Djuma Bush Lodge-Trip report

Oct 11th, 2007, 01:06 PM
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Djuma Bush Lodge-Trip report

I was frankly a bit nervous about going to Bush lodge, as it hadn't been as well reviewed on this and other sites. But it was within our (two couples) price range, and came recommended by a friend, so we took a gamble-and got paid back 100fold!

We started our three-day safari by being met by Nelair at the BA arrival gate (we flew in from PE)in J'burg and escorted us to the Nelair check-in and gate-very nice service! We flew into Djuma Bush lodge in a nice little plane(emphasis on 'little'!). Once we landed, the 11 passengers split into three groups-Djuma Bush, Vyutela and another I can't remember. It was then I realized that there were a fair number of lodges in a somewhat small area (small is relative to me-I live in Texas). We arrived at Djuma having already spotted zebra and the ever-present impala. There was a giraffe at the lodge's waterhole when we arrived-nice greeting!
There were about 8 huts, each one situated to maximize privacy. As this was my first safari, I didn't know what others offered, but the thatch-roofed huts were well equipped and comfy, but not over-the-top-luxurious. Perfect for us!
The grounds were not extensive, but very well-kept. Someone else who had been to several other lodges during their current stay stated that it was a "truly 'bush' setting"-surrounded by open bush and a dry riverbed(rains were just starting the first week of October when we left). Also a lovely samll pool that was perfect to soak up the ambiance by-but it was too cold outside for swimming. Very peaceful setting that immersed me into the feeling of 'being on safari'.
Abel and Abraham were our guide and tracker-they were exceptional! The jeeps they used seated I guess up to 9, but we maxed at 7 and on two rides we were just the two couples. One guest who rode with us twice was south african, and had been on thirty or more safari. Out of curiosity I asked what he thought of the guides, and he had very high praise for them, especially their willingness to jump out of the jeep and truly tack an animal-not to mention their spectacular eyesight! Abel was tremendously knowledgeable, and Abraham's huge smile helped make this safari a huge success for us.
Djuma Bush borders on Mala Mala and Kruger. The animals, not being familiar with 'borders' seemed to cross regularly. Which made me very happy as everyone everywhere seems to beleive Mala Mala has the best animal sightings! Also, they adhere strictly to the number of jeeps allowed at a sighting-4 tops, and usually 3 for the big 5.
There is a large pride of lions at Djuma-9 cubs, 6 females and 2 males-adorable!
We saw a leopard finishing off his meal in a tree, then jump down and walk right by the jeep (more concerned with the hyena than us!),cheetah, rhino, hippo, water buffalo, hyena pups(truly cute when young!), elephants, monkeys, every conceivable antelope, fantastic birds, giraffe, zebra, and I am sure I am leaving a bunch out-oh, hippo!
The food was very good, the bar convivial (to say the least-the bartender Life always made sure you were flying with two wings-shots-not one!), and the staff incredibly helpful.
An example of their helpfulness was when a problem arose last minute with our flight out, they worked into the night to get us where we needed to be by driving us out. While it delayed us a bit on the other end, the drive was amazingly insightful due to a great driver-and that's why we all travel, right?!
Bottom line-if you want phenomenal value at a quality private lodge, Djuma Bush is the ticket. The animals don't know how much you paid, and I would put the quality of the guides up against anyones. By the way, I asked the guest who had been on 30+ safaris where he ranked Djuma in the "not-over-the-top-expensive" category - he ranked it at the top, and so would I!
ejbentx is offline  
Oct 11th, 2007, 01:16 PM
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As just for reference to the cost comparisons mentioned, per web sites, the 2008 rate for Djuma Bush is $340 pppn, MalaMala is $575 pppn. A significant difference.

Also, you're right that the animals don't know where the border is between camps. BUT, they do know where the Sand River is, do you?

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Oct 11th, 2007, 01:41 PM
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We ran into the WE guys filming while we were at Djuma-here is a link in case you want to see what is happening there!
ejbentx is offline  
Oct 11th, 2007, 01:43 PM
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Not a clue where the river is-I just trusted in my guides, and came back a very happy person!
ejbentx is offline  
Oct 11th, 2007, 02:04 PM
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Glad you had a great time, sometimes it's best to ignore Tom, he occasionally gets testy.
napamatt is offline  
Oct 11th, 2007, 02:16 PM
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All very well said Matt

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Oct 11th, 2007, 03:15 PM
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Glad to hear you loved Djuma Bush Lodge. It is a possible addition to my safari next summer. My traveling companion and I are revising our itinerary due to $ issues and Djuma is high on our list of possibilities. I'll be sure she sees this!
Lillipets is offline  
Oct 11th, 2007, 05:18 PM
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Thanks for the thumbs up o Djuma Bush Lodge. Putting it in pricing context makes it more inviting.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 11th, 2007, 05:22 PM
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Djuma sounds lovely ..... thanks for your report, ejbentx.

HariS is offline  
Oct 12th, 2007, 10:40 AM
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Love to hear that the guides/trackers are great! (We'll be there next June.) Seems there's variation on how enthusiastic they are at various camps and how much effort they'll put into finding the animals. I'm afraid the next eight months are going to go by very slowly!
kareng is offline  
Oct 13th, 2007, 02:32 PM
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cary999 -
Is the Djuma Bush rate you gave for 2008 for all months in 2008, or during the low season? Do you know the Sept 2008 rate for Djuma Vuyatela?
Thanks - Steve's DW
SteveGC is offline  
Oct 13th, 2007, 04:01 PM
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Including the opinions of the South African with 30 some safaris under his belt was helpful. Djuma Bush Lodge looks like a good deal.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 13th, 2007, 05:20 PM
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Steve, they have web site, check it out.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  

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