Mombo Camp offers fantastic game viewing and luxurious accommodation
Mombo Camp: Our full report
Mombo Camp overlooks a floodplain at the northwestern end of Chief's Island, deep within the Moremi Game Reserve. It is one of Botswana's flagship safari lodges with a reputation for excellent service, luxury accommodation and exceptional game densities. Although governed by national-park regulations (i.e. no off roading, no night drives and no walking), Mombo lies in a private area; indeed visitors can access Mombo only by light aircraft.The main area of Mombo Camp is very large indeed, with a couple of beautifully furnished seating areas and a library with a good selection of reference and fiction. At one end is a well-stocked bar, open throughout the day and where pre-dinner drinks are served. Guests are given a water bottle, which can be topped up at the water cooler during their stay. The deck in front of this main area incorporates a firepit and an alfresco dining area, where brunch and dinner can be served. A second, covered dining area lies off to one side. Tea and coffee are available here all day.
The first of Mombo’s two plunge pools lies at the end of a short walkway leading from the firepit. This pool has sunloungers and also a couple of ‘salas’. A second, elevated, pool area is reached via the walkway that links Mombo Camp to its smaller, sister-camp: Little Mombo. Beside this pool, you’ll find a small lounge with a ‘help yourself’ bar, a couple of relaxing sala beds and a firepit. On another deck there's a 'gym', complete with a running machine and some exercise bikes. All afford great views across the floodplain.
All of Mombo's nine tented suites are raised high off the ground. Large and luxurious, these are timber framed with canvas walls, and mesh windows from floor to ceiling affording great views across the floodplain. Each is furnished with a very large, very comfortable bed complete with bedside lighting and bedside controls for the ceiling fan, which is set within the mosquito net. There is ample storage space for clothes in the form of a wardrobe designed to look and function like an old trunk turned on its side!
Each tent has its own lounge, incorporating a couple of sofas with a coffee table and a small selection of reference books. As well as a cleverly disguised minibar/fridge, in the form of a converted travelling chest covered in linen, is stocked with soft drinks, beers and cider, there’s a tea and coffee station and a writing desk with a stack of international plug adaptors (including US and British configurations).
Another section of the tent houses an open-plan bathroom, which boasts his and hers showers and basins. A toilet is housed in a separate cubicle and a door leads out to an open-air shower, again with views across the floodplain. Shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and soap are all provided.
At the front of each tent is a wooden deck where some very comfortable chairs face the floodplain. This decking extends to house a sala bed, a great place to catch a siesta after all the early morning starts.
Mombo's activities focus solely on morning and afternoon 4WD game drives. (The rules of Moremi Game Reserve prohibit night drives and walking safaris.) The camp lies in one of the most fertile sections of the Okavango Delta, where the high nutrient content in the soil supports a vast food web which in turn leads to great game densities. On our last visit to Mombo Camp in April 2013, we spent time with a leopard on the prowl, and a good few hours following a pride of lions as they stalked a herd of red lechwe, albeit unsuccessfully. On a previous trip we also experienced a large pack of hyena at dusk, a surreal and almost spooky experience as the alpha-female began calling in the last light of the day.
Although game densities at Mombo are remarkable, and the lion population goes from strength to strength, the pressure on other big predators increases as they struggle to compete for the same resources. As a result the number of leopards in the area has decreased, wild dog are not seen much and the cheetah have moved away. That said, this area also plays host to a number of notable individuals. One individual is Legadema, the female leopard made famous by the 2006 National Geographic feature film Eye of the Leopard.
Then there's the lone wild dog, once part of a pack that left the area, who has developed a remarkable relationship with several black-backed jackal packs and even the odd hyena. And finally there are the black and white rhino that were reintroduced onto Chief's Island and are now seen from time to time. Having been effectively poached out of northern Botswana by the early 1990s, the reintroduction of these two rhino species has been a hugely important project.
Because of this area’s great game, which has fed into its formidable reputation, Mombo Camp is substantially more costly than almost any other safari camp or lodge in Botswana. It’s also very often full (which means you should book well in advance to get space here).
Our viewAsk any experienced guide in northern Botswana about Mombo Camp and you're likely to see a glimmer in their eye and get a response along the lines of 'Wow! Mombo…' The high game densities alone justify visiting this area, and these, coupled with Mombo's high levels of hospitality, luxurious surroundings and great food, make for a fantastic camp. Whilst Mombo is certainly very good, its very high price makes us less sure if we think it’s very good value per se – but then perhaps we're in a minority!
Ideal length of stay: We’d suggest 3 nights – or perhaps four if budgets allow.
Directions: Mombo is accessible only by light aircraft; the airstrip is roughly 15 minutes away from camp by 4WD vehicle.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Wilderness Safaris
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: The quality of food at Mombo is excellent with top service to match.
A light breakfast, served before the early morning game drive, consists of an assortment of cereals, freshly baked breads and pastries, and fresh fruit, accompanied by a hot drink of your choice.
Brunch takes place at around 11.00am on returning from your game drive. On our last visit a selection of tasty individual salads was brought to our table and we were also offered a choice of plated meals; we chose a succulent steak sandwich with chips.
For afternoon tea, served at around 4.00pm, we enjoyed cheese puffs, mini quiches and chocolate and caramel bites accompanied by fruit smoothies, fresh fruit juice and iced tea.
In the evening, after drinks around the bar and fire, we sat down to dinner. Again there was a good choice of plated dishes from which we chose a lovely starter of parmesan risotto with parmesan crisp. This was followed by sea bream with crispy potatoes, carrots and long-stemmed broccoli. A dessert of crème brûlée rounded off the meal very well, and a good selection of red and white wines was available.
We could also take small jars of sweets, nuts and dried fruits onto game drives with us. That – along with coffee, tea and biscuits on the morning activity and sundowners and snacks on the afternoon one – ensures you won't go hungry; you may even need to use that gym!
Dining style: Mixture of group dining and individual tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Bottled water, soft drinks, local beers and spirits and a selection of (usually) South African red and white wines are included. Champagne and imported wines and spirits will cost extra. Mombo’s bar is stocked more comprehensively than most, and they can order in special requests if advance notice is given.
Further dining info: Room service is not available.
Birdwatching: The fertile soils around Mombo make for nutrient-rich vegetation and some of Botswana’s best dry-country birdwatching. With so much game around, vultures abound and birds of prey also find easy pickings – whilst the wetter extremities have a different set of specie again.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Botswana
Photography holidays: The game densities, varied birdlife, fertile soils and textbook examples of Delta environments make Mombo an excellent place for photographer. Private vehicles are also available (at additional cost) giving you complete flexibility on where and when you want to go.See more ideas for Photography holidays in Botswana
Wildlife safaris: Mombo is one of the very best areas for wildlife safaris in the Okavango Delta, and indeed in Africa. It’s long been at the heart of a vast protected area. Its animal densities are high and its landscapes are very open, which provides for some world-class game viewing.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Botswana
Attitude towards children: Generally older children are welcome at Mombo.
Property’s age restrictions: Children of 12 years of age and over are welcome at Mombo. They may accept ages 8–12 if a private vehicle is booked but this must be requested in advance. Children under 8 years of age are generally not accepted but this can be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Special activities & services: Special meals can be organised for children on request.
Equipment: No special equipment is available.
Generally recommended for children: Yes, but only for older children who will be safe on the high walkways – and only for the under-12s if the cost of a private vehicle is no barrier.
Notes: Mombo is a very open camp with dangerous wildlife frequently wondering through. The rooms and walkways are raised on stilts and are not suitable for small children.
Communications: There is no cellphone reception and no internet access at Mombo, so you can consider yourself completely cut off from the outside world. Radio access to Maun is available in emergencies and in exceptional circumstances messages can be relayed to friends and family.
TV & radio: There are no TVs at Mombo
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The nearest doctor is in Maun. All management and guides are first-aid trained and medical evacuation is available in case of emergencies. There is a nurse on call (via radio) 24 hours a day.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Mombo’s guests are escorted to their rooms at night by a guide or manager along the raised walkways, which give added security from wild animals. There is a horn in each tent to attract attention in case of emergency.
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are positioned throughout camp and pre-arranged assembly points are clearly demarcated.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: A full laundry service is included at Mombo Camp; wherever possible, items will be returned to guests on the same day.
Money: No exchange facilities are offered at Mombo. There are small electronic safes in the tents.
Accepted payment on location: 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 pounds sterling, US dollars, euros, South African rand and Botswana pula.