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Sandra stays at Savute Elephant Camp!

Sandra stays at Savute Elephant Camp!

I hadn’t been to Botswana in quite some time, so I jumped at the invitation sent to me by Orient Express and Air Botswana to join our lovely hostess, Victoria Hut of Orient Express Hotels, on an unforgettable weekend to the luxurious Savute Elephant Camp.  We jetted out of Cape Town International Airport on Saturday morning on an Air Botswana flight which we had for our exclusive use… we now understand how celebrities feel when they board their private jets. The aeroplane was in excellent condition and the attendants friendly and professional.  This routing is going to prove very popular for visitors wanting to combine South Africa with Botswana – the flight times and connections save valuable time and allow for seamless travel.

Maun airport is one of the quaintest International Airports I’ve ever seen!  We were met by a friendly Orient Express Safaris representative who introduced us to our pilot…of a 7 seater plane.  I now understand why they are so strict about luggage restrictions and the requirement for SOFT bags which can be squeezed into very small luggage holds!  The 50-minute flight was quite bumpy at times, but more than warranted by the views of the Okavango Delta and the abundant elephants as we flew over the Savute. 

Upon arrival at the airstrip, we were greeted by our friendly ranger who allowed us some time to steady our legs before departing on a 20-minute safari en route to our lodge.  The lodge staff welcomed us with songs, refreshing drinks and two elephants drinking at the river in front of the lodge – a sure tell of where the lodge got its name!  What amazed me is that ALL the staff knew our names within the first 30 minutes of our stay.  A small indication of the excellent, personal service provided at Savute Elephant Camp. 

The luxury tents are a dream – the shaded wooden deck overlooking the river (yes, the elephants came back to welcome me !), the sheer luxury of the décor, the comfortable beds (with welcoming hot water bottles when I climbed into bed at night) and the luxury of aircon in the heart of the African bush.  I could quite easily have spent my days here…but that would have meant missing out on the excellent cuisine and incredible game experience. 

I don’t think I’ve EVER seen so many elephants.  They are – by far – my favourite animal so a definite highlight. We had excellent sightings of lions, leopards and many species of planes game some of which are pretty unique to the area.  I’ll never forget our game drive on the second morning. Our experienced ranger and the Orient Express Conservation Manager (Onx) took us driving through the marshes – we got caught by surprise at one point by the depth of the water which came rushing into the bottom of the vehicle, but that just added to the excitement of the experience!  We were rewarded by a sighting of hundreds of buffalos – I’ve never seen anything like it before and will always remember it.

A very sincere thank you to our generous hosts for their hospitality and generosity.  I now look forward to visiting the two other Orient Express Safari Camps – Eagle Island Camp and Khwai River Lodge.  I’ll keep you posted!

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