A guide to the Okavango Delta concessionsRead More
Kwedi Concession is a game rich private concession on the northern edge of Botswana’s game rich Okavango Delta. With just two camps within the concession it offers a very exclusive safari experience.
Vumbura Plains and Little Vumbura Camp are situated in the extreme north of the Okavango Delta in what is known locally as the Kwedi Concession, which comprises 90 000 hectares (220 000 acres). Here, the vegetation ranges from open floodplains to dense mopane bushveld – offering spectacular game viewing and birding opportunities all year round. The permanent swamp and island habitats abound with beautiful tree-islands of every size, surrounded in turn by permanent waterways created both by the summer rains and the annual winter floodwaters of the Okavango Delta.
Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM)
How does Botswana ensure that Batswana, the people of Botswana, especially those in rural areas, have a stake in the tourism sector? The answer to that question is ‘community based natural resource management’ (“CBNRM”). CBNRM was introduced to Botswana by USAid in 1989.
The requirement is that, in order to obtain a head lease on land, the communities involved must set up a legally recognised community based organisation that constitutionally ensures fair representation and builds in accountability. The most common form in Botswana is a community trust, whose members must include all adults who have lived in the relevant area for five years.
NG 22 was leased in 1994 to five villages, Seronga, Gunotsoga, Eretsha, Beetsha and Gudigwa. The villages themselves are situated outside the concession’s border in NG 11 and NG 12. The Okavango Community Trust (OCT) was set up in1996 and the OCT board includes a representative from each of the five villages. The OCT oversees and administers the management of the concession agreement and distributes income. Initially NG 22 and NG 23 were leased to a hunting safari operator, Micheletti Bates Safaris, but in 1999 Wilderness Safaris leased one concession, then both in 2004 and then Wilderness Safaris leased NG 23 to Great Plains Conservation.
Initially, most of the revenue from the sub-leasing of the land to a tourism operator went to the community trust. This was revised downwards in 2008 to 35%. This was so that the remaining 65% could go the National Environment Fund to fund general community projects throughout the country, thus also allowing those citizens to benefit who did not have control of the valuable natural resources.
Wilderness Safaris pays an annual lease fee to the OCT and also pays taxes and licence fees to the Botswana government. Vumbura Plains employs 88 people, 70% of whom come from the local community. Wilderness Safaris gives donations to the local soccer tournament, has built houses for OCT trustees to live in without charge, contracts with a local business to provide staff transport and has built and maintained a mortuary. In addition, Wilderness is involved in a number of community projects to create secondary cottage industries, such as smallholdings growing vegetables and basket weaving and creating a market for the baskets by selling them in their camps.
Breeding herds of elephant and lone males of often move through the Kwedi Concession – particularly when the jackalberry trees are in fruit. Game drives in this region are incredibly productive; arriving guests often see a range of wildlife on their first game drive on the trip from airstrip to camp. The game is diverse in a reflection of the variety of habitats in the area.
The annually flooded grasslands of the Okavango Delta surrounding Little Vumbura and Vumbura Plains are locally referred to as ‘melapo’ and offer seasonal viewing of elephant, giraffe and Burchell’s zebra. The antelope species here are numerous. impala, sable antelope (Kwedi is one of the best areas in the Okavango Delta for this species), greater kudu, common waterbuck and reedbuck, tsessebe, blue wildebeest and red lechwe. Sightings of hippo and crocodile are common in the waterways. Predators include the African wild dog, several resident prides of lion, leopard, cheetah and African wildcat. The resident wild dog Golden Pack often roam the area and are seen frequently on impala, common reedbuck and kudu kills. Large herds of Cape buffalo also move through the concession.
The birding in the Kwedi is as varied as it is exceptional all year round. In the summer many migrant species are present. Pel’s fishing-owl is regularly seen, with other specials including wattled crane, slaty egret, chirping cisticola, fan-tailed widowbird, pink-backed pelican and possibly rosy-throated longclaw.
Common trees found around the two camps in this concession are the jackalberry, African mangosteen and the ubiquitous sausage tree, which provide shade food and shelter to a fantastic range of wildlife. The permanent waterways host papyrus.
Access: By flight into the Vumbura airstrip.
Best Months: November to April the bird life is at its best as these are the breeding months. In the dry season the concession is easier to traverse as it is less wet and the game viewing is generally better and easier.
Camps: Vumbura and Little Vumbura
Little Vumbura is a Classic Wilderness Camp well known for its spectacular and diverse wildlife sightings. Shaded by a forest canopy, Little Vumbura camp offers a perfect all-round experience that affords the safari enthusiast the opportunity to enjoy both water and land activities on the concession floodplains. Six luxury tents with private decks boast incredible scenic vistas and together with a well - situated star deck make this particular camp well worth visiting.
Vumbura Plains Camp is premier Okavango camp with a stylish contemporary design. The 14 luxurious stilted rooms are divided into two camps and connected by wooden walkways. Panoramic views of the floodplains from the expansive lounge area are breath-taking. An exciting array of wildlife sightings emphasises the variety and density of the animal species here. High levels of service, delicious meals and deluxe surroundings provide guests with safari experiences guaranteed to leave lasting memories
Contact us for more information and to start planning your Okavango safariContact