Once Banoka Bush Camp, now revamped, renamed and reopened (May 2017), Sable Alley is located Botswana’s Khwai Private Reserve, borders Moremi Game Reserve, and is rated by all who visit it as an excellent eco-luxury camp.
Situated overlooking a lagoon fed by both the Khwai and Sable Alley rivers, Sable Alley is a canvas and wood construct, and includes a shared area and 12 tented sleeping rooms. Consisting of a bar, lounge, swimming pool, decking, fire pit and swimming pool, the main area is subject of much thought by way of user experience.
Raised on a wooden floor, thatched, open plan and characterised by smart rugs, mixed and comfortable seating, and a range of artefacts, everything is arranged to make the most of the view onto the lagoon, which is beautiful, day and night. Do note that there is no mobile reception or Wi-Fi here or in the rooms.
Food & service
Sable Alley’s returning guests are full of praise for both food and service. The camp’s relaxed, knowledgeable and all round convivial ambience is set by all the staff, from management, to restaurant floor, to guide and tracker. Just as fine, meals are available inside and or out, privately or – more normally – together with fellow guests, and include pre wildlife drive breakfasts, a more fulsome lunch, picnics if so required, afternoon tea, and a three course dinner.
Similarly raised on wooden platforms, constructed using hardwood frames, and approached via open pathways, the tented sleeping rooms at Sable Alley are as beautifully thought through as the main area, the design including a peaked veranda roof and overhangs running the length of each side.
Inside, the rooms come with a double bed, en-suite bathroom, plenty of lounging room, and inside and outside showers. Marked by polished floors, sisal rugs, trunks, a room divider, and one or two bits of art, the look and feel is very smart-chic. Please note that two of the tents are family units.
Activities at Sable Ally include wildlife drives (day and night), guided walks, stargazing, and mokoro (canoes) trips, depending on the time of year.
Please note that at the moment (2017) the wildlife here is not nearly as dense as it is in other areas, owing partly to the fact that Khwai was until 2014 a hunting reserve, and also to the flora, which consists partly of forest. Do not, however, let this deter: the camp is wonderful, the tracking is exceptional, and the reward on seeing wildlife is that much greater for having put the work in.
In the Khwai Private Reserve, Sable Alley has links with the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust who are currently investigating the leopard population in this vast area, using camera traps to determine the population size and territories. Additionally, Round River Conservation Studies have been collecting important baseline data on large herbivores for the reserve’s game monitoring programme.