DumaTau Camp is situated in northern Botswana's Linyanti Reserve...
DumaTau: Our full report
Having been around since at least 2000, DumaTau Camp was re-built at the beginning of 2012, not far from the original camp. It still stands beside the Linyanti River, overlooking a lagoon and expansive swamps, within northern Botswana’s private Linyanti Reserve. The new camp retains the tented feel of its predecessor, with ten rooms and a central main area – all elevated on wooden decks and walkways. In addition, it includes two family units, each with two en-suite bedrooms.
In topography, this area is similar to the northern riverfront of Chobe National Park. The permanent waterways are fringed by riparian forest, and dense woodland (mostly mopane) stretches away to the south.
DumaTau means ‘roar of the lion’ in Setswana, and there are good opportunities for seeing these magnificent cats here. Leopard sightings are also regular and wild dog often roam through. That said, wildlife movements in the Linyanti region are quite seasonal. When the rain stops and the standing pools dry up, animals increasingly migrate to permanent waters like this. This is especially true for elephants and buffalo, but also for many species of antelope and plains game. Thus game viewing at DumaTau is traditionally best in the dry season – from June to October.
However, as DumaTau’s game drives take place around both the Linyanti and Savuti channels, it is one of the best camps in the area for seeing wildlife year round. Game densities fluctuate according to local migration patterns but there is also resident game – you just have to look harder for it in the rainy season! Many animals have their young at this time, the birdwatching is excellent, and the vegetation flourishes… so there's still much to see and photograph amongst the lush scenery.
The existing camp lies close to the Zibadianja Lagoon (the source of the Savuti Channel), under towering jackalberry (African ebony), sausage and mangosteen trees. Raised wooden walkways lead through the bush to DumaTau’s ten tented rooms, each of which faces the river. Each tent is approached from the back, affording the occupants that extra bit of privacy.
These well-designed, large walk-in tents are constructed on wooden decks, each with a thatched roof, en-suite facilities and a separate outdoor shower. The canvas walls allow guests to enjoy the sounds of the African night from the comfort of their beds. Two tents are suitable for families sharing.
Walking round the side of the tent, there’s a large deck with outdoor seating, overlooking the river. The tents are substantial, entered through double wooden doors secured with a latch. Inside you’ll find a large double (or twin) bed with soft cotton sheets and squishy pillows, flanked by bedside tables and reading lamps. At the foot is a leather ottoman, and overhead a mosquito net which is let down at night. To one corner of the room stands a desk with information about the camp and the surrounding area. In the other are comfy armchairs, plus a luggage rack and standing fan.
At night the room attendants roll down the canvas tent flaps for privacy and to keep out any chilly breezes.
The bedroom and en-suite bathroom are separated by a curtain divider and an open cupboard. There is plenty of hanging space and shelving, with a digital safe, tea and coffee making facilities, drinking water, blankets, bug spray and two cotton dressing gowns.
The bathroom is decorated with soothing, muted shades and lots of wood. There is a simple wooden washstand with an inset stoneware bowl, plenty of complimentary toiletries (shampoo, soap, body lotion, shower cap, sewing kit, vanity kit and washing powder for undergarments) and fluffy white towels. Above the washstand is a rather ornately carved mirror. To one side is a large and powerful shower enclosed by a latticed cubicle, beside a flush toilet.
DumaTau's rooms also have an outside shower, which is very inviting in the warmer months (when we visited in October it was great to be able to shower under the stars). This is reached round the side of the tent and is enclosed by curving canvas walls on three sides, open to the view out front.
The use of thatch, canvas, lattice and plenty of dark polished wood gives the main area a rustic, early explorer feel. There’s a curio shop, an open plan lounge and bar, and adjacent dining area; all on raised wooden floors, leading out to expansive decks overlooking the river. Between these, steps lead down to a sandy clearing with camp chairs encircling a firepit. The small swimming pool is also surrounded by decking, dotted with sun loungers and umbrellas.
Activities at DumaTau include seasonal boat trips (water levels permitting) and occasional short walks, but the focus is clearly on 4WD game drives (day and night). The camp is backed by forest, with open floodplains to the west and the Savuti Channel to the south – allowing guests to explore a variety of habitats. Fishing is also offered in season.
In addition, there are game hides located within the private reserve. Guests spending three nights at DumaTau or its sister camp, Savuti, have the adventurous option of a night sleeping out in one of these hides. Just request this in advance when we book the camp for you.
Our viewWe recommend DumaTau for great game viewing between about June and October. It's a lovely camp and there’s a good population of predators here, plus plenty of elephants, buffalo and other game. If you visit towards the end of this peak season or outside of it, as we did in November 2012, then expect a stunning environment, but you'll have to work harder for good game sightings as the density of animals is lower.
Ideal length of stay: You’ll need a minimum of two nights at DumaTau, but three nights would be better to really experience the area, or if you’d like to arrange a hide sleep-out.
Directions: DumaTau is reached by light aircraft, followed by roughly 40 minutes’ drive from the airstrip.
Owner: Wilderness Safaris
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: DumaTau serves good-quality food. The meals on our last visit in November 2012 were delicious and well presented.
Before setting off on a morning activity, a light breakfast includes cereals, fruits, yoghurts, juice, toast and porridge with tea and coffee.
Brunch is served upon your return, was hearty enough to last through siesta time. On the buffet were chicken kebabs, cooked breakfast dishes (with eggs to order), a selection of salads and freshly baked bread.
For afternoon tea we were offered a savory snack (filo pastry and mushroom bundles) and cake. To drink there was tea, coffee, iced rooibos (redbush) tea and fruit juice.
A three-course dinner was taken in the dining area. For starters we had a tasty tomato and basil soup with a fresh bread roll. Our main course was a melt-in-the-mouth steak served with julienne vegetables and creamy mashed potato. This was rounded off nicely with malva pudding followed by tea or coffee.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Soft drinks, bottled water, local beers and spirits, plus a limited selection of (usually) South African red and white wines are included. Champagne, imported wines and spirits will cost extra and must be requested well in advance.
Birdwatching: As DumaTau is beside the Linyanti River, a good variety of water birds can be seen from camp. Sightings on our last visit included wattled crane, greater painted-snipe, bateleur, Verreaux’s eagle owl, hornbills, sacred and hadeda ibis, malachite kingfisher and a bold crested barbet which allowed us to photograph him from up close.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Botswana
Photographic: The game vehicles used by DumaTau are open-sided which is handy for wildlife photography. Where possible, all guests are given an outside seat for a clearer view. In addition, the guides are usually excellent at positioning the vehicle for the best angle and light.See more ideas for Photographic in Botswana
Wildlife safaris: DumaTau's area is well known for its leopard and lion population. During the dry season you’re likely to see plenty of elephants – some even wander through the camp. Wild dog are seen fairly often, and there is a great variety of other plains game including large herds of buffalo, zebra and impala.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Botswana
Attitude towards children: Children of six years and over are welcome at DumaTau, but a private activity vehicle must be booked (at extra cost) if children are aged 6–12 years – except for a family of six people who will fill a vehicle anyway, or if the whole camp is booked for exclusive use. A minimum age of 13 years is stipulated for sleep-outs and guided walks. Children aged 13 plus, or sleeping in their own room (i.e. not sharing a family unit), pay full adult rate.
Equipment: No special equipment or activities are offered for children.
Generally recommended for children: We would recommend DumaTau for children aged 12 or older, with an interest in the natural world. DumaTau’s family unit allows children to be accommodated next to their parents.
Notes: DumaTau is not fenced and potentially dangerous animals wander through the camp. Parents must keep their children under constant, close supervision.
Power supply: Generator
Communications: For most purposes, consider yourself out of contact here. There is no cellphone reception, no direct fax or phone and no email. In an emergency, there is radio contact with Maun.
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: Camp managers and guides are first-aid trained and a comprehensive first-aid kit is kept at camp. A Wilderness Safaris nurse is on call to give advice if a guest falls ill. In an emergency the camp will arrange for guests to be flown out for medical treatment.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Due to the presence of potentially dangerous wildlife around this unfenced camp, guests are escorted to their rooms after dark. Each room has an air horn to attract attention in case of emergency.
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are located in main areas and on the room balconies.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: A full laundry service is included. Washing powder is provided in the rooms for guests who wish to handwash delicate items.
Money: No foreign exchange facilities are offered. There are digital safes in the rooms. The office also has a central safe where you can put larger valuables in a coded bag. MasterCard and Visa credit cards are accepted; Diners and Amex are not. No commission is charged on credit-card transactions. Cash payments may be made in South African rand, British pounds, US dollars, euros and Botswana pula.