Reviews of DumaTau Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
DumaTau Camp review
Wow, what an introduction to Botswana! We absolutely loved the camp, the experience and the team.
Our exceptional guide, Mocks, met us at the airstrip and from the first offering of an ice cold washcloth, we knew we were in heaven. The amount of game and the ability to get close was phenominal. I had hoped to see leopards - no problem. We watched spellbound as a leopard snacked on its impala kill high in the tree. Pure magic! Following the wild dogs around for 2 days was exceptional. We loved the background knowledge that Mocks had regarding the local wildlife.
The only drawback was the amount of excellent food versus the noncaloric output unless you count bouncing around in a safari vehicle.
DumaTau Camp review
What a stunning setting. The room was wonderful and delightfully different. We had an excellent guide called Godfrey who was on loan from Kalahari Plains, as they were short staffed.
The terrific diversity of things to do, outweighed the low diversity of game. No Tau for starters!! A name change may soon be necessary!! That said we saw 2 packs of wild dog at war.. probably one of the most shockingly disturbing spectacle we have ever witnessed. Every guest from all the landrovers wanted to go back to camp afterwards minus sunset drinks - which tells you a lot. Despite being a bigger camp, it is not surprising that they were full.
Grew to like it
The larger size and more commercial feel of Duma Tau contrasted with the more personal nature of the first camp.
We were assigned a guide who was initially pursuing the agenda of another guest. As we adjusted to the camp and our guide to us, we started to enjoy the facilities and the large amount of game that is attracted to the channel. Flame, our guide, really pulled the stops out for the last day and managed to find a leopard and wild dogs.
The food at Duma Tau is excellent and the tents comfortable and well furnished. We enjoyed our stay and the contrast with the Kalahari.
This is definitely a five star camp. The staff and accommodation were excellent. Our guide, Mocks, had the most incredible ability to track and locate so many species of wildlife. We followed Leopards and Lions through the bush, saw a herd of Elephants crossing the river and enjoyed our evening meal with an Elephant eating leaves from a tree less than 10 metres away.
"Do you ever see Hippos out of the water" asked my wife. "Very rarely" replied Mocks, but within less than fifteen minutes, across an open area of grassland ran three Hippos, before descending into the water, leaving just their heads visible, as usual.
These are memories that will last forever. Thank you DumaTau.
DumaTau Camp review
Lovely camp to start with on our trip. The amenities were appreciated and the camp staff was gracious.
There did seem to be a discrepancy between administrative staff and the (local African) staff that organized game drives, kitchen/food, etc. Some of the latter did not quite know what to make of 4 men traveling together and certainly were puzzled when they heard we were two couples - this didn't really hinder our overall experience here, but there were some awkward questions about the nature of our relationships that could have been avoided had they been told that we were gay men.
We particularly enjoyed the sunset boat ride on the lake/swamp in front of the lodge where we saw a beautiful sunset and saw elephants swimming. The staff organized a special seating/dinner and sparkling wine for Michael's birthday, which was very nice. Separate seating requests for our group were accommodated. We liked the room, but would have appreciated an outdoor shower (and more hot water). The food was inconsistent - some good and some just mediocre.
DumaTau Camp review
The camp was beautiful and I really liked that the cabins were so separate. The view of the the water was especially nice. One of the best parts of our stay at this camp was the walking tour led by Brian, and the sunset boat ride on the large boat was a close second. We had all the cocktails and hors d'oeurves we wanted and saw a spectacular sighting of elephants doeing a water crossing. It would have been nice to have had the chance to do more walking tours. It seemed that only one was available. Our guide was very knowledgeable and we saw many, many animals, which was great. I also really liked the fact that we had our own landrover for just the 4 of us, and that we had our own table for dinner. (I don't like being thrown together with strangers at meal times; and it was not so easy to get our own table at the other camps).. Cocktails offer a time when one can (if one wishes) mingle with other guests.
One very important suggestion I would make is that the morning tours should srart later. It was very challenging to be awakened at 5:30 am, and because the guides needed to awaken us and accocmpany us to breakfast, there was not much flexibility. I would suggest that the morning tours start out at 8 am instead of 6:30. This would allow the guests to get a decent night's sleep, it would be warmner and there would be no need to be woken up and accmpanied to breakfast since it would be daylight by then. Also, I am pretty sure we did not see any animalsat before 8 am or even 9 am that we did not see after 9 am. In fact, on our last day in the camp, we arranged with our guide to depart a little later in the morning because we planned to go directly to the airport for out next camp after a couple of hours of sightseeing, and that was great. Everything was more relaxed and enjoyable.
I realize that, by departing the camp at 8 am instead of .6:30 am, we would have less time on the morning rides, since we needed to be back for lunch at 11 - 11:30. But, 3 1/2 hours is more than enough time for a ride, especially since there were afternoon rides as well. After 3/ 1/2 hours, I felt ready to return, take a bathroom break and relax. But by starting out at 6:30 am, the rides were sometime 4 - 5 hours. That is a long time to be riding around in a bumpy landrover in the Kalihari sand.
Beautiful, exciting, indulgent luxury
Duma Tao means Roar of the Lion, which was delivered- one lion and two lionesses! The camp is situated on the Savute channel with a spectacular view, across the channel to Namibia, where we watched several dozen elephants crossing sans passport of visa! When the elephants came, we were offered to slip out onto the water on a boat that was more like a floating lounge! The sunsets were the most beautiful I'd ever seen, with purple clouds mirrored in the glass-like water. The rooms had every amenity, even a private pool!
The highlight of Duma Tau was our guide, Tank, who is matchless in skill, knowledge and insight. Tank not only found the lions and all of the wildlife, but he knew exactly how to situate the jeep to set up the best shot! It was a privilege to have him as our guide, and lovely to spend time with him.
The staff made special accommodations for me to try the local cuisine (pap and morogo), which I requested. I so enjoyed it that I requested it at every meal for the rest of the trip!
Although Duma Tau is owned by Wilderness Safari, it is unique and has its own character. The management is superb, and raises the bar for luxury safari. We were treated like royalty- kings of the jungle!
Wonderful place. Service great; food (way too) plentiful; land rover trips excellent.
Having said that (and it's in no way Expert's or Duma Tau's or Wilderness's fault): we tired of the earliness of the safaris. The early safari and then siesta might work for those who can snooze during siesta. I can't. And I need my beauty sleep:) And to be honest, I'd rather go out at 8 (and miss the early animal activity which I know exists) than at 6. At least optionally.
Also I discovered that Wilderness is heavily into eco-, with solar and all the rest. Very good stuff, and it ought to be promoted (by them and you) more than it is.
Hot at Duma Tau
The new cabins were very hot with no shade in one of the hottest months of the year. Think the old camp, under the trees, would have been more enjoyable. We spent the afternoons under wet towels or in the pool. The owners of Wilderness Safaris knew of the problem, and tried to placate with excellent meals, but still it was hot in the cabins. Perhaps AC would help. The walk from our cabin, next to the last one, to the main activity area was very long and hot.
The actual safari was excellent, with viewing of a large pack of wild dogs for a couple of mornings. The dogs let our vehicle settle right into their midst, without ever seeming to acknowledge us. This was a testament to how well the guides had habituated them. This was my first experience to the excellent training of the guides by Wilderness Safaris.
Expert Africa comments
We were delighted to read that, other than the temperature of the rooms, these guests had a fantastic time at DumaTau, with excellent game viewing and meals.
That said, we forwarded these travellers comments on to the team at camp for a response on the negative comment regarding the heat inside the tents during the afternoon, they came back to us with the following:
October is probably the hottest month in Botswana; temperatures average 38-40 degrees on most days. It is the end of the dry season, so the build up of heat is at its maximum before the rains arrive. The vegetation is sparse the trees have lost leaves, the grasses are low which affects the shade of most areas in the bush.
Given the lack of vegetation at this time of year, the tents can become hot in the heat of the day, and the camp is glad to hear that the guests utilised the tip of wetting a cloth or towel to cool down, as this little trick works wonders. This is very useful advice for anyone visiting Botswana in late-October.
Our team has looked at the air-conditioning options at length, but the ones with low power usage do not seem to be very effective. They will continue looking for alternative cooling systems which will be both effective, yet at the same time offer a lower carbon footprint. Meanwhile, we hope that the ceiling and pedestal fans in the tents will help to moderate the heat during exceptionally hot times, especially around late-October.
Non stop action at Duma Tau
Our 3 days at Duma Tau were fabulous and excellent for a honeymooning couple. The new rooms are really comfortable with gorgeous views across the lake. The game is also all around you and the camp. On one walk back from the plunge pool (which was the nicest pool of the 3 camps with plenty of shade, a changing room and towels) we encountered a monitor lizard, a giraffe, 2 kudo, impala, guinea fowl, Jamesons firebirds and countless little bee eaters! The camp also has a lot of facilities with plenty of open space to enjoy private views.
The camp gave us 'private dining' on 2 nights out of 3, a bottle of fizz and made us feel very special. Thanks to Olivia for this who, as our host, was incredibly warm and generous. The rest of the staff were also very friendly and welcoming and nothing was too much trouble.
The gaming was the best out of the three camps and provided 4 days of non stop action. We saw pretty much everything at Duma Tau - 2 lions, 5 leopards (one on each of the 4 days we were there and on one occasion a mum with her pup - we did not see leopards anywhere else), a pack of wild dogs, a cheetah, endless hyena (including one in daylight), a hippo out of the water and in day light, a civet (apparently quite rare), a bat-eared fox (also rare) to name but a few. Our guide, Lazi, was top notch. He not only had the skills of a tracker but also was able to deal with guests, respond to our requests and have a laugh with us. He took us on a boat trip in mid-day siesta time which made a very long day for him.
The only non-positive comment about Duma Tau is the fact that it felt less intimate than the other camps and less Botswanan. There are a lot of non-Botswanan staff and the interactions that we had with staff generally felt more 'hotelly' than the other camps. What was great for us was the combination of Duma Tau with the other 2 camps i.e. because we were on our honeymoon it was great to be totally spoilt for a couple of days with high levels of service, but it was also nice to get to know a bit more about Botswana and the Delta life in the other camps.
The highlights - the whole thing!