Elephant Plains or Gomo Gomo

Feb 3rd, 2009, 04:29 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 24
Elephant Plains or Gomo Gomo


I am planning a trip in Aug 09 and Iam telling to decide if I should stay in Elephant Plains (Sabi Sands or Gomo Gomo (Timbavati) I am trying to keep to a certain budget as I am also going to Vic Falls and Chobe. Since Elephant Plains only have Luxury room left, going with Gomo for 3 nts who save us the total of $500.

Love to get your input ad to what I might miss out by going with Gomo.

bridezilla06 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 04:43 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Not so sure about Gomo Gomo. Why did you choose it in the Timbavati over several other camps? Price is $150pppn. Almost TOO cheap - to be really good????? Hmmmm, anybody been there - AND - to other safari camps for comparison?

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Feb 4th, 2009, 03:03 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,422
I was at GomoGomo last year and it was great. I prefer tented camps and this was one of the few in Sabi Sands, Timbavati that offered tents.
We saw everything but rhinos (our guide found tracks, but no rhinos)
We even saw cheetahs which aren't common to the area. We had to drive about 20 minutes or so to find them and our ranger kept apologizing for the long drive until I finally said...we flew halfway across the world for this...what's a little driving!
The web site says they've recently moved to a new location so I can't vouch for the "new" Gomo Gomo but I'd go back in a heartbeat.
The food was great. Except for the infamous breakfast "biscuit" that was our pre am drive snack. I can eat pretty much anything, but this was not one of those things. We called it Gomo Gunk. We even took a picture of it to put with our collage of The Turds of the Timbavati. Yes I took pix of all the different animal dung... I'm a vet tech- I couldn't help myself!
But that's a whole different thread!
Anyway, I vote for Gomo and I'd love to hear a review of the "new" camp.
Lillipets is offline  
Feb 4th, 2009, 04:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
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Sorry I could not minimise ....

Here are some "fresh" reports.

I myself have never heart of that camp. Now I am curious....

spassvogel is offline  
Feb 4th, 2009, 07:34 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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That TripAdvisor link for Gomo Gomo. I read all 26 reviews, in their entirety, not just the first 5 lines. Wow, if you want a LOT of reviews of a camp, I guess TripAdvisor is THE MAN!!!! Overall rating for Gomo Gomo is 4 1/2 stars out of 5. Nice rating. At $150 pppn this camp may be the best safari camp deal going.

However, quoting a review - "Gomo Gomo made our first safari one that we will never forget." Is typical of the reviewers and comments. Only 4 of the 26 reviewers had ever been to another safari camp. Hmmmm. And, important for me, none of the reports mentioned photography.

I next checked TripAdvisor for Mala Mala reviews. There are 24 reviews, MM rating also 4 1/2 stars. You can pretty much interchange reviews for MM with the reviews for Gomo Gomo. Hmmmm.

Other TripAdvisor safari camp reviews-
Mombo, 14 reviews, 4 1/2 stars. Savuti, 5 reviews 4 1/2 stars. Little Govenors, 17 reviews, 4 1/2 stars. Ndutu, 13 reviews, 4 1/2 stars.

Sooooo, what can we conclude? All safari camps are great . But hey, we knew that already!!!!!

regards - tom
ps - to minimize these super long links use "tinyurl", tinyurl.com

cary999 is offline  
Feb 4th, 2009, 08:01 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Oh, also I happened to think of the two camps I was at last Sep, Kings Camp and Ngala Lodge. My Fodors trip report if you have nothing better to do -
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35161085 Took look at TripAdvisor for those camps. Guess what? Each got 4 1/2 stars. While I will give Kings Camp 4, I give Ngala maybe 3. I will go back to Kings Camp, I won't Ngala.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Feb 4th, 2009, 10:17 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,215
Tom you are right! Makes a big difference whether you have visited other upmarket camps/lodges or have done more than one safari in order to compare.

Thank you for the tinything; I'll try that next time again.


please let us know when you get back from Africa what you choose and how it was.


Ah, I should add - there are reports on EP which are exceptionally good regarding value-for-money considering also the sightings. Maybe you try another TA and find whether he/she can get you a rondavel. Sometimes they block book and availability differes from TA to TA.
spassvogel is offline  
Feb 4th, 2009, 03:48 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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You should be a restaurant critic. A vote for Gomo despite the Gunk that ended up in the turd photo gallery is a very compelling endorsement.
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 4th, 2009, 06:02 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 646
Our family went to Gomo Gomo on 30/12/08 - 01/01/09. As we walked through the front door of the lodge we found our photos being taken and being offered champagne. We were soomewhat surprised but then found we were the very first guests at the new lodge! (We had no advanced warning that the lodge was moving. This also happened to another family, and in fact they spent 3 hours driving around looking for the lodge. Our better luck is a long story which I won't go into now).

So what did we think? Well, let me start by saying that I grew up in South Africa and spent many holidays in Kruger Park (SANPARKS) seeing animals, BUT I have never been to a private game lodge. Our Gomo Gomo experience came after 4 nights in Kruger (2 nights Satara and 2 nights Letaba). This was one of our treats (all be it more affordable that some private lodges). We chose Gomo Gomo for its affordability and I had heard good reports about it.

The lodge was in a very nice setting and all the staff were wonderful - very friendly, helpful etc etc. Could not fault them. The new site is NOT a tented lodge, but freestanding brick bungalows amidst the bush. Each is very private, not looking onto any others. The food was nice, but not what I would call memorable - set menu. (By the way, those pre-breakfast "biscuits" are called rusks - definately traditional South African food widely available - you have to know how to eat them!).

Animals - we saw the big ones - 4 or 5 young lions (about 2 years old) waiting for Mom to bring home dinner - right next to the open landrover; 2 leopards with a kill; rhino; elephant (a herd with a very vocal young male putting on a good show); buffalo ...... various buck etc. BUT, then we saw all that and plenty more in the Kruger Park as well. Our 4 wheel drive companions were from Reunion and had not seen anything before the trip, and we all agreed that there was a huge focus on "the big 5" at the expense of other animals. At times we were calling out STOP STOP to see a nice watebuck etc, but the vehicle kept going. We seemed to be on the chase to see whatever "big one" was being offered up over the radio.

Did we have a good time? Definately, yes!! Would we go back? I don't know, but I doubt it. Let me add very quickly that I make this statement not because of what Gomo Gomo did or did not do, but because I far prefered hunting my own animals. Self driving in the Kruger Park let us set our own pace, and watch animals as long as we wanted to. It felt more luck "stumbling across animals" and less like a trip to a zoo where someone else has already found them for you.

Perhaps we were lucky in the Kruger Park, but we saw excellent sightings of 3 of the Big 5 within a couple of hours of entering the park - between the gate and Satara camp. We saw the other two before 9am the next morning. We also saw some other magical sights in the Kruger Park. A pair of lions walked beside our car and crossed the road - a good 8 minutes watching them - and we were the only car there! Two very wary leopards carefully checking us out before disappearing - again the only car there. A baby elephant bumbling across the road behind it's mother (right in front of our car) - very young - it was quite unsteady on its feet! Again - we were it's only spectators. A rhino protecting a patch of dust from young wildebeest, chasing them whenever they curiously came near(never quite worked out why). A family of hyenas (3 pups) right next to the road eating the leg of some sort of antelope. We could not work out what animal it was, but it was right next to the car - we had our windows open, and the sound of those jaws crunching through thick bone was incredible! Once again we had it all to ourselves for a long time before anyone else came by. And one of our favourite - a civet cat which seemed to be "moving house" - a pair of them, and one carying what I think was a "kitten / cub" in it's mouth. (My daughter got a great photo of one of them). But, I digress, this is not meant to be my trip report.

If you have your heart set on a lodge style safari, and your budget is tight (as ours was) - I think Gomo Gomo would be fine. As I say, I am perhaps biased against the touristy "safari experience" - you can have great animal experiences other ways.
PRLCH is offline  
Feb 4th, 2009, 07:00 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
PRLCH - many thanks for your report on Gomo Gomo. And you were there quite recently too.
Two questions please, how many nights were you there? And in your game drive vehicle, how many guests?

If you know me, you know I agree with you about Kruger. We have been there twice to camps Mopani, Satara, and Letaba.
We have never seen leopard there and lions rarely and they were flat cats. But the elephants are marvelous.
This coming Sept we will be back for 7 nights at camps Letaba and Olifants. That bridge near Olifants,
over the Olifants River is really neat. Anything else like that in the Park? (Oops, 3 questions).

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Feb 5th, 2009, 01:53 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Thanks for the updated news. I'm disappointed the tents are gone!
You said something about the rusks- "you have to know how to eat them"
I'm dying to hear how it's done... I'll be sure to tell my traveling companion. At other places we had something I'd call biscotti- a double baked cookie type of thing. I know those get dipped in coffee, but the Gomo gunk was round chunk of something that was more suited for something other than dunking! (If I knew how to make a smiley face it would be here!)
At any rate the Gomo gunk just gave us a fit of giggles every morning-"are they still there??..yes...I'm sure those are the same ones they've been putting out for years!"
Lillipets is offline  
Feb 5th, 2009, 01:10 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 646
Hi Tom; it's nice to meet another Kruger Park fan! After 16 years without a trip to the Kruger Park, I had almost forgotten how much I love it, and what an amazingly special place it is! Shame about the current economic climate - I guess those future trips will have to wait a while now.

We spent 2 nights at Gomo Gomo - that gave us an evening ride on day 1(if I remember correctly about 3:30 /4pm - 8 / 8:30pm), a morning (5:30am - 8am'ish) and evening ride on day 2, and a morning ride on the day of our departure.

We were 8 passengers in the land rover. Our family (our daughters are 15 and 16) and a French family (their daughters in their 20s). There were 3 rows of seats each accommodating 3, and I guess and additional one could sit up front with the ranger. We also had a tracker who sat out the front on a fold down type of seat over the front left wheel. (He did vacate his seat and move onto the middle of the engine just before we stopped right beside the 4 or 5 young lions - I too would have felt vulnerable out there!!) Depending on guest numbers, they took 2 or 3 landrovers out each day, but they did not travel in convoy - each headed in a different direction.

I am sure you are going to have a great time in Kruger. September will not be so hot, and being the end of winter the grass should be shorter making game viewing easier. I love Oliphants camp - we could not get in there as they were fully booked. They are doing lots of building there at the moment - new restaurant area - I think it may be finished when you go. I had never been to Mopani before, but we popped in there this trip - a very pretty camp.

We saw most of our animals near Satara. Much less animal sightings in the Letaba region (and much drier), BUT some of what we saw there was so interesting; eg. the hyenas (we saw 2 lots), a hippo out of water at dusk one evening (on the river bank not far from Letaba camp - stopped for a few minutes just before gate curfew); the rhino protecting his dust patch; and I think the leopards (but my memory may fail me - things tend to blur after a while). We also saw an ENORMOUS herd of elephant down on the river as we headed up to Oliphants one morning for a late breakfast stop.

Down at Satara we enjoyed going to Timbavati picnic spot. We joined the locals getting out of the car and making a "bush breakfast". You can hire a gas hotplate for R15 and cook up eggs, bacons, sausages, mushrooms ..... whatever takes your fancy .... in the middle of the Kruger Park. After getting up at 4'ish, a good breakfast at about 9am almost feels like lunch!

You mention special places in the Kruger Park. We stayed at Punda Maria on our last trip (about 16 years ago) - it is still one of my husband's very favourite places!

When we were in SA recently, I read about how the Kruger Park (SANPARKS) has moved to "Private Conservancies". I gather these are leases for private, upmarket lodges within Kruger. I don't know if you self drive from them, or if it is escorted drives. Also, I don't know if they use main roads or do off road driving. The article said it was a way to maximise conservation income for minimal impact. The theory is that 12 high paying guests bring in as much money as say 100 guests at cheaper accommodation, but obviously the environmental impact is much less. I am interested to find out more about these places, as I did find the Kruger accommodation somewhat run down and basic. (BUT .... the game viewing made up for it). Anybody know anything about them?

Lillipets - back to those rusks. I myself did not try them as I found it too early for food. Also, what you consume before a game drive leads to the need for toilet stops out in the bush - not something we relished with wild animals lurking!! But, yes, the idea is you "dunk" them in your coffee - just long enough to soften them and not so long that they get all soggy and plop off into your cup!

Apologies to bridezilla06 - I did not mean to hijack your thread. Let us know what you decide between Gomo Gomo and Elephant Plains!
PRLCH is offline  
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