5 of Africa’s Most Intimate Camps
One of the arts in arranging a successful safari is getting to understand the needs and wishes of the client – some like popular camps which ‘de facto’ are likely to be busy, some are the opposite and prefer small camps and their own space. Game viewing can never be guaranteed, so apart from making sure that guests are in the right place at the right time, the one area where we can meet or exceed the guest’s expectations is the selection of the camp. This is very important.
In this week’s blog I’m looking at five of my favourite camps for those guests who want an intimate experience, which I define as a small camp offering private game drives, perhaps private dining and always excellent personal service.
Here are five camps which I think fulfil these criteria and are superb to visit within a balanced itinerary:-
Located on the private Ongava Reservce, just to the south of Etosha National Park in northern Namibia, Little Ongava is the jewel with the family of Ongava properties.
Sitting high on a ridge line overlooking the reserve, Little Ongava has just three suites each connected to the main area by a raised walkway. Each stone and thatch built bungalow comprises an en-suite bedroom (plus an outdoor shower) a sitting area with a fireplace for the cooler evenings, and a private deck with an infinity pool and sala.
Apart from the expected usual safari activities, Little Ongava also offers it guests rhino tracking – on foot, and a photographic hide.
There can be only a very few safari destinations in Africa as special as the South Luangwa Valley – a valley where some sub-species of animals such as Thornicrofts Giraffe (also known as the Luangwa Giraffe are only found.
You’ll find Tena Tena tucked away in the Nsefu area of the park, its five luxury safari tents (plus a honeymoon tent) on a double tier riverwalk with views over the Luangwa River. The camp is only open from the end of May until the end of October but during this time offers a relaxed, peaceful and secluded safari experience – no children under the age of 12 allowed in camp.
The South Luangwa is renowned for its breadth of wildlife with leopards a particular draw for visitors – that and the ability to participate in walking safari; something that many national parks do not allow.
The Okavango Delta is one of my favourite locations to visit and, although not blessed with the same dramatic scenery as you’ll find in the Great Rift Valley, exudes its own intimate charms with crystal clear waterways and palm tree fringed islands.
Situated in the north-west sector of the Okavango Delta my next choice is a camp where I found the friendliest staff I have ever had the honour to meet – it’s called Little Tubu.
The camp on Hunda Island consists of just three traditional style safari tents with en-suite facilities each with a private deck to maximise the view over the seasonal riverbed to the front of the camp. And being such a small camp, it’s ideal for a large family or group of friends to book for exclusive use. The camp also offers a pool.
Little Tubu is probably one of the smallest camps in the Okavango Delta.
Africa has some of the mightiest rivers on earth and few more so than the Zambezi which tumbles over Victoria Falls, flows into Lake Kariba and acts as the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe on its way to the Indian Ocean in Mozambique.
The Zambezi divides two excellent national parks – Mana Pools in Zimbabwe and Lower Zambezi in Zambia, which is where you’ll find the exquisitely rustic and private Old Mondoro. Set on the banks of the Zambezi opposite hippo filled islands, the camp offers accommodation for just eight guests in open (yet private) and airy en-suite safari tents constructed of canvas – which rolls down at night.
Sometimes the more rustic camps are the best ones at which to stay, their simplicity fitting in perfectly with their location and & Beyond’s Savute Under Canvas is one of these gems.
It’s light footprint within the Savute region of Chobe National Park, in the far north-eastern corner of Botswana, gives the camp a feeling of old world charm whilst its size, just four safari tents, gives it a private and intimate feel. Like Little Tubu, Savute Under Canvas is ideal for families or groups of friends.
The facilities are a little more basic than the other camps in this blog but hot bucket showers and flush loos are really all you need. Another bonus is that there is no wi-fi coverage. Ideal for dining around the campfire without the seemingly persistent buzz of i-phones!
A personal favourite type of camp of mine.