Beautifully built on raised platforms above the crystal clear waters, papyrus beds and lilypads of the Boro River in an Okavango Delta concession bordering the Moremi Game Reserve, Sanctuary Baines’ Camp is one of the smallest luxury camps in the region, boasting just five luxurious suites. The camp offers remarkable interactions with orphaned elephants, while treating guests to all-inclusive spoils and superb safari experiences on land and water.
The intimacy of the camp means that guests are given individualised service and exclusivity when it comes to activities. Along with a host of creature comforts, the suites feature beds that can be rolled out onto the private decks for a memorable night out under the stars. The accommodation is complemented by great activities such as game drives, boat cruises and mokoro trips, while the experience of walking with and even touching large habituated elephants is an unforgettable one. In accordance with the camp’s strong environmental leanings, the walls are formed out of recycled cans gathered from the local communities.
This beautiful concession area is shared with only one other camp and covers a lovely mix of landscapes, ranging from dry savannah, to desert, lagoons and swamps. This means that a diversity of game is likely to encountered, with specials including lions, leopards, elephants, wild dogs and a variety of plains game and bird species.
Many of the Okavango’s 122 mammal species, over 400 birds and 1 300 species of flowering plants can be seen in the area. When the flood waters of the Okavango Delta rise in winter, game drives are combined with motorised boat excursions, which are the best way to get up close with the critters that are attracted to the water. Even when the game viewing is slow, the concession’s stunningly beautiful waterways and riverine forests will keep nature-lovers absorbed throughout.
The camp is tucked under a grove of trees, and often during the floods, the waters of the river seep underneath the raised platforms. It is not unusual for guests to see hippos wallowing almost below their suites, and bird-watchers will find themselves in paradise. There are five suites – three twins and two doubles – each set on elevated platforms with wooden decks. The rooms are luxuriously appointed with free wireless internet, dressing gowns, fans, minibars, safes, hairdryers and comfy lounge areas. Fitted with pure cotton linen, the beds can easily be rolled out onto the deck for outdoor sleeping. Bathrooms are nice and spacious and feature double basins and showers.
To pay tribute to Thomas Baines (the artist and explorer who the camp was named after) each suite has a copy of one of his paintings hanging on the wall. For those who feel the desire to paint the gorgeous surrounds, complimentary paint and paintbrushes are supplied.
The walls around the camp have been built with a mixture of recycled cans, plaster and elephant dung, put together in a surprisingly stylish fashion. The main camp area is built around a termite mound and is reached via raised wooden walkways. Here, guests will find a lounge and library overlooking the lagoon, as well as open-sided dining room where delicious food can be enjoyed.
To provide refreshment from hot summer weather, a plunge pool has been built away from the main area, surrounded by a sundeck, loungers and day beds.
Whether sleeping inside their rooms or outside on their decks, guests will wake up to the grunting of hippos and the twittering of hundreds of birds.
To take advantage of the cool temperatures and soft morning light, the first game drive starts at daybreak, but not before you take your pick from a variety of snack options ranging from fresh muffins, cereal and yoghurt, to cooked-to-order delicacies.
The varied habitats of the reserve will be thoroughly explored during both the morning and afternoon drives, giving you the opportunity to see as many of the concession’s animal residents as possible. Walking safaris are on offer too, while all guests should most definitely embark on the elephant interaction during their stay.
During the floods, boat cruises and mokoro trips are added to the mix, and cruising the sedge and papyrus-lined channels is a special experience. Night drives are a wonderful way to become acquainted with the creatures of the night. In between activities, guests can laze around the swimming pool, savour exceptionally varied cuisine of high quality, and simply soak up the atmosphere of this romantic camp.