Editors' Picks

Vumbura Plains

Modern spoiling in the delta

Ngamiland North, Botswana

At a Glance

One of the most soulful camps in the Okavango Delta, Vumbura Plains has a special authentic warmth. A big reason for this charm is because most of the staff grew up together in the community to which the 148,000-acre concession belongs.

Indagare Loves

  • That almost all of the staff come from villages not fifty miles from the camp
  • Sundowner service on a boat in the middle of the papyrus reeds in the delta
  • The showers—both indoor and outdoor—with views of the delta


One of the most soulful camps in the Okavango, Vumbura Plains, like Jao Camp, was also the design vision of North Island architects Silvio Rech and Leslie Carstens. Surprisingly contemporary and utterly different from an old-school safari camp, Vumbura has a modern, almost Bohemian design that is not for safari purists: think hanging egg chairs in muted colors, sunken seating areas with glazed ceramic tables and acres of pale gray cushions enlivened by crocheted pillows in the bright blues and greens of the delta. It’s remarkably eco-chic, with lots of bleached wood decking outside and the pine inside sourced from a sustainable supply.

The camp is split into Vumbura North and South, with similar main lodge areas, nearly identical accommodations and a shared curio shop. (It takes about ten minutes to walk along a raised boardwalk from each camp to the shop or twenty minutes between the two camps, and many restless guests enjoy the trek as a daily exercise). Guest rooms all have plunge pools and lovely shaded outdoor seating salas for enjoying the view between game drives. The thatched cottages have the same modern eco feeling as the lodge with floor-to-ceiling views of the delta, sunken couches and a platform bed with mosquito netting. The lodge underwent a soft refurbishment during Covid, so all fabrics and textiles have been freshened, and pops of color throughout the lodge bring the tones of the surrounding melapo grasslands to life. The spacious, turquoise tiled showers’ glass privacy panels are muraled to mimic life under water in the surrounding reeds while the closet door panels mirror the radiance of the blue floodplains—all an artful balance of natural materials reflecting the vibrant colors of the Delta.

As with all Wilderness premier camps, the food is shockingly good for the bush, with menus that include such trendy options as beetroot and cumin soup and quinoa salad with olive, tomatoes and feta. Unlike at some camps, guests at Vumbura Plains tend to dine on their own rather than communally. Among the most special aspects of the camp are that it is on a private community-owned concession and most of the staff (virtually all except for some guides and managers) come from the five nearby villages. This means that many of the staff have worked here for a decade, and many have also grown up together in the same village, creating a contagious comraderie.

In the magical waterworld of the Okavango delta, some camps lie in areas that are distinctly land-based or water-based, but some are blessed with a true mix and are thus called combination camps. Guests can do game drives or mokoru rides and will see an amazing variety of wildlife doing both. Depending on the season, fishing trips and walking safaris are also available, and massages are offered during down time.

Who Should Stay

Those looking for a little bit of style in their Safari accommodations, warm and friendly service, great food, and great game viewing.

Written by Melissa Biggs Bradley

What's Nearby

More Inspiration

Indagare employees walking up stiars

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