Wilderness Grant Woodrow recalls some amazing memories of the original DumaTau, as well as elaborates on some of the exciting adventures that await guests at the newly rebuilt DumaTau.
I had the privilege of working in the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve for over 20 years, but have visited the area on many occasions for over 40 years. I first visited this area in 1978 as a young boy. I have a picture of myself standing on the banks of the Savuti River, with water in the background, from a period when this river was flowing. I visited the same area every few years after that and although I don’t remember all the details of these trips, I do know that these experiences left a marked impression on me, and played a pivotal role in my career in wildlife and tourism.
It is a wild and beautiful place that is largely affected by the seasonal availability of water. Periodic geomorphological shifts have influenced the ebb and flow of the river systems over the decades, and the periods when the Savuti River was dry created a harsh environment, and the large herds of elephants struggled for survival during the driest times.
DumaTau is perfectly situated between the confluence of the Kwando and Linyanti rivers, and the source of the Savuti River flowing from the Zibadianja Lagoon system. With access to these rivers and lagoons by boat and barge, and land – by means of walking and game drives – one can maximize the amazing biological diversity this region has to offer. We have created activities that allow you to immerse yourself in the wildlife experiences, from watching elephant herds swim across the lagoons, to close encounters with elephants from woodpile and sunken hides, to following wild dogs and other predators as they hunt at dawn and dusk, or simply ambling along slowly appreciating the large variety of birds.
This region has one of the largest elephant populations in Africa, and although they are free to move between countries like Namibia, Angola and Zambia, they tend to congregate along this river system, making DumaTau, and the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve in general, one of the finest elephant viewing destinations available.
Over the years DumaTau as a camp has evolved, but has never lost its welcoming appeal. The original DumaTau, quietly situated within the deep shade of beautiful mangosteen trees, was a family favourite and very popular camp. My kids loved visiting to see the elephant bulls dusting themselves under these trees during the heat of the day , and eating brunch alongside them as they rested. We had so many guests who revisited this camp just for this experience. It was special, but we needed to move the camp when the time came to rebuild it, and when we moved to a new site close by it elevated the experience in many ways.
We chose a site that was itself elevated, overlooking Osprey Lagoon and between two major elephant trails moving between Botswana and Namibia to the north. The proximity to the water enhances the wildlife experiences – especially the close encounters with hippos grazing around the tents throughout the night. It adds new meaning to the “24 hour safari” experience. We also improved the power generation and installed a completely solar-driven plant to replace the fuel-driven generator. It was one of the first of its kind in Botswana.
I am excited about the third and latest rebuild of DumaTau. Our camps continuously evolve, and given the semi-permanent nature of the building materials we use, this happens quite often. The latest rebuild is really exciting. The beautiful design and marked enhancement of the in-camp experiences, together with the exceptional and well-established guided wildlife experiences, has set DumaTau apart as the camp of choice for the region, and no doubt an experience to remember forever.
I have not returned to Botswana for over a year now, but as we move towards a brighter outlook for tourism and the resumption of world travel to some degree, I will visit again, and make sure that this camp is the first on my list! Hopefully I will see you there…
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