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All You Need to Know About the Rooms
at Wilderness Safaris Vumbura Plains Camp

Room/Suite (88)
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Room review highlights
... Plains we were thrilled when we were first taken to our room. At first glance the room was spacious, nicely decorated...
... we arrived by light aircraft, we were spoiled. The wooden suite at the end of the raised walkway was an absolute dream,...
... area, shower curtained and private, loo in proper separate room. Lots of amenities and insect sprays. Fresh linens and...

Reviews that mention rooms

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LP_NYC_87 wrote a review Dec 2019
New York City, New York4 contributions2 helpful votes
(First word of advice: after reading my review, I would advise you read the other 'poor', 'terrible' reviews that have been posted here.)

To provide some context for this review, my husband and I had traveled 36 hours from New York City to get to Botswana for our much anticipated honeymoon, and had been incredibly excited about this trip from the moment we booked (through a company called Classic Escapes based in South Africa). We were visiting Vumbura as the second safari camp of the trip, having stayed at Sandibe for our first stop. We fell in love with Africa and the experience of being on safari when we visited South Africa back in 2017 and stayed at two luxury safari camps there, one of which was Tswalu in the Kalahari and was absolutely incredible in every single way. (Second word of advice: read their reviews. They did not receive a single 'poor' or 'terrible' review from anyone.) As one night at Vumbura is even more expensive than Tswalu we were expecting an equivalent 5-star experience. Instead, we got the complete opposite. Given this was our honeymoon and we paid tens of thousands of dollars for our trip, which started in Botswana and ended in the Seychelles we were expecting an extremely high standard at every point along the way.

When we first arrived at Vumbura Plains we were thrilled when we were first taken to our room. At first glance the room was spacious, nicely decorated and looked like it was well designed. Which is kind of what you expect when paying $2900 per night. The rooms are made of wood, have mesh panels instead of windows and a thatched roof. Unfortunately, about 2 hours after we checked in we started to realize things were not as they seemed on first impression. On closer inspection we realized the room was actually filthy and did not appear to have had a through cleaning in a very long time, if ever. There were cobwebs everywhere, and dirt had collected in all the crevices between the floorboards and the wooden slats in the walls, and we soon noticed the room was teeming with unidentifiable huge bugs crawling and flying all over the room. On our first night, after dinner, we went back to our room and were getting ready for bed when we noticed a scorpion running along the floor. My husband tried to spray it with the bug killing spray that was in the room however there was hardly anything left due to having to dispose of the multiple other unwanted creatures all over the room earlier in the evening. He picked up an umbrella that was in the room to try and hit the scorpion which had run under the wardrobe area and ANOTHER scorpion fell out of the umbrella. At this point we were both upset and genuinely just terrified what else we were going to find. We were about to call one of the staff members only to realize there is no phone provided in the room, nor had we been given any number to reach any staff member by via text or whatsapp from our own phones. We saw there was an emergency foghorn so decided that was our only way of getting any kind of assistance. We picked up the foghorn, which was in a rubber sleeve holder. Then, as if we were experiencing a real life nightmare yet ANOTHER scorpion fell out of the foghorn sleeve and started running across the floor. At this point I just burst into tears. I felt so trapped, so unsafe and so uncomfortable and all I wanted to do was get on a flight out of there. All that was going through my mind was I can't believe we have 3 more nights to spend at this place. After about ten minutes a member of staff arrived at the room. We explained what had happened and we were met with a nonchalant, unbothered attitude from the property manager. So after finding 3 SCORPIONS in less than an hour, no apology, no offer to be moved to another room, just an incoherent mumble and a quick walk around the room with a feather duster to appear like they were checking for any additional scorpions. To be completely frank, the staff at Vumbura (although a number of them are very sweet, nice people) are just not up to the standard of what you would expect at a 5 star property. I think a large part of that is because they are not trained properly and is really reflective of the poor management at Wilderness Safaris. The staff are well meaning people but to be frank I think the real issue is that Wilderness Safaris is just not up to the task of running upmarket camps. There is a major quality control issue. My husband and I travel all over the world multiple times a year and have stayed at some of the best hotels in the world, and other more modest places too that cost a fraction of what Vumbura charges and we have NEVER experienced anything like what we experienced there. Our 3 nights at Vumbura were the worst, most stressful 3 nights we have ever spent anywhere, while simultaneously being some of the most expensive. We barely slept the entire time we were there.

Of course some bugs are to be expected when you are in the African wilderness, however when you are paying almost $3000 per night for room instead of a tent, you expect that room to be built properly so as to not allow for countless bugs, spiders, scorpions etc. to get in. Unfortunately these rooms are extremely poorly built and there are huge cracks and crevices all over.

My advice would be if you are considering a Botswana safari I would strongly advise if you are a seasoned traveler to avoid Wilderness and Vumbura in particular. They are great marketers but if you have stayed at other upmarket safari camps, this will not be the standard you are expecting for the price point you will pay. They do not have trackers in any of their camps, just guides. If you have ever been on a safari where there is a tracker in addition to your guide, you know the valuable role they play. The food was mediocre and there is no air conditioning provided. We were there in November when average temperatures were between 95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit and the lack of air conditioning was pretty unbearable. In contrast, we had just stayed at Sandibe where all the rooms had air conditioners.

Lastly, I would mention that we relayed nearly all of this feedback to the Managing Director of Wilderness Safaris Botswana (via our travel agent) who pretty appallingly stated he had ''mulled this complaint over and felt these guests do not deserve a refund of any sort" and then goes on to make excuses for the insect / scorpion problem, the poorly built room, the lack of hygiene and cleanliness, the air conditioning, the lack of working WiFi, and the standard of customer service that the on-site staff provided. As I said earlier, this reinforces my point about the quality of the management at Wildnerness. Perhaps with a management overhaul things would be better. Most successful companies with a shred of savvy about good customer service if they received feedback like this would do everything in their power to rectify the situation and offer some sort of concession as an apology for the experience we had. Not Wilderness.

For anyone considering going on safari here, I would highly recommend you put your hard earned money to use at one of the many other amazing camps in the Okavango Delta that are not run by Wilderness safaris. I wish I had read the reviews in the 'poor', 'terrible' sections. If I had we would not have chosen to go here. My husband and I are passionate about traveling and love nothing more than exploring the farthest flung and most remote corners of the planet. Whenever we go anywhere, we pick hotels / camps / lodges that we think will provide the best 'home away from home' experience for us while we are there. Sadly, Vumbura Plains was not that.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the positive aspects, which were the wildlife sightings, the beautiful scenery of the Okavango, our guide Nas and a member of staff called 'See' who provided us with an amazing tribal dance performance.

The Okavango Delta is an incredible place and we will definitely return, just not to a Wilderness camp unfortunately.
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Date of stay: November 2019
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Response from Wilderness_Safaris, Public Relations Manager at Wilderness Safaris Vumbura Plains Camp
Responded 27 Jan 2020
Dear LP_NYC_87, Thank you for taking the time to send us this review, we appreciate all your comments and concerns and hope that the rest of your honeymoon was enjoyable. As you mention in your review you have been in contact with our customer care team and management who have additionally addressed all your complaints via your agent. We will however, offer a summary of these communications to address all your issues mentioned above. With regards to our tented rooms, most luxury camps in Botswana are tented for the sake of the environment, reinforced that way by government policy. As the Okavango Delta is a World Heritage Site, Botswana aims to keep the area as pristine as is possible, thus minimizing human impacts. We have to remove and decommission and rehabilitate to a natural state when departing. This is very different to those lodges you would have previously visited in the neighbouring country, South Africa. We are sorry that your expectations were not met and you were uncomfortable with the insects around at this time of year. Our team reassures us they tried their best to ensure your tent was bug reduced as much as was possible. We have appealed to the teams to be more empathetic than they currently were in this case and we will definitely do our best to ensure guests feel even more that we do care about sensitivities such as this. On the cleanliness front, without rain but a lot of wind there is always some dust about in the rooms. They are thoroughly cleaned twice a day and spot serviced in the evening at turn down. Our roofs are thatch and therefore, some insects do make it their home in the dry winters. This can include the odd uroplectes scorpion (the little yellow one) and when summer arrives they get out and move on – a few can sometimes drop down from under the thatch, though the occurrence is rare. The cleanliness of the room is otherwise good. While we always do try to ensure an absolutely sealed room, insects can get in through minute cracks in a floor or via the thatch (as explained) or when the door is opened and closed. Some insects we prefer not to kill or remove, such as the flat spiders – as they eat a good number of mosquitos and are harmless to humans. Unfortunately, moving rooms would not have improved the matter. We are proud to employ about 95% of our staff from deep rural communities in Botswana and have trained them to the levels where we deliver great service. Local teams are a company priority as a result conservation and community efforts and we are very proud to offer an authentic Batswana experience. Again please accept our apologies for not meeting your expectations during your stay with us but hope you will enjoy your further explorations through the Delta and Southern Africa. Bush regards Wilderness Safaris
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Veronica J wrote a review Oct 2019
St Brelade, United Kingdom96 contributions34 helpful votes
We spent a spectacular week in the Okavango Delta at the end of September, our last lodge being Vumbura Plains South. From the minute we arrived by light aircraft, we were spoiled. The wooden suite at the end of the raised walkway was an absolute dream, surrounded on three sides by swamp with elephant sloshing below our pool and lounging deck in search of roots to eat. All chalets are set over the swamps so everyone has this experience. The delicious breakfasts, lunch, high tea and dinner are all freshly prepared by Grant and his talented team. Our dedicated guide, ST, was knowledgeable and good at setting the open safari vehicle at the right angle for photos, whether for wild dog, leopard in a tree, elephant having a bath or for stunning birds. We loved the few hours, between game drives, to laze in our beautiful suite or dip in the private pool on our deck while gazing across the swamps or watching lechwe, elephant or birds. The lodge has a good viewing deck and lounging areas for reading, socialising or just watching for game in the swamps in front. The game sightings were most amazing - each and every time we went out there was something so exciting to watch - we have done many many safaris over the years, but this was truly special. All the staff at the Vumbura South were most welcoming, friendly, efficient and helpful and gave the feeling that they just love what they do - this makes such an impact on one's experience.Thanks to you all, especially Sasha, Summer, Ms D and Grant as well as all the staff in the dining room, kitchen and housekeeping for making our stay so special.
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Date of stay: September 2019
Room Tip: All rooms have amazing views but we loved room 6, Vumbura South.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Response from Wilderness_Safaris, Public Relations Manager at Wilderness Safaris Vumbura Plains Camp
Responded 10 Oct 2019
Dear Veronica, Thank you for the amazing review, we will be sure to share your high oraises with Grant, ST and all the amazing people at Vumbura Plains. We are delighted to see how much you enjoyed your time with us and that you enjoyed so many wonderful sightings - even from the luxury of your own deck. We hope you will visit us again soon. Wilderness Safaris
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Caroline S wrote a review Aug 2019
Richmond, United Kingdom154 contributions97 helpful votes
We have done lots of safaris. We came here from Duba Explorer (see separate review). Family of four, parents and two older teens

We were in North camp rooms 1 and 3. This is the larger of the two (north and south) but you wouldn’t know it. On our side there were only 3 rooms, and this is the nicer more picturesque side I think.

Accommodation : excellent. Rooms are large, not really tents (with tent like aspects). Plenty of light and storage space. Very nice shower and wc area, shower curtained and private, loo in proper separate room. Lots of amenities and insect sprays. Fresh linens and towels, tea and coffee making facilities and well stocked bar. Good laundry.

Communal areas lovely - great decking, lounge and fire pit and very atmospheric in the evenings.

Food excellent. Breakfast well provided and fresh. Lunch menu varied from brunch items to full lunch. Dinner ample and ambitious. Good selection of wines to complement.

Staff excellent and only too willing to help. Couldn’t do enough for us.

Game drives - rhythm is up at 6.00, breakfast at 6.30-7.00. This is not a snack, this is your proper breakfast so eat! Game drive with coffee break until c11-11.30. Lunch when you want it. Rest until tea at 3.30, then out until approx 6.30-7.00. Excellent wildlife viewing over very diverse habitats. We saw 13 lions over the 4 nights we were there, including cubs, tree climbing and 2 kills. Also hyena. Enormous concentration of elephant at the moment. Excellent leopard sightings and behaviour. Herd of c600 buffalo plus all plains game. Excellent birds.

Guide Willy was very knowledgable and tracked lion from the vehicle successfully twice. Really excellent game drives. Boat drive in the delta a must do and great fun

Other things
- Wi-fi in room is good
- camp is genuinely open to animals. We had lion on our doorstep overnight. (3 males) plus eles in camp and hippo pretty much all the time. You are completely safe as long as you follow the rules but this is real wildlife.
- nights are cold. Rooms have excellent snuggly robes and provide hot water bottles. Showers are excellent and nice and hot and hairdryer is provided. But being very warm stuff for morning game drive (we had winter jackets, gloves and beanies).
- mozzies ferocious
- in contrast to early negative review, if you want to be woken with tea and coffee etc, lodge is happy to do so. But as full breakfast is waiting for you, we found it easier to get dressed ASAP and go straight to the table

Thoroughly recommend from all angles. Excellent lodge, very lovely and memorable experience.
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Date of stay: August 2019Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Response from Wilderness_Safaris, Public Relations Manager at Wilderness Safaris Vumbura Plains Camp
Responded 22 Aug 2019
Dear 63CarolineS, Thank you for the wonderful review, we are glad to see how much you and your entire family enjoyed your stay with us and hope you will all come visit us again soon. what great sightings you had with Willy - we will be sure to share your kind words with him and all the staff in camp. Thank you again Wilderness Safaris
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
John Scott J wrote a review Jul 2019
Maun, Botswana45 contributions39 helpful votes
We think this is one of top 5 safari experiences in our Africa travels, considering accommodations, wildlife, food, guide, environment and management. I have been there 3 times and wife 5-6 times over the years and in all seasons. Have traveled in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and SA.
Rooms are great contemporary design. GREAT sala. Favorite room is southernmost room in South Vumbura. This is wonderful space. Lighting, charging, storage, bed, bath area, out door shower, plunge pool, perfect. Very very good wifi.
Main area is also great space, well maintained.
as is usual with Wilderness Safaris, the entire experience is just perfect. We have spent many days in Wilderness Safaris care and they are the best.
Food here is superior as well.
Nas Amos, our guide was a true delight and he is brilliant. By that I mean smart and committed to his craft. As good as they get. We really had fun. Wife and I were traveling with 3 people who were first time in Africa. He was great with newbys and oldies.
Wildlife is superior here. Very varied ecosystems. Large flood plain, wonderful dry plains, beautiful woodlands. So you get lions, leopard, jackals (black back & sidestripe), hyena, wild dogs, sable (great sighting), all the antelope and waterbirds, martial eagle, many kites, other raptors, great vultures, you name it. Boating into the main channel at sunset. Wow.
F&B by Grant is 5 star. Management by Corlia is perfect. Jacks and Candy were wonderful mealtime staff. And great crafts at tea time.
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Date of stay: May 2019Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: southernmost room of south is best
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Response from Wilderness_Safaris, Public Relations Manager at Wilderness Safaris Vumbura Plains Camp
Responded 10 Jul 2019
Dear ScottJ117, Thank you for your wonderful review, we love hearing from our repeat guests and counting your number of visits - that just about makes you and your wife Vumbura family. We will be sure to share your kind words with Nas and congratulate him on a job well done. As you would have noticed, the Wi-Fi is a new addition in camp and while it is great to be able to stay connected to the outside world we hope this does not detract from your experience of the wilderness. Till we meet again Wilderness Safaris
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul N wrote a review Jun 2019
Cheltenham, United Kingdom244 contributions110 helpful votes
How do you pick which camp(s) to visit in the Okavango? Budget aside - many of the camps are eye watering expensive, being the price for a unique location and seamless luxury - a lot should depend on your preferred mix of land and water activities. This in turn depends on time of year and whether the climate is behaving normally. We looked at many lodges in different concessions and settled on Vumbura as it offered a higher land vs water activity mix (we wanted to see big cats) and also came with the personal recommendation of our UK agent. The shortage of winter rain in Angola for the past two years has adversely impacted water based activities in a number of areas across the Delta but, fortunately, the Vumbura concession benefits from proximity of a river and water activities here were unaffected.

We enjoyed a magical three days in Vumbura North Camp. Lovely and very friendly staff - always around to have a chat with if you wanted - and a magnificent situation overlooking a flood plain. The small number of lodges are strung out along a board walk - how exciting to see a hippo and her baby one night as we were escorted back to our room - and the footprint of each lodge is the size of a small detached house. Enclosed by screens but open to the elements means it gets cold at night in winter (thick duvet, blanket and hot water bottles make you forget this) but you can lie back listening to the frogs, the birds, the odd elephant and also the chattering hippos. In the day, elephants can come right up to the decking - got trapped in the outside loo for ten minutes waiting for them to move on!

The Vumbura landscape is quite diverse and stunning. One minute you are being driven though two or three feet of water where the track has flooded surrounded by trees and fragrant sage shrubs and then you are into open grassland. Wildlife is abundant with large numbers of elephants and a huge variety of birdlife. While we didn't get to see Cheetah (missed them by a day) we saw pretty much else and had lengthy viewings of the resident pride of lions and leopard. So many different animals to see and with expert guides the best chance of finding them. Our guide Speedy was excellent, larger than life with great stories to share over sundowner's and dinner, and a passion for photography which meant he picked the best spots he could to get the light and angles right.

You get a very personal experience at Vumbura with their high staff to guest ratio but also because they work hard at it. There is a routine to each day but they are always mixing it up. On one evening they had set up a bar, tables and lights in the bush for a sundowner stop and after one morning drive we stopped at a waterhole where a sit down lunch was cooked for us. Food was plentiful, delicious and drinks bottomless. We barely scratched the surface of our minibar but then in the evenings it was nicer to sit around the fire pit and enjoy drinks and chat with our other adventures.

An unforgettable place.
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Date of stay: May 2019Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: High season rates kick in from 1st June so end of May provided the same weather/experience for less.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Response from Wilderness_Safaris, Public Relations Manager at Wilderness Safaris Vumbura Plains Camp
Responded 10 Jul 2019
Dear Paul, Thank you for the amazing review, we are delighted to see how much you enjoyed your stay with us - even though the elephant caused you to get "stuck" for quite some time :). This is also one of the reasons for our elevated walkways, so as not to interfere with the animals walkways and allow them free access between the bush and the water without any human interference. We are sorry you didnt see any cheetah during your time with us, but that simply gives you one more reason to visit us again. Kind regards Wilderness Safaris
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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