johan......may i ask, why you avoid August?.......is it too dry and dusty for the best photo opportunities?

This past trip, to Kwara....2 very skittish leopards and one very very skittish cheetah (yes, plenty of lions around)

Maybe Lagoon and lebala is the way to go. I do like Kwara, but in terms of the camp itself, i'm more fond of Lebala and lagoon (in that order)

Thanks
Hari
 
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Feb 5th, 2006, 01:35 AM
  #12
johan_belgium
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Hari,

I have been in Botswana in August once.

This year, I will be in Namibia at that time. But in most of the cases, it's difficult to travel that time of year because of the deadlines at work.

About which camp to go to.
It just depends what you are looking for. I liked Lebala and Kwara very much but in terms of photography I was more pleased with Kwara than Lebala in December. Maybe this was because of Godikwe lagoon. If you see f.e. my choices for 2006-2007 you know what I am looking for.

I haven't been to Lagoon yet but I liked Lebala so much because of my guide Steve and the managers, Harry and Monique.

Greetings,

Johan

 
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Feb 5th, 2006, 02:14 AM
  #13
mv
 
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bigcountry

I did 3 days at Kwara in August 2004
and had 3 quality Leopard Sightings, 1 good Cheetah sighting and more than 1 Lion sighting on every drive including
Lions Mating (40 metres from my tent), Lions hunting Buffalo and two territorial males ousting two other males

Michael
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Feb 5th, 2006, 05:37 AM
  #14
santharamhari
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Johan,

I concur..........i absolutely love Harry and Monique....on our trip, we met Monique's kids and they were about my cousin Varun's age....so we invited them on the game drives with us....they are part of the reason, i pick lebala.....but lagoon is awesome also. Jonah is a terrific guy......runs the camp well and is a great photographer and is very interested in showing us all his video tapes of various wildlife action in and around lagoon.....

Yes, Kwara was awesome in Dec for photography.....some of my best lion pics ever were taken at Kwara.....we did see 3 majestic males in their prime........we also saw 2 nomadic males that were fantastic......also the old 2 that were ragged and bony....
 
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Feb 5th, 2006, 10:23 AM
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I would advice them to spend 4 nites and pick 2 camps
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Feb 6th, 2006, 08:08 AM
  #16
 
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bigcountry - Kavey's advice is spot-on. Tubu Tree has a great mix of activities (water and land). If I had friends requesting this advice, I would steer them there. If your friends go, tell them to request Grant. They won't be sorry.

If they are 5 or more people they may find themselves the only group in their vehicle. Of course this depends on how busy the camp is and the usual "your mileage may vary" note applies.
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