Where to stay
There are only two choices at this lagoon. These are both quite different and don't generally work closely together. Guma Island Lodge
(8 tents & camping) P Bag 13, Maun; tel/fax: 674022; email: email@example.com; web: www.gumalodge.com
Built on the northwestern edge of the lagoon, this lodge was opened in June 2000 by its owners, Geoff and Nookie Randall, who have lived in the area for years. (Geoff played an important part in starting the building of fiberglass mekoro in the area – and thus is partially responsible for saving an enormous number of the Delta's old trees!)
There are eight tents here, all raised up on high wooden decking. Inside you'll find comfortable twin beds made with colourful fabrics, chairs, a small table and a wooden wardrobe behind. At the back of each tent is an en-suite shower, toilet and washbasin. The power at the lodge, and the lighting in the tents, comes from the lodge's own generator and a system of back-up batteries for the lights at night.
The main lounge and dining area is a large log cabin, again raised up on decking, which houses a comfortable lounge, a dining room and a well-stocked bar. There's a better collection of local baskets and craftwork here than in most curio shops, and some are for sale in the lodge's own small shop.
The tents and main area are all widely spread out and linked by fairly high wooden walkways. This keeps everything above water if levels rise to a high flood. Normally the ground beneath is dry, with cool lawns dotted with date palms. There are plans to install a swimming pool here.
There's also a campsite here, slightly separate from the lodge, but under the same cool canopy of trees as the main lodge. Toilets and showers are simple, with wooden-clad showers and toilets, and there are also braai stands and facilities for washing up, though if you arrange it in advance, you can have your meals in the main lodge. Campers here are often serious about their fishing!
In the last year or so Guma has become a favourite stop for overland group trips and activities major on mokoro trips, which cost around P130 per mokoro per day. That said, various boat trips, booze cruises and fishing excursions are also possible.
Finally, after visiting the lodge and writing this, I've since seen the lodge referred to as 'Nguma Luxury Lodge' and also as 'Nguma Island Tented Lodge' – the latter by Audi Camp who promote it as a base for fly-in mokoro trips.Guma Lagoon Camp
(3 tents and camping) P Bag 23, Maun; tel: 674626/7; fax: 674626; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Barely a kilometre northeast of the lodge is Guma Lagoon Camp, which is very different. It's run by an enthusiastic couple, Guy and Beverley Lobjoit, who ran Nxamaseri Lodge for many years before moving here to start their own place in 1999. Guy's an angler of some repute (one of the Okavango's fly-fishing experts) as well as an accomplished birder.
Here their operation caters mainly for self-catering visitors who drive themselves here – although meals can sometimes be arranged if you book far enough in advance. They have a campsite with toilets and hot showers, and also three very comfortable 4m x 4m dome tents, set on shaded stands overlooking the lagoon and furnished with beds and linen. Each of these tents has its own toilet, shower and washbasin built beside the tent.
The camp has a fully equipped kitchen, with pots, pans, cutlery, cooking equipment and freezing facilities. This is next to a shaded dining/bar area with a deck extending over the lagoon.
It's a relaxed and friendly spot. Guy and Beverley also run a fish farm here (which is fascinating to look around) and Guy can be hired as a specialist fishing guide for around US$100 per day. Note that the camp also hosts the bush offices and main supply base for Okavango Horse Safaris, so don't be surprised if you see horses galloping around as you approach.