Vumbura & Duba
Immediately north of Moremi’s Mombo concession, the Vumbura and Duba Plains reserves (NG 22 & 23) share many similarities of game and landscape with Mombo. This northern area of the Delta is one of my favourites, but because of the similarity between Vumbura or Duba, if you are planning a trip to this area then it’s best to include only one of them in your itinerary.
Vumbura is a very varied reserve, and the areas through which you drive are often very pretty. Much of its landscape consists of wide-open plains with tiny islands – almost a cliché of one’s preconceived view of the Okavango. Vumbura’s game is notably diverse, so most visitors will see a wide range of antelope and have a good chance to spot the less common predators.
Duba Plains, to the west of Vumbura, is visually similar but with larger open plains. It doesn’t quite have Vumbura’s diversity of game, but instead is the long-standing venue for battles between large herds of buffalo and sizeable prides of lion. Thus, it will often provide a very impressive spectacle of big game.
Both can access water activities, Vumbura for the whole year, although the areas aren’t quite so picturesque as, say, the Jao Flats.Getting there and away
All the camps here only accept pre-booked guests who fly in. Driving isn’t possible without permission – and permission is never given. (Though it would be only a few hours drive from Seronga, if you knew the way!). Note that both camps have their own separate airstrips. Vumbura’s airstrip (VUMAIR) is located at n 18°57.504’S; 22°49.063’E.When to visit
In common with the rest of the Okavango, you’ll find the big game more diverse and prolific during the dry season, although the birdlife is generally better between December and March. Driving around the reserve can be more difficult then, as there’s a lot of water around and many roads are submerged.What to see and do
The Vumbura camps, and to a lesser extent Duba Plains, have year-round access to deep permanent water, and so boat trips are possible all year, with opportunities to fish if you wish. There are also mokoro excursions, 4WD game drives and night drives. (Though night drives when flood levels are very high, from May to August, may sometimes be restricted.) Short walks are also offered by these camps, though I would generally go to a specialist walking camp if I wanted to do much walking.Where to stay
All the camps in Vumbura and Duba are marketed by Wilderness Safaris. Vumbura, Little Vumbura and Duba Plains are currently all the same cost, whilst Kaparota is marketed as one of Wilderness’s rustic series of ‘vintage camps’ and hence costs slightly less.
There is also a little-known fourth camp in this area, called Vundimtiki. This is used exclusively by one overseas tour operator from the USA. Visitors from elsewhere are unlikely to even hear about it, and I haven’t visited it and so include no further comments on it here.