The New Vumbura Plains

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…


Vumbura Plains: the Ultimate Water and Land Safari

The Okavango Delta is an utterly unique wildlife destination.

Formed thanks to a shift in the earth’s tectonics which rendered the Okavango River unable to reach the sea, the delta now sits as an inland paradise; a union of land, water and sky which is as close as one can get to finding a true wildlife Eden.

The Vumbura camps are set right on the water’s edge, meaning you are often almost IN the wildlife experience right from the deck.

Sitting along the delta’s northern edge lies Vumbura Plains, one of Wilderness Safaris’ Premier Camp offerings. 14 luxuriously appointed chalets line a pristine waterway in which elephants wade daily, otters regularly swim past, and the plethora of birdlife that defines the Okavango is a constant spectacle.

Vumbura Plains is separated into Vumbura North and South, with the separate camps boasting slightly different decor and a slightly different emphasis, with the south camp being geared more towards couples on honeymoon and the north camp aimed at families and larger groups.

Glass frontage means an almost unobstructed view to the outside and its wildlife treasures and views.

The wildlife viewing between the two is essentially the same though – incredible – and even just the walk between your room and the main lodge area along the raised walkway is almost sure to gift you a sighting of some sort. The semi-aquatic lechwe and multiple other antelope species are regularly seen grazing behind the camp, and the warning chatter of monkeys is a regular audio cue that signals a leopard is on the prowl.

The ubiquitous lechwe of the Okavango go bounding through the shallows.
Set low down the water’s edge, the Vumbura Camp makes you feel as if you are part of nature, instead of slightly removed from it.

The suites themselves all feature a private plunge pool set on a broad deck, with expansive views out over the lagoon on which the lodge is situated. The decks are set low so that visitors are regularly afforded eye-level views of elephants feeding in the aquatic grasses growing beneath the delta’s surface.

Imagine having a dip in the lazy midday warmth and the world’s largest land mammal just happens to be feeding only a few feet from your pool!

Set in the shade of magnificent riparian trees, each suite at Vumbura Plains is an experience unto itself.
Look up from where you’re swimming in your private plunge pool, and a sight like this might well meet your eye…

The camp itself is one thing – and is so impressive it’s almost reason enough not to head out on game drive – but it’s the wildlife that people travel all the way round the world to see, and Vumbura will certainly not disappoint. The diverse mosaic of habitats, from seasonally inundated channels to small islands, acacia woodlands and expansive grasslands, means that a diversity of species can be supported too.
There is a constant lion presence in the area, leopards are regularly sighted draped from the boughs of the impressive Jackalberry trees, and tssessebe, sable, kudu and giraffe are all found in relative abundance. The bird life is also impressive, and Okavango specials like the rosy-throated longclaw and long-toed lapwing are regularly sighted.

Water activities round off Vumbura’s offering as one of the most complete wildlife and nature experiences out there.

Vumbura Plains is truly one of the jewels in the Wilderness Safari – and Botswanan – crown.
Luxury suites, an amazing mix of water-and land-based activities, wildlife around every corner, suites that you could spend all day lounging in… it is the definition of what a luxury safari should be.

Okavango Delta – 10 Things You Didn’t Know

The Okavango Delta is one of Nature’s real masterpieces. Created as the Okavango River dissipates into the parched Kalahari Desert, adventurous travellers can explore the magic of this vast eco-system by mokoro, on foot or on a game drive during an Okavango Safari.


Before we start learning amazing facts about this vast inland river, let’s start off simple…

  1.   What is the Okavango Delta?

It is a swampy inland, a vast inland river in Northern Botswana.  Doesn’t sound appealing, right? Wait until you read what this incredible grassland has to offer.

  1.   A World Premier Wild Area

The Okavango Delta’s lush vegetation from seasonal flooding provides a safe haven to a variety of game. It is home to some of the world’s most endangered large mammals species.  The wildlife includes cheetahs, black and white rhinoceros, the African wild dog and lions.

  1.   There is a large variety of flora and fauna

The Delta’s hosts roughly 1061 plant varieties, 89 fish species, 64 various reptiles, 482 species of birds and 130 mammals.

  1.   The Delta has over 150 000 islands

The Okavango Delta has islands scattered throughout the plains.  The Chief Island is the largest, at 70km long and 14 km wide. It was once a prime hunting spot but is now the best place to spot wildlife.

  1.   The Delta is kept wild

Botswana government has implemented restrictions on the number of tourists that are allowed to enter the Okavango Delta.  This, in turn, has kept the vast plain truly wild and remote.

  1.   It is the 1000th UNESCO World Heritage Site

This decision came on 22 June 2014, because this delta is not only one of the largest inland deltas in the world.   But it is one of the new major systems that do not flow into the sea. 

  1.   The Delta is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa

In February of 2013, the Okavango Delta was officially added to the list.  After reading all these facts, it’s hard to argue with the decision.

  1.   Animals aren’t the only habitants

In and amongst all the wildlife and greenery, the Hambukushu, Dcerika, Wayeyi, Anikhwe and Bugakhwe live.  They range from hunter-gathers to fisherman and farmers.

  1.   Travelling by Mokoro

The best way to travel around the Okavango Delta is on a traditional Mokoro – a dug-out canoe.  Most of the lodges in the Delta cater for Mokoro rides, where you will get up close and personal with smaller creatures that you may have missed in a vehicle.

  1. The Delta grows!

When the floodwaters from the Angolan Highlands in the dry winter months, the delta increases up to threefold in size!  Between March and August, the Delta can reach up to 15,000km2.