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“Up Close to the Elephants” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sanctuary Baines' Camp

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Sanctuary Baines' Camp
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4.5 of 5 Lodge   |   Boro River, Botswana, Botswana   |  
Hotel amenities
Del Mar
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Up Close to the Elephants”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2012

We were here in early September 2012 and really enjoyed it. The terrain was totally different then Kenya because of the Delta. The rooms were part building and part tent. You can roll your bed out onto the deck if you want to sleep outside. We chose not to do that which was a good thing because one morning an elephant decided to eat a tree right outside our tent window. It was so exciting to hear the leaves rustling at 5:50 one morning and look out the window and see the elephant 6 feet away. Some people did sleep on their deck though.

There are only 5 rooms, the food was good and the staff very nice. I would definitely recommend Baines.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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76 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
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English first
Troy, Michigan
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2012

We were at Baines in early August. The housing, camp, food, staff and guide were all outstanding. Each camp has a different personality. While Chief's and Chobe were very good, we liked Baines. We had two chalets there. The food was outstanding. The team there was very accommodating, including working around some minor issues w our daughter who has autism.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, Alabama
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2012

My husband and I spent two nights at Baines Camp to start our honeymoon. What a wonderful way to start! From the moment we arrived, we were impressed with the hospitality and genuine kindness of the staff. The small, five-tent atmosphere meant that each and every staff member got to know you by name and learned your various preferences. I agree with other reviewers that Baines may not be the most "luxurious" lodge, but its charm is that it fits right in to the beautiful environment in which it sits. The rooms have every comfort you could possibly want, including an extremely comfortable bed. Another great thing about Baines is the food -- absolutely everything we ate was wonderful.

As for game viewing, we ended up seeing a lot -- lions, hyenas, leopards, elephants, cape buffalo, giraffes, warthogs, african wild cats, and various antelopes. While we ended up seeing all of these animals at other camps too, it was particularly special viewing them in Baines' water-filled environment -- you truly get the sense that you are in the Delta at this camp. Also, be sure to sign up for Walking With the Elephants -- Jabu, Thembi, and Morula will change your life!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Prescott, Arizona
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2012

I am a recent widow who decided to take the African safari trip that my husband and I had dreamed of. I was traveling alone but met a Peace Corps friend in Zambia for a week so when I arrived at the Delta I was feeling a little lost. Not to worry, the Baines camp crew welcomed me warmly, with traditional singing no less, and took care of my every need.
Then there was Lara. What a gem. Lara hosts this camp as if it were her own home and besides being delightful and funny, she is warm and kind and comforting. I don't mean to slight the rest of the wonderful staff when I say this either.
The rooms are delightful, made me feel that I was really in Africa. I had a pod of hippos off my deck almost all the time and they sang their various songs to me day and night. The winter nights are cold and the first night crawling under my thick down duvet to find a hot water bottle had already warmed the sheets was a thrill. I slept out under the stars two nights and would highly recommend it. It was a truly amazing experience. The milky way and the Southern Cross were right over my head.
The food was gourmet and plentiful. We would sit around the fire at night with Lara and the staff and tell our stories as well as hear theirs. I felt like I had joined a family. We would laugh and drink while hippos sang to us - only thing that could have made life better was my husband. The experience was truly magical.
My house keeper was a ghost, slipping in and out when I wasn't there and the kitchen staff would read my mind if I was craving a drink or a snack. I have never had an experience quite like this. I went on from Baines to three other camps and all were wonderful, but Baines was the best in my book.
The elephant experience can't be described - you have to experience it. Sandi and Doug are amazing and spending a day with wild elephants - WOW!
Lara was at the vehicle to see me off and I cried because I had to leave, but we were soon laughing and I left with the feeling that I had made a friend.
Game was plentiful but not just standing around like in a wild animal park, you had to hunt for it and the guides tracked and taught us about tracking. To me this was the most fun. I enjoyed Chobe and seeing lots of animals every ten feet but Baines with it's vehicles flying through the water and over the islands looking for whatever might pop up next was a thrill for me.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2012

My partner and I travel a lot, both for pleasure and business. We have stayed in some of the best and most renowned hotel and resorts all over the world. So it was quite a surprise that while we were in Botswana looking for the Big Five, we found one of our Top Five places of all time. Baines is simply wonderful. The place, the setting, the staff, Lara, Martin, Willie - it's all perfect. I've been on safari in several locations over the years - this is my favorite ever. It is a gorgeous environment. The air, the sky, the stars, the delta waters - crisp, clean, bright and brilliant. The lodge is rustic, but it has everything you want and need. Its simplicity is its luxury. The setting is a gorgeous stage for reflection and rejuvenation. The food, especially tea time, is quite yummy. This place is the fantasy! I've stayed in a few more "luxurious" lodges - but they felt false and pretentious. Baines feels genuine, special and human. It is a tribute to the staff that we've already made a pact to return. And we'll be sure every friend who is headed to Africa makes Baines party of their itinerary. This is why we work - to be able to accumulate these kind of memories. Wondering about the animals? They're all there, it's just a hunt to find them. Unlike parks that seem to corral the animals or track them with GPS, out here you are in a wide, open, untamed environment and the hunt is real...which makes it so much fun. The guides are great: they're funny and knowledgeable and passionate about what they do. I learned more here than anywhere else. And I played Junga with the staff and had a blast. Seriously, this was the most relaxed I've been in decades. Just go!

And be sure to sign up for Walking With the Elephants. A fantastic afternoon!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2012

I am fortunate enough to have travelled quite a bit thanks to my job, but I would have to say this is the first place that I have stayed that has impressed me enough to inspire me to write a review.

Baines felt like home (albeit a very clean home where everything happened effortlessly!). The facilities were all beautiful and immaculate but the true stars of the show were Lara, flo and their very impressive and friendly team.

The scenery is so stunning that game viewing feels like the cherry on top but with game drives, motorised and non motorised boat safaris available you see loads of game too (subject to the whims of wild animals of course!). Mike, our wonderful ranger, shared his encyclopaedic knowledge and made every drive a fun adventure.

It is a small lodge and we loved the atmosphere. We opted to eat communally and made friends with all the other guests and have already arranged to meet up with some if them.

Even though it was winter we did the bath under the stars and we slept under the stars too. Words can not do either of these experiences justice and they will be memories we search for whenever we are stressed back in the real world to remind us what true bliss felt like.

We took part in the elephant experience which was extraordinary. To get to touch and interact with not one but three elephants is just out of this world. I still can't quite believe it happened and find myself looking at my photos from this day regularly and grinning from ear to ear :-)

My sister and I have sworn that we must convince our friends and family that this magical place must be experienced at least once in their lives. Baines is worth every penny as memories and an experience like this are priceless. Stop thinking about it and just book I guarantee you won't regret it!

  • Stayed June 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
133 reviews 133 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2012

Baines' camp is only 5 tents & therefore you get to meet everyone of the help. They greet you w/ songs & an ice cold towel to refresh & a drink. It was Africa hot at 3:00PM. The room has beds draped w/ netting for bedtome but there were few bugs in May. We went out for a boatride on the Boro river & to watch the sunset. Sitting there w/ gin & tonic, sunset & then 2 elephants crossed the river 10 yds away. Meals were good. we had heard that you can't eat salids & fruit but that was wrong. All water is filtered & safe to drink. You get your wake up at 6:00 AM & they leave coffee & a sweet, breakfast is at 6:30 & morning drive is at 7:00 in a 3 level Toyota truck. They have to change oil every 2 days as you travel thru water that will come over hood & you lift feet so they don't get wet. This is the Okavaonga Delta & therefore very watery. WE saw elephants, waterbuffalo & lion of big 5, also many giraffes, zebra, wart hogs etc. we saw how 2 young lions stalked but missed a wart hog. Our driver was Martin & he was very entertaining. They will pull your bed w/ netting on deck for sleeping under the stars.

Room Tip: all 5 rooms are good
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sanctuary Baines' Camp

Address: Boro River, Botswana, Botswana
Location: Botswana > North-West District > Okavango Delta
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #20 of 68 Specialty Lodging in Okavango Delta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Sanctuary Baines' Camp 4.5*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sanctuary Baines' Camp is our smallest and most intimate camp, built on raised platforms high above the Boro River in a huge private concession bordering the Moremi Game Reserve. There are only five suites in this romantic oasis. Each suite has a four-poster 'sky bed', swathed in mosquito netting, which can be wheeled out onto the private wooden deck for a romantic night under the stars. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sanctuary Baines` Camp Hotel Okavango Delta
Sanctuary Baines' Camp Botswana/Okavango Delta

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