Vumbura Plains Camp, Okavango Delta

The Vumbura Reserve offers both land and water activities in a park that has a wonderful variety of habitats and a great diversity of wildlife. Vumbura Plains overlooks a vast, attractive floodplain and the rooms are built under the cool shade of the trees.

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About Vumbura Plains Camp

Vumbura Plains Camp (and Little Vumbura) are situated about 25 km's north of Mombo in the neighbouring northern private reserve of nearly 130,000 acres, within Botswana's Okavango Delta. These two camps offer an excellent combination of water and land activities. The two camps are owned and operated as separate camps by Wilderness Safaris. These camps offer perhaps the best combination of water and land activities anywhere in the Delta. The area also boasts a wonderful variety of habitats and a great diversity of wildlife, including large numbers of Sable Antelope (rarely seen elsewhere in Botswana) and offers excellent fishing.

>Vumbura Plains is new for 2005 and replaces the "old" Vumbura Camp.  The new camp overlooks a vast, attractive floodplain and the rooms are built under the shade of cool and shady trees. Vumbura Plains consists of two 14-bedded camps (2 x 12 until August 2005) linked by raised boardwalks, with its own dining, lounge and bar area, although all 28 beds or parts thereof can be utilized for larger parties. All 14 of the luxury rooms are raised off the ground on wooden platforms with walkways connecting them to the main living areas. Each room has a large, very comfortable bedroom, a lounge, a "sala" and en-suite facilities with a shower, a flush toilet and an outdoor shower under the stars. The main dining, lounge and pub area are also raised off the ground and tucked beneath a canopy of shady, indigenous trees with a wonderful vista across the floodplains. Each room has its own plunge pool.

Little Vumbura is the companion camp to Vumbura and is located a few minutes boat ride along the channel from Vumbura Camp. Little Vumbura accommodates ten guests on a wonderful private island, typically reachable only by boat. The focus at Little Vumbura is slightly more on the water activities than at Vumbura as the camp is surrounded by water. This camp is also closer to the permanent waters of the big, fast flowing rivers, however game viewing by vehicle is very much one of the highlights. Little Vumbura has five tents under an enormous canopy of ancient Okavango forest with ebony, marula, knob thorn, garcinia and fig being the dominant trees. Attractive palms give the island a wonderful tropical feel and bring the Elephants onto the island, especially towards the end of winter. Each tent is large and roomy and has en suite facilities, as well as an outside shower for those who want to be even closer to nature. The dining room and pub are under canvas and have been built in and around the existing trees. There is a pool for relaxing by in the quiet of the day. One of the camp's attractions is the outdoor dining area. Wooden decks have been built on the floodplains and dinners under the stars are a wonderful experience.

Vumbura Plains & Little Vumbura offer both water and land activities as this area has scenic waterways and is also close to the Okavango's outermost open savannahs. The water levels around the camps change each year depending on the level of the annual floods from central Africa. The privacy of this area is one of Vumbura's main attractions - along with its great wildlife and superb all round Okavango experience.

The main activity at both camps is game viewing in wonderful and varied countryside. Open 4x4 Land Rovers allow close proximity to animals in the savannah and forested areas. The Vumbura area is possibly the only area in the Okavango where one can see Red Lechwe (an animal that inhabits the fringes of the waterways) and a Sable antelope (an animal that enjoys the dry countryside) on the same game drive. Add in Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Cheetah and Buffalo along with all the plains animals and one has an excellent all-round wildlife experience in a remote and private part of the Okavango.  Birding too is great with large varieties and quantities. Walks, mekoro?s and boating give Vumbura's guests the opportunity to enjoy Africa from a different perspective.

Night drives are possible nearly all year, but may be restricted for a few months in the middle of each year if there are extremely high flood levels. Walking safaris are a must for anyone who has only experienced Africa from a vehicle - getting close to nature with a knowledgeable guide should not be missed. The mekoro safaris here are also excellent as well as motor boating through the Delta's lagoons and channels. For those who enjoy fishing, Vumbura is one of the Delta's best areas to catch Tiger Fish, Bream and Tilapia.

The variety of wildlife here is stunning. Guests can go out by boat in the morning and see Hippos, Crocodiles, Red Lechwe and all the aquatic wildlife and then travel out by Land Rover in the afternoon to see Elephant, Sable and all the dry savannah game. Sable Antelope are fairly prolific here (they are less often seen elsewhere); in fact, guests will usually see more Sable here than Impala. Herds of Buffalo and Elephant also occur here, along with the predators - Lion, Leopard, Wild Dog and Cheetah. Guests who enjoy their birding will love the combination of all the Okavango water "specials" with acacia and dry woodland species.

Community involvement

Vumbura Plains and Little Vumbura are part of the same community participation plan as Duba Plains. The aim is to bring the communities who live around the Okavango Delta into the tourism mainstream. The villagers who live to the north of the Okavango have been granted the rights to this area, which allow them to derive direct benefits from the wildlife through significant concession fees, employment opportunities and training.

Dereck and Beverly Joubert and the Okavango Community Trust

Dereck and Beverly Joubert, two of the most successful wildlife film makers in the world, are partners in Vumbura Plains, Little Vumbura and Duba Plains. They are also dedicated conservationists who are committed to the preservation of wildlife, in particular in Botswana. Dereck and Beverly have worked in the remotest of wild places around the world for the National Geographic Society, producing some of the Society's highest rated and awarded films, books and magazine articles. They lived and worked in Savuti and Linyanti for years and made that area world famous through their films: "The Stolen River", "Eternal Enemies", "Zebras: Patterns in the Grass" and "Lions of Darkness" before moving on to the Linyanti. There they continued their work with "Journey to the Forgotten River" and "Reflections on Elephants" that put another area in Botswana into the public's hearts and minds.

Working very closely with the Botswana Defense Force, they teamed up to expose poaching in the far north, and through their joint efforts have created the support and means to all but completely eradicate poaching in Northern Botswana. Their latest film, "Whispers: an Elephant's Tale", is yet another first. For Walt Disney Pictures, this film brings the adventures of a baby Elephant to the big screen, the first mainstream wildlife film in theatres in recent history. All the Jouberts' films follow a similar goal: to bring the wonders of wild places to audiences around the world, to break down barriers between us and them, and to show that animals have personalities.

After all these adventures, having lived and worked in some of the most exciting wildlife land in the world, and editing films in London, Washington and Los Angeles, the Jouberts have returned to Africa and turned their sights and cameras on the Vumbura/Duba area. They have carefully chosen this place and for them the area is perfect. The untamed wildness, the abundance of "big game" and the variety of exciting habitats make it ideal. But, most of all, it is a place where they can implement their conservation principles. For years the Jouberts have had a belief in the importance of communities in the successful future of wildlife. At Vumbura, Dereck and Beverly are working to create a model for community/wildlife partnerships that will lead the way for that future.