Botswana Safari Spotlight: Wilderness Safaris
Wondering about a Botswana safari? Where to go, what to see, what to do? Consider us your personal TripAdvisor – we’ve got all the details on what’s wild and wonderful right now in the Botswana bush. To give you an in-depth, insiders report, AAC’s South Africa-based consultant Yvonne Christian spent an immersive stay at Wilderness Safaris’ camps and we have the details just for you. Get ready to get inspired!
Wilderness Safaris – A Select Camp Guide, Winter 2015
Note: Many of these camps are featured in our two programs —
Chitabe Lediba – rating: 10
What we love: A stylish and comfortable camp with beautiful rooms – this is also a solid choice when traveling with kids, with a well-designed family unit that features interconnecting passageways.
Highlights of the game drives and walks include giraffes so relaxed they walk right along with the safari jeep, not to mention multiple leopard sightings.
Overall impression: It’s hard not to enjoy this very relaxing and welcoming camp.
DumaTau – rating: 9
What we love: If you’re an elephant enthusiast, you won’t want to miss DumaTau where you’ll see elephants swimming across the water channels and lining the water’s edge as you head out on boat excursions, one of the highlights of the property. (The setting is similar to Chobe, but without the hordes of other people!)
You can also take a sunset cruise on a barge or arrange a private brunch cruise. For an intimate night with the elephants, overnight stays are possible in the hide.
Overall impression: A well-run camp with a large number of attentive staff, plus fantastic elephant encounters.
King’s Pool – rating: 10
What we love: Twitchers take note: Carmine bee-eaters are a fantastic sighting here! This is an incredibly well run camp, with a quiet efficiency that reflects the top class management team. There’s excellent game viewing here as well on both walking and driving safaris. Take a sunset cruise on the Queen Sylvia barge (insider tip, if you ask, they’ll set up an overnight on the barge as well).
Overall impression: You’ll feel incredibly welcome at this newly renovated bush lodge with truly professional service.
Mombo – rating: 9
What we love: Attention to detail is what makes Mombo a star in the bush; for example, meeting guests on their drive into camp with a sunset cocktail or arranging wonderful breakfasts in the bush. Guides are also exceptional here, with tracking skills that revealed on our stay not only three separate prides of lion, but also a black rhino (who has a young calf), and Legadema, a literal superstar of the bush featured in National Georgraphic documentaries, and her cub.
Staff is another highlight at this luxe camp, whether it’s an informative rhino talk by the camp manager or the camp host sharing insight into her culture.
Note: We took away a point for the noisy baboons and a loud nest around our tent, but your experience will probably be more serene.
Overall impression: Wonderful staff and amazing wildlife sightings make this a special spot in the bush.
Seba – rating: 10
What we love: A great option when traveling with children, with really nice family units, and, even more important, staff that loves kids, and who kids love back (we’ve heard of children crying when it was time to leave this little paradise). Game viewing is by drives or mokoros, and Abu Camp and its fabulous elephant interaction are nearby (they can be enjoyed when booked as separate stay at Abu Camp).
Overall impression: Passionate guides and impressive service from a staff that goes above and beyond makes this a great fit for kids or kids at heart (so everyone who enjoys the bush!)
Tubu Tree Camp – rating: 9
What we love: Choose from driving, walking, boating, and mokoro excursions for excellent giraffe and large zebra herd sightings. Rangers are so skilled at traversing the area they can even get you close enough to view a Lilac Breasted Roller having a dust bath just feet from the vehicle.
If you’re looking to spend even more time enjoying the outdoors, Tubu offers fishing, as well as overnights on a platform under the stars.
NOTE: Hold on to your hats; rides are extra bumpy here due to raised viewing seats and roads that need a bit of upkeep.
Overall impression: Tubu is a well-run camp with a homey atmosphere and multiple options for game viewing.
Vumbura Plains North – rating: 10
What we love: Wildlife, wildlife, wildlife — this lodge has some of the most amazing animal sightings we’ve ever encountered, including, on our visit, lions and their cubs, wild dogs, and a herd of some 2,000+ buffalo.
However, no creature comfort is lost when you’re seeing, well, the creatures: One morning on our way back to camp we were met out in the bush and served passion fruit sorbet! And on our last night, we were given an elegant farewell private dinner.
Overall impression: Amazing animal sightings, plus top-notch service, makes this a winning stay.
Xigera – rating: 7
What we loved: The camp is in a beautiful area with one of the best water programs, featuring boating and mokoro trips, in addition to driving safaris. The bird life is terrific, including sightings of Pel’s Fishing Owls, and there are plenty of animals in the area.
However, we’d love to see the food improved a bit and an upgrade in service.
Overall impression: Lovely setting, great water options, but needs some TLC in the food and service departments.
But wait, there’s more:
Jao Camp – Although we didn’t get a chance to overnight here this trip, we were impressed by Jao’s luxurious spa and fantastic food when we stopped in; a few of the reasons it’s one of our perennial favorites.
SNEAK PEAK: GOMOTI TENTED CAMP
Coming soon, Wilderness’ new Gomoti Tented Camp – here’s our quick “sneak peak” just for AAC readers.
Yvonne says: “The flight in over the Gomoti River is spectacular, with large herds of buffalo and elephant, and from all accounts the game viewing is excellent, they’ve even had a pack of wild dog drinking from the water hole in front of the camp on a number of occasions!
This is a vintage-style camp, with tents on the ground and basic facilities; the rooms are solar powered and the kitchen is on a generator.
When game viewing goes into full swing here, there will be both driving and walking safaris, plus mokoro boating options a short distance from the camp.”