Gubanare & Xudum
Together these equally large concessions cover a total of about 2,000km˛ on the southern edge of the Delta, sandwiched between southern Moremi and the Sandvelt Tongue. They’re designated as ‘multi-use’ concessions, and so part of them is used for hunting and a different, separate part is used for photographic trips – all pay a ‘lease fee’ to the local community for their use of the land.
I’ve only described the non-hunting camps here, which are split between two operations: photographic safari camps run by Landela, and a specialist horse-riding operation run by Okavango Horse Safari.[Webmaster's note: since writing, Landela have ceased to operate – and so Gubanare, Rann’s, Xudum, Eden and Mantis are currently not in operation. Despite this, I have left the book’s text here for completeness. Watch this space for news of these camps.]Getting there and away
Getting here is always organised by Landela or Okavango Horse Safaris, and it’s usual to fly. There’s one airstrip, called Kiri (GPS: KIRI – 19°36.726’S, 23°02.367’E), in the northeast of NG30 that’s used by Gubanare, and Xudum airstrip (GPS: XUDUMA – roughly 19°41’S, 22°52’E), in the centre of NG29 that’s used by the other camps. (Though this second was out of action on my last visit.) In case of emergency, it’s sometimes possible to be driven into some of these camps – though it’s a dusty, bumpy six-hours from Maun!
These camps work on the basis that guests have prior reservations and are getting in and out by light aircraft. No self-driving visitors are allowed into these concession areas.When to visit
On the edge of the Delta, these areas have more seasonal variation than areas further north – so the game really is significantly better later in the dry season than earlier. Though as with anywhere in the Delta, the wetter times of the year are better for birdwatching.Geography note
Be aware that the western side of the Delta (from the Thaoge into Lake Ngami) has been drying up since the middle of the last century. As a result of this (or vice versa) an increasing amount of Okavango’s water is finding its way into the Muanachira/Khwai system, on the eastern side of Chief’s Island.
Thus the floodplains of the west are gradually drying out and being invaded by flora used to drier conditions, whilst the drier areas of the Khwai River, and areas like Sandibe, are gradually becoming wetter. Flora and fauna highlights
Visiting one September, I concentrated my time in the area around Gubanare, which is in the far northern corner of the concession – and probably its most productive area for wildlife.
There the land was relatively dry, with only a few areas of floodplain; which is probably fairly typical of these areas towards the southwest edge of the Delta. Because of this location, the annual flood hits these areas relatively late – typically around the end of May or June. Then good water levels last until around the end of October or November.
<< Click on the menu on the left for more details of the vegetation
found in this area.