Set amongst shady trees on the banks of the Kunene River, Serra Cafema is one of the most remote camps in southern Africa, its Portuguese name originating from the mountains that dominate the northern skyline. Guests fall asleep to the sound of rushing water, while by day they explore one of the driest deserts in the world. The camp’s eight unique canvas and thatched chalets, each with its own en-suite bathroom, show great attention to detail; the elevated decks and simple structures of wood, canvas and thatch create a camp that is at one with its surroundings. The dining room and pool look out over the Kunene River. Activities here are varied, including boating (water levels permitting), walking, viewing breathtaking landscapes, as well as carefully guided quad-bike excursions that tread lightly on the dunes. In this isolated region, the Himba people continue their nomadic, traditional way of life and when in the area, guests have the opportunity to meet them and learn about their lifestyle and traditions.
Little Mombo is an extension of and shares the same island as the larger Mombo Camp, matching its high standards. It offers the same abundant big game viewing – some of the best in Botswana – and overlooks a floodplain that is a beautiful setting for a variety of wildlife. The camp, built under a shady canopy, has luxurious and spacious guest rooms under canvas, each with en-suite facilities, outdoor shower and individual sala. Little Mombo has only three rooms, as well as its own dining room, kitchen, lounge and plunge pool, making it ideal for small groups. Activities include morning and afternoon game drives in open 4×4 vehicles to view the high concentrations of plains game and their predators, which include all the big cats.
Little Tubu is situated on Hunda Island, next to its sister camp, Tubu Tree and connected to it by boardwalks. Hunda Island, which is the largest dry land environment in this area, hosts a mix of diverse habitats, which ensures a varied and spectacular game viewing experience. Little Tubu has three traditional-style tents, all with en-suite bathroom facilities, and private decks to maximise the view. The elevated dining, bar and pool decks are shaded by a riverine tree canopy and look out over a seasonal riverbed, which ebbs and flows with the passage of a variety of game. Activities include day and night game drives in open 4×4 vehicles with access to productive mopane and acacia woodlands. During the winter season (normally May to late September), boating, seasonal fishing and mokoro trips are also offered.
Little Vumbura is situated on a wooded island in the same region as its sister camp, Vumbura Plains. Designed to blend in with its surroundings, Little Vumbura is a beautiful six-roomed tented camp shaded by the canopy of an ancient Okavango forest. Each tent is en-suite, with views of the waving grasses of the floodplain. A plunge pool and reading area overlook the floodplains and a star deck leads off the dining area. Surrounded as it is by water and lying close to large rivers, water-based activities are a focus with mekoro traversing the floodplains under the guidance of experienced polers, and motor boats the permanent channels. Wildlife viewing and birding is consistently good all year round. Game drives in open Land Rovers explore the savannah areas. Walks (depending on qualified guide availability) around the islands are an opportunity to enjoy Africa from a different perspective. The Vumbura Concession is leased from five villages through the Okavango Community Trust in a partnership that ensures that the benefits of ecotourism are shared with rural stakeholders. NOTE: Ballooning offered from mid-April to September.
Abu Camp provides guests with the extraordinary privilege of interacting with African elephants, of being part of an elephant herd, meeting each individual and beginning to understand what makes the largest land mammal tick. This is possibly the ultimate elephant educational safari. Set in age-old riverine forest, Abu Camp consists of six en-suite tents designed in a unique style: wide, airy and blending in well with the natural surroundings. Each tent has its own tree-shaded deck with a private plunge-pool overlooking the lagoon, which thrives with bird and animal life. The lounge and dining tent has a breathtaking view over the lagoon and features a well-stocked library and a study. There is also a gym for those feeling energetic. Sundowners around a traditional campfire are followed by five-star meals complemented by award-winning wines. End your evening curling up above the elephants in a one-of-a-kind “star-bed” whilst listening to the herd’s low snores below. The elephant encounters include riding and walking with the herd through the bush, complemented by game drives, night drives, walks (on request) and mokoro trips to view the diversity of game in the area.
Mombo Camp, on Mombo Island just off the northern tip of Chief’s Island, is built under large shady trees and overlooks a wonderful floodplain teeming with wildlife. Accommodation comprises nine spacious tents raised off the ground, all built to maximise the vistas over the plains. The tent interiors are elegantly furnished with polished parquet floors, complete with an outdoor thatched sala – an ideal vantage from which to watch passing game. Bathrooms are en-suite, with indoor and outdoor showers. The main living and dining area is under thatch and there is a boma for traditional dinners, small library and a plunge pool to relax in the heat of the day. Large concentrations of plains game often occur in front of camp and guests may view a variety of animals without even leaving the veranda. Informative game drives explore the savannah and floodplain mosaics of Chief’s Island with prolific wildlife-viewing opportunities.
Within the Chobe National Park, Savuti is perhaps one of the best known game-viewing areas in the country. Under ideal conditions the number and variety of animals seen can be quite staggering. The Savuti area supports mainly Camelthorn (Acacia erioloba) sandveld, Silver Terminalia (Terminalia sericea) sandveld, scrub savanna, and mopane veld. Savuti’s almost desert-like landscape with a scorching sun, loose, hot sand, animals escaping the heat by clumping together in the limited available shade, and elephants impatiently lining up to get to the ever-dwindling water supply, offer a wildlife experience so different, yet so true to Africa. It is almost impossible to imagine that this desolate, harsh landscape was once submerged beneath an enormous inland sea. Geologically the five main features of Savuti (namely the Magwikhwe Sand Ridge, the Mababe Depression, the Savuti Marsh with its dead trees, the Rocky Outcrops, and the Savuti Channel) are all intricately linked in the most fascinating manner.
The word pelo means ‘heart’ – a fitting name as, from the air, the island on which Pelo Camp is situated is heart-shaped. It is also found pretty much as deep into the heart of the Okavango Delta as it is possible to be. This intimate camp has five spacious, en-suite tents with both indoor and outdoor showers and a covered front veranda from which to look out over the water. The main area comprises a tented dining area and lounge situated under impressive wild date palms, jackalberry and Natal mahogany trees. There is also an outdoor boma area, a swimming pool and a raised platform built onto an old anthill. Given the camp’s situation on an exquisite, small island surrounded by permanent water, activities focus on mokoro (traditional dug-out canoe) excursions in the open, shallow floodplains as well as boating and walking. Note: Pelo is open 1 April to 30 November.
Chitabe is situated on a beautiful old tree-island in a prime location in the south-east of the Okavango Delta. Eight spacious en-suite Meru-style tented rooms are built on elevated wooden decks, each tastefully styled with unique décor.
Savuti Camp is set deep in the wilderness on the productive Savute Channel – a refuge for a variety of wildlife. For many years the channel was dry, before the waters returned in 2008 and abundant game congregated around and adapted to their new surroundings. As part of a natural cycle, the channel is dry once more, resulting in a rich feeding ground and corridor between the surrounding mopane woodlands for both plains game and predators. Savuti is about 17 kilometres “downstream” from the Zibadianja Lagoon – the source of the Channel. Accommodation comprises seven large en-suite canvas-and-thatch rooms (including a family unit) that are raised off the ground and face onto the Savute Channel. From the thatched dining area, a pool and large viewing area with fire deck extend outwards on raised wooden decks. Activities on offer are day and night game drives, nature walks with a guide (depending on qualified guide availability) and boating (water levels permitting).