Abu Camp Elephant Safaris
Okavango Delta, Botswana
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ABU CAMP RATES: Abu
ABU CAMP - ELEPHANT BACK SAFARIS
- OKAVANGO DELTA, BOTSWANA
Abu Camp is situated in a private reserve in the
heart of the Okavango Delta. The camp has 6 luxurious tents (but sleeps
a maximum of 10 guests at any one time), and is located under a shady
canopy, overlooking scenic floodplains. Each raised tent has its own
design theme and lovely en suite facilities with shower and bath. The
camp has been named after Abu, the lead African Elephant and star of
movies. Activities include morning or afternoon safaris riding on or
just walking with the Elephants, as well as day and night game drives,
mokoro (dugout canoes) safaris.
Elephant Back Safaris’ animal-focused programme offers guests the rare
opportunity to communicate with a special herd of elephants, consisting of mature
bulls, cows and babies. The programme works towards bridging the gap between
man and animal. They will be adopting a new approach to how the elephants are
handled and will be creating a once in a life time experience for guests, who
will be able to get up close and touch these awe-inspiring animals, not only
on a physical level, but an emotional and spiritual level as well.
Visitors will have a chance to share intellectual space with the planet's largest
and most intelligent land mammal. The team will concentrate on developing and
promoting a comprehensive educational awareness programme, which will inform
guests about the important position that elephants hold within the ecosystem
and the issues surrounding their existence. It is hoped that this programme will
assist guests in making an informed decision regarding the elephant’s situation
in Africa. Guests are also invited to join the resident Bristol University researcher
in her study of adolescent male elephant behaviour.
Elephant Back Safaris’ Abu Camp is located on the western side of Botswana's
Okavango Delta. Guests will be touched by a life-changing journey as they spend
time with the herd that have the run of half a million acres of Delta, one of
Africa's last true, pristine wildernesses. No effort has been spared to ensure
that guests enjoy this unique experience in total comfort and safety.
“Our elephant back safaris offer many magical, memorable moments, not least
the opportunity to come very close to and even mingle with the wild animals.
The herds of giraffe, zebra, buffalo and antelope are unconcerned by the approach
of the elephant herd of which you are a privileged part. We also offer game drives
in open vehicles or a day spent drifting through the tranquil waters of the Delta
in a mokoro, the traditional dugout craft of the Okavango.”
For images of Abu Camp, click Abu
Images For Layout map of Abu Camp, click Abu
An imaginative use of canvas and pole has created a unique style of tent which has been called Afro-Bedouin, high, wide and airy and blending in well with the natural surroundings. Each of the six en-suite accommodation units has its own distinctive furnishings and fittings, many of them antique, imparting an air of opulence amid the bush setting. Each tent has its own private elevated teak deck sculpted around one of the lofty sycomore figs or jackalberry trees.
Well-lit pathways link the tents with the main lounge and dining area, again high vaulted tenting opening out onto a tiered teak decking surrounding a giant termite mound, one of the characteristic sights of the Okavango Delta. The lounge is replete with comfortable antique furnishings and boasts an absorbing library of field guides and illustrated volumes on wildlife. A well-stocked bar provides drinks and cocktails for post-safari sundowners around a camp fire while most of the meals are taken al fresco on the deck. Nearby a secluded plunge pool enables guests to cool off and relax.
With its shady trees and views overlooking the tranquil lagoon, Abu Camp is a haven of peace and seclusion.
Abu is unique in that it allows guests to interact with the resident elephant herd, meeting each individual and beginning to understand the complex behaviour of the largest land mammal on Earth. Guests are invited to become part of the elephant herd during their stay and may watch them being fed in the evenings, enjoy the frolics of the babies and accompanying them on foot as they move through the bush. These elephant encounters provide magical moments and being with them allows a closer approach to other animals than is able to be achieved when simply walking as an obvious human figure.
Abu also offers morning and afternoon game drives, night drives and nature walks to view the abundance of fauna and flora in the area. During the seasonal floods, guests are invited to take to the waters in the mokoros, the traditional poled craft used in the Delta.
Unlike the water-inundated areas of the Okavango Delta, the habitats here vary from open grasslands, secluded island sanctuaries and papyrus-fringed channels. Abu's private concession at 180 000 hectares provides large enough space for abundant general game, from giraffe, zebra, elephant, impala, tsessebe and lechwe to wildebeest, buffalo and warthog. Lion often move through the concession too and can sometimes be heard calling at night.
This area of the Delta also offers excellent birding.; birding by mokoro is particularly exciting with Malachite Kingfisher, White-browed Coucal, Luapula Cisticola, Pied Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Heron and Great Egret just some of the possibilities.
The essence of the camp, of course, is the experience of being part of an elephant herd in their natural habitat. Guests are 'introduced' to the elephants shortly after their arrival and are soon high in the saddle for morning and afternoon rides. From the lofty heights of the elephant's back, the wetland wilderness that is the Okavango takes on a unique perspective. The elephants move at a natural stately pace without disturbing other game, affording their passengers wonderful close-ups of game in the area.
The original vision has always been to return elephants that have spent much of their life in captivity back into the African wild. As a result, over a period of five years, five elephants from the Abu Camp riding herd have been released into the Okavango Delta wilderness area with the cooperation of the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks.
All the released elephants have been fitted with collars and are being tracked by satellite enabling the researchers to pinpoint their exact locations three times a day. The tracking is backed up by on-the-ground monitoring and observation of their behaviour.
The release programme has provided a wealth of material for a research project being carried out by Dr Kate Evans of the Mammal Research Unit of the School of Biological Science at the University of Bristol in the UK and her assistants. This work will help the Botswana government in its management of the country's 110 000 elephants, the largest remaining elephant population in the world.
Abu the Elephant
The camp is named after Randall Moore's legendary
Elephant, Abu, the star of such motion pictures as "White Hunter
Black Heart", and "The Power of One." Abu is an Arabic
word meaning "Everything to do with Elephants." Abu currently
leads a herd of four adults and nine juveniles, all ranging from two months
old to 40 years old. The herd includes matriarch Cathy, Benny the gentle
giant and the dependable Mthondo Mbomvo. The nine youngsters range from
independent-minded teenagers like Thando to the lovable, cheeky youngster
Seba, and new arrival Pula born late last year. You will get to know them
all and will not fail to be enthralled by the interaction between them
as they carry you in stately, silent grandeur through the bush.
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