lost Wilderness camps

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Jul 14th, 2005, 02:34 PM
  #1
bwanamitch
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lost Wilderness camps

Does anyone know something about Seba Camp in Abu's Concession, Botswana? WS promoted it for some months on their website, but now it has disappeared? Has this camp ever exist, or was it just a dream bubble?

I'm also interested to know what happened to Ndumo Wilderness Camp? Did WS close it, or changed it ownership?

And what about the announced Royal Makuleke Camp in northern Kruger? Have WS dropped these plans?

Any info would be helpful.

Mitch
 
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Jul 14th, 2005, 02:51 PM
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Hiya
About Ndumo - there has been a lot of confusion about camps in this reserve for quite a long time.
We visited and stayed in the WS camp there in June 2004.
We booked the trip around about a year ahead of time and originally I was intending to stay in the government run rest camp in the park but was told it was no longer open. We happily upgraded to the WS camp but, on arrival, we found the government one was not only open but the guy at reception looked at me oddly and said it had never been closed. So much for the information on the offical website then!
We were lucky as it happened - the WS camp had been full the night before our arrival and they were expecting new guests the day we left but, for our two nights we were the only guests in camp!
Anyway, point of my post, I wrote to WS in November 2004 when I first noticed that the camp was no longer on their site. This is the response I received:
Unfortunately, owing to circumstances beyond our control we had to put our Ndumo camp into mothballs at the end of August this year. I am not sure how long this will be for, as we are currently in negotiations with our landlord to try and rectify the situation.
If it's still not listed I guess they haven't resolved the problem yet.
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Jul 14th, 2005, 03:00 PM
  #3
bwanamitch
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Thank you, Kavey.

I've also read this "unfortunately, owing to circumstances beyond our control..." in other replies from WS. Sometimes I have the impression that they've expanded too fast over the last few years...

Mitch
 
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Jul 14th, 2005, 03:26 PM
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I think there's certainly an element of that. They do have a tendency to publicise their plans for new camps extremely early on and I wonder if it would be better if they waited till the plans were further along and more likely to pan out. When we were there in 2004 there were lots of leaflets and hype about several new properties they were creating in South Africa with planned opening dates within the next few months. I think only some of these have opened so far - I know one on the list was Castle on the Cliff but there was another in the same region which I can't find mention of.

I suspect another element is the fickle nature of agreements that they have received from local authorities and landlords that are then either reneged on or withdrawn... I don't have anything to back that up but it's just an impression I have.
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Jul 14th, 2005, 03:28 PM
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bwanamitch,

You may also include Ruckomechi, Linkwasha and Matusadona Water Wilderness, all in Zimbabwe, amongst the casualties...all are no more and do not appear in my 2005 Wilderness Safaris brochure.

I am curious whether or not Wilderness Safaris, CCAfrica or another operator such as Sanctuary or Orient Express is ever going to get into Zambia (beyond Victoria Falls). Zambia will continue to grow in popularity without such major companies, but popularity in Zambia would likely surge if Wilderness Safaris or CCAfrica came in. Whatever most helps the wildlife is what I would like to see for Zambia.
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Jul 14th, 2005, 04:09 PM
  #6
bwanamitch
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Rocco,

Currently there are still over-capacities in Zambia, with the exception of one camp I had no problem with my bookings for this high season - and I made them this and last month.

WS? I think currently they have enough trouble, I never saw so many changes on a website than in the last half year. I remember that Colin Bell & Co. visited Tanzania about four years ago, but they dropped any plans there, I assume mainly of 9/11.

CCAfrica? There are a lot of rumours about this company for some time now. Then the failure of the planned CCAfrica/Selous Safari Co. fusion in TZ. And now they have sold one of the Londolozi lodges...

Orient Express? They have another core business.

Sanctuary/A&K? In my opinion the only candidate for such expansion.

Mitch
 
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Jul 14th, 2005, 06:47 PM
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Bwanamitch,

Can you tell me anything else about CCAfrica selling Londolozi, or losing their lease or whatever (I'm not sure that CCAfrica actually owns Londolozi).
Thanks
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Jul 14th, 2005, 07:00 PM
  #8
bwanamitch
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Hi brandywine,

Londolozi is property of the Varty family who also are founders of CCAfrica (don't know how many shares they hold). Londolozi Safari Lodge (only this one!) has been sold to Sabi Sabi and will become Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp from March 2006 on. I don't have any background info, I only can speculate - maybe John Varty has burned to much money with his Tiger project...

Mitch
 
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Jul 14th, 2005, 07:02 PM
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Hi all,

Tseba Camp is no more owing to the fact that Abu's was sold back to Randall Moore after a VERY brief purchase...

In 2004 Alistair Rankin (ex-WS) and others acquired Elephant Back Safaris. Due to undisclosed reasons, they sold their interest back to Moore. Randall will not be managing the camp but has committed to looking after any issues regarding the elephants if necessary. Wilderness Safaris will continue to do the marketing and reservations.

WS has a close relationship with Alistair (and not Moore), thus, no more Tseba Camp.

Latest on the Pafuri/Makuleke in northern Kruger:
Pafuri Camp is already open. WS signed a 45-year lease with the Makuleke community. Royal Makuleke (Pafuri's up-market counterpart) is still in the plans but is coming along slowly.

Ndumo closed as a result of problems with the local communities there (same sort of thing happened with the awesome Jedibe Camp, which I loved). Too bad a sNdumo was spectacular for birding.

We are pretty tied in with the guys at WS and I do NOT think they will be expanding into Zambia any time soon.
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Jul 14th, 2005, 07:09 PM
  #10
bwanamitch
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Thank you, James.
I'd hoped that you could clarify this.
Btw, I'm a regular reader of your news pages.

Mitch
 
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Jul 14th, 2005, 07:10 PM
  #11
 
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Thanks Mitch,
We meant the general managers of Londolozi when we were there last month, and I understood that the Varty family owned the property and I guess CCAfrica has the managing rights, but thought maybe they had lost that right. The managers did not say anything about Safari lodge, or how long CCAfrica has the right to manage, but they might not want to diccuss everything. I had read about the tiger project, sounds a little bizzare, but what do I know. Anyway, we were very happy with our time at Londolozi Tree Camp and CCAfrica in general.
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Jul 14th, 2005, 07:30 PM
  #12
bwanamitch
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James,

perhaps you can answer another of my WS questions: the "Wilderness Tented Camp" that is used by OAT, is this Kaparota or still Vundumtiki?

Mitch
 
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Jul 15th, 2005, 08:08 AM
  #13
 
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Hi Mitch,

I've seen different OAT itineraries using one or the other, so I think they use both camps at times - I'm not too plugged in with the OAT stuff. Will check with Nicky and she may know. James
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