Vumbura Plains was already one of the jewels in the Wilderness Safaris crown in Botswana, but with its recent refurbishment, it is better than it ever was before.
Lying towards the northern fringes of the Okavango Delta – a world heritage site – Vumbura Plains camp is perfectly situated to take full advantage of the seasonal changes that take place within this unique ecosystem. During the annual inundation when floodwaters arrive from the Angolan highlands, the camp almost feels like it is floating on water. The melapo – the local name for the annually flooded grasslands – lies right up against the camp, and offers visitors a spectacular vista right off the deck of their rooms. Otters cavort in the shallow water and elephants are frequent passers-by, wading through in search of lush aquatic plants.
The refurbished Vumbura Plains features 14 luxuriously appointed guest suites, each with elegant sleeping quarters, indoor and outdoor showers and a broad outdoor living area complete with a private plunge pool. The new-look design of the camp was carefully imagined to create an authentic Okavango experience, with local craftspeople brought on board to help create the finished product.
The nestling of guest chalets under beautiful overhanging trees, the stilted projection out over the floodwaters and the space between rooms gives visitors a wonderful sense of intimacy and immersion into nature. Birds flit between branches outside your window, waterbuck graze within touching distance of the camp walkway, and hippos snort from the pools right in front of you. The truth is that one barely has to venture beyond camp to get a complete game-viewing experience.
But it is beyond camp that you must go to truly experience the wonder of this area. Game drives will reveal the true splendour of this corner of the Okavango. Wildlife is so prolific that within a very short while you start to feel like you are traversing eden. A different wonderment seemingly lies in wait around every corner.
Lions forge across shallow channels, regal sable antelope hug the fringes of the floodplains and an enigmatic leopard is not an uncommon sight lounging in the boughs of one of the larger evergreen trees. There are few places on the planet that display such a constant abundance of life.
And for those who want to experience something different, Vumbura Plains has multiple exciting activity options. A hot air ballon flight in the still morning air is an utterly serene way to experience the Delta; you can drift in total silence above a cavorting elephant herd and they will never know you are there.
A helicopter flip is another aerial option. Although slightly louder than a balloon ride, you cover far more ground and can almost feel overwhelmed with how much you can come across from the air.
When the floodwaters are up different boating activities are on offer. Motorboats get you exploring the waterways extensively, while a traditional mokoro ride offers a more sedate way tog et to grips with the annual flooding.
The old Vumbura Plains was nothing short of spectacular, both from a lodge and a game-viewing angle.
Now, after the refurb, we find ourselves running out of superlatives to describe the place pretty quickly…
Get in touch with us if this sounds like the kind of place you’d like to visit…