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Botswana Safari

Abu Camp Elephant Safaris

Okavango Delta, Botswana

Elephant Back Safari at Abu Camp
Return to Map of Okavango Delta Camps          © Elephant Back Safaris

View images of Abu Camp: Abu Images

View Camp Layout Map of Abu Camp: Abu Map


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 interior 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 many movies. Activities include morning or afternoon safaris riding on or just walking with the Elephants, as well as day and night game drives, and 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.”

Abu Camp            For images of Abu Camp, click Abu Images           For Layout map of Abu Camp, click Abu Map
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.

Top           Return to Map of Okavango Delta Camps

Water / Land Activity Table for Botswana camps:  Water/Land Botswana
Flying Times between Botswana camps:  Fly Times Botswana

For further information about the Okavango Delta, click More Okavango
For further information about Botswana, click More Botswana

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