Reviews of Little Vumbura
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
At Little Vumbura you truly feel isolated. The reserve is big, and it feels even bigger because you end up going in a roundabout way on the game drives due to the delta. We had amazing viewing on our game drives. Due to the heat, the afternoon/evening drives had much better viewing than the morning drives when it was hot. We had several leopard sightings and also saw lions, giraffe, and many elephants. We also caught glimpses of the red lechwe, though these tend to get scared of people.
The tends were nicely furnished, and the balcony was comfortable and private. The camp felt like part of the wilderness, though it was comfortable. The food was generally excellent, though a few dishes missed the mark. Brunch was a particular highlight as they offered both a full breakfast and substantial lunch options.
The camp managers were very friendly and excellent at facilitating conversation. The bar was always open, and drinks were excellent.
Excellent camp and safaris
K was by far the best guide of all our trip. Thoroughly enjoyed every minuite of our 3 days here.
Our first genuine safari and being in the delta enjoyed the boating aspect of the trip. Would recommend this venue to others.
Close shave with elephants at Little Vumbura
Little Vumbura is on an island which makes it an exceptionally beautiful location among the reeds. There is a speed boat journey through a channel to reach it which due to exceptional flood conditions (highest in 30 years) took about 15 minutes (longer than usual apparently), although that afforded some great views of wading elephants (we gave way to them). Coming back at dusk you needed sunglasses as protection against swarms of small insects.
A highlight was the arrival of two young bull elephants which we watched approach the camp and then take up browsing rights alongside the walkway to the communal area thus delaying tea!
The guiding was excellent (as throughout our time in Botswana). We saw a leopard in a tree by day - and Sam went to great lengths to help us find whatever we asked for (a particular treat was coming across a pair of secretary birds after searching for owls).
Little Vumbura's position in the reeds gave it its own particular character. The management staff were, as usual, professional, helpful and friendly - we particularly enjoyed the knowledgeable company of Ryan, and One for whom nothing was too much trouble. The boma braai was great fun and the singing wasthe best we heard on the trip.
Close encounters wanted & unwanted
We arrived at little Vumbura by helicopter - a new experience for us. Due to the exceptionally high water levels the vehicles had to be parked a considerable distance from the camp itself with a 25 minute boat trip along a narrow channel in the reeds. this was quite exhilarating at first, but became a bit tiresome when undertaken four times a day for morning & afternoon game drives. It also meant that night drives were unavailable as the lightweight aluminium boat couldn't be safely negotiated along the channel due to he presence of hippos.
The camp itself was beautifully situated & well appointed, but somehow lacked the happy atmosphere of the other two caps already visited. The accommodation was very comfortable & the food excellent.
Sam, our guide, was every bit as good as the guides we'd met so far, but let us down by forgetting to bring glasses for our first evenings sun downers & bring navy rum the second evening instead of the brandy we had requested. However his skills at finding game made up for this.
In addition to the usual, we saw ostrich, ground horn bill (our favourite birds) water buck & black backed jackals. He demonstrated superb driving skills when driving at speed before it became too dark to reach a reported leopard on a kill & in avoiding the unwanted attentions of a female elephant ("one crazy lady" - Sam) who decided to turn a mock charge into the real thing in thick bush & later pursued us down the track for 200/300 yards.
We achieved two more of our targets with, firstly, a group of beautiful sable antelope & secondly, in the last hour of our stay before the transfer to Mapula, a stunning female leopard in bright sunlight lying along a horizontal branch, just above us. The photos & video footage we obtained will be one of the highlights of the holiday. thank you Sam - all is forgiven.
Little Vumbura review
A lovely little camp situated amongst the water reeds.
The staff were warm and friendly and the guides are very knowledgeable.
I never got tired of travelling up and down the Hippo Highways. Taking a mokoro boat trip is a good way to relax after 4 days of drives.
A James Bond reception and great game.
Our James Bond arrival: Land Rover driven through a channel, 12 seater aircraft, helicopter and high speed boat drive - to arrive to singing staff and a boma, set the tone.
To follow it, the next day, with buffalo, cheetah and lion wasn't too shoddy either.
Expert Africa comments
This traveller has put some great pictures from his trip to Little Vumbura on Flickr – and they’re well worth a visit. Click here to see them.
Beautiful camp in a watery setting
This was easily the most beautiful camp in terms of its design and setting. The room was bigger than other camps, with a giant walk-in mosquito net that allowed you to move around the bed and still be protected. The food was average, with great afternoon teas.
Adelaide on the staff was simply wonderful, and a real asset to the camp. Activities included a motor boat trip, a mokoro trip and day drives. No game really came through the camp. The camp is set in the lagoon, and you are taken by motor boat whenever you go on a game drive, which is a wonderful way to start and end the day.
Our guide was delightful and made a big effort to make our experience memorable. His tales of elephant encounters were brilliant, if not for the fainthearted! We saw lions at the kill, chasing off vultures (on one occasion knocking one to the ground); sable antelope; huge herds of elephant; another pride of lion huntng buffalo at dusk; a leopard; and, on the mokoro trip, close up sightings of painted reed frogs (beautiful), fish spiders and dragonflies hunting and killing on the wing.
Again, overall, a superb stay at a camp not quite as abundant in game as the others, but with a particular atmosphere and serenity.
a magical place
Our 3 night stay at Little Vumbura, after 2 1/2 weeks in Namibia, was the last stop of our trip, and it did not disappoint.
We saw more elephants on the drive between the airstrip and the camp than we'd seen in the previous 2 1/2 weeks, and the short boat ride after the drive is a great way to get to the camp.
The staff are very warm and friendly, the service is excellent, and the food was excellent. The tents are large and comfortable, with the possibility of game viewing from the patio (elephants do visit the island!).
Game viewing was superb, though as always, there is a great deal of luck involved. For example, the morning our guide found a pack of wild dogs, we had elected to do a bush walk (which was rather uneventful, as it turns out). We did hear from others that game viewing tends to be better at other camps (Mombo, for example, and areas closer to Chobe), but we were very happy where we were.
our place in the wilderness
Transfers from Chitabe were very good. It was lovely to arrive by boat at the camp. The whole place had an immediate charm. Lovely tent and very clean. I have no idea why but you really felt you were far from anywhere - delightful.
Very good variety of activity- mokoro, boat, walking and game drives - each of which we enjoyed. The mokoro trip the morning of out departure home was just so relaxing.
It was nice to have one meal when you were left to yourselves (if that is what you wanted).
Food good but is an area which could be improved in terms of variety and choice.
Our guide was young and enthusiastic and there was plenty of game in this area. I never anticipated elephants shifting the tent or waking me in the night by beating their trunks on the roof for the leaves........fascinating to us, but I know some people were worried.
Helpfully the camp had already confirmed our flights before we asked.
The camp is in a lovely setting and the bird life around the camp was excellent but there seemed to be relatively little on the waterways. Although we saw some interesting lion behaviour on the 4x4 outing (tree climbing lions!), we really did not see much at all on the waterbased activites.
It is possible that this may have been due to the exceptionally high water levels this year. Quality of guiding a bit mixed (we had several different guides during our stay)