I watched a baby elephant being born! This is a very rare sighting and as guests in Abu Camp witnessed, Shireni gave birth to her third calf and the herd gained a bouncy baby girl called Warona, a Setswana name meaning ‘For us’. Enjoy this fabulous video (courtesy of AfriScreen) of Warona at three days old, getting used to her surrounds and trying to work out how to use her trunk!
I recently visited the newly refurbished Abu Camp located in a 180 000 hectare private reserve in the western reaches of the Okavango Delta. I spent two days discovering the beauty of this completely refurbished, luxury safari camp. It boasts a spacious timber-decked dining area which connects to the Elephant Library. Clever conservation methods have been employed to ensure that modern convenience is present yet unobtrusive.
Electricity is provided by solar energy – thanks to the state of the art solar farm located just behind camp. Camera batteries and laptops can be charged in the guest tents (your camera will be on ‘happy snappy’ mode for sure).
One of the best features of the camp is the open-air gym. It is situated behind the lagoon and drops down onto a wooden deck which joins the pool area. The equipment includes a treadmill, rowing machine, yoga mats and free weights. The camp has six airy uber-stylish safari tents built on raised timber decking which cocoon clients perfectly during siesta and slumber times. Alternatively, swop the sophisticated digs for the unfettered freedom of the Star Bed platform.
Must do’s at Abu Camp:
- Watch the earth’s largest land mammals bob around like a group of weightless, wrinkled, grey corks as they go for their daily swim in a pool not far from the camp. This encounter was unforgettable and it was such an awesome gift to watch the elephants in their happy state, playing right before my eyes.
- Enjoy a bush dinner under the best chandelier of them all, the African night sky. We enjoyed a lovely introduction to the menu by aptly named Star, our hostess for our al fresco bush-feast. Tucking into wholesome, tasty bush cuisine with good company, service and wonderful wines makes for great memories.
- Sleep under the stars on the Star Bed, Abu Camp’s sleep out deck, set up adjacent and overlooking the elephant boma. Underneath the safety of the mosquito net I soon drifted off to the low rumbling of the elephants whispering goodnight to one another in their boma below me. Also, in the distance, a leopard was calling – a more thrilling lullaby there is not. In the middle of the night, I became aware of my surroundings; my eyelids fluttered open and I gazed upwards toward the greatest chandelier of all – the African night sky. Orion’s belt seemed so close, I felt I could pluck it from the sky and try it on for size. Smiling at the thought, I turned over and slumbered on.
- Go on safari – on the back of an elephant. This unique activity offers insight into how these iconic African animals travel and an opportunity to see the world from their vantage point! We got within meters of a new born baby giraffe and its mother, impala, warthog and some lovely birds. We witnessed a Scops Owl getting dive-bombed by feisty Fork-tailed drongoes to deter it from attacking their nest. I rode the heavily pregnant, Sirheni and it was fascinating talking to her handler about all things elephant en-route to our tea stop.
Visit this watery wonderland and you too will discover that it offers more than just water for elephants, it offers a sanctuary for the soul.