The world’s largest inland delta, teeming with game, offering outstanding land and water-based mokoro safaris and world-class bird-watching.
The oldest elephant camp on the continent, Abu specialises in elephant-back safaris, and allows incredible interactions between guests and these imposing beasts. The camp’s small herd of resident elephants is trained to transport guests through the surrounding Okavango Delta, so they can spot game from above.
This is the best African camp for seeing elephants up close – they have been handled here for more than two decades, so guides know what they’re doing. The Big Five can be seen in the area, among lots of other game – and you can take water safaris by local mokoro boat.
Camp decor is cool, contemporary and understated, decorated in shades of greys and creams, its furnishings made of light woods, leather and rattan, its textiles natural. The communal living space is spacious and airy, and houses a good library (with lots of books on elephants). Interiors are African-themed, but not traditional or particularly local: chandeliers made of shells, walls decorated with black and white photographs. Each tent has a deck overlooking the Delta with beautiful views, shaded by large jackalberry and fig trees. One suite has a private pool.
It’s one of the area’s most expensive camps, thanks to its exclusive set-up – just six A-frame tents on 180,000 private hectares, set high on wooden decks overlooking the Delta. As such, Abu regularly hosts presidents, royalty and Hollywood glitterati, who come for some of the best food, wine and service available in Botswana.
Game & game viewing
Mokoros – traditional dugout canoes – offer a romantic way to game spot. Skilled polers navigate you down the waterways, offering game spotting opportunities unavailable from land or air. Abu camp can also arrange light aircraft or helicopter flights over the concession and wider Okavango Delta.
For a really memorable experience, request a night at the camp’s ‘Star Bed’ – a luxury outdoor double room under the stars, from which you can hear the sounds of the bush.
Taking the kids
They welcome kids 6 years and over. Their ‘Bush Buddy’ kids program includes tracking lessons, where guides show them how to track animals and make a plaster mould of prints they find, and fishing for tiger fish. At camp, they’re encouraged to use the environment in arts and crafts, including kids’ favourite: paper-making with elephant dung.
Children under 13 may not walk with the elephants; they can however take an elephant ride and sleep out in the star bed if accompanied by a parent.
It’s a 30-minute flight from Botswana’s Maun airport to the local airstrip, where they will collect you, then a 20-minute journey by road to the camp.
Food & drink
Destination guides including or relevant to this place to stay
Round-ups that include this placetostay
Here’s our round-up of 60 unique and unusual places to stay – from castles to palaces, treehouses to caves and even UFOs – that justify a place on any travel bucket list in their own right.
Renowned safari journalist and expert Lisa Grainger recommends her favourite African camps, from savannahs teeming with Big Five, to star-lit desert wildernesses.