Fine dining is always on the menu at Stanleys Camp
Stanley's Camp: Our full report
Stanley's Camp, situated in riverine forest south of the Chitabe Reserve, is an unpretentious camp, with a really rustic 'bush-feel' to it.
The enormous main area at Stanley's Camp has a very high tented ceiling (rather like a circus big top!), which is built around a very tall African ebony and secured by large poles and guy ropes. With the apex of the ceiling rising to about 30 feet, it's a spectacular design!
The main deck is slightly raised off the ground underneath the canopy of tent and tree, and there are stairs up to the large dining area, then a couple more steps to the smaller main sitting area. This is decorated with artefacts, including some fascinating black-and-white photos of the area. There is also a small library, and a shop with local arts and crafts, trinkets and books, plus useful items such as clothes, camera film and batteries – all displayed in glass-fronted cabinets. In front of the tent, steps lead down to a grassy area with a campfire and directors' chairs, where drinks can be taken before dinner.
The eight rooms at Stanley's are reached by sandy, shady pathways and each room overlooks the plain in front of camp, while being set in the tree-line to maximise the shade. The rooms are structured tents with poles, raised on wooden decking. There is a large deck at the front of each room with a hammock, comfortable chairs and a table, and tree squirrels scamper across the decks and play in the hammocks.
The front of the tent is fully meshed with a zip in the centre. Inside the room there are two wooden bed-steads with bedside tables and built-in electric reading lamps. The beds are very comfortable, with white cotton bedding, cheesecloth and chenille blankets. On the left of the tent there is a tray table with ice bucket, water, glasses and magazines. There is a decanter of sherry and two sherry glasses on this table. On the opposite side of the room is a desk with a chair and lamp, on which is a leatherbound folder and stationery. In the corner of the room is a sturdy luggage rack. There are no rugs in the rooms which makes the floor slightly cold in the mornings!
The bathrooms are ensuite with flush loos and an indoor shower with a glass and silver metal cubicle. The loo is separated off by a canvas screen which affords some privacy. There is a single sink set into a wooden cabinet with a mirror over the top, and wire baskets of Molton Brown toiletries (including shampoo, shower gel, shower cap and sewing kit). A shoe cleaning kit is also provided. The lights in the bathroom are electric and there is a roll-down canvas door. Insect repellent and insecticide is also provided for guest use and there is a towel rail with two towels for each guest.
Activities at Stanley's Camp include day and night game drives in open 4WDs, and during June-September, when the water levels are high, they also offer excursions in mokoro canoes along the channels of the Delta.
Also on offer from Stanley's Camp (and its sister camp, Baines), is the option of spending a morning with three semi-habituated African elephants on an amazing Elephant Experience. This is an incredible, memorable experience as under the the guidance of the expert, Doug Groves, you can walk with the elephants, learn about them, and spend time interacting with them in their natural environment as they forage in the bush. We spent a magical morning with Jabulani (the bull), Thembigela and Morula and agreed that this was probably one of the best African experiences we had ever had. The elephants are gentle and clearly love human interaction, sometimes coming up to nestle the tip of their trunks into your hand. Doug, who the elephants clearly regard as their “matriarch", explains the story of each elephant, and invites guests to come close and touch (under his supervision). The walk is a gentle stroll with the elephants, stopping every now and then for them to forage for food. It ends with a lunch under the shade of trees, with the elephants eating in the background, and occasionally joining the guests at the table!
Ideal length of stay: 2-3 nights to take advantage of the elephant experience
Directions: The camp is accessed by a light aircraft from Maun which takes about ten minutes, then a 15-minute drive from the airstrip.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: When we visited Stanley's Camp we found the food to be of an exceptional quality – fresh, well presented and delicious.
The food is served by waiters, and tables are small and intimate, although occasionally guests will join up to form a larger table. Early morning breakfast before the activities was muffins, cereal, fruit and toast with also a cooked option. Our morning activity was with the elephants, hence we had brunch with them – a delicious picnic lunch with salad and a beef lasagna.
Tea times, before the afternoon activity, were again excellent and varied – home-made scones with cream and jam, coconut cake, mini-quiches and spring rolls were offered to us while we were there.
Dinners served in the main area were excellent – one evening we had a start of asparagus with bacon and onion marmalade, followed by a choice of either Butternut fish or roast lamb, with a rich and creamy fruit cheesecake to follow. The second night we were served goats cheese in filo pastry with a spicy tomato relish, followed by Kudu curry on pancakes, or roasted chicken with rice and vegetables. To follow there was a sticky toffee pudding with cream.
There is a very good selection of wine with the meals, and house spirits are offered. At the end of every meal, a cheeseboard is passed around with a good selection of cheeses.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are included except champagne, fine wines and imported spirits.
Birdwatching: The birding is good in this area, with plenty of waterbirds and raptors being spotted. We saw fish eagles (and heard them!), marsh harriers circling, crested barbet, pied and woodland kingfishers, bateleur eagles and tawny eagles (although there was a confusion as to which was which as the bateleur we saw was a juvenile!).See more ideas for Birdwatching in Botswana
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome.
Property’s age restrictions: There is a minimum age limit of 12 years.
Special activities & services: None
Generally recommended for children: Yes, for children above the age of 12
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There is no mobile reception at the camp – CB radio is used for communications.
TV & radio: None
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: Medivac is available from the camp. All the managers are first aid trained and there are full trauma kits on site.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Guests are walked to their rooms after dark. There are radios in the rooms for emergencies and alarm horns.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers outside each room and in the common areas. Smoke alarms are also situated in each room.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Laundry is included and is a speedy service - clothes are collected during the morning activity and returned during the afternoon activity.
Money: A lockable bag is provided for valuables and this is kept in a central safe.
Accepted payment on location: All currencies are accepted – US$, GB£, Euro, Rand and Pula. Mastercard and Visa are accepted but not Amex or Travellers Cheques. There is no fee charged for credit card payments.