Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge
What We Love
- Jetsetter 2014 Best of the Best Winner: Best Hotel For Communing With Nature
- Rate includes all meals and drinks (including premium spirits and wines), two game drives a day, return flight transfers from Maun, national park fees and more
- The luxe tents feature four-poster beds and decks strung with hammocks
- Open-air meals of southern African dishes around a roaring bonfire
- No need to bring a camera, just a memory card; the staff can arrange photography equipment (for a fee)
What To Know
- Minibars come stocked with preferred beverages (selected prior to arrival)
- Most journeys involve an overnight stay in Johannesburg, a flight to Maun and a short flight to Savute Elephant Lodge
- Children eight and over are welcome at the lodge
- The small plane to the camp allows only soft bags, and there’s a 44-pound weight limit per person
- Wake-up calls are before sunrise, between 5 and 6 a.m.
- Pair with a stay at one of Belmond’s neighboring safari camps, Khwai River Lodge or Eagle Island Lodge
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
In northern Botswana’s wild Chobe Desert, a miracle occurred in 2010. After nearly 30 years of lying barren, the Savute Channel started flowing again. Located in the center of this thriving African wilderness is Savute Elephant Camp, where 12 megaluxe canvas and thatch tents with decks offer views of the herds of animals who come to drink from the channel. The life-giving liquid has turned the once arid area into active wetlands, attracting animals from miles around. The watering hole, which guests can see from almost every point in the camp, is truly spectacular: Elephants, warthogs and a seemingly endless variety of other beasts and fowl gather in harmony to quench their thirst.
Bed and Bath
A night under canvas here is more akin to sleeping in a five-star hotel than in your average tent (more glamping than camping). Outside, the wilds of Africa abound, but inside it’s Old World colonial luxury: four-poster beds draped in mosquito netting, elegant his-and-hers vanities, open-air decks with hammocks and vintage-style fans. The minibars can even be stocked with your favorite drinks prior to arrival.
Days are filled with game drives and birdwatching. Nights are for indulging in multicourse meals served in the serenely stylish dining room. The camp has its own traditional boma, a fortlike meeting place around a roaring fire, where guests can swap safari experiences and marvel at the stars that sparkle in the vast African sky. There’s also a 65-foot pool for post-safari dips and a small shop stocked with safari wear and local arts and crafts.
In the Area
The rate includes two game drives per day, during which you can expect to see a huge range of creatures, from big cats to rhinos, antelopes, and buffaloes. The Gubatsa Hills shelter leopards, klipspringers and rock paintings of early man’s wildlife sightings. Adopt a wattled crane, one of the most endangered species in southern Africa, through the Savute’s conservation program, or sign up for a massage at Khwai River Lodge’s spa — and be sure to ask for Tumi, who is legendary throughout northern Botswana.
How to Get There
If you want to visit Chobe Park then this is the place to stay! You are right in the middle of the wildlife and have a better chance early in the morning and late afternoon to observe and find the animals without too many other cars around. The camp itself is simply amazing! From the luxurious tents to the wonderful food but most of all the people who run it and work there. We were so well taken care of and felt safe even with the roar of lions and the grunting of hippos at night. A true Africa experience! A special thanks to our guide Innocent who led us to fantastic pictures and to Igobe, our camp manager who was an endless source of knowledge about life in Botswana. We will never forget all the laughter we shared and so many memorable moments!
Everything simply comes together in this place and you will love every minute spend there!
We know we will be back for sure!
Andbeyond Chobe Under Canvas is a really interesting experience to be added to a couple of days in the Delta. While it's not as luxurious as the other andbeyond accommodations in Botswana (which is expected given the mobile nature of the camp), it is an amazing experience in the bush (really close to the nature - we had hyenas walking around the lodge during the night!).
Chobe itself is a great National Park for game viewing (especially elephants, but we also saw different groups of lions and many other animals). I totally recommend the photographic boat ride with Pangolin during the stay (amazing bird watching, could see elephants swimming and playing in the water etc.).
We had Innocent as our guide - he was the most experienced guide we've had in many many safaris (and andbeyond bar is already very high)! Also, the 8-people staff was amazing, really making us fell part of the family.
My tip is to go to Chobe UC as your first camp in Botswana (or at least not the last one).
Also, Chobe is a National Park and guides don't have much flexibility to drive off road (as they do in the Delta), so experience felt more controlled (anyway we saw lots of animals). Last, because of the same reason (and given it's easier access), you'll encounter other people / cars from other properties (not a problem in April but I can see it becoming crowded during the high season).
Anyway, great experience and would add to a Botswana itinerary!
We had an unforgettable time at Chobe Under Canvas! As huge fans of andBeyond (this is our fourth time staying at an andBeyond lodge), we were again hugely satisfied by the experience and attention to detail. With only 5 tents (and only 3 were used during stay), it was intimate and special. The tents were huge and luxurious! Having done safari multiple times, there was something extra special about staying at a site where you feel so connected to the park and to the animals surrounding you. Our guide Innocent showed us so many beautiful sights and animals. I will never forget the sight of dozens of elephants happily (you could actually see emotion from their expressive bouncing bodies and ears, so thrilled to smell nearby water!) skipping down the hill. Or watching a lionness slowly hunt a giraffe and miss the opportunity by a matter of seconds! Swallow, the manager at the camp, made us feel so welcome and shared so many interesting stories with us. Another benefit of this particular camp is a boat excursion on a photographic safari. We were each equipped with a professional camera and were given specific guidance about photographing birds while we learned interesting facts about them. We also saw hippos and elephants swimming and playing in the river alongside us! We cannot say enough positive things about it here!
Chobe Under Canvas was our first Safari Camp in Botswana. Our trip into the reserve was with Innocent, our amazing guide for the trip. We saw hundreds of Elephants, Baboons Impalas, Kudus and many other animals. We arrived at the camp and were greeted by the friendly, happy staff who made us feel very special and welcome. The camp was exactly "what it says on the tin", canvas. The camp has to move every week due to the Reserve's rules, so is very makeshift, but surprisingly comfortable.
There were only 4 large tents, all the same. There was no electricity, just small battery powered lamps, generated by solar panels. We had a comfortable bed and a separate shower and toilet area within the tent. The shower was a bag, filled with hot water by the staff, with a shower nozzle underneath. The loo was a real flushing WC - a pleasant surprise. There was a central meeting and eating area where we were plied with drink and served with lovely food considering it was all cooked in a metal box over a wood fire in the open (even the cakes). Very impressive.
We had an amazing thunder, lightning, heavy rain night on our first night. We were dry but some of the staff got soaked including the manager who went out in flip flops as his shoes got soaked. Unfortunately he was stung by a scorpion and had to go to hospital.
The next day we didn't see many animals after the rain but we did see more on the following day. Although quite basic the camp was great fun, we met some lovely people and it was a good start to our Safaris in Botswana
We stayed in four lodges/camps in Zimbabwe and Botswana, all expertly organized by the &Beyond Travel Planner, Cleo Ares. Our second stop was Chobe Under Canvas, where we “glamped” (zebra toast was the perfect accompaniment to morning eggs). The crew at Chobe Under Canvas are all remarkable and made our stay in the national park comfortable and relaxing. I mean, really - a comfortable bed, warm shower, and flush toilet in the middle of the wilderness - who could ask for more? The quality of the meals was particularly remarkable. It is amazing what the cook could do with a tin oven and open fire! But what was most notable about this location was the ability to see large herds of animals - hundreds of buffalo, zebra, and antelope, as well as large herds of elephants. It was truly incredible. A special thanks to our guide, Innocent, who as a photographer himself, knew exactly where to go for the best sunset shots. In addition, we were treated to an amazing boat trip with Pangolin Photo Safari to see and photograph the huge herds of big animals and exquisite birds up close and personal. Two nights was about right to see everything we needed at this spectacular camp - but their hospitality and dedication will stay with us forever. We want to extend a special thank you/Ke itumetse to the warm and dedicated staff at Chobe Under Canvas for making this an unforgettable visit.