Reviews of DumaTau Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
This camp turned out to be our least favorite although the animal sitings were quite good. It is a larger camp and we found it too big. As a consequence it was more regimented in its activities. For example they did not offer when requested to let us stay out the whole day as we did in Kwetsani.
Being a dry camp we had to spend a lot of time in a car looking for game which is more difficult to find given the type of terrain of this camp. This said we had our only close encounter with a huge bull elephant at our tents front entrance which was made more exciting by a group of quarrelous baboons who were showering us their leftover hard fruit from the canopy of trees above us.
The hides mentioned in your writeup create an incorrect expectation. The two hides have to reached by car and were not offered by the camp. One apprently no longer is useful due to water movement in the Savuti channel.
Amazing tracker ar Dumatau
Dissapointing that the lion pride has been decimated in recent years (only 3 left) but the amazing tracking by our guide found leopards and wild dogs galore. Fantastic offroad dashes through the bush in pursuit of both leopards and following the dogs on their hunts.
Troublesome elphants in camp disrupted the water supply briefly but gave some great eye-to-eye encounters!
Saved the best till last
Duma Tau turned out to be our favourite camp on many counts. The management Anton & Martin were extremely friendly & helpful. (How can you leave beautiful Botswana to move to Leeds Anton?) After initial formalities Martin escorted us to our chalet (the honeymoon suite - rather wasted on a couple of senior citizens like us - especially as a couple of genuine honeymooners arrived the next day). Here we were introduced to George the camps resident elephant.
Accommodation & food were excellent & the staff friendly & efficient. In general the area, especially near the Savuti Channel & Linyanti Swamp was extremely scenic.
On our first game drive with our guide Ron we watched a herd of red lechwe bounding through shallow water & later tracked lion, finding a female & her two 2 year old male cubs beside the channel. The two boys engaged in lengthy stalking & play fighting rough & tumble beside our vehicle & mum actually joined in for a while - a joy to watch.
The following morning as we were finishing breakfast Ron rushed in & informed us that he had heard alarm calls nearby & suspected a leopard was the cause. Sure enough we were soon following a large male (well known at camp for being very tolerant of vehicles). When we stopped he approached & rolled around in the grass like a playful kitten.
With Ron's expert guidance we saw usual game in beautiful surroundings. Special moments were - elephants at a mud bath, the male lion & two lionesses at a giraffe kill (with one lioness heavily pregnant & a birth imminent) an African wildcat, an eagle owl in the spotlight, a hunting party of 10 wild dogs along the channel, four species of mongoose (dwarf, slender,yellow & banded) another leopard ( son of the first one) in the spotlight, a second sighting of the lioness & her two sons wading & dashing across a river channel & an hour or so fishing with Ron at his favourite spot.
On our last brief morning drive before departure we intercepted 3 wild dogs bellies bulging with food from a warthog kill, running along the banks of the channel looking for a safe place (no crocs) to swim across to the far bank & their cubs waiting at the den. Then it was off to the airfield & our last memory - chasing a herd of zebra off the strip to allow the plane to land.
Another nice camp, set in the jungle, with long walkways to the room. Some game viewing from the public areas, including kudu, giraffe and a hippo grazing at night. Food was average, with afternoon tea once again being the culinary high-light. Staff as friendly and kind as ever, and a good management pair in charge, Vasco and Miriam (so good in fact that they have since been promoted to a premier camp).
Game here was frankly amazing. We began with a lovely sighting of 10 lions baskng in the late afternoon sun, including 3 playful juveniles, and getting up to drink water, and generally being a bit more active than these inert but fine beasts usually are. The park was exceptionally beautiful, with the ability to drive for a long time alongside the river. There were simply hundreds and hundreds of elephant crossing the river, drinking, bathng, and generally taking their usual healthy interest in the game vehicles in their midst - lots of trumpeting, ear flapping, mock charges - a good time was had by all.
We saw roan antelope drinking at the river, a lioness in a bush looking after 3 tiny new-born cubs, 2 giant eagle owls, a leopard right out in the open in the late daylight, as he began hunting impala, lions at a kudu kill, cheetah walking at dusk, a lone wild dog eyeing up an impala which the pack had chased onto an island in the middle of the river - unreachable, it turned out.
Perhaps the most awe-inspring sight was a day-time viewing (on a cool and overcast morning) of the rarely seen pangolin. It crossed the road ahead of us while we were enjoying ourselves at an elephant convention, and we followed it as it walked off through the bush on its hind legs. It then curled up into a ball, and we were allowed down from the vehicle for a close encounter. Mind-blowing! Staff from the camp came out to see it, it was such a rarity.
This was the only camp to set out clearly what the different activity options were, and to arrange them with you in advance. So, we did our one and only 'proper' night drive, going out for 2 hours after dinner. We saw lion too, with one male wandering along the road and roaring to his companions.
Our guide was delightful and made a lot of effort to give us a good time.
The management team made it clear that we could opt for private dining if we wished - the only team to make this offer - and gave us a fabulous last night private table with a view, and complimentary champagne. How's that for service?!
Once more, a triumph for Botswana and the game!
A Top Botswana Camp
Whilst a little larger than most Botswana Camps it did not feel that way - even with a full camp and a large tour group. Our experience at Duma Tau was nothing less than exceptional
The management team lead by Miriam and Vasco are very very good indeed - not only in what you see them do - but what you do not see them do - and even with a big tour group in camp - who demanded a lot of attention - they were well prepared for individual arriving couples and very alive to the preferences and requests of those couples.Karen and Keke completed the management set-up and were also great fun as well as very good at their jobs.The camp is currently so obviously a happy one and it shows.
If you want it - the enthusiasm and can do attitude of the management and guiding team to maximise your time out in the bush or to set out early for a particular interest was exceptional and was much appreciated by us and will be well remembered by us.
We were priveleged to have the legendary and remarkable Thebe ( Mr T ) as our guide - Thebo s knowledge of the area his sheer enthusiasm as well as patience and skill in reading the wildlife resulted in 3 days of superb game sightings and experiences. Excellent Cheetah lion leopard and wild dog sightings - plus spectacular elephant herds .Thebe - Thank you.We will be back for more as soon as we can.
The savuti channel area has undergone a complete transformation which is quite remarkable in such a short period of time and the game patterns accordingly are adapting - but there is a lot of game as ever and now in truly stunning scenery.There is a rich diversity of terrain to be explored from duma tau and this makes it particularly interesting. The short boat trips into the lagoon also offer a different perspective of your immediate environment.
The camp itelf is wilderness quality throughout and the rooms are large very comfortable and well positioned with good views over the lagoon.
The public areas are likewise v. comfortable - great little plunge pool right by the lagoon.The food is to typically excellent wilderness standard.
This was a great camp, and we were lucky to have an extremely experienced guide.
We particularly enjoyed the elephants who wander through the camp every day and animal sightings were very good, including leopard and lion.
Food was decent as were the tents which had a great view out over the river from the deck. They also offered the chance for a short walk, which we did.
We loved this camp the best, the management team were great - enthusiastic, friendly, young lively and made everything so homely. The staff went out of their way to involve and engage everyone. Congratulations! The little personal touches made the excellent exceptional.
Guide - Mocks was a character! Not always sure of the ethics of his driving but the rush from one site to another was really his enthusiasm to get us to the action. We did more off road driving at Duma Tau than anywhere else though. Game viewing amazing.
Bush babies, private lunch by the pool on day of departure - so many little touches here said this camp and its staff were one of the happiest.
too short a time in Duma Tau
I did unfortunately arrive at Duma Tau during a very unseasonal thunderstorm which lasted all night and wiped out the first game drive. The next day it all cleared away and i was able to appreciate this very varied area on the border with Namibia.The Savuti channel was full for the first time in more than 20 years which added an interesting dimension to the viewing but also prevented us from getting closer to some magnificent Cheetahs on the other bank. They actually swam across, so yes Cheetahs swim which I didnt realise! We saw a good number of birds here , vultures , tawny and bateleur eagles , secretary birds and kori bustards and some magnificent giant eagle owls. We also saw a big pride of lions lounging on the road, so we drove around them!
The most unfortunate sighting we had was a badly injured wild dog, the only one of the pack that we came across, the others had long gone. I would like to think that it found the rest of the pack before dark, as its chances were slim I think otherwise.
We also saw plenty of Reedbuck, Steinbuck and even a Waterbuck which are rare, and lots of Lechwe in the marshes. my regret is that I didnt have more time here as there are a lot of varied areas to explore.
The camp is large with excellent management. I was reunited with Karen who had moved from Little Vumbura , my first camp. The staff were all cheerful and helpful. Our guide Thebo ( Mr T ) is a real veteran whose knowledge is second to none, but I did not have quite the same rapport that I had had with the guides at some of the other camps, but he certainly found us plenty of game.
The camp is quite large and though fine not quite as well appointed as others. The food here was again first class and served in an impressive dining room with very long table of solid wood.
Fabulous big cats and staff at Duma Tau
Our favourite camp overall. Staff particularly welcoming, friendly and attentive. Customer satisfaction was obviously their overwhelming priority.
Ambience was very relaxed and view from room superb. Game viewing was excellent with Mocks our guide - pride of 12 lion now in the area, now that Savuti channel is filled with water for the first time in 26 years. Regular sightings of leopard and 4 cheetah in one day!
We were chilly on morning drives and only discovered that we coud have been offered a warm poncho on the last day!
A slightly larger camp resulting in more vehicles around when out on game drives. However, this is offset by more vehicles able to find game and direct other vehicles.
As we found a number of interesting animals, and situations with animals, some of the drives ended up being quite long (eg. 0600 to 1130) but the camp was sufficiently flexible to deal with this when it happened and food was waiting on return!
Once again very friendly staff and guides.
Expert Africa comments
Duma Tau is run by Wilderness Safaris, and when they received this feedback, they commented: "Hi Mrs M - thank you very much for your feedback. You are quite correct regarding DumaTau being a slightly bigger camp with its 10 rooms (10 is the maximum number of rooms in our Botswana Classic Camps), however just so anyone reading your comments doesn't mis-understand, I'd like to qualify our operating standards.
In line with our promise to our guests and to enable us to deliver an as exclusive and uninterrupted African wildlife experience as possible (as far as sustainability allows), Wilderness Safaris' operating standards require that, in our areas, there are never more that three vehicles at any wildlife sighting and, at our Classic Camps, never more than seven guests on a vehicle. In setting these standards we are able to ensure that each guest has an outside seat (to maximize viewing and photographic opportunities) and that sightings/views/photographs are not interrupted or full of other vehicles."