Modumo

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Apr 6th, 2004, 06:08 PM
  #1
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Modumo

Has anybody heard anything about, or have any experience with a lodge called Modumo (www.modumo.com)? It's seems to be new, around only about a year or so.

I'd be grateful for any insights.
Thanks.
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Apr 6th, 2004, 09:52 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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chooch,

That looks like a fabulous camp!

Before you pointed it out, I had never come across it before, but it is new, beautiful and has great pricing.

I don't know if you saw this already or not, but I found this excerpted travelogue on Google:

Our flight from Seronga to Modumo Lodge was not until late afternoon of the following day and by unanimous decision we spent the remainder of the time on Ngwesi relaxing, enjoying the sunshine and watching the gentle ebb and flow of the river. It was with regret that we said goodbye to our floating home and once again headed for the Seronga airstrip for our flight to Vumbura airstrip. Our new pilot, Antoine Lamont, welcomed us with the words ÓYou have flown in the Rolls-Royce and BMW, now you will fly in the tractor.Ó But the smile belied his words although the words 'experimental' on the pilot's door gave me something to think about.

The aircraft was a Cessna 175 and the reason for the LS-1 registration was because the log books had been lost and the aviation authorities had therefore reclassified the aeroplane.

A quick, short takeoff and we were headed southwest to Mudumo Lodge, recently developed and taking in guests for the first time. In fact Tessa and I had the honour of being the first visitors.

It was a short flight and soon Antoine was pointing out the well camouflaged lodge buildings to us. He also overflew the airstrip that is being built, and at present they are waiting for the results of an environment impact study.

The drive from Vumbura airstrip to the lodge is about an hour and a half but we were lucky enough that within a couple of minutes we came across a pride of about nine lions resting under Ònot a large tree, but under the small bushes,Ó as Vicky would say. They lazily glared at us for disturbing their afternoon nap but otherwise paid no attention to our vehicle. The route to Modumo travels along the Buffalo Fence, which was erected by the government to keep foot-and-mouth disease-infected buffalo out of the farming areas. But the wily animals escaped time and again and it has now apparently been decided to rather leave those that escape as rounding them up again is prohibitively expensive. This was good news for Modumo Lodge as it meant they could then boast of having four of the Big Five, the only exception being rhino.

Two years in planning, the lodge is a triumph of one man's determination and guts to prove he had what it took to join the growing tourist industry of Botswana. The story really goes back to 1998 when Modumo Sehitheng, at that time working as a guide at another lodge, was given a business card by a German businessman with an invitation to contact him at any time for business advice or help. This gave the Botswana man the initial idea of finding a concession to develop as a lodge. Finding the area was not difficult, the ground known as NG12 was a hunting concession and ideal for tourism, but that was when Moduma's problems and battles against the proverbial 'red-tape' started. Here was a young, Botswana national with basic education, no money, just determination, and he was ready to take on everyone for something he believed in. Listening to the stories he told of false information given by officials, obstructions put in his path and the travelling he had to do to Maun, Seropa and Gaborone, one has to admire him. What also drew my attention was the fact that both Ian Khama, Botswana's vice-president and a keen conservationist, and President Mogai, were readily available to offer help. At times it was presidential 'request' that smoothed the path for Moduma and this is something that would be impossible back in South Africa where just getting any phone call answered is extremely difficult.

Time passed, approval was finally obtained and with two years of serious planning behind them, the first pole was put into the ground on November 1 last year. Six months later a phoenix has arisen. Hidden amongst the enormous jackelberry, leadwood, and umbrella thorn trees that are characteristic of the area, it is obvious that much thought and planning has gone into the buildings. From the air only a hint of the thatch roofing can be seen while from the ground everything blends in to the point that nature has not been disturbed in any way. In the lounge area a young tree, around which the deck has been constructed, is full of leaves as it stretches upwards, the bar has been built around a massive jackelberry and the counter is of leadwood. Much of the furniture has been constructed by Antoine himself including the long dining table and chairs.

Each of the chalets has been planned with comfort, convenience and luxury in mind. The king-sized bed is covered with mosquito netting, the wooden backboard and side tables are hand made as is much of the other furniture. A small lounge area provides space to sit, relax and watch the ever shifting waters of the Delta. Alternatively you can sit on your private veranda and watch for hippo, elephant and other game as they come to drink in the mornings and evenings. Ample packing space for clothes is provided, but the focus point in the bathroom is the large, tin bath with matching tin basins and I can assure you that the water stays extremely hot. Imagine lying in your bath and by just turning your head you can see the water and animals. An outdoor shower has been built so close to a tree trunk, that it seems as if the water is coming out of the tree. I especially loved the little 'pod hats' that each tap wore to indicate 'hot' or 'cold'. Work up a lather while watching the stars twinkle down, they too are watching.

Our game drive the following morning will remain forever in my memory. Our guide soon spotted fresh leopard tracks and for ages we followed the prints, sometimes loosing them in the grass only to pick up the spoor again. Eventually he spotted an area of crushed grass where a kill had taken place, and by following the drag marks we were able to find the leopard in thickish bush where they had settled to eat, no doubt opting to devour part of their prey as it seemed to be too heavy to pull into a tree. Silently we sat and watched, waiting. At last our patience was rewarded as first one (probably a cub) and then the mother moved cautiously, watching us. As they crouched down we could see the lithe bodies and magnificent heads of the beasts as they watched us, eyes glittering as if sizing us up as possible lunch. Tessa sat very quietly, later telling me that she kept an eye on the youngster and every time she blinked it seemed to blink back at her. I just watched enthralled. For many years I had been hoping for this, been in many reserves that boasted of plenty of leopard but never a sighting. Now here I was, with two prime animals not three metres away from me. For years I had been in love with the image, now I am in love with the reality. I wanted to sit all day but we had to move on and although the rest of the drive yielded many animals, my dream had come true!

We were leaving early the next day, flying to Maun to spend a night at Tree Lodge, another really upmarket lodge. The rest of the day was again spent relaxing, chatting to Modumo and watching a solitary elephant as it came to drink from the lake. The single hippo we had spotted the previous evening was now joined by another and the two ambled off in the twilight in search of grazing for the rumbling bellies.
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Apr 7th, 2004, 11:50 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Great story Rocco! Modumo is a well known chap in this area, he used to work in several different camps around the delta. A brilliant successs story and the camp is fab!
By the way, there was an article in the last Africa Geographic, I was trying to find the online version but couldn't find it. Maybe if someone else has a look, I only have the hardcopy.
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Apr 8th, 2004, 08:47 AM
  #4
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Roccco, thanks for posting that report - I had seen it, but it was actually the only in depth report I found. I certainly like the look of it, but it worries me a bit that it's so new.

Karin, it sounds like you know the camp. Does it have experienced staff and guides? Do they use trackers as well? Any details would be much appreciated. Thanks.
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Apr 8th, 2004, 09:41 AM
  #5
 
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I have emailed Modumo with my 20 questions, since the website fails to answer many questions (yet shows that the lodge is so beautiful that it deserves consideration).

I will post the answers to my many questions on this thread, once I receive the e-mail back from Modumo.
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Apr 9th, 2004, 03:40 AM
  #6
 
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I haven't received a response from Modumo yet, but I did receive this very informative response from Steve at Natural Events (www.natural-events.com), the likely operator that I will use for Botswana 2005, about Modumo:

First, Modumo. Modumo is relatively new and in concession NG12 (the Gudigwa concession). NG12 was for a very long time a hunting concession. NG12 is immediately north of Vumbura (NG22) and Duba Plains (NG23), which adjoin the Moremi Game Reserve on its northern boundary. If you look at a map of the delta NG12 is on the apex of the N.E. corner. The Magwagqana Spillway, a frequently-dry waterway linking the Okavango Delta to the Linyanti Swamps in northern Botswana, begins in this concession, and offers a hospitable environment for game. The southern portion of the Gudigwa concession is made up of widespread mopane woodlands. The camp has the normal 16 beds and employs about 25 local staff. The business plan and financing eventually came from outside of Botswana but otherwise this is a local success story - all will be if all goes to plan. The problem with NG12 was that it's hunting history has made game scare and nervous although apparently it's coming back quickly. There's no reason why very soon NG12 won't be as good as the rest of the surrounding area. Modumo is too a great extent an untested experience. What you need to decide is if you wish to be part of the testing and in the experiment. Since I am unable to give specific advice I advise letting others deal with the teething problems and wait for the game to fully re-establish.

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With the above being said, I think that I will let others be part of that experiment and stick with tried and proven camps. Modumo looks lovely, but how can a new lodge compete with a Kwando or Wilderness Safaris camp? For a $150 per person per night savings over Wilderness Safaris(multiplied by 3 nights), it is not worth it to risk a 9 night safari to Botswana.
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Apr 16th, 2004, 11:24 PM
  #7
 
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Unfortunately, after eight days, I still have not received a response from Modumo. Personally, I would not feel comfortable booking with a place that doesn't check or respond to its e-mail.
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