The Elephant Experience at Abu Camp, Botswana

22 August 2018

With years of experience in the African bush, YZ expert Sophie returned to Botswana on her annual educational trip, and reveals her incredible experience at Abu Camp: 

Is Abu Camp all about the elephants?

Abu Camp in the western Okavango Delta is most famous for its elephant interactions. Living close to the camp is a herd of rescued elephants – they have been rescued from all around the world and brought to Abu to live as a family. Guests of the camp used to be able to ride the elephants, but this has stopped. Now you are able to walk with the elephants, but this has also been limited in recent months as one of the females gave birth to a calf in February. The little bull elephant is full of fun and enthusiasm for life – however, he does not know his own strength, so while he is growing up the elephant interactions are being limited to short walks and teatime feeding. For anyone who loves elephants, this is a unique experience. It is interesting to hear the history of the elephants and how they now live close to Abu Camp with the freedom to wander off into the wild if that is what they want to do. The new arrival’s father is a wild bull elephant who mated with the female when the herd was out exploring one day.

Given all of these changes, Abu now has to be about more than just the elephants – and it is. This is a stunning property in a beautiful location, and I would happily spend a day simply relaxing in camp. Abu has a large comfortable main area, so it is easy to find a place to relax. There is also a swimming pool if you feel like a dip, and the food is incredible – this camp is fantastic!

My wildlife experiences at Abu Camp

The reason we go on safari is to see game, and my experience at Abu in April is that it will not let you down. I was lucky – I saw two leopards, two wild dogs, and a hyena fight over a waterbuck that had been killed by one of the leopards. I also saw some wonderful old male buffalos as well as good general game and birdlife. I was there for 24 hours, so I was not disappointed – in fact, it was some of the best game viewing I had on my trip!

The guiding at Abu Camp

Abu is one of the Premium Camps in the Wilderness Safaris collection, so my expectations were high. As I mentioned, the accommodation, food, and service are fantastic, but it was the guide that impressed me the most during my stay. If you have a passionate, knowledgeable, and articulate guide, things that might otherwise go unnoticed become fascinating. Our guide knew the area well and understood how the animals behaved, so what might have been a slow game drive became a lesson in listening to monkey and other animal alarm calls to track a leopard through thick grass. At one point I did think we were on a trail to nothing, but when a big male leopard appeared I really felt like we deserved our special sighting.

So… is Abu Camp all about the elephants?

So in answer to my initial question, ‘Is Abu Camp all about the elephants?’, I would say no – it has much more to offer. I do, however, have one reservation – this camp is one of the most expensive camps in the Delta. If you love elephants it is worth it, but if you are looking for big game in general I would always suggest Mombo or Vumbura Plains where there is no question that the game viewing will be better than Abu.

Written by Sophie, ex-safari specialist who was an invaluable member of our team from November 2016 to August 2018. Sophie left YZ after almost two years of working in our London-based office, as her desire to be back in the bush proved too much! We wish her every success for the future.


If you’d like to experience this incredible camp yourself why not speak to one of the YZ experts on +44
 (0)20 8547 2305 or send us an email at [email protected]