Little Tubu is located in the Okavango Delta
Little Tubu: Our full report
Little Tubu is one of the newest camps in the Jao Concession (NG25), opened in mid-2013. Situated on Hunda Island, deep in the heart of a 600km2 private wilderness area, this is a fantastic camp for experiencing iconic Okavango Delta landscape and scenery; wide, open flood plains dotted with small tree islands separated by deeper, permanent channels.
Little Tubu is adjacent to its sister camp, Tubu Tree, which we’ve visited many times over the years. They’re separate camps, but joined by a wooden walkway. Shaded by a riverine forest, Little Tubu’s main area, including the dining area, is slightly elevated in the lower tree canopy to allow great views across the floodplain. Inside this open fronted canvas and timber structure guests will find a couple of seating areas as well as a small reference library with some board games. A spotting scope can be used to pick out game on the flood plain in front of camp and there’s a tea and coffee station, which stays topped up throughout the day.
The dining table is also found in the main area and this is where evening meals are taken communally, although private dining can be arranged for special occasions. At the front of the main area there’s a walkway leading down to an elevated deck area which, when the water levels are high, sits right on the edge of the floodplain in front of camp – this is where lunch is usually taken. A firepit, reached down some steps on the other side of the walkway is the only part of the camp located at ground level and forms a focal point for relaxing in the early mornings and evenings for guests either anticipating the day’s events ahead, or to recount the latest sightings respectively. The bar area, set into a large waterberry tree, further adds to this tree-house feel. Away from the main area guests also have access to a private and secluded swimming pool.
Little Tubu accommodates a maximum of just six guests in three tented chalets although there is also a fourth tent which offers the flexibility to cater for larger family groups, or those travelling with a guide, if needed. Each tent is timber framed with canvas walls and gauze-mesh windows. A king-sized bed draped in mosquito netting forms the centrepiece of each room and at its head is a large wardrobe cabinet. This serves the dual purpose of providing storage space for clothing and luggage as well as separating the bedroom from the en-suite bathroom. Complete with shower and his and hers washbasins these are spacious with a separate flush toilet off to the side, providing privacy. Back through the bedroom there’s a writing table containing a tea and coffee station and a few reference books. There are also a couple of comfortable chairs to the side. Through a sliding door at the front of each tent is a private deck with comfortable furniture, perfect for relaxing on while watching game move past camp in the mid-afternoon.
Given the amount of water around Little Tubu (even deep into the dry season), the emphasis on activities here – much like the other camps in the Jao concession – is on boating, mokoro and fishing excursions. When the water levels are at their highest, mokoro excursions leave from the front of camp and once the waters recede the mokoro station is moved to a spot just a short drive from camp. That said, Hunda Island is one of the largest in the concession and offers a fair expanse of dry land on which to conduct game drives too, offering immediate access to the best game viewing in the reserve. Most game drives (day and night) therefore focus on the island, which attracts animals such as giraffe, zebra, kudu and elephant. On our first visit to Little Tubu in October 2013 (as well as on numerous previous visits to Tubu Tree) we had a fantastic leopard sighting, watching a female as she moved through a dry flood plain no more than 500 meters from camp. Indeed this concession is fast becoming known as one of the best places in northern Botswana to see spots.
It’s important to mention that due to the Jao Reserve being so wet for much of the year, the game here is often quite spread out, particularly between March and June when the flood waters are at their highest. Little Tubu is arguably a mixed camp, offering both water and land based activities but should be considered a great place to spend a couple of nights in order to take in the classic Okavango Delta landscape: vast floodplains, big skies and small islands formed from ancient ant-hills now vegetated and inhabited mainly by antelope, with a burgeoning leopard population.
Our viewWe were very impressed on our first visit to Little Tubu back in October 2013. The camp’s elevated vantage point means views across the floodplain are excellent and the whole camp has an open and breezy feel to it, with plenty of light colours, mesh-windows and places to chill-out giving it a very relaxed ambience. The game viewing in this area isn’t always as concentrated as it is in other, dryer areas of the Okavango, particularly when it comes to large predators, but there is still something here for everyone; birding is excellent, particularly in the rainy season (November – March), the leopard population is doing very well and lion are slowly infiltrating this wetter region, general big game is prolific and the landscape is some of the most iconic and picturesque in the Delta.
Ideal length of stay: We’d recommend a stay of two to three nights at Little Tubu, depending on the time of year you intend to visit.
Directions: Access to camp will normally be via a light-aircraft transfer to Hunda airstrip, from where it’s approximately ten minutes’ drive to camp. Depending on water levels, the camp can sometimes be accessed by boat from Jao, Kwetsani or Jacana camps.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Marketed and managed by Wilderness Safaris
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: We were thoroughly impressed with the food and level of service on offer at Little Tubu on our last visit in October 2013.
Unfortunately logistics dictated that we arrived around mid-afternoon at Little Tubu and were therefore unable to experience brunch here on our last visit, but we’re informed that this is usually a cooked breakfast served with an accompanying quiche or pizza and lots of salad, and we have no reason to doubt it wouldn’t be very nice indeed.
Although too late for brunch there was delicious lunch awaiting our arrival and this consisted of bream served with potato wedges and an avocado salad. Additionally there was also plenty of bread, fruit and cheese.
Tea was as usual something savory and something sweet, in this instance a mini quiche and a chocolate cake. This was served with a selection of iced teas and coffees.
Dinner consisted of a starter of prawns in a sweet chilli sauce on bed of lettuce which was very nice indeed. The main course was then roast chicken in a bacon sauce accompanied by salad, mixed vegetables and Pilau rice. Dessert was Melba pudding in a cream sauce.
So, we were very impressed by the food on our first stay at Little Tubu and this was complimented by the level of service provided by the camp staff who were all friendly and attentive.
Dining style: Group Meals
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 limited selection of (usually) South African red and white wines are included. Champagne and imported wines and spirits will cost extra and may need to be requested in advance.
Further dining info: None
Attitude towards children: Children over the age of 12 years are welcome at Little Tubu. The camp may accept children between the ages of 6 and 12 years old, but private activities must be booked and these will be at an extra cost. Children younger than six may be accepted by special arrangement, but only if the entire camp is reserved for exclusive use. Note that minimum age requirements mean that children are allowed on boat trips from the age of six years, but on mokoro trips only from the age of 13 years.
Special activities & services: There are no special activities or services.
Equipment: No special equipment is available.
Generally recommended for children: Little Tubu is such a small camp that a party of six people, including children, could have exclusive use of it without any extra charges – making it a great choice for one large family or group. Since you would be using the whole camp, you would have ultimate flexibility and private drives at no extra cost. Note however that one adult would have to share with one child as tents do not accommodate two adults and a child. Generally we think that Little Tubu is suitable for more mature children over the age of 13 years. There are other camps in the Okavango more suited to younger children.
Notes: Little Tubu is unfenced, and dangerous wildlife, including leopard, are known to regularly move through camp. The buildings are all raised high on stilts with only basic railings, which are mostly open except for the handrail. The pool is unfenced. Children must be under the constant supervision of their parents.
Power supply: Solar Power
Communications: There is no cellphone reception, direct phone, fax or email at Little Tubu. Communication is maintained with the head office in Maun via radio.
TV & radio: There is no TV or radio.
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: Guests are escorted to their rooms after dark as dangerous wildlife is known to wander through the camp. A thorough safety briefing is given on arrival. ‘Fog horns’ are provided in the rooms to summon help in case of emergency.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: A laundry service is included. Laundry is collected in the morning and usually returned the same day, weather permitting. For cultural reasons and because the clothing is generally hand washed, the staff do not wash underwear. Detergent is provided in each chalet for guests who wish to do a little hand washing.
Money: No exchange facilities are offered at Little Tubu. There are small safes in all the rooms, as well as a larger one in the office.
Accepted payment on location: MasterCard and Visa credit cards are accepted; Diners and Amex are not. Cash in the form of South African rand, GB sterling, US dollars, euros and Botswana pula is accepted.