Villa Okavango

Villa Okavango: Our full report

Rooms
2 bedrooms
Open
All year

Villa Okavango – which has also been known as 'Abu Private Villa', or 'Abu Villa' or even, previously, 'The Elephant Villa' – is set amidst ancient trees in the western part of Botswana's stunning 'wet wilderness', the Okavango Delta. The luxurious tented retreat lies on the edge of a large permanent floodplain, on the opposite side from Abu Camp, and was originally constructed as the private home for Abu camp's owner, Randall Jay Moore. Villa Okavango is now open for guests, and can accommodate a maximum of two couples, a group of four friends, or a small family. It's the only private villa in the Okavango Delta!

Only one of the Expert Africa team has visited Villa Okavango recently, and even then it was a short visit – but we can confirm that it has been transformed into a lovely holiday home for guests.

Villa Okavango angular, canvas-and-pole construction is very reminiscent of the main Abu Camp – and it's original and quite fun, giving lots of height and character to the interiors of its tents. Its stylish living area stands on an elevated teak deck, below which are various storerooms, room for staff and a kitchen.

The guest area upstairs has a lounge-dining area, with a zipped entrance and roll-down canvas covering the windows. These aren't large and hence might appear a little dark at first – but it does retain its cool on hot days. Inside the mostly-wooden furniture stands on wooden floors, with the odd rug; there are quite a few interesting antique pieces dotted around. There is a small library and a well-stocked bar here, and doors lead through to two large bedrooms, each of which has an en-suite bathroom. One bedroom is furnished with a canopied four-poster double bed, whilst the other one has two opulent French Empire beds - which can be converted into a double bed on request.

The decked outdoor area has a private plunge pool, perfect to cool off after a hot day in the delta. The teak deck overlooks a floodplain and lagoon with its abundant, colourful birdlife and resident school of hippo. It's a good spot to relax and unwind in total privacy.

Okavango Villa comes with its own staff: a resident chef and a private butler will cater for your every need, whilst an expert resident guide will take you on morning and evening game drives, or explore the numerous waterways with you in a mokoro (a traditional canoe-like craft used by local people) during the wet season – including teaching you about the area's ecology, conservation, flora & fauna.

Whilst staying at Abu Private Camp, activities mainly consist of game viewing and birdwatching. Note that it is not usually possible to do any elephant activities with the Abu Camp elephants from here. If you want to ride the elephants – then book yourself into the neighbouring Abu Camp!

However, this area is good for keen bird-watchers, and there is game around, even if it isn't quite as abundant as you'll often find further north and east in the Okavango area.

Our view

Villa Okavango is a very luxurious and exclusive retreat, set in total privacy in the Okavango's picturesque wetland paradise. It's perfect for families or small groups of friends – and the only one of its kind in the Delta.

Geographics

Location: Okavango Delta Safari Reserves, Botswana

Directions: Villa Okavango is located a short drive from Matsaudi Airstrip, which is a 30-minute flight over the Okavango Delta from Maun.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Abu Private Villa is owned by Randall Moore and managed by his wife Catherine. Randall Moore also owns the 2,000km² concession area surrounding the villa, which he originally built as his private retreat.

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Drinks included: All stocked drinks are included.

Children

Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Villa Okavango.

Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Solar Power

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Extras

Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Included

Accepted payment on location: Villa Okavango accepts cash (US$, GBP), traveller's cheques, Visa and Mastercard.