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Just 12 luxe tents with hammock-strung decks occupy this colonial-style lodge in Botswana’s wild Chobe Desert
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.
Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge
Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park, Botswana
How to Get There
Flights are available to O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB), in Johannesburg, from major U.S. cities on a variety of carriers. From there, travelers will need to arrange flights to Maun Airport (MUB) in Botswana; they take approximately two hours on Air Botswana. Round-trip flights between MUB and Khwai River Lodge are included in the rate and can be arranged through the property based on international arrival/departure times.