Mombo - how much, and is it worth it?

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Jul 18th, 2005, 06:59 AM
  #1
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Mombo - how much, and is it worth it?

Hello,

I've heard so many incredible things about Mombo Camp -- both about the quality of the game-viewing experience and about the price (!). The price reports I've seen vary pretty widely, though.

How much does it actually cost, per person per night, in June or July? And is it worth it? I'd especially like to hear from any solo travellers, as it's possible I will be travelling on my own.

Also, how far in advance does one have to reserve?

Cheers,
Julian
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Jul 18th, 2005, 07:21 AM
  #2
bwanamitch
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jasher,

if it's only the game-viewing experience you're after, then you should also consider a stay at Chief's Camp - it's located in the same area and less expensive.

Mitch
 
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Jul 18th, 2005, 07:25 AM
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Well, I have a somewhat complicated answer as my agent didn't break out prices for Mombo.

We spent around $4800 per person for 8 nights (2 nights each at River Club, Duma Tau, Kwetsani, Mombo). If we had chosen another 5-paw camp instead of Mombo, I think would've been just over $4000. So, one way to look at it is Mombo added a total of ~$1500 for our entire trip.

As to whether it's worth it, my personal opinion is a resounding YES! What I will always remember is the beauty of the area and the astounding wildlife, not the $1500. I posted some pictures from Mombo here awhile back so you can see for yourself. Feel free to email me ([email protected]) if you'd like more info on the camps we stayed.

Judy
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Jul 18th, 2005, 07:38 AM
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bwanamitch
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Current rates at Siyabona Africa (South Africa):

Mombo:
2005-04-01 - 11-30: $1200pppns + $250ss

Chief's Camp:
2005-06-01 - 06-30: $440pppns + $0ss
2005-07-01 - 10-31: $740pppns + $220ss
 
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Jul 18th, 2005, 08:23 AM
  #5
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Bwanamitch,

Have you been to Chief's Camp? It does look much less expensive, but I have heard some negative things from people in the UK about the Sanctuary camps, particularly in regards to the guiding -- that the emphasis isn't really on the game viewing but on lazing around the pool in very posh surroundings.

Cheers,
Julian
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Jul 18th, 2005, 08:37 AM
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I would say Mombo was worth it, yes. We went in May 2005. It kind of depends whether you have been to Africa before and whether you are planning to go again. If you've been several times and have already seen everything, maybe it's not worth it, but we definitely thought it was worth it for us. I think IF we go again, which I hope we will go again some day, if I can get the money together again, I would go to Mombo again. The facilities are fantastic, the people are fantastic, but the game viewing was certainly the best of what we saw, for CATS, for sure. One pride of lions has 4 males, 7 females and 19 cubs! Also saw leopard and cheetah. Here's a link to our trip report section about Mombo. http://www.traveltalkonline.com/foru...b=5&o=&fpart=1
Carol
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Jul 18th, 2005, 09:11 AM
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Julian,

are you sure you havn't mixed up the camp names? I've heard the same about Mombo (even from camp managers of the same company). Whatsoever, there are certainly in each camp visitors who've expected something slightly different and who tend to generalize because of some rare events...

I've been in Chief's Camp some years ago (and since then I've never heard about any changes in quality). It's less posh than Mombo but still one of the most luxurious camps in the Delta, maybe a little bushier - no wooden walkways... your feet will still touch real African ground. The tents are very comfortable (however, not comparable to Mombo), distances between tents are lesser, and the camp is more populated (12 tents). Meals and wine were superb (this might change with the chef). During my stay not anybody did use the plunge pool. Game drives were more than excellent (the game viewing area partly overlaps with that of Mombo), and my guide had the same experience and knowledge that I know from other top operators in the area.

So if the "Mombo factor" doesn't matter to you, Chief's is a good alternative. (I havn't been in Mombo, and I certainly never will.)

Mitch
 
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Jul 18th, 2005, 09:27 AM
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Hi Carol,

Thanks for the link - your trip report was great! Interestingly, I've stayed at Little Vumbura, and had a similar experience in terms of the game viewing -- it was nice, but the animals felt a bit thin on the ground relative to Duma Tau (the camp I stayed at before going to LV, near Savuti).

Cheers,
Julian
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Jul 18th, 2005, 09:31 AM
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Hi Mitch,

I'm pretty sure I got the names right ; )

To be honest, I've heard that there can be people who are more interested in being seen there than in actually doing any game-viewing at both camps I haven't heard the same glowing reports about the game viewing at Chief's as I have about Mombo, though. I'll definitely look into Chief's, though -- that's a huge savings!

Cheers,
Julian
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Jul 18th, 2005, 11:15 AM
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Hi Julian,

I have not been to Mombo but have only heard glowing reports.
We did stay at Chief's Camp in late May for 3 nights.
Check out our trip report:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34632411

I did not feel the guide we had there was on par with the others we had at the two WS camps.
That said, I have not stayed at any other Santuary camps so I have no basis of comparision. Other fodorites have had very good guides at Chief's.

Chief's certainly did not feel like a posh - lay around the pool place and the wildlife diversity was amazing.
Read my report and let me know if you have any more questions.
Brenda
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Jul 18th, 2005, 12:34 PM
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Re Chief's vs Mombo: this is a little silly. I've never seen anyone miss a game drive at Mombo...this stuff about being "seen" there is ridiculous. Seen by whom, the dozen (+/-) other people at the camps? I imagine the same is true about Chief's.

There are however, lots of people who like to namedrop Mombo both before and after visits. There are bores who talk about their new digital cameras and lenses endlessly. (One of the big advantages of a big white lense is that it shuts them up.) There are also people who love to talk about the best camps, hotels or restaurants they've visited. But not really more than at any other WS or WS-class camp in Africa. These people seem to be distributed rather randomly across countries and camps.
While you are there you will find that people are crazy about wildlife and gamedrives and there is no real scene (or"seen") around the pool.

I think the major difference between these two camps may be one of habitat (and therefore wildlife) distributed across the island. There aren't too many people here who have been to both camps, but if you can find such a person, that is the opinion I'd give more weight. I think there may be one or two such people on this board.

Regarding travelling solo: You'll enjoy it, other than the single supplement. Also www.e-gnu.com has rates posted for all the camps, I believe.
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Jul 18th, 2005, 12:42 PM
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bwanamitch
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tashak

"One of the big advantages of a big white lense is that it shuts them up..."

Apparently we're using the same "gun".
Which bore?

Mitch
 
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Jul 18th, 2005, 03:55 PM
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Well, not so big really, just bigger than theirs.
70-200 with 1.4X (which makes it look longer of course).
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Jul 18th, 2005, 05:29 PM
  #14
bwanamitch
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tashak,

well, this is definitely not Mombo... (don't look at this, Rocco!)
but my "tool" always gives me the required attention...
ftp://www.podszuck.de/po/podszuck.de...MinKatavi.jpeg

Mitch
 
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Jul 18th, 2005, 05:44 PM
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Mitch,

You know what they say about guys who brag about the size of their "tool." Supposedly, if the general rule applies, in reality your tool really looks like this:

http://www.parsonsfoto.com/canon/dig_rebel_body_bl.jpg



Now...what do you think about Katavi. I have read that it is great for gameviewing but bad for Tetse flies. Does Katavi come into season the same time as Ruaha and Selous? That may make an awesome combination of lesser visited Tanzanian parks, if so.
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Jul 18th, 2005, 06:07 PM
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Bwana, So that's why they call it a cannon. It's a good thing that I don't get competitive about these things, or I'd get a complex...and how is your back doing post-trip?;-)
Looks like a nice place. I much prefer this to the grand style of Mombo.
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Jul 18th, 2005, 06:13 PM
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bwanamitch
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Rocco,

that can't be me - I'm still analog

Katavi? First, no tsetse at all (maybe luck?), in contrast to Ruaha - sometimes that was really hell. Second, hot! I'd been there in September, and I remember it hotter than Zambia end of October. I think the best time for Katavi and Ruaha must be end of August/beginning of September. Up to now I havn't been in Selous, but for all what I know you can combine all of these parks in one trip.

We saw huge herds of buffalo (similar to Duba Plains), hundreds of hippos (never saw more in one place), but astonishing few predators - only three lions in 5 days (bad luck?). I think the park has its charm through its remoteness - at my visit we were 5 at our camp and 3 at Chada, in an area of over 1700 square miles.

Mitch
 
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Jul 18th, 2005, 06:20 PM
  #18
bwanamitch
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tashak,

I hope one day Canon will release a 500 DO - would be much better for my back...

Mitch
 
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Jul 18th, 2005, 06:25 PM
  #19
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Rocco,

from all what I know about Selous, my rating of the southern parks is:

1. Ruaha
2. Katavi
3. Selous

Mitch
 
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Jul 18th, 2005, 06:36 PM
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Bwana, don't fret over the DO version too much. I also have the 75-300DO, and it is a big compromise. It is significantly smaller but still heavy. Since I much prefer the 70-200, it just becomes one more choice to agonize over before the trip and second guess during the trip.
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