Kings Pool vs Duma Tau

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Sep 6th, 2005, 09:13 AM
  #1
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Kings Pool vs Duma Tau

In early April, is it worth the extra $$$ to stay at Kings Pool vs Duma Tau? Our trip also includes Chitabe Camp, Makalolo Plains & Chikwenya.
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Sep 6th, 2005, 09:20 AM
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Hello,

All three Wilderness Linyanti camps -- Savuti, Duma Tau, and King's Pool -- traverse over the same area. So you will see the same game wherever you stay. If game-viewing is your priority, go with Duma Tau -- I stayed there this year and am returning next year. I could have stayed at King's Pool next year, but decided against it -- I don't spend enough time in my room to care how posh it is, and I'd rather put that money towards a few more days on safari.

In terms of luxury, the three Linyanti camps (from least to most) are Savuti, Duma Tau, and King's Pool. The rooms at Duma Tau are quite luxurious enough for me -- I have some photos I can send you if you want to see them. The rooms at King's Pool are larger and have more luxurious furnishings.

King's Pool is also notable for the amount of wildlife noise in the area. Personally, I love to hear the sounds of the bush when I am on safari (I was very disappointed on year at Londolozi when all of the animals seemed to have contracted laryngitis) but if you are a light sleeper this may be an important factor for you.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 6th, 2005, 09:49 AM
  #3
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Jasher - THANK YOU! This is exactly the info I am looking for. Game viewing is our priority so we'll stick with Duma Tau. Although, I would enjoy hearing the night time noises. Unfortunately we are trying to keep within our budget.

Would love to see your pics. E-mail them to [email protected].

Have you stayed at our other camps? Suggestions?

REALLY appreciate your advice.
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Sep 6th, 2005, 01:14 PM
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Hello,

I think I recognise your email address -- you're going around the world, aren't you? I'm so envious!

I'll send the pics to your email address. Unfortunately, I haven't stayed in any of your other camps, but I have heard that Chitabe is more rustic than DT with great game viewing.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 6th, 2005, 01:21 PM
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BTW, I'd recommend requesting Theba (Mr T) as your guide at Duma Tau. He's a bit older than some of the other guides and not as chatty, but he is superb at finding game (and positioning you for optimal photography at the same time!).

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 6th, 2005, 01:55 PM
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Jasher,

I second rtw's appreciation for your suggestions. We are headed to Africa in 8 days and will be staying at Duma Tau during our trip.

We will ask to have Theba as our guide.

Cindy
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Sep 6th, 2005, 02:15 PM
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I stayed at Duma Tau in Jan. 2003. Wildlife viewing was fantastic and the camp is plenty nice -- I agree with previous recommendation that there is no need to spend the extra $$ unless ultra luxury is the priority.

Cilas is a phenomenal guide there as well, the best spotter I have been out with and great driver keeping up with wild dogs on a hunt through mopane woodlands -- very impressive. Recommended by quite a few others on this board too. A guide named Julius moved there from Mombo, that is who you don't want. Very nice, and funny guy but did a terrible job guiding me at Mombo and I've seen some sketchy reports on his guiding from Duma Tau too.
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Sep 6th, 2005, 03:32 PM
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I will be staying at Duma Tau later this month. How are the game drives handled as far as the guides go? Is it realy possible to ask for someone in particular, or could one actually decline to get in the vehicle if there was a guide I didn't want, like Julius?
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Sep 6th, 2005, 03:53 PM
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Hello,

At all Wilderness camps, you meet your guide on the day you arrive and stay with him or her throughout your stay. This gives the guide a chance to get to know you and your interests so they can keep an eye out for the animals/birds/plants/etc which interest you. If there is a reason you are unhappy with your guide (or, more likely, with your Land Rover-mates) most camp managers are sympathetic and will arrange for you to switch vehicles.

In my experience, if you have a strong feeling about guides, it's best to let the camp know as far in advance as possible so they can take your preferences into account when distributing guests among the available vehicles. If your booking is *very* far in advance (as most Botswana bookings are) it's also a good idea to remind them about it a month or so before you arrive. This goes for other special requests as well, such as rooms, dietary requirements, etc. I made a number of requests before I left, and all but one were fulfilled (it was too cold to sleep out in the hide).

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 6th, 2005, 04:12 PM
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Lolo: Julian has covered it well. Simply have your agent/operator put in the request for your guide now and hopefully it will be accomodated. Most staff work a 3 months on and 1 month off schedule so its not always possible but obviously the agent and Wilderness want you to be happy so they should pay attention to your request.
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Sep 6th, 2005, 05:22 PM
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One more vote for Duma Tau over Kings Pool, due to pricing.

I thought Chitabe was quite luxurious, plenty enough for me, and I loved the raised walkways.

If you are there for a few nights, you might consider one night at their walking trails camp. You can walk a little over an hour to one trails camp or about 3 and a half hours to the other one. Or you can drive to either instead of walking.

Spending a night on the raised platform is a real treat. The nearer platform, which is the older one that accommodates up to four people, overlooks a lagoon and seems to be a better location. That's the one I stayed at.
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Sep 7th, 2005, 08:08 AM
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Julian and Predator: Thanks for the heads up on the guides. I have contacted my operator and requested either Theba or Cilas, but not Julius. They assign the guides 30 days in advance, but would try to honor my wishes. Who knows? Maybe one of the two are already assigned to me!!
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Sep 7th, 2005, 08:21 AM
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We had Ben as our guide at Duma Tau in June. He was one of the younger guides but excellent. Very knowledgeable about animals, birds, plant life. Very good at spotting game -- we saw an aardwolf during a night drive, and he was the one who first spotted the wild dogs.

But the most notable thing about him is that he is totally hilarious. His story about dating/courtship mixing modern and traditional customs had us in stitches. He's also a great dancer despite being built like a linebacker (this was also very funny to watch).

I second everyone's vote on Duma Tau. It was a beautiful camp and had the best food I thought. Much better even than Mombo. The "traditional" night meal was authentic and cooked over a camp fire, not like the pseudo-traditional stuff at Mombo. The camp usually does traditional evening on Mondays, but I would highly recommend talking to the camp to see if they'll do the traditional evening during your stay if you're not there on a Monday.

Judy

PS: For those of you who like to shop, Duma Tau has a great shop. Also better than Mombo. It was our first camp and I'm still kicking myself for not buying more stuff there.
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Sep 7th, 2005, 08:39 AM
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Kings Pool ha some advantages.

The sunken hide is terrific.
Brian and Chantel are two of the best guides anywhere.
I thought the KP staff were amongst the friendliest I have come across.
Food was excellent.
If staying long enough to actually enjoy your room, then KP is a great treat, the rooms are nicer than Mombo.

I havne't been to DT so can't compare yet, but KP is my favourite Botswana camp.
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Sep 7th, 2005, 09:51 AM
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Brian and Chantel were rotating fill in managers who happened to be at Duma Tau back in Jan. 2003 when I was there. Glad to hear they ended up with a plum assignment.

This is the difficult thing with camps and guides in the Wilderness system -- they shift around so much. One camp has the best food and management and 6 months later its totally different. For me in 2003 Mombo was by far the least impressive experience while Duba Plains had the best management team and food possible. Based on other reports I think Mombo received lots of feedback and basically cleaned house to return to glory. Meanwhile the manager at Duba Plains left to write a book on the Lions of Duba. WS keeps a great standard throughout the camps and the experience should be wonderful at every camp. For what is best, I think its always in flux just like the wildlife.
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Sep 7th, 2005, 12:05 PM
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Linjudy - what kind of things were for sale in the shop in Duma Tau? This will be our next-to-last stop before Vic. Falls and I think I might be able to spare some room/weight in my bags. I also heard that the shops in the J/burg airport are very good. How does it compare?
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Sep 7th, 2005, 12:30 PM
  #17
bwanamitch
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In Linyanti Reserve you have the Channel, the lagoon waterfront and lots of Mopane wood. Do you ever have considered to go to Selinda Reserve, on the other side of the lagoon? I found the open landscape there much more appealing.

Mitch
 
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Sep 7th, 2005, 12:47 PM
  #18
 
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You all have hit the nail squarely on the head, guides can make or break your stay and there is no guarantee that you'll get that special one.

IMO you should be looking at the Kwando product: They are all about game, operate in private concessions where they can stay out as long as YOU want and do too. They have trackers & guides. This allows the guide to communicate with you while the tracker works the spoor and does the spotting etc.

In April, they have decent rates too, mind you if you can get to their camps in March I believe the $$$ is a lot sweeter.

Try lagoon or lebala for the Linyat/Savuti landscape with the added bonus of access to the Kwando river, and kwara for the delta experience.

And their camps are canvass, plenty nocturnal noises to be heard. Rooms are more than comfortable, the emphasis is on game NOT OTT luxury. The food is great and the staff do back flips for their guests
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Sep 7th, 2005, 12:53 PM
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bwanamitch
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Wow. Another Kwando fan. Welcome.

mkhonzo, you should know that some people here don't like this special 'tool' that the Kwando vehicles have under their windscreens.

Mitch
 
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Sep 7th, 2005, 02:25 PM
  #20
 
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I have loved my experiences with Wilderness Safaris and just yesterday I completed a reservation for Feb/Mar to stay 2 nights at each Kwando Botswana camp and 2 nights at Deception Valley Lodge. I'm very excited and looking forward to the new experience.
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