We stayed at Little Mombo on a two week trip to Southern Africa which also included stops at Singita Boulders in South Africa, Marlin Lodge in Mozambique and Vumbura Plains in Botswana. We had very high expectations for Little Mombo – it is hard not to when you consider all of the positive press and reviews this place receives, coupled with the premium price they charge. We really enjoyed Mombo and would love to go back someday but overall it didn’t quite hit our very lofty expectations. There was absolutely nothing “wrong” that happened or any real gripes, just a matter of expectations for us and comparisons to prior stops on our trip.
Little Mombo contains three rooms and is connected to (main) Mombo via a raised walkway (which the baboons like to patrol during the day – they seemed harmless – at least that’s what I was told! They didn’t bother us, and actually seemed scared of people if you got too close). Mombo has nine or ten rooms to my knowledge by way of comparison. You can go back and forth between camps, as they share a gym, a pool and the store, but meals are eaten separately (so Little Mombo guests dine with Little Mombo guests and Mombo with Mombo) and game drives are separate as well. I think this is a real consideration if you are going. Little Mombo is certainly more intimate, and if you are traveling in a group you could rent the entire place out. If you don’t want to take a chance that you’ll get along with the other guests (as you tend to dine together) or just want to meet a greater number of people, you may be more comfortable at Mombo. I believe the rooms are pretty much the same across both parts of the camp.
The room was very nice. It looked a little older than our other point of comparison in Botswana with was Vumbura Plains, and I’m pretty sure that’s because it is older, I believe Vumbura was built more recently. Don’t get me wrong though, a very nice room. Quite a different style than Vumbura – more “old school” or perhaps colonial is the right word. The rooms have very nice views and each came with a private outdoor sala which was awesome. It was a big comfy couch under the shade overlooking the glory that is wild Africa. Just sitting there I saw amazing birdlife, a big pack of red lechwe that made their home about 100 feet to my left, and numerous elephants would pass by directly in front of it – you could almost reach out and touch them. There is a fridge in the room stocked with drinks, a separate living room area, and a nice bathroom with dual showers.
The service we experienced was pretty good. We found the staffs at Boulders and Vumbura to overall be a little bit friendlier but we had no complaints about the level of service provided. Martha, the camp manager while we were there, was especially terrific in her friendliness and the effort she put out for us.
The food was excellent the entire time we were there. We even did a “bush breakfast” one morning which was unique. After the morning game drive we pulled up to a long table set for us next to wide open plain, with elephants grazing not too far away. We had the executive chef out there cooking up a masterpiece over some open flames. Experiences like that are parts of what make an African safari so memorable – enjoying gourmet food in an incredibly pristine and wild natural environment with wild animals around.
Speaking of wild animals Mombo is AMAZING for lion viewing. We saw lion on every single drive we were out on, and usually many, many lion. The biggest pride we saw numbered almost twenty, and included two big males and some younger ones. We also were fortunate to see Legadima, the female leopard made famous by the Joubert documentary Eye of the Leopard. We spotted her as we were viewing a smaller breakaway pride of lion. She was walking not more than 200 feet behind them but they did not see each other for the lion were sleeping and covered by some trees. We followed Legadima for awhile and watched her climb a tree and try to take a nap. We also saw a wild dog who has taken to living with a pack of jackals. Very unusual we were told. Both the jackals and the dog have realized that it’s better together than apart it seems. One night we found them lying near the airstrip. The dog took off running (as did the impala that were nearby – they thought the dog was coming for them!) and we followed in the Landover. It was a very cool experience following the dog through the bush and trying to figure out what she was up to. It turns out she was just looking for the other jackals, which she found a few minutes later. In summary on the game viewing, there is a lot of it and it is amazing for lion. The flip side is I hear there are no cheetah nor any rhino in the area, and if you don’t see that one lone wild dog right now then you won’t see any wild dog. So the diversity of game wasn’t quite what we experienced at Boulders or Vumbura Plains, but again, it was out of this world for Lion and all in all we enjoyed every game drive we took at Mombo. Our guide was very knowledgeable and experienced though slightly less personable than some other guides we had in Africa.
Little Mombo was a memorable experience to be sure. I admittedly set expectations very high, and had amazing experiences at Boulders and Vumbura Plains before getting to Mombo which set the bar high. All in all it was great but I do feel the four stars is the right rating for me, due in part that I expected some type of perfection which wasn’t completely there.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A nostalgic look back at our roots as safari pioneers in Botswana, Mombo Trails Camp is a light-footprint tented camp that has been specially erected to provide accommodation during the rebuild of Mombo and Little Mombo camps. As such, there are no permanent structures, but all the luxury and comforts of a Mombo experience, along with Mombo’s world-famous spectacular game viewing on offer. Eight elegantly furnished and spacious guest tents with en-suite facilities are situated on slightly raised decks to minimise impact on the site, all under large, shady trees, and often within sight of a variety of the area’s wildlife. Set under towering jackalberry trees, the dining, bar and lounge area offers beautiful views over the floodplain. Delicious meals are enjoyed here or under the stars, while veteran Mombo guests, guides and staff gather around the campfire to relive the history of one of our longest-running camps. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mombo Camp Hotel Moremi Game Reserve