Comments on these camps Botswana?


Jan 16th, 2012, 07:56 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 189
Comments on these camps Botswana?

I will be in Botswana in July, after a few days at Vic Falls. Currently I am considering three camps: Duma Tau and Chitabe for three nights each, and Kwetsani for two nights.
Does this itinerary provide me with enough diversity? Comments on the camps themselves?
losaltos is offline  
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Jan 17th, 2012, 03:17 AM
Join Date: Nov 2008
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I went to Duma Tau in December and loved it. In the rainy season (when I went) there is a bit of a lack of general game- for example we hardly saw any elephants. However, I understand this is a feature of the rainy season and in July there should be larger numbers of animals there. However, despite the lack of general game we had fantastic predator sightings, especially of wild dogs, but also some nice lion sightings. I have read some people saying the camp is a bit "tired" looking but I thought it was fine. In any case they are building a new camp which will open in March (when the old camp will be taked down) so when you go you will have a shiny brand new camp. Overall, I think it's a great choice.

I haven't been to the other two but Chitabe is one I've heard consistently great things about and it's top of my list of camps I haven't visited. I understand they get a good variety of predators there. It is in the delta but a mainly land based camp, so will be an interesting contrast to Duma Tau which is in the Linyanti.

I haven't been to Kwetsani either but I have been to Tubu Tree which is in the same concession. I believe Kwetsani is a mainly water based camp at that time of year.

Overall, I think it's a good balanced selection.
stokeygirl is offline  
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Jan 17th, 2012, 04:49 AM
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I haven't been to Chitabe, but I've been to its next door neighbor Sandibe. Sandibe is a camp run by &Beyond, who have properties in Southern and East Africa and who do an excellent job of taking care of you. I was there in March, at the end of the Green Season, and had very good game viewing, including, very luckily because they hadn't been seen in a very long time, two packs of dogs. &Beyond usually does not impose a single supplement, so if you're by yourself you'll save some money.
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Jan 17th, 2012, 07:25 AM
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Sandibe and Chitabe cover the same areas, that's right. Only been to Chitabe not Sandibe, also in dry season, and it was great. Averaged one leopard sighting a day, one even from the campfire. With 3 nts at Chitabe, consider their walking trails where you walk to an outdoor, safe overnight option. Very cool.

I've booked a Chitabe/Duma Tau combo, which is a good one.

Not been to Kwetsani, but have heard nice things about it as a water camp.

I like your locations for July.

Comments on the camps themselves:

Duma Tau--overlooks a beautiful lagoon and has an outstanding lobby loo with a view, overlooking the same lagoon.

Chitabe, report excerpts--"I was awed at the beauty of the grass in front of camp. The mosaic of greens, yellows, oranges, and browns prompted me to take numerous photos of just grass!

Heading to my tent (which the staff preferred to call home rather than tent and with that level of luxury, they were justified) on the raised walkways, I witnessed the first of many dramas that played out right in camp. A young elephant was chasing off two kudu. Other game in camp included a herd of elephants passing through; a resident, photo-obliging bushbuck; and a troop of baboons that enjoyed the trees, rooftops, walkways, and pool. About 300 meters beyond the campfire deck, a leopard was spotted one morning by those of us who were the earliest risers.

Also in camp a screaming tree squirrel and calling francolin alerted us to a mother leopard with a 4-month old cub, which I got just a glimpse of. The leopard had just killed an impala. The carcass disappeared but later turned up hanging from a tree right behind the outdoor shower of Tent #5—my tent and shower! I wonder if mother and cub were in that tree while I was showering. Probably not, but I’ll never know because I usually shower with my eyes closed.

Actually, I think Chitabe Lediba had even more animal action in/near camp than Chitabe Main Camp. I frequently shared a vehicle with Lediba guests and they would brag about the elephants, hyenas, lions, etc. that they had encountered in camp after dropping me off at main camp.

The first game drive produced a lion pride of seven adults and seven cubs of various ages, dining on a buffalo that had been killed the day before, right outside Chitabe Lediba. This incident was noted in the on-line Wilderness Chitabe newsletter."

Here's an excerpt on the Wilderness Trail, mentioned above:
"In the afternoon I set off with Newman, the walking guide (and superb all around guide), and Luke, a guide in training (who will make a superb guide and as far as I could tell already was) for the hour walk to the Walking Trails camp. On the way to Walking Trails, we saw elephants at a distance and did our best not to alarm them.

When I got settled into the Walking Camp, the Chitabe Main Camp manager stopped by for a chat and sundowners, a very nice touch. Then Newman, Luke and I had a lovely lantern lit dinner with salad, main course, and dessert. Really a lot of staff effort is put into this memorable night in the bush.

The Walking Trails hide itself is a raised platform of two stories above the ground level with stairs. A comfortable mattress with mosquito netting was set up on the first level, about 15 feet above the ground. The second level is for observation and with a lagoon right there, at least one elephant was usually present.

Many lanterns were provided and could be left on all night. The path to a drop toilet with “sand flush” and a bucket shower was lit by lanterns. It was suggested that during the night, a bedpan be used. I did not take advantage of either the bedpan or the bucket shower.

Before retiring, the three of us went on a night drive. The hyena den was not far and I got my last view of the two frisky hyena cubs and one adult hyena nearby. The highlight of the night drive occurred within sight of our lantern-lit Walking Trails hide. Spotter Luke saw a relaxed leopard that proceeded to lounge around the vehicle at a distance of about five feet, then took a drink out of the lagoon and returned to visit with us. Eventually she walked off into the moonlight to hunt.

Time for bed about 9:00 p.m. Two days short of a full moon meant the lagoon was well lit throughout the cloudless night and the elephants that wandered into the lagoon could be easily viewed and even more easily heard as they shook the nearby palms for the fruit. Besides the elephants, I could hear lechwe leaping, hippos grunting, hyenas, and lions calling in the distance, plus I had my own personal fruit bat chirping all through the night from its home in the tree above.

It was a beautiful and peaceful experience and I got to sleep in until 6:30 the next morning. Newman and Luke slept within view in a tent on the ground and were up first to prepare cereal, fruit, and toast for breakfast. Sleeping in the open air in the bush was a magical experience and a highlight of a wonderful trip!"

I stayed at the OLD Walking Trails, which accommodates up to four, and is only an hour’s walk from camp. There is a NEW Walking Trails that sleeps up to eight with platforms adjoined by hanging bridges and is a three or four hour walk from camp. The immediate area of the lagoon-less new camp did not seem as interesting as the old camp, but the new camp is closer to the Moremi border with its abundant, diverse wildlife.

You can walk between the new and old camp in several hours and spend two consecutive nights in the open-air bush. You also can be driven to and from either of these walking camps (despite the name indicating otherwise) in case you wanted to sleep on the open platform but did not want to give up the more game-intense drives.
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