Located in northern Botswana, in the Okavango Delta, with a very loyal following of travellers and elephant lovers, Abu Camp is a first rate luxury lodge whose unique selling point is the fact that it supports its very own herd of elephants, and so specialises in offering elephant-based safaris.
Situated in a 500 000-acre private reserve, beneath a mixed grove of sycamore fig and jackalberry trees, next to a lagoon. Abu Camp is the result of over 20 years worth of work – work begun by Randall Moore, whose delta based elephant back safaris were the first of their kind, and since built on by a wealth of ecologists, conservationists and naturalists.
Raised on wooden decks, and wound around gigantic trees, the camp is a wood and canvas build consisting of a lounge and dining area, outdoor decking, a library, bar, office and 6 sleeping tents.
The shared areas are recently overhauled and are characterised by angled roofing, open sides, low outdoor sofas, comfy indoor seating, woven chairs and side-tables, alongside lightweight dining furniture, hand carved coffee tables, soft lighting and the occasional well-chosen antique, painting or sculpture. Tasteful, welcoming, everything about the main lodge suggests an eye for what really works.
Food & service
The service is exceptional, and the cuisine – African-European – excellent.
Linked by well lit walkways, and raised up on light wooden floors, the sleeping tents are equally fine. While each has its own distinctive style, all the rooms possess a double/twin light wood contemporary bed, a seating area, room to change in, an extensive private veranda and huge glass shower with views across the lagoon.
While there is not space enough here to describe each of the rooms, or the furniture and artefacts they contain, it is worth knowing – as an indication of what lies ahead for the Abu client – that not only do you have a superb outside bath, which is one of the most romantic places to contemplate the dark vast African skies from your warm bubbly tub. Once again, an enormous amount of thought has gone into the design of these tents both in terms of their custom designed structures and of their stylish interiors. Wi-Fi is available across the camp.
Activities include elephant safaris, wildlife drives, guided walks, mokoro trips, fishing and sundowners. The sky beds are a relatively new addition, and here you can sleep right near to the elephants, undoubtedly a very special activity. Although Abu is one of the more expensive destinations in Africa, the price tag is justified by its ongoing conservation projects, the standard of its cuisine and service and lastly knowing that you are maintaining the beautiful Abu herd.
Each of Abu Camp’s elephants has a different story; they may have been lost, injured, or in captivity before joining. The camp’s aim, however, isn’t simply to offer these elephants a safe home, but to eventually release them back into the wild. This will benefit the community twofold: the elephants can reclaim their vital place in the local ecosystem, and scientists will be able to study their actions and behaviour. Since the programme’s beginning, nine elephants have been returned to the wild.
Abu Camp’s bold attitude towards conservation doesn’t end there. Solar energy provides a large part of the camp’s power, waste water is treated, and reverse osmosis filtration reduces the need for plastic bottle usage.
Wilderness Safaris supports Children in the Wilderness, a programme which provides educational life skills and environmental awareness for children who live in villages close to conservation areas. At this moment in time (2018) CITW has benefited over 10,000 children from seven African countries.