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“Magic in the Delta” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Wilderness Safaris Little Vumbura Camp

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Wilderness Safaris Little Vumbura Camp
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4.0 of 5 Cabin/Campground   |   North of the Moremi Wildlife Reserve, Botswana   |  
Hotel amenities
Seattle
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Magic in the Delta”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

My wife and I visited Little Vumbura earlier this month and can easily say that it was a once in a lifetime experience. The small, intimate camp was very comfortable and the staff went out of their way to make the visit very special. When we mentioned that our trip was a delayed honeymoon they took the extra step of providing a poolside candlelit dinner complete with Champagne on ice and an African serenade. Just special in every respect. The game drives were very memorable and our guide, Rain, repeatedly demonstrated his broad knowledge of the flora and fauna of the Delta. We especially liked dodging the elephants that moved into camp every night we were there. If you get the chance to visit the Delta, you won't be disappointed with Little Vumbura. Simply unforgettable.

Room Tip: We had Tent #6, the last on the line. Very private.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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89 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
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English first
Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

We flew into a nearby small airstrip in Botswana to be greeted by one of the guides who drove us to the camp and was our companion on three safaries. Since this was northern Botswana and in April, 2013, the island camp was surrounded by water. In addition to the drive safaries, we took a boat outing, the boatman standing and propelling us through the reeds as the sun set and the night sounds came alive. Everyone we met was helpful and caring, with great attention to our safety. The camp was operated almost without us seeing the preparations. The guides are connected to each other by radio in order to share any outstanding animal sightings with all the guests.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Chicago, Illinois
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2013

We can't say enough about the outstanding staff and guides. The entire staff were friendly and were always there to assist us and make our stay comfortable. They accomplished this without being intrusive, yet always available. The meals prepared were delicious and plentiful. They were aware of any dietary concerns and were able to accomodate them. Rain, our guide, helped make this a truly great experience. His tracking abilities enabled us to observe all of the animals in that area in their natural environment. He provided excellent commentary about the animals, birds, and environment. Our last afternoon, we decided to take a mokoro to another island. Rain set it up and ensured that the trip was safe and enjoyable. All of our expectations with this camp were greatly exceeded and we could not have asked for a better experience. We would highly recommend this camp!

Room Tip: We had #1 and liked being close to the main areas.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2013

What an experience! This is a very nice camp by Wilderness in the Delta indeed. It is a great size with just 6 tents. We staid in the family tent that was wonderfully complete and well finished. The team lead by Alex, KB, Johan, Ryno was just the best. The local staff were very friendly - folks like Kelly, Ob, and Witness, but many others also left a great impression with the 4 of us. Out guide Sam did a great job, and took us out on a number of really very nice trips, both on land and water. With his dedication and efforts he found me some great lifers (birds), including the Western Banded Snake Eagle, and a juvenile Black Coucal, something that I had been hoping and looking for for quite a while now.

The food that was prepared was the absolute best, and we all felt very pampered indeed. The atmosphere that was created in the camp by the staff was just the best, and as a result we felt at home straight away.

We really liked this place and would recommend Little Vumbura to every one to visit.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Jersey, United Kingdom
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2013

This camp is fabulous and has a real Luxury feel. We went in March and would like to return when the waters are high. The hosts are brilliant. On the last day they went out of their way to help us see the wild dogs which we were keen to see. The Okavango is a real adventure, the game in abundance and the birdlife fantastic. When I go again I will go for three rather than two days in each camp as one really needs that time to take it all in. The food is exceptionally good at this camp as I think Millie has quite an input. Can't say anymore the Okavango is a must and Little Vumbara is too.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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St. Louis, MO
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
139 helpful votes 139 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

My wife and I (mid 50s) just spent 3 nights here. It was our second "camp" on a 16 day trip, our first time on safari. (Our first camp was at the Chobe Game Lodge in Chobe NP, which is essentially a hotel type facility, albeit a very nice one.)

We were very impressed with all facets of LV.

Getting there was easy enough, as Wilderness Safari, the management company that runs LV, made it seamless. From Kasane, just outside of Chobe NP, we flew about 1.5 hours nonstop to the LV airstrip via a Cessna 4 seater (we left LV in a Cessna 12 seater).

One comment here about the dreaded luggage issue. The small planes going to and from the LV airstrip have very limited luggage capacities. If your luggage won't fit, it stays behind. Having been in the smallest and the largest planes to/from LV, I can tell you that there are no overhead bins inside the cabins and no room underneath the seat in front of you. That leaves your lap and the cargo hold under the plane for your luggage.

We had been told by our travel agent that our luggage needed to be of the soft sided variety with no wheels and should be no bigger than 10" high, 12" wide and 24" long, which is essentially a medium size gym bag. Also, all carry on luggage had a weight limit of 45 pounds total per person. So if you have a soft sided piece of luggage and a back pack, they couldn't weigh more than 45 pounds together.

These luggage limits were rather constricting so we packed relatively light for the 16 day trip. We each had a gym bag and a backpack for our stuff. But I cheated a tad in that I also wore a Domke camera vest/jacket with lots of pockets which held a bunch of stuff that wouldn't fit into my bag or backpack. That jacket didn't count toward my weight limit or my carry on limit.

Our bags and backpacks each weighed about 22 pounds and with no wheels, they were a bit of a pain to carry through all the airports we navigated. Oh how we longed for our wheeled luggage.

Which brings me to this important point. There ARE soft sided pieces of luggage that have wheels. I looked at them prior to the trip but decided they would exceed the 10"x12"x24" size limits. So out of an abundance of caution, I passed.

That was probably a mistake because other passengers on our planes to and from LV were using them and they fit easily into the cargo hold of the 4 and 12 seater planes..... So if I were you, I'd find the smallest wheeled, soft sided luggage out there that will hold your stuff, and bring it along. Just make sure it's close to the size limits and your back and shoulders will thank you.

Upon landing in the early afternoon, we were met by Kay, one of the guides at LV. Another couple flew in with us, and the 4 of us spent the next 3 days together with Kay. (I think a guide is assigned to the travelers as they arrive and you stay with that guide for the duration of your stay.)

At this time of year (mid-late May 2013), the delta water was not yet surrounding LV which meant Kay drove us 20 minutes from the airstrip to a dock, stopping occasionally for wildlife sightings and photographs. From the dock, we boarded a small motor boat and Kay "drove" us maybe 3 minutes to the dock leading to the LV tents. (When the delta water is high, the guide will drive the new arrivals a very short distance from the airstrip to a different dock, and from there it's just a 5-7 minute boat ride to the LV dock.)

Upon our arrival at LV, we were greeted by Roger, one of the managers, and several of the staff, one of whom had a warm washcloth for our faces and another offered us a tasty drink of some sort. (Prior posters indicate the managers were Harnish and Millie; we didn't see them so I presume they have moved on.) Roger gave the 4 of us a thorough briefing of the safety guidelines, and we were off to our respective tents.

There are 6 tents in all. We were in #5. All appeared from the outside to be the same size except for Tent #4 which was larger.

Having never stayed in a "tented" camp before, we were eager to see what they were like. The tents are made of sturdy canvass which sit on elevated platforms. A very comfortable king sized bed filled half the room. At night, a solid cloth mosquito screen is pulled down by the staff from the top of the 4 poster bed, fully enveloping it and keeping any bugs out.

The other half of the tent consisted of mostly open space with a desk, some chairs and a small table. There are also wicker type shelves to store stuff, a small safe, and 2 sinks.

Along the canvass end "wall" where the sinks are, there are 2 doors. One led to a good size shower room consisting of a canvas ceiling and canvass sides with 2 mesh "windows". The windows were private, that is, other tents were positioned so no one could look in. Also, these windows could be covered by a solid piece of canvass via velcro, if you were so inclined. The shower was very good with plenty of hot water. Shampoo and shower gel was provided. There were plenty of towels.

The other door led to a good size bathroom with canvass top and sides. There were 3 mesh windows, which could also be "closed" via canvass flaps and velcro. There was a toilet with plenty of TP.

Along the back length of the tent was a sliding glass door and a wall of see-through mesh which gives you the impression of looking out of a large picture type window; the sliding glass doors led to an elevated back porch which ran the length of the tent and had 2 seating areas, one containing a couple of chairs and the other a cushioned bench. The porch looked out over a marshy area where wildlife (kudus, elephants and birds) could be seen.

There was one electrical outlet which I used to charge the camera batteries, etc. For those of us in the US, you'll need to bring the standard adapter for outlets found in the UK and Ireland, ie, the 3 flat pronged one. (I'd also suggest bringing a mini travel power strip with either 3 or 4 outlets to charge everything up; you can find them on Amazon.)

There were lots of magazines and books in the room featuring South Africa articles and photography.

The room did NOT have a small refrigerator, phone, or alarm clock. Hair dryers are not allowed although my wife used one of the adapters for a flat iron with no issues. There was no cell phone service.

There is also no heat or AC.

There was daily laundry service which was very nice, although due to some local tribal custom, the staff won't wash individual undies or bras. That said, you are given a mesh bag for those items and the staff will wash it in total and fold them when done. Everything is air dried unless it's the rainy season when dryers are used. If you have clothing that shouldn't be ironed, simply leave a note to that effect. That's what we did and it worked well.

In short, the room had everything you'd need and was very comfortable. The tents are also fairly new, having been completely re-done about 5 years ago.

We were a bit concerned about the absence of heat at this time of year, given that the long mesh "window" running along the length of the tent stays "open" all night (in other words, there is no velcro flaps to close it), but the temps weren't too bad. At night and in the early morning, it was in the upper 40s/low 50s.

At the evening turndown, the staff places a hot water bottle under the sheet at the foot of the bed, one for each person, and it stays warm all night, thanks to the gel filling. A very nice touch. We slept in long underwear the first night but then decided it wasn't really necessary because the foot warmer, blanket and comforter were sufficient (which is saying something because my wife gets cold very easily). That said, if you're coming in June or July, the 2 coldest months, long underwear is probably a very good idea at night.

Each morning, the guides knocked on the front door to make sure everyone was awake for the 6:30 breakfast. But we needed a bit more time, so having some kind of alarm clock was necessary.

Around 7am, everyone leaves with their guide for the morning safari drive. We would take the boat back to the dock and then get on the land rover. At that time of the morning and that time of the year, it's chilly. We were glad we had long underwear, knit cap, gloves, warm socks and sock liners, and good layering (undershirt, shirt, fleece, and outer jacket). Might be overkill for some, but we were comfortable.Also, there were very warm ponchos in the jeeps for anyone needing one.

Now, as the morning wore on, we started peeling off the layers such that by the end of the game drive, approx 11am-noon, we were down to our shirts. (By mid afternoon, the temps were in the low 80s.)

A word about the jeep land rovers. They are all open topped with 3 rows of seats for the passengers in a "stadium seating" configuration. Each row can hold 3 passengers. That said, our jeep went out every day with just 4 passengers, and the other jeeps had at most 6. In other words, everyone in camp got a "window" seat, which was very nice, especially for us photographers.

I found that a monopod was very useful for getting good pics with a 70-400 zoom lens. A tripod would have been worthless as you aren't allowed out of the jeep during the game drives, and there isn't enough room on the inside to set one up. Also bean bags would be pretty useless due to the configuration of the the jeep doors but I'd bring one if you don't have a monopod (zip lock bags would make fine bean bags when filled with the substance of your choice).

The game drives follow different routes each day. Plus when one of the other jeeps spots something good, your guide will be radioed and then the fun begins as the jeep goes off road and over small trees to get you quickly to the action. Those jeeps also go through fairly deep water with ease, which happens quite frequently.

If you need a bathroom break during a game drive, simply tell your guide/driver and he'll find an appropriate spot for you to go. (Don't forget your hand sanitizer and TP.)

Kay, our guide, was superb. He's from Botswana and is passionate, funny, and very knowledgeable. He also has incredible eyesight as he was able to spot all kinds of animals which the rest of us couldn't see. From talking to the others, their guides were equally good.

We saw everything there was to see, except the cheetah (there's only one.) We saw the leopard mom and cub, a pride of lions, giraffe, elephants, wild dogs, hyenas, zebra, wildebeest, various antelope species, ostrich, hippos, baboons, and various birds.

Each afternoon, you have the option of taking another game drive or doing a water activity: either a mockoro ride through the water where one of the staff members pushes/rows you along in a cut out canoe--there's minimal wildlife to be seen but it is very relaxing and a nice change of pace to the game drives; or a motorboat ride to an area where the hippos are know to gather each night. There's also an opportunity to go fishing but no one tried that during our stay.

The food and drink were very, very good and plentiful. Booze was free unless you wanted premium drinks. If you've ever been on a cruise, you know how easy it is to put on 10 pounds. Well consider yourself warned about LV, lol. It's the same story! There's breakfast at 7am; lunch at noon; tea and "snacks" at 3:30; and dinner at 8pm. We were really pleased by the variety and quality of the offerings, and there was something for everyone. And again, lots of it!

Finally, the managers, staff and guides were all super friendly and helpful. The service was simply outstanding.

My wife and I heartily recommend Little Vumbura.

Dave

PS Don't forget to bring your wide brimmed hat, sunscreen, binoculars, and extra memory cards. They provide bug spray, if you need it. We didn't see any mosquitoes and they apparently aren't a problem at LV at any time of the year, per Roger.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2013

Set on an island in the delta this camp was great! Game drives afforded the opportunity to see tremendous diversity of wildlife in the game rich area, and the elephants grazing on the fringes of the camp certainly add a safari ambiance! The camp team was welcoming and did much to make the stay truly an excellent experience. Although out in the bush they tracked down a specific brand of cigar and cognac at a neighboring camp and ferried it back for my enjoyment! The boma dinner around the fire was another standout experience!

Wonderful camp!!!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Wilderness Safaris Little Vumbura Camp

Address: North of the Moremi Wildlife Reserve, Botswana
Location: Botswana > North-West District > Okavango Delta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 66 Specialty Lodging in Okavango Delta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Wilderness Safaris Little Vumbura Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Iconic and perennially popular Okavango island camp with great game viewing.Little Vumbura epitomises island living in the midst of a water wonderland. Designed to blend in with its surroundings, this beautiful camp is shaded by the canopy of an ancient Okavango forest that covers the island. A plunge pool and reading area are raised to provide a fine view over the floodplains and a star-deck leads off over the water from the dining area. HighlightsSurrounded as it is by water and lying close to large channels, aquatic creatures are easily found, but general wildlife viewing is consistently good all year round, with lion, leopard, elephant, sable and buffalo along with extensive plains game. Little Vumbura is situated in a concession leased from remote rural communities organised under the Okavango Community Trust and aims to help bring the benefits of ecotourism to local people.6 Tents: Spacious canvas tents; en-suite bathrooms; honeymoon suite has an outdoor bathtubExperiences: Game drivesMokoro excursionsBoatingGuided walks (on request) ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Wilderness Safaris Little Vumbura Camp Botswana/Okavango Delta

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