Which Camps to Choose?

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Jul 27th, 2004, 04:42 PM
  #1
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Which Camps to Choose?

I'm so happy I found this board since so many of you have been to Botswana. I've been reading about the various camps and have spoken to several travel agents and not not been able to come to any consensus. We would like to go to 3 or 4 camps in Botswana, late April, early May. Jack's Camp sound wonderful with different terrain and viewing. We would like to go to a water camp, land camp and maybe another, for 2 nights each.

The camps that were recommeded to us include: Vumbura, Khwai, Eagle Island, Xigera,Duba Plain and Duma Tau. Of course, the guide books describe each as being wonderful. It's so hard to choose.

Can any of you recommend a camp/s to us that would be good for April/May?

Thank you.
Helene
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Jul 27th, 2004, 05:16 PM
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Helene, there are about half a dozen recent trip reports here on various camps in Botswana -- use the search facility at the top of the page and put in Botswana -- they should all pop up in a row for you to review.
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Jul 27th, 2004, 05:33 PM
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Molly: I'll take a crack at this to get it started. My familiarity tends toward Wilderness Safari camps which are exceptional so I will stick with what I know.

I think a perfect Botswana safari would include visits to Linyanti/Savute, Okavango Delta, Moremi Reserve area (Delta but relatively dry) and a desert camp.

I would recommend Duma Tau for Linyanti area with Savute Camp as another excellent choice.

Xigera is renowned as a water camp for the Okavango and Vumbura offers excellent water but still has great game drives if you want a mix of water and land. I have been to neither but heard great things for both. I chose Duba Plains instead due to my interest in lions -- it is the best in Africa for lions and should have mokoro experiences at the time you want to go but it would not be a true water camp.

For Moremi area I would recommend Chitabe for diverse game viewing and an excellent chance to see African wild dogs -- a major highlight of any safari. Mombo is also a great choice but much more expensive and you cannot go on night drives. Between price, night drives and wild dogs I would choose Chitabe.

Finish off with Jack's Camp as you have stated and you should have an amazing safari experience.

So according to your info I would recommend: Duma Tau - Vumbura - Chitabe - Jack's Camp. If you could swing one more camp I would replace Vumbura with the hard core water camp Xigera and Duba Plains. If limited to 4 camps I think Vumbura offers both experiences in combination.
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Jul 27th, 2004, 08:49 PM
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Predator Biologist, You've outlined an excellent itinerary...but I do wonder about DT in April/May, when MollyBee mentioned going...When I was at DT in early June the viewing was only so-so, and the guides, off the record, pretty much said that early in the season (April/May/June...maybe even July if wet) the viewing around DT was very hit or miss. And if there is still water in the area, the drive options are extremely limited and repetitive. They do have a boat, but again, nowhere interesting to go with it . Admittedly DT is supposed to be wonderful later in the year, but in April/May??? Has your experience been different at this time of year?

Also, for water camps, TubuTree and Kwetsani are wonderful choices. I think the management of these two camps is superb, and the settings really beautiful. Tubu is on Hunda Island, so that offers good game drive options during the floods too.

But I think Vumbura deserves a visit whether or not they choose another water camp. Game viewing was superb when I was there, and guests I met this year had AMAZINGLY diverse viewings in May/June (including caracal cubs...which they saw twice. I don't think there is anywhere else where you might even have a chance at caracal...
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Jul 28th, 2004, 02:09 AM
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If I were doing the trip myself I'd do as suggested and include a camp in the Linyanti area (we enjoyed Savuti recently and had wonderful sightings, particularly of cheetah and wild dog), a land camp in the Delta (you have so very many to choose from nad knowing what animals you'd most love to see would possibly help in the choices, I adored Tubu Tree on this recent trip as the accommodation and camp setting are a step above the other WS classic camps, they have night drive permissions so one is out much later on the afternoon/ evening drive, staff are superb and one can transfer here from Jacana/Jao area by boat rather than another plane flight), a water camp in the Delta (we found Jacana to be the most magical experience when the waters are in the island is surrounded by beautiful lily and reed covered water and the mokoro and boat trips are such a calm and tranquil experience - water is so utterly central to the Delta that it's good to see it in this kind of setting, we also loved Little Vumbura on our 2001 trip where we did the same water based activities - I prefer to concentrate on water experiences when at a water camp rather than trying to also do game drives from that base) and a stay (of 3 nights if possible) at Jack's Camp in the Kalahari (there's so much to see and do, the experience is completely different to those in the Delta and something you'll never forget.

Alternatively, concentrate on just the Delta for the first trip and that will allow you to see it in more depth with 2 or 3 land camps and one water camp.
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Jul 28th, 2004, 05:37 AM
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Helene-
The first thing that caught my eye in your posting, was late Apr/early May. Please take UhOhBusted's advice and search out some of the trip reports for this year during that time. I went to Botswana in April and I do not recommend anyone do that. The grass was so tall in the Delta that you couldn't see anything. In Linyanti we were staying at the camp right next to Duma Tau. The grass was so tall you couldn't see anything except what was on the road. It is cheaper then, they call it the Green Season and you can get amazing specials, but there is a reason for that. You mentioned Jack's Camp. We met a couple at Linyanti that had just come from there. Because of the water there, they also had record rains this year, they couldn't do the quad bikes which was what most people want to do. They said one night there was plenty, but everyone should see it. I haven't been so can't say but I was surprised the rains dampened the whole country I guess. At another time you can get an entirely different prospective. It really does matter. The animals had largely left the Delta and gone to the north because they don't like to get their feet wet and they become trapped on the small islands that don't flood.
I just put "trip report" in the search box on the top of the page, and clicked on Botswana and pulled up two amazing trip reports that are quite close to when you said you might go. Both 'girlpolo' and 'sprig' posted excellent reports. Start there and take all of the recommendations into consideration depending on the time of year they went. I personally think you should wait until mid to late June at the earliest. Or later on until September which is the best for game viewing in Botswana. Many times we overlook the dates someone is going and we only remember our own amazing experience and want to share it with others in a quandry. So its all in the timing.......
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Jul 28th, 2004, 06:26 AM
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Liz makes a superb point.

That said it's worth remembering that the rains WERE exceptional this year and also much later (especially in the area around Jack's Camp) and, unless next year is another unusual year, you might find MAY a reasonable option.

We travelled in June both times and as Liz says, by then the grass is less green and lush but also shorter.
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Jul 28th, 2004, 07:42 AM
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Good advice from all. I have not been at that time of year and would defer to Tashak's experience with Duma Tau and probably go with Savuti Camp for the Linyanti area. It is a shoulder season so the viewing would be better all around at a different time of year. Last years conditions were a 20 or 30 year type event so it will likely be better this year -- but you certainly never know.
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Jul 29th, 2004, 05:12 PM
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Thank you for your responses. I originally thought about going to Botswana in Sept.-Oct.; however, family issues may be a problem. We reviewed other options and came up with late April for South Africa and early May for Botswana. I hope the heavy rains this year were an unusual occurrence and that we will be able to experience the excitement of viewing animals in their native habitats.

I want to thank everyone who responded. I am looking through all my information as well as researching on the Net. All of the suggestions were helpful. I'll let you know when we decide. I'm having such a good time planning the trip. Everytime I read about a camp, I'm ready to go!

Do you get a better rate if the camps are all run by the same operator-Orient Express, Wilderness Safaris, or doesn't that matter?

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