Reviews of Little Vumbura
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Little Vumbura review
We had a wonderful stay at Little Vumbura. The setting on the water is lovely, especially from the main lounge and dining areas. The food was superb, especially the bush picnic, complete with beef wellington and omelets cooked to order over the open barbecue grill. The picnic was scheduled on our last day and was held at a specific time that would allow us to enjoy this final event before boarding our plane for the next camp. Steven and Mandy, the camp managers are wonderful and extremely accommodating. Kelly is a delightful and charming hostess with an unforgettable smile. The fact that Vumbura offers both land and water activities is a real plus and is something that we would highly recommend to enrich the overall experience in Africa.
However, given its very positive reviews, we were a bit disappointed in Vumbura, in that the tents there are not as generous space-wise as any of the other camps at which we stayed. The layout inside the tent just isn't the greatest to be frank. The bed is rather cramped in the space provided and there is only one comfortable reading chair that ends up being in the middle of the dressing area right by the shower room and sinks. It just doesn't compare with the layout or space provided at either Savuti or Little Tubu. Also, the shower room is a disaster. The door gets wet when you enter or exit because it passes right under the water stream. Also, the door won't stay closed unless you stuff a wash cloth in the opening. The wind blows through the shower room from the outside with cold air so it is not very inviting. Also, there is really no place to hang wet towels. The clothes storage (even for the minimal amount you bring in your duffel) is also not well designed. My vote would be to replace the Vumbura tents with the same ones that are at Little Tubu.
Although we really had a very delightful overall experience at Vumbura and are torn about stating some negatives, we were extremely disappointed in the ranger/guide Kaye that we were assigned. We came away with the distinct impression that he was not happy in his work. His negativity permeated the bush drives and we did not see the amount of game that other guests whom we had met who had other guides at Vumbura experienced. He demonstrated some unprofessional behavior in calling out to the animals at times with sounds and calls. This behavior was rather startling to say the least. Since your ranger/guide joins you for meals, his attitude made for a less than congenial mealtime experience.
Expert Africa comments
Wilderness Safaris sent us the following in response to this feedback:
Thank you for the feedback we received from these guests. We are so pleased to note that they had a wonderful stay at Little Vumbura, enjoying the superb location, delicious food, the company of the camp managers Steven and Mandy, as well as Kelly. We certainly do agree that the offering of both land and water activities at the camp provides such a well balanced experience of the delta and all it has offer.
We were disappointed to learn that the guests did not enjoy their accommodation very much. Their concerns regarding the size of the tent, layout inside, shower issue and lack of spaciousness has been brought to the attention of our Botswana Operations. At this point in time, there is very little they are able to do to improve on these areas, but the guests comments have been noted and will certainly be taken into account when Little Vumbura is next scheduled for a refurbishment. What the team are able to rectify quite quickly is to provide more hanging space for towels et al and relook at improving the luggage storage setup. We really to appreciate their insightful comments and recommendations, they will certainly be taken into consideration.
With regards to the guide Madala Kay, we were most disconcerted to learn that their experience was not a very good one. He is a very popular guide who is often spoken about by guests and receives rave reviews and is requested very often. It may very well be that the guide and guests, personality wise, were incompatible which is very unfortunate. Please do assure the guests that the feedback has been addressed directly with the guide by the guide trainer as well as camp management. We do understand that the guiding offering forms an integral part of the guests experience whilst on safari and we really want the guide to learn and grow from his interactions, so it is best to work through this kind of constructive feedback with the guide so he has a better insight into how he could go about refining his skills. It is a pity that the guests did not make mention of the guide’s behaviour whilst in camp, so that the management team could have addressed it then and there. We can only apologise for the awkwardness these guests experienced in this situation.
Standard for Excellence is Little Vumbura
Greeted at the airstrip, "What do you want?" "What have you seen?" Rain, our guide, started our time together in the most positive way. Arriving at camp we were set-down to a fabulous meal, despite our protestations we'd already just eaten Kwando's brunch (very unlike our experience at Wolwedans where it seemed every crumb was accounted for).
Steven and Mandy, managers, relatively new to Little Vumbura, were awesome overseeing every detail, yet the camp and staff all seemed a relaxed cooperative unit. They never made us feel any request was too much, but went way out of the way to make sure every need, every desire known or not, was fulfilled. By far, the most superior run camp at which we stayed. (And that's saying alot because we were very very happy at Desert Rhino Camp.) The camp's common area is beautifully located to make the most of the rising sun, and to watch the sun and moon set. The boat ride to and from camp adds to the beauty, peace, and restfulness of this idyllic location.
Whereas Little Kwara placed a great emphasis on the carnivores, Rain gave much attention to everything (if you were interested, and he was very attentive to our reactions and responses), such as pointing out 5-different bird types on a single bridge.
Our greatest memory (other than rhino-tracking with Bons) was a day spent watching first a leopard hunt, followed in the afternoon with lions hunting. The leopard was fascinating as it blended so well into its surroundings we had to anticipate where we might see it again. The leopard had made it very near an unsuspecting impala herd when a mother and baby elephant passed adjacent to its location on a mound with trees. The mother walked right past giving no indication of seeing the leopard. Not so the young elephant. The young elephant made a complete circle of the mound, and spotting the leopard she shook her head, and trumpeted a warning to the world.
Then came the lions, approaching impala, lechwe, a previously injured hippo, and kudu. Nothing quite working to their advantage, but great to watch their assessments and attempts. Then one lioness saw an unguarded baby elephant. She was almost within striking distance when mama elephant caught sight of her. Mama trumpeted for help, and bellowing with murderous rage she charged the lioness. The lion opted to withdraw, and within seconds several adult elephants materialized, encircling the baby. If I'd not witnessed the drama, I never would have believed how quickly the whole thing played out.
We also spent time watching: young playful hyena cubs (I never imagined I would think of hyenas as cute, but these pups were); hippos in a shallow pool where they could rear up and launch, looking very impressive in their antics; innumerable birds, including a pied kingfisher beating a fish, trying to tenderize it such that he could swallow something awfully close to his own size; both a herd and a lone male sable that I very much wanted to see; beautiful distinctive painted frogs, again a definite request; when we'd catch a slow spell, we'd photograph the many beautiful dragonflies--Rain jumped from the vehicle to point out a special one, only to have a lilac-breasted roller snatch it from beneath his pointing finger, aghh; and when the birds warned of a snake, we saw a black momba rearing in the road.
Thank you everyone at Little Vumbura for magical time.
Our favourite camp
Megan suggested we'd need to book a year ahead to find space at this camp - and having been we now understand why it's so popular. It's got the most beautiful location on a little island in the delta and its layout and decoration shows a skilled designer at work The tents are lovely, and the little outside deck with a very comfortable built in sofa is perfect for afternoon naps. The shower has a full length meshed screen open to the outside so I had the rather surreal experience of showering under the gentle and interested gaze of a kudu!
Managers Steve and Mandy seem to run a very happy camp with a laid back and relaxed atmosphere but very efficient service. The food was very good and one evening we really appreciated a barbeque around the campfire with singing and dancing from all the staff which they seemed to enjoy as much as we did.
Our guide, Kay, is named as one of Conde Nast's top guides in Botswana, so we felt privileged to have him. He seems to have the ability to think like a lion or a leopard and tracking with him was a real education. I might have preferred a little less time with sleeping lions and more time with entertaining baboons or elephants but my husband thought Kay's guiding was exemplary. Our mokoro ride among the reeds and bamboo was magical. Not a huge number of birds or animals but the scenery and silence were wonderful. On our last day, Steve arranged for us to go the long way round to the airstrip by boat. We saw a pair of goliath herons take off in front of us which made a perfect finale to a perfect four days.
Wonderful all round
Feel Little Vumburu could not be bettered. We love the watery location and boat trips. Good consistent game viewing too.
Great staff and well run camp.
Beautiful camp - lovely pool
Probably our least favourite of the camps mainly because we did not rate our guide.
Game drives involve a 20 minute boat journey to the jetty where the Land Rovers are parked. This makes a pleasant trip during the day but returning from the night drive in the dark and having hundreds of bugs flying at you as you manoeuvre the channels at speed is not a pleasant experience. Alternatively you could opt to view game from a mokoro. However, while we were staying at Vumbura a Swiss couple had been badly shaken when their mokoro was overturned by a hippo.
Our guide seemed more interested in taking his own photos and pampering to an American in our vehicle. He was also quite difficult to understand. We had been so lucky with guides everywhere else that his faults really stood out and annoyed us. Aside from this criticism it is a beautiful camp with a lovely pool. We saw wild dogs again here, two herds of sable and got some great shots of a leopard hung over the branch of a tree.
Simply incredible. A true delta experience.
Getting to the lodge is in itself an incredible experience as you have to a 20 minutes boat trip, "meeting" with hippos and birds, to get to the Island where you will discover a "little paradise". Everything is perfect, super stylish and comfortable yet in a very authentic way. If you can, try to stay there on a Monday as the staff give an amazing show, singing, dancing, making you feel incredibly privileged.
The landscapes are mindblowing and the wildlife is great. Our guide did an amazing job "reading the bush" to track a leopard, which had just caught a monkey. Probably one of our best memories!
Little Vumbura review
The location is wonderful--based on an island with lots of water based activities. We enjoyed the'speedboat' at 6.00am to get to the safari vehicles. The guides were excellent and the game viewings good.
The accommodation was good and well maintained.
Our only concern about this camp was that the food was moderate and often there was not enough of it. This is our second visit to Botswana and this was our 5th camp and we have never experienced this before.
Little Vumbura review
This was a particular highlight...for the birds and game- saw lions (many, including witnessing a buffalo kill at very close quarters, 7 lins involved!!) elephants, zebras , hyenas, leopard, black and rhinos together, hippos, etc. etc.!!
Would seriously recommend Okavango Delta as a truly wonderful place to visit, and Little Vumbura as a great camp
Superb venue, great game drives
A fantastic camp in a superb setting. It gave us the best of both a 'wet' and 'dry' safari.
Our guide Savara was excellent and made us feel as though he was on the same voyage of discovery we were on, even though he has seen it all before. His enthusiasm and manner of explanation are a credit to the team at Little Vumbura.
Even though we had an unlucky start with vehicle breakdowns ( 4 in all!), it did not detract from what was a most enjoyable start to our safari.
Fifth Visit to Little Vumbura
Little Vumbura remains a very special place for us and this fifth visit did not disappoint. It remains comfortable, intimate, friendly and on this occasion the food was by far the best of all three camps we visited. There were niggling housekeeping and service errors but these were greatly outweighed by the game drives and boat rides we had.
Tsessebe 'making up' in a mud wallow, sable 'in flagrante', lion galore, wild dog, 2 hyena females each with twin pups and a first sighting of the uncommon white headed vulture. All this set in the most wonderful golden light that one gets at this time of year.
Our guide was Rain, a highly accomplished, educated and amusing companion on all our game drives. We were also privileged to meet up again with Madala Kay who had been our guide on our last Little Vumbura visit. One of the great men of the delta.
Little Vumbura is a very beautiful place but the change in the reed cover in the area has restricted the boat rides which used to be a key feature of the camp. Nonetheless the game drives amply overcome this limitation and we can happily recommend the camp as a truly memorable experience.