The iconic Abu Camp is synonymous with the African elephant and one of Botswana's most luxurious camps. Abu Camp lies on a private concession in one of the most beautiful corners of the Okavango, with quintessential delta backdrops and good game viewing. With just six luxury suites, each with a private pool, this is an intimate camp.
Abu Camp is set in a pristine pocket of riverine forest in a private reserve of 180 000 hectares (400 000 acres) in the northern Okavango Delta. The camp also offers morning and afternoon game drives, night drives and walks to view the abundance of fauna and flora in the area. During the seasonal floods of the Okavango Delta guests take to the waters in the mokoros. The landscape of the concession incorporates more variety than some areas of the Delta with permanent water and ranges from palm islands and channels in the north to Kalahari sand in the west where the Kalahari apple leaf proliferates. You will see buffalo, lechwe, wildebeest, impala and giraffe, zebra and warthog. Lions move through the concession and leopard are seen. For bird watchers, 380 species have been recorded in the concession.
Abu camp is named after Abu the elephant who first appeared in a Clint Eastwood’s 1990 film “White Hunter, Black heart”. At the start of Abu camp, Abu along with other elephants rescued from exploitative situations were brought to Botswana and Africa’s first elephant back safaris were pioneered in the Okavango Delta seventeen years ago. Elephant back safaris were stopped in December 2016 and the focus of the experience has moved to conservation and awareness of these magnificent giants. For the initial years’ guests were able to interact with the resident elephant herd, meeting each individual and journeying into the complex herd behaviour. Each pachyderm has a fascinating individual story and character. Some were rescued from captivity or as orphans. The herd’s offspring will never experience life in captivity; all Abu herd calves have been sired by wild males and the aim is to reintroduce them to independent life in the wild. The Abu herd is free to come and go as they wish at any time and at night, they voluntarily returning to the boma.
Abu Camp’s long commitment to elephant conservation has now entered the next phase, entailing the integration of the Abu Herd members into wild herds. This process is being led by elephant experts, ensuring the optimum wellbeing of each elephant as they adjust to this change at their own pace. If you happen to see the Abu Herd on your game drives you will now be able to observe them as they go about their daily lives, at the same distance from which wild elephants would normally be viewed.
The camp is an acknowledged leader in the industry for its excellent standards of service, luxury and comfort. The six suites’ imaginative use of canvas and pole creates a unique style of tent with high ceilings and wide and airy spaces, blending in flawlessly with the natural surroundings. Each has its own completely unique décor and its own private elevated teak deck from which to drink in the awe-inspiring lagoon scenery. An outdoor copper bathtub, private plunge pool, indoor and outdoor shower and a lounge with writing desk complete the suites. There is no air conditioning, but the large mesh windows allow cooling breezes in whilst keeping insects out and the ceiling fans cool the room during the hottest months.
Abu Camp tents are linked with the main lounge and dining area by a well-lit pathway surfaced with elephant dung: this sounds unappealing, but the dried material is clean and comfortable underfoot. The main unit’s high vaulted tenting opens out onto a tiered teak deck surrounding a giant termite mound, one of the characteristic sights of the Okavango Delta. The lounge is furnished with comfortable antique furnishings and features an absorbing library of field guides and illustrated volumes. A bar provides drinks and cocktails for post-safari sundowners around a campfire while most of the meals are taken outdoors on the deck. Nearby a sheltered pool enables guests to cool off on hot days.
The culinary delights will be a highlight of your stay at Abu. Brunches are light and salads, mezze platters and an ostrich burger are on offer. Vegetables come from a hydroponics farm near Maun so are locally produced with a low carbon footprint. Dinner is more formal, and dining is done in a variety of areas around the camp.
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