On water’s edge

9
VIEWS

Words and pictures by Gordon Stewart

CAMPSITE REVIEW: Guma Lagoon Camp & Mavunje Campsite.

Guma LAGOON CAMP n a recent trip through Botswana and the Caprivi Strip in Namibia, we were fortunate enough to come across two fabulous campsites, both on lagoons – Guma Lagoon Camp, and Mavunje Campsite. As the name implies, Guma Lagoon Camp is on the banks of the Guma Lagoon which links to the Okavango River at the southern end of the panhandle.

It offers both self-catering and full-board accommodation in canvas chalets, all en-suite, and each situated right on the edge of the lagoon with superb views.

Guma LAGOON CAMP n a recent trip through Botswana and the Caprivi Strip in Namibia, we were fortunate enough to come across two fabulous campsites, both on lagoons – Guma Lagoon Camp, and Mavunje Campsite. As the name implies, Guma Lagoon Camp is on the banks of the Guma Lagoon which links to the Okavango River at the southern end of the panhandle. It offers both self-catering and full-board accommodation in canvas chalets, all en-suite, and each situated right on the edge of the lagoon with superb views.

There are also seven grassed and shady campsites, each with its own private ablution facility. There is a fully-equipped kitchen for the use of self-catering guests; and a set menu is available in the dining room with an array of dishes to choose from for those who opt for the full-board option. Campers are permitted to use the kitchen and are welcome to dine in the restaurant. There is no shop, so one would need to be self-sufficient – only fishing tackle and equipment can be purchased or hired.

The campsites vary in size, but the one that we were allocated was easily large enough to accommodate our two vehicles with rooftop tents. Our private ablution facility on the site, consisting of a shower cubicle, toilet cubicle and an open-fronted cubicle with a hand basin and mirror, was more than adequate for the four of us.

Hot water is provided via a gas heater located behind each ablution facility. The lush vegetation around the campsites makes each one nicely private and the grass and gardens are very well looked-after. Each campsite has its own tap. Birdlife at the camp is prolific.

The whole development is attractively constructed and landscaped. The restaurant/dining/bar area opens out onto upper and lower decks over the water of the lagoon. Watching the sunrise from here, with a cup of complimentary tea or coffee (available in the restaurant throughout the day) is awesome. Since this area is a fisherman’s paradise, fishing trips to the main delta can be arranged, and the fishing in the channels and waterways around Guma Lagoon Camp is also excellent. Doing a trip on the lagoon in a mokoro is popular, as are the overnight camping mokoro trails which take one right into the heart of the Okavango Delta.

We overnighted at Maun and then headed southwest to Sehithwa, turning northwest through Tsau, Nokaneng, Thale and Gumare. Approximately 32 kilometres north of Gumare, there’s a sign to Etsha 6 on the right. Ignore this sign and take the turnoff to Etsha 13, approximately 11 kilometres further on. There is about two kilometres of poor tar, after which a reasonable gravel road winds through the small village for about a kilometre. The remaining nine-and-a-half kilometres is a combination of deep sand, sections of gravel and – depending on the time of year – driving through water, because of flooding. Guma Lagoon Camp can also be accessed from the main B8 highway through the Caprivi Strip region in the north. The turnoff to Etsha 13 is about 120 kilometres south of the Mohembo border crossing, on the road past Shakawe…

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