Abu Camp offers an African experience – showcasing the magnificent wildlife and landscape of the Okavango Delta – with a difference: you are invited to walk with and ride the Abu elephants and see the wild environs through their eyes. This is a safari that will transform your perceptions of elephants, wilderness and life itself.
You’ll become a member of an African elephant herd – an extraordinary and moving privilege that never fails to profoundly touch our guests.
Pioneered in the early 1990s, and named after a much-mourned bull elephant, Abu Camp has been running for over 20 years, and offers Africa’s premier elephant interaction experience.
The vast, exclusive Abu Concession is set within the unspoilt Okavango Delta. As the largest inland delta on the planet, the Okavango and surrounding areas of northern Botswana hold more elephants than any other area in Africa.
Abu Camp aims to provide the very best in luxury accommodation and impeccable service, whilst always remaining mindful of the environmental impact of our activities. The camp is a haven of peace and tranquillity imbued with the natural rhythms of the bush.
The Abu Philososphy
The whole premise on which Abu Camp is based is that of elephant conservation. These largest of land mammals are a keystone species (in other words, a species that has a large effect on the ecosystem in which it lives) and an integral part of Africa’s web of life.
The great paradox of elephant conservation is that while many African countries are experiencing rapidly declining elephant populations, others – such as Botswana – have to cope with burgeoning numbers. Both declining and growing elephant populations present their own challenges, so applied research and adaptive management are essential in their resolution.
The Abu Camp elephant conservation strategy is based on understanding key issues impacting the conservation of southern Africa’s elephants through partnerships with different research institutions. Chief among these are Elephant Without Borders (whose research station is based on the Abu Concession) and Elephants for Africa, two forward-thinking Botswana-based NGOs that are investigating important aspects of elephant conservation and behaviour.
Children at Abu Camp
• Abu Camp does not have a family room. Children between the ages of 6 and 16 years can be accommodated as a triple share in a standard twin room on an extra bed (maximum 2 extra beds available for this purpose at any one time). This may impact on space and comfort.
• Child rates will apply when the child is sharing with adults in the triple room, however the
range of activities is limited as a result of the minimum age requirement of 13 years for
the following: canoeing, mokoro excursions, walking (game walks or walking with the elephants) and solo elephant rides.
• Children between the ages of 6 and 16 years may participate in a sleep out on the outdoor
star-deck as well as on an elephant ride, provided they are accompanied by an adult, on the star-deck or on the same elephant respectively.
Making use of the unique high-ceiling and airy canvas style throughout the camp, the six en-suite rooms exhibit their own distinctive elegance. Blending in seamlessly with the natural surroundings, each tent is graced with generous decks and an outdoor copper bathtub.
For reflection, relaxation and even meditation, one can rest in the sitting area of the room, ponder or create art at the writing desk, or appreciate the views from the decks sculpted around the lofty fig and jackalberry trees shading the tents. The stylish furnishings and fittings – individually chosen for each room – impart an air of opulence amid the bush setting.
The Abu Elephant Experience
Abu Camp's resident elephant herd offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience Africa as elephants naturally do, transform your perception of these magnificent creatures, of other wildlife and the living environment. Time spent with the herd may even change your outlook on life itself.
During your stay, you are invited to become a member of the elephant herd. Exploring the African bush with the Abu herd is an eye-opening and wonderful experience. You will get to know the personalities of each family member – from playful youngsters to precocious teenagers and doting adults – all led by the wise, experienced matriarch, Cathy. You will soon form a deep and enduring emotional connection to the herd – a sense of belonging which is both humbling and uplifting.
Meeting the Abu herd offers you the chance to engage and interact with the elephants through varied activities. Shortly after arriving at camp, you will be personally introduced to the herd, and the activities that follow over the remainder of your stay with us will give you a comprehensive and immersive experience as you begin to see the world through their eyes.
At Abu Camp we aim to offer you not a fixed, inflexible schedule of activities, but rather the chance to create your own experience, so you can focus on the moments that are most important to you and your fellow travellers.
• Walking with the Abu herd elephants
• Physically interacting with the herd
• Observing – or even participating in – activities such as mud bathing, training and veterinary care
• Elephant safaris – viewing the scenery and wildlife from the back of an elephant
• Learning more about elephant conservation, behaviour and care from local elephant specialists and researchers
Experience Abu on Land
Game drives through the wonderfully varied landscapes of the Abu Concession offer you the chance to see and photograph big game, predators, and herds of elephant and buffalo as well as enjoying more of the Delta’s unique and dynamic scenery. Early mornings and late afternoons provide the best opportunities to see wildlife, when the day is cooler and animals are generally more active. Game drives are conducted by our experienced and extremely knowledgeable qualified local guides in custom-designed open safari vehicles.
The enjoyment of these drives comes not just from what you see, but also learning from your guide who will be able to interpret tracks, calls and behaviour and unfold the secrets of the African bush. There is no shortage of spectacular locations perfect for a morning tea break or honouring safari tradition with a sundowner drink towards the end of the day.
Experience Abu on Water
Float in tranquil reflection down the quiet channels of the Delta on a motorboat or mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe, navigated through the waters by a skilled poler. A romantic way of viewing the Delta, the mokoro will give you a completely different perspective of the area and your safari experience.
The beauty of the mokoro is the silence and tranquility of your travel. The enjoyment of being at one with nature and causing little disturbance to the surrounding wildlife enhances the experience. Bird-watching is at its best from a mokoro. Expect to see delicately patterned reed frogs and myriad colorful water birds, such as kingfishers seeking their next meal.
Experience Abu from the Air
Flying is a wonderful way to appreciate the diversity of the Abu Concession and the Okavango Delta as a whole. Scenic light aircraft or helicopter flights, which can be arranged at camp, offer a bird’s-eye view of the entire ecosystem and an insight into its formation. The densely matted papyrus waterways, palm islands and the role of termites all take on an entirely new perspective when seen from above.
Finding the Abu herd from the air is part of the journey, along with looking for wild elephant herds and other wildlife.
The lounge and dining areas have been designed to complement the easy flow of nature and to accentuate a feeling of lightness during your stay at Abu Camp. The imaginative use of canvas and poles creates a contemporary, unique blend of sweeping lines in complete harmony with the surrounding wilderness. Organic elements and traditional African artifacts reinforce the sense of place and lend the Camp something of the natural flair and exuberance of the Okavango Delta.
The library features a comprehensive collection of African literature, lifestyle books and field guides, and is the perfect setting for quiet reading, a game of chess, or a lesson from your guide or elephant manager. Leading off from the library is a small gallery displaying lovely jewellery, art, curios and apparel available for sale if you wish to bring home a piece of Abu. A swimming pool and gym complete the amenities.
Dining & Cuisine
Internationally-trained chefs provide creative cuisine of the highest standard, and meals – most of which are served al fresco on the deck – are superbly complemented by premier South African wines and French champagnes from our extensive cellar. A wide choice of international spirits and single malt whiskies are also on offer. Long safari days end with a nightcap around the campfire, recalling the day's experiences.
Elephant Star Beds
For those seeking the ultimate immersion experience into the serene, sensory world of the African elephant, Abu Camp offers you the opportunity to sleep out under the stars, in our Star Bed overlooking the elephant boma.
If you request this amazing experience, you will be escorted up to the large king-size Star Bed after dinner on one night of your stay at Abu Camp. Here, raised high above the ground, you can lie beneath the incredible canopy of southern hemisphere stars and be lulled to sleep by the contented rumbling and low snores of the elephants below – the ultimate lullaby.
The Star Bed offers a unique opportunity to sleep with the elephants, found nowhere else in Africa. To ensure your complete comfort, a bathroom, including a shower, is found on the tier below the top deck.