Stanley's Camp

Stanley's Camp: Our full report

Rooms
8, all identical
Traveller's rating
Excellent (91%) From 14 reviews
Open
All year

Stanley's Camp is situated in a private concession, south of both Moremi Game Reserve and the Chitabe Concession. Although this concession is one of the furthest from the Okavango's Panhandle, the source of the Delta's waters, there is no lack of beautiful riverine forests and floodplains here. The camp is known for its superb elephant activity.

The enormous main area at Stanley's Camp has a very high tented ceiling (rather like a circus big top!), secured by large poles and guy ropes. With the apex of the ceiling rising to about 10m, it's a spectacular design.

The main deck is slightly raised off the ground underneath the tented canopy. There are stairs up to the large dining area, then a couple more steps to the smaller main sitting area. This is decorated with local artefacts, including some fascinating black-and-white photos of the area. You’ll also find 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.

Sandy pathways lead to the eight tented rooms at Stanley's, which are set in the treeline for maximum shade while overlooking the plain in front of camp. The rooms are structured tents with poles, raised on wooden decking. At the front of each is a large deck with a table, comfortable chairs and a hammock – the latter a playground for the tree squirrels that scamper across the decks.

The front of each tent is fully meshed with a central zip. Inside are two comfortable wooden beds with white cotton bedding, cheesecloth covers, bedside tables and built-in electric reading lamps, though the lack of rugs makes the floor slightly cold in the mornings! A tray table is set with an ice bucket, water and glasses, while opposite is a chair, and a desk topped with stationery and an emergency radio – complete with details of procedures for fire drills and first aid. There’s also a sturdy luggage rack.

The en-suite bathroom, reached through a roll-down canvas door, has an indoor shower kitted out with Africology shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, with insect repellent and insecticide also provided. The washbasin is set into a wooden cabinet with a framed mirror, while the toilet is separated from the rest of the bathroom by a canvas door, affording some privacy. The lights are electric.

Activities at Stanley's Camp include day and night game drives in open 4WDs that may cross into the Moremi Game Reserve during the day. Between June and September, when the water levels are high, they also offer mokoro (canoe) excursions along the channels of the Delta.

During a game drive on our most recent visit, in November 2016, we were lucky enough to see leopard, lion with one-week-old cubs, plenty of hyena and a herd of two thousand or more buffalo, not to mention plenty of general game. This contrasted with our stay in April the same year, when game-viewing did not live up to expectations in either the concession or the Moremi Game Reserve.

Stanley's Camp, and its sister camp, Baines Camp, are also known for the memorable opportunity to spend a morning with three semi-habituated African elephants on an amazing Elephant Experience. Under the the guidance of the experts, Doug and Cathy 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 Marula, 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 seem to regard as their ‘patriarch’, 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 lunch under the shade of the trees, with the elephants eating in the background, and occasionally joining the guests at the table!

Stanley's Camp is a lovely, unpretentious tented camp with excellent management and a well-trained, friendly staff. While game viewing can be excellent later in the season, early in the year it can be a bit hit or miss. The elephant activity, however, is exceptional and one of the most moving African experiences on the continent. For guests passionate about elephants, we highly recommend this camp.

Our view

Stanley's Camp is a lovely, unpretentious tented camp with excellent management and a well-trained, friendly staff. While game viewing can be excellent later in the season, early in the year it can be a bit hit or miss. The elephant activity, however, is exceptional and one of the most moving African experiences on the continent. For guests passionate about elephants, we highly recommend this camp.

Geographics

Location: Okavango Delta Safari Reserves, Botswana

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 20-minute drive from the airstrip (45 minutes during the floods).

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Abercrombie & Kent

Staff: Boy Boy and Aaron (co-managers) – November 2016

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: When we visited stayed at Stanley's Camp in November 2016, we found the food to be of an exceptional quality – fresh, well presented and delicious.

Early morning breakfast before the activities was muffins, cereal, fruit and toast with also a cooked option.

For guests not doing the elephant activity, lunch is prepared after a morning safari activity. On our most recent visit, we were served a buffet lunch featuring a salad of iceberg lettuce, couscous, fresh tomatoes, and a very tasty homemade salad dressing. Chicken was available for a protein option.

For guests participating in the elephant activity, a buffet lunch is served under the cover of a large feverberry tree. We enjoyed light grilled chicken breasts and a cooked vegetable medley with grilled tomatoes, onions and red peppers.

Tea times, before the afternoon activity, were again excellent and varied. We were offered home-made scones with cream and jam, coconut cake, mini-quiches and spring rolls with tasty dipping sauce
.

On our most recent visit in November 2016 we enjoyed a traditional Setswana dinner, including beef seswaa, pap (similar to polenta) with a tasty tomato-based sauce, and cooked spinach. The meal was served in a group setting that included singing and dancing by the staff choir – it was quite the festive atmosphere as the camp guides were dancing and singing very enthusiastically as well!

The following evening’s menu incorporated a fantastic fillet of beef, rounded off by a selection of cheeses.

A very good selection of wine is served with meals, and house spirits are offered.

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. Drinking water is provided

Further dining info: Not available

Special interests

Wildlife safaris: We highly recommend Stanley’s Camp for the elephant activity, especially for guests passionate about elephants. Please do note, however, that the elephants always have a break from 15 January to 15 February, annually.

See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Botswana

Children

Attitude towards children: Children are welcome.

Property’s age restrictions: Children of all ages are accepted.

Special activities & services: Guides and staff members teach weaving, and they lead exciting bush walks focusing on identifying mammal tracks. Board games are also available for children in the main areas.

Equipment: A highchair and baby bath are available for very young children, along with one cot. Children also receive a welcome pack with books and crayons.

Notes: We recommend that guests with children book a private vehicle – and, of course, supervise them very closely as dangerous game will often wander through camp.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Generator

Power supply notes: Stanley's Camp moved to 100% solar power in August 2016, with a generator as a back up. Rooms have heat pumps. Electrical equipment can be charged 24 hours daily.

Communications: Each room has WiFi with its own password and signal strength. Every room has an emergency radio. There is email contact between camp and the Maun office – but no cellphone reception.

TV & radio: None

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: All rooms feature the same plumbing, based on a system of biodegradable waste.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: All the managers are first-aid trained and there are full trauma kits on site. Nurses are in direct contact with management to stabilise any situation. If necessary, guests can be flown to Mall Park Hospital in Johannesburg.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: Guests are walked to their rooms after dark by a night escort or guide. There are radios and alarm horns in the rooms to attract attention in case of emergency.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers outside each tented room and in the common areas, and details of procedures in the event of a fire in each room.

Extras

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. There is no foreign exchange at the camp.

Accepted payment on location: Cash payments may be made in GB pounds, US dollars, South African rand, euros, and Botswana pula, with change provided in Botswana pula. MasterCard and Visa are accepted but not Amex, Diners or travellers’ cheques. There is no fee charged for credit-card payments.

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