Chitabe Camp is built on elevated wooden decks set amongst trees.
Chitabe Camp: Our full report
Chitabe Reserve has plenty of shady, wooded glades but few open plains, and is almost surrounded by Moremi Game Reserve. In contrast with the areas further north, it's largely forested: an interesting mosaic of mopane and acacia woodlands, riverine forests and occasional lush channels.
Chitabe supports a varied range of animals and birds, with numerous leopards thriving on a prolific population of impala. Buffalo, elephant, lion and periodic sightings of wild dog are also highlights here - ably recorded by the camps' owners in their excellent coffee-table book on wild dogs, Running Wild. The two camps here offer a classic dryland safari experience, concentrating on 4WD game drives both day and night.
The birdlife is often good, too, with raptors especially common - although obviously you won't see the full range of waterbirds found elsewhere. (Though many birds occur throughout the Delta, their distribution is often very localised.) Western-banded snake eagles, Gabar goshawks and martial eagles are just a few of the more sought-after sightings in drier areas like this.
The main Chitabe Camp has eight luxury tents, built on raised wooden decks and linked by walkways. There are ceiling fans as well as the usual en-suite facilities, an atmospheric outdoor shower and a great view from the veranda.
From the arrival area, Chitabe Camp is accessed by a wooden walkway which leads upwards to the main lounge area. This is large and thatched, and beautifully designed, with big squashy sofas in very comfortable seating areas. A cleverly designed bar, hewn from a single trunk of a marula tree, is fully stocked with a wide variety of soft drinks, local beers, some good red and white wines and most local spirits. In the centre of the main area, large steps lead down to the firepit where guests gather to enjoy evening drinks. The whole area is a great place to watch the cheeky tree squirrels that run around the camp!
A walkway leads from the main area to the dining room, a large, thatched, open-sided room, with views over the surrounding plains. Both the buffet brunch and dinner are served from counters of beautifully polished old tree trunks, with guests eating together at one large table.
More steps lead to a swimming pool – actually more of a plunge pool, but with a good view over the plains in front of camp too. Surrounded by sunloungers and shaded by enormous trees, this is a great place to cool off in the heat of the day.
One of the nice things about Chitabe is the small library – tucked away from the main areas along a walkway, and nestled in the branches of a large tree. A seat designed from the branch of a sausage tree, other comfortable and stylish sofas, and a great view over the plains combine to make this a lovely little ‘snug’, and a great place to retreat with a gin and tonic.
Chitabe also has a small curio shop selling traditional Okavango crafts and baskets made by the local staff.
Our viewChitabe Camp is in a super area for game, and on our last visit we found the upgraded rooms a real improvement. The guiding was of a high standard – the guides were keen to get good sightings but were also thoughtful about the impact of their presence on the animals.
Ideal length of stay: 3 nights.
Directions: Guests will take a small plane flight to the Chitabe airstrip and it is then a half hour game drive to camp.
Owner: Flamingo Investments own the lodge, which is marketed by Wilderness Safaris.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Bottled water, soft drinks, local beers and spirits, and a limited selection of South African red and white wines are included. Champagne and imported wines and spirits will cost extra and may need to be requested in advance.
Birdwatching: The Chitabe area has a good population of birds including Pel's fishing owl, slaty egret, brown snake eagle, wattled crane, saddle-billed stork, woolly necked stork, marsh harrier, tawny eagle, black coucal, black egret, martial eagle and of course the African fish eagle.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Botswana
Wildlife safaris: The Chitabe area is renowned for its wild dog population. Also worth noting is the regular lion and leopard sightings, tsessebe (the fastest antelope in Africa), blue wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, reedbuck, duiker and steenbok. We were told that pangolin had also been sighted recently.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Botswana
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome with the restrictions below.
Generally recommended for children: We would recommend Chitabe Camp for children over the age of 12 years.
Notes: When children are accepted at this camp, they tend to be kept separate from other guests. Note that the walkways to the rooms are raised fairly high off the ground.
Power supply: Generator
Communications: Chitabe Camp has a CB radio link in case of emergencies, but for all intents and purposes you should consider yourself out of contact. There is no mobile reception.
TV & radio: No TV or radio - this is the bush!
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: All camp managers are first aid trained and various medications are kept in the camp. In severe emergencies Wilderness can arrange for clients to be flown out either via helicopter or medical rescue plane.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Because of the Okavango Delta's large population of dangerous game, and the fact that Chitabe Camp is unfenced, guests are escorted to their rooms after dark. Alarm sirens or whistles are provided in the rooms in case of emergency.
Fire safety: There are extinguishers outside all the rooms.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Full laundry service is included, except for underwear, for which washing powder is provided in the bathrooms.
Money: No exchange facilities offered. There are safes in all the rooms.