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“Stylish and rustic...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Wilderness Safaris Vumbura Plains Camp

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Wilderness Safaris Vumbura Plains Camp
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5.0 of 5 Cabin/Campground   |   Vumbura Plains, Botswana   |  
Hotel amenities
New York City
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Stylish and rustic...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2010

We knew the game drives at Vumbura Plains would be amazing after spotting sable during the 45 minute drive from the airport (airstrip) to the lodge. And it didn't disappoint....large herds of buffalo (200+), wild dogs, baby hyenas, leopards, lions....it was a terrific 4 days.

The terrain is very sandy and the large pools of water surrounding the area made for a very unique safari.

The hotel was very stylish....largest shower area I have ever come across, huge beds, and a very nice design touch.

Only observations - you are sharing the room with lots of insects but one is in the middle of Africa so it is to be expected. Our room (number 6) was in direct sunlight so it got really hot in the middle of the day and it was cooler to sit outside in the shade with the breeze. Probably only an issue for October (their hottest month)....

Terrific managers and staff. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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113 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Chatham, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
135 helpful votes 135 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2010

We stayed for two nights at Vumbura Plains on a trip that included stops at Singita Boulders in South Africa, Marlin Lodge in Mozambique and Little Mombo, also in the Okavango. We thought the style and décor of Vumbura Plains – very modern – was a nice complement to the styles of Boulders and Mombo which are more traditional or colonial. The room was very nice, the service was very good, the game viewing was terrific and the food was pretty good. When we were leaving we were wishing we had stayed an extra night.

We had a 35 minute flight in a four seater from Maun to get us to the airstrip closest to Vumbura. After an adventurous landing we were in our vehicle driving back to camp. We had a great sighting of a bunch of elephant right in front of camp that didn’t want to let us a pass. A really cute little baby elephant was darting back and forth across the road. They finally yielded and we could begin our stay.

As I stated the camp has a very modern and clean design. What the camp also has are amazing views of the plains – 180 degrees unobstructed. We loved the room here. It had a big open loft feeling to it, and the most comfortable bed we’ve ever slept on. The bed was massive as well. Seriously I’d go back just for the bed alone. It was so comfy you could almost sleep through the hippos splashing about outside the room all night. The room had a nice sitting area with a big couch, and we also loved the private deck with plunge pool which we didn’t use.

The service was great at Vumbura. Everybody was warm and friendly. The camp managers were very outgoing and went out of their way to chat with all of the guests and make everybody feel welcome. My birthday happened to fall on one of the nights we were staying, and we came back from our game drive to find that they setup a private table for two on our deck which is where we spent that evening. 6 or 7 people, including the kitchen staff, delivered a freshly made chocolate birthday cake to us as we were finishing dinner, topped off with a happy birthday song in the local language as well as in English. That was a very nice touch.

We enjoyed some great sightings on our game drives here. The highlights would probably be the pack of nearly 20 wild dogs we found on our last morning drive. A pretty rare sighting and we hung out with them as they played around a water hole for a good hour. On the way back to camp we saw five cheetah finishing their Impala kill. Our guide, ST, was great. He had that perfect blend of knowledge and good-natured friendliness that makes all the difference.

The food we had was good but overall we though the food at Boulders and Mombo had a slight edge. Still we were well fed and it was all pretty high quality.

One of the coolest parts of the stay was leaving actually. We hopped on a helicopter for the short ride over to Mombo. Seeing the landscape and animals from the air was very cool.

In summary we were very pleased with our rather short stay at Vumbura Plains and would recommend it.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
South Australia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2010

This was my favourite of the 7 WS camps we stayed in in August. The rooms were amazing with personal plunge pools. Fantastic design of the rooms and so spacious. I would have been happy sitting in the room just watching the bird life on the water.
The game is fantastic and our guide ST, was tremendous. Food is great and just so much of it. Try the home baked croissants at breakfast.
Highly recommend this camp.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2010

We spent three nights in May 2010 at this camp at the start of a 12 day, 5 camp, Southern African safari. After Vumbura we continued on to Mombo and River Club (also owned by Wilderness Safaris), and finished our trip at Singita’s Lebombo and Boulders Lodges.

We arrived at the Vumbura airstrip by single engine plane from Maun and met Brian, an extremely knowledgeable, ex-special forces guide from South Africa. During the drive to camp we saw lions, giraffe, elephants, impala, and lots of birds. We are primarily lion people but gradually grew fond of the many species of birds in the Okavango Delta. Birds are colorful, vocal and plentiful and Brian knew them all. When I jokingly asked him if he was making up the statistics about one particular bird he pulled out his bird book, opened it to a specific page and showed me a picture of the bird with even more information. He had me making notes on my small notepad every time we stopped about habits and habitat. I used this information when I sorted thru the nearly 1500 pictures we took at Vumbura. When I first envisioned this safari I thought we would sit back and look at animals during the twice a day game drives. What I discovered was how much there is to learn. It is key you have a good guide on safari and Brian is one of the best.

Our “tent” at South Vumbura consisted of one large room with a living area, open shower, two sink vanity, mosquito netted bed, private toilet and lots of storage on open shelving. Three sides of the tent were wood framed floor to ceiling screens which looked out onto the plain and allowed for flow thru ventilation. One side was canvas for privacy. Vumbura has two generators so there is electricity 24/7. Each room has electrical outlets for charging camera batteries and a netbook if you want to review your daily photos. (There is a computer in the common area for this purpose if you don’t bring a netbook). No phones or internet are available but electric light is very nice. The bed is extremely comfortable and has a variable speed quiet overhead fan. Light switches for all the lights in the room and reading lamps are inside the netting. Outside the tent is another shower, plunge pool, and a large sitting area for the afternoon siesta.

The common area has a firepit for morning and late afternoon or evening get-togethers, a large dining area which provides lots of options for meal seating, a bar, library and various spots to sit and view wildlife. Whoever designed this camp did a great job since every structure faces the plain.

Early morning breakfast is fruit, juices, and a variety of freshly prepared protein items which are important prior to the safari drives. Brunch is soup, salads, and eggs, bacon, cooked on a grill right in front of you. Dinner is fish or meat and all the trimmings. Meals are made to order and very good considering the food is brought in by truck from Maun which is 14 hours away.

What sets this camp apart is the staff. The managers during our stay were Katie and Noko who both made us feel right at home. Wilderness Safaris has done a great job selecting and training their management and staff. They all know your first name within minutes and use it during your stay. Their attention to detail and guest wishes is first class. Everyone has a smile and always available to help or answer questions. At times it is hard to believe you are out in the middle of nowhere. Any of the staff will join you (when asked) to tell stories about their homeland or ask questions about yours. They made us feel like family.

Safari drives begin at dawn and last about 3 hours and you go out again in the late afternoon after tea. Vumbura has night drives so often on your way back to camp it is dark and the guide can locate animals on their way to hunt. During our stay we saw a leopard and a hyena on the prowl.

Because Vumbura is right on the water, it is possible to arrange for a motorboat to take you into the Delta. We went to Little Vumbura camp for coffee. During the trip over and back we saw beautiful water plants and birds while we navigated down narrow channels lined with reeds and papyrus. The water is incredibly clear and you can easily see to the shallow bottom of the flooded marshes.

During our stay the water was rising and many of the normal game drive routes were under water. That doesn’t stop the guides however and often we drove through two to three feet of water to stay on track. The Land Rovers at Vumbura are new and are amazing vehicles. My guess is there is nothing they can’t master except the occasional pot hole in the bush.

The most amazing game drive at this camp was a late morning visit to an elephant pool where at least one hundred elephants, in several groups, came to the water hole, drank, bathed and moved on. We sat or stood on the opposite side and just watched for over an hour – and they were still coming when we left.

Vumbura is a large concession and you rarely see another vehicle. The guides talk to each other periodically which increases your chance of seeing animals. In addition to animals spotted on our first drive we saw kudu, hippo, baboon, tsessebe, zebra, wildebeest, and cape buffalo.

We highly recommend this camp. We want to come back tomorrow. But it is a long way from Oregon.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Key West, Florida
Top Contributor
126 reviews 126 reviews
57 hotel reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2010

We were a group of 5 that visited four camps during the last part of May 2010. This was the first camp. I recomment it.
The camp felt more modern and less rustic then the bush camp expected. However it was outstanding. The staff helped us at all times. The guide was one of the best of the four camps. He really went out of his way to find and get up close(and still be safe) to the animals. We saw between 9 and 11 animals on every trip. The meals were to order and not a buffet. Wine was of a better quailty. than the other camps.
Please note that flooding is a real issue at this time. The camp will stay open as long as the customers are happy. A few times we had to drive thru 2 to 3 feet of water to get to the animal areas.. Also got a free helicopter ride because the road between the camp and airport was flooded.
Our Africa travel agent," Eyes on Africa" recommended this site as the fourth stop. Thanks for a great recommendation

Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
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New York City, NY
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2010

We luckily moved from Little Vumbra to Vumbra Plains (North) after one disappointing night at Little Vumbra. What a huge improvement! The two camps are not even comparable. Yes, Vumbra Plains is more expensive, but the incremental cost is nowhere near as large as it should be given the differences. The first comment my husband and I immediately made were that the two camps were “night and day.” Vumbra Plains was amazing.
The rooms at Vumbra Plains all have their own plunge pools overlooking the floodplain. This was a perfect way to cool off in the afternoon heat. The rooms are also extremely private as the tents are very well spaced out. The room was beautifully decorated in modern décor with both indoor and outdoor showers. There is also a nice sitting area overlooking the floodplain. Of course there are some “creepy crawlies” but this is Africa, so you have to expect that.
There are a lot of activities on offer at Vumbra Plains including night drives, walks, mokoro rides (like a canoe) and motorboat safari. We spent 3 nights here and thought that was the perfect amount of time.
Morongo, our safari guide, was patient, answered all our questions and clearly loved his job. He was able to find us good game (game is not as good as at Little Mombo/Mombo) and even found a whole group of lions eating a freshly killed buffalo. It was clear that he was happy to be out with us on drives for hours making sure we had an enjoyable safari.
The staff at Vumbra was excellent. We were well taken care of by Graham, the assistant manager. He arranged several private dinners for us including one out on the star deck. The staff was always eager to make cocktails, serve food and really be of any help that you needed.
One tiny complaint would be that if you need anything you have to go to the common areas to get it. You are not given a walkie/talkie to communicate with the staff, nor do you have a fridge with drinks in your room (although we hear they are in the process of adding little fridges to each room). We were in a room that was relatively close to the common area but if you were in one of the tents situated further away then it could be quite a pain just to get a cold drink. Although the flipside of this is that the tents were nicely spaced out and private. We didn’t mind the walk to the common area.
The food was 4 star – good but not great. I kept feeling like I was eating the same sauce just on a different item (i.e. chicken, steak, vegetables). There was however, a very good variety of food at all meals. For dinner there were always 2 options but they were happy to make changes if you did not like the choices. The wines were excellent as was the top-shelf liquor and cigar selection.
We loved Vumbra Plains so if you can splurge, do so. You won’t regret it.

  • Stayed January 2010, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
uk
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2009

This was the worst camp we have been to it was run down filthy, we were told it had been renovated before we left looked at the pictures we.We had a run down worn out room with
bird droppings all over our balcony. when we complained we were told we should have expected this.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Wilderness Safaris Vumbura Plains Camp

Address: Vumbura Plains, Botswana
Location: Botswana > North-West District > Okavango Delta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #14 of 66 Specialty Lodging in Okavango Delta
Hotel Class:5 star — Wilderness Safaris Vumbura Plains Camp 5*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Eco-retreat of contemporary design offering the best of the Okavango’s wildlife and activities. Vumbura Plains, tucked beneath a canopy of cool, shady, indigenous trees, seems to float on a sea of waving reeds, situated as it is in the midst of a large floodplain. The rooms are uniquely designed, spacious and raised off the ground on wooden decks to take in a wide-angled vista. HighlightsBecause the area is a mix of water and dry land, wildlife is diverse, for example, water-loving lechwe can be seen splashing through the reeds from your deck, while the sable of the dry savannah is spotted on game drives. Lion, leopard, elephant, cheetah and buffalo along with all the plains animals and prolific birds provide an excellent all-round wildlife experience in an unspoilt region of the Okavango. Vumbura Plains 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.14 units (includes 2 family units) divided into two satellite camps: En-suite bedroom; sunken ‘lounge’; sala; outdoor shower; plunge pool; private deckExperiences: Day and night game drives Guided walks (on request) Mokoro and boating excursions Seasonal catch-and-release fishing Cultural tour to Gunotsoga Village (extra cost) ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Vumbura Plains Camp Hotel Moremi Game Reserve
Wilderness Safaris Vumbura Plains Camp Botswana/Okavango Delta

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