The Hendersons       Two days at Vumbura Plains in the Okavongo Delta


An Unforgettable African Adventure

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Getting To South Africa



Cape Town

Zulu Nyala Tented Camp

Zulu Nyala Nyati


Zambia - Victoria Falls

Botswana - Chitabe Trails

Botswana - Vumbura Plains

Namibia - Sossusvlei

Kruger National Park

Botswana - Vumbura Plains

Friday and Saturday, March 30 and 31 - Chitabe Trails to Vumbura Plains

We  had an early morning game drive with Newman (where we saw the pair of lions again), then were transferred to the airstrip for a short flight to Vumbura Plains, another Wilderness Safaris camp in Botswana, this one located in the heart of the delta. We have found that we enjoy these trips in the smaller aircraft, even though they can be a little more 'bouncy' than the large commercial aircraft.

As with Chitabe Trails, the camp at Vumbura Plains is about a 45 minute drive from the airstrip. We were met at the airstrip and driven to the camp. It is by far the most posh camp we've encountered - our room was very large, with a king size bed, a large outdoor shower as well as a large indoor shower, a private plunge pool and deck, an interior sala or living room and an exterior sala. Like Chitabe Trails, the rooms are connected by raised wooden walkways, although at one point between our room and the main lodge, the walkway descends to ground level and animals can and do cross it, so you have to be careful to make sure you don't walk into the path of an elephant.

        The lounge and dining room

                Our outdoor sala, lounges, plunge pool and 'hut'

                The indoor sala, bed, indoor shower and double lav

    The totally private (but for peeping lions) outdoor shower

        The camp from the lions' perspective and our hut from same

The reserve around Vumbura is very large - 60,000 hectares. Some of the land is marshy and may only be visited by boat. There are two types of boats - a motorized speedboat and a makoro, which is a replica of a traditional boat that the natives carved out of a single log - not much different in shape and size than a small canoe.

Our guide was Zee and during our two days we were also accompanied by Go, who was an observer, not a tracker.

Like Chitabe Trails, the routine was to be awakened around 5:30, dress and make our way to the lodge, have a light breakfast and then go out on a game drive. Halfway through the drive there is a short tea break. Upon return, there is some time to clean up, then a brunch at about 11:00 am, followed by several hours of free time before tea and  the afternoon game drive. Halfway through the drive the driver stops for sundowners, then returns to the camp for dinner. By this time it is dark, so guests are escorted to their rooms, where they have about 1/2 hour to freshen up. The guide returns to fetch the guests to dinner, The food at Vumbura Plains is excellent - dinner was plated service, whereas the other camps have been buffet style. There were plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits at most meals. Following dinner, guests are escorted back to their rooms.

This camp is very game-rich.

    A baboon with sausage

        Lilac breasted roller and ?

            Cattle egrets with zebras

        Unknown bird

        Unknown bird

    Unknown bird

        Kingfisher, and same hovering before the plunge

    Unknown bird

                The little ele was very active

            Zebras and giraffes - what are they looking at?

We saw a small litter of hyenas only a few minutes after the start of our first drive.

            Curious little guys

    A male impala chases a reluctant female

        Kudu females and an impressive male

                    The lions across the pond from the camp

    A banded mongoose

                Sable antelopes - note the 'grin'

                Younger ones are much lighter color

    At one point this bush snake was on our deck

    The squirrel ran along the railing

    A steenbok

    Zebra facial stripes

On one drive we ran into Lisa and Peter, who were staying in the south camp (Vumbura Plains is divided into two camps which are mirror images and adjacent to each other - we were in the north camp). Where we saw them there were also the skeletal remains of a giraffe - Lisa carefully felt the bones so that she could form an image of the giraffe in her mind.

    The leg bone reached their waists

        Sundowner view

                The very unusual Baobab tree

Rather than go on a game drive on our last morning, we opted for a makoro ride through the delta. Zee drove us to the launch site and we clambered into the little boat, which was piloted by John, who stood in the rear of the boat and poled the way to a small island in the delta. There weren't many animals to see, but some frogs (one of which hitchhiked on Tom's leg) and beautiful water lilies. The island had been formed by termite mounds over many years. Some animals frequent the island, probably buffalo, and we heard a hippo snorting at us. We had a light tea then returned to the launch point and then to the camp for brunch.

    Tom and John, our makoro guide


            The makoro outing was very peaceful


        Female bell frog and a hitchhiker

After we showered and packed, Zee drove us to the airstrip for the flight to Windhoek. Someone radioed that there was a pride of lions nearby which had killed a buffalo the prior day and was still around the carcass. He dropped our bags off with our pilot and high tailed it over to the spot. Tom got lots of good shots of the pride and their victim.

            This family had killed a buffalo and eaten too much

    The vultures were waiting their turn

                The cubs were drowsy, then one got up and went for a snack


                    Zee and Jo took us to the airstrip where we saw some amusing signs. Then our Cessna 206 took us to Maun airport.

Botswana has taken a tack that differs from other countries when it comes to the game reserves. The land is owned by the government, and they allow 15 year concessions to the tour operators. At the end of the 15 years, the operators must return the land to its original state. As a result, the land is very pristine and the staff is very conscientious about preserving the environment. The guides are not afraid to go off-road in pursuit of the game, but vegetation grows very fast here because of the moisture and the heat, so there is little harm done.

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