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“Beware the Water is Coming!!!!!”

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Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Beware the Water is Coming!!!!!”
Reviewed December 20, 2009

I'm referring to the fact that it is expected that the Savute Channel will have water flowing in it in no time! Very exciting news as the camp sits right on the channel. This will obviously flow over the waterhole, but who cares!! It will attract all sort of wildlife. The camp is very clean and elegantly appointed. The food was just ok compared to other camps and the pool was overrun with bees (I think there was a hive in the tile---I'm hoping they've since dealth with that). Our guide was very knowledgeable, but there's no question that there is some bad blood between the guides and the managers. It didn't impact our experience at all. There's a fresh water fountain right inside the breezeway lobby of the hotel which attracts all sorts of wildlife...we saw a leopard, hyena, and honey badger at the fountain during our stay...no, not at the SAME time!! All in all, it's a lovely accommodation. If I had to do it all again, I would probably only do private game reserves. This was the only property we went to that was near a national park and quite frankly, there are far too many vehicles in the park. It gives it a strange Disney-esque feel.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank Globetrotter10011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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124 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
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  • Any
English first
llos angeles california usa
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 14, 2009

Location is the key to this camp, Spectacular location truly remarkable to view Elephants drinking at an water hole 24hrs a day from your deck. Very knowledgeable game tracker and drivers resulting in great game viewing. Overall the meals and the service was great. The transporation and transfer were like clock-work without any kinks. The management staff however perhaps due to personalities doesn't have that enthusiastic zeal that is present at the Khwai River Lodge.
The Collins
William & Jeanne

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Thejeanne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed March 28, 2009

This was the last place on our trip through Botswana. Alll the Orient express camps are similarly laid out. The Camp here isn't as exclusive as the others in that there are a few other lodges nearby, and a road passes straight outside. There were a few tourists driving up from South Africa. However, this was the best place to see game on our trip. We saw leopards, lions, elephants, wild dog, and other wildlife. On our game drives, we did see up to 3 other vehicles. The camp has a terrace overlooking a (now artificial) waterhole that attracts elephants and wild dogs. You can dine on the terrace or even use the swimming pool which is very (and almost obscenely) decadent given the water situatlion. We had an interesting conversation with a trucker who supplies the camps and they really are in the middle of nowhere - it seems to take several days in a truck over sandy roads!

  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank shaumik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
75 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
Reviewed July 12, 2008

Savute was one of 4 camps we stayed at for our honeymoon. We stayed here for 2 nights in September. The camp looks like a tented camp, but although it is a tent from the outside, there is proper furnishings in the inside so you don't even think you're in a tent. Most importantly, they have AIR CONDITIONING in the room. This was certainly a welcome surprise, after staying in 2 other camps without. The shower was really cool, you are outside and can look at the elephants! And if you are on a special occassion, they will move a table over by the edge of the pool so you can dine very close to the elephants, away from the rest of the guests.

The location is great, you can watch elepants all day and night come into the camp, from an elevated position so no concerns on getting too close.l

The food was fantastic, guides very knowledgable, and we have to give special praise to the management. During the visit, the generator went out so there was no air con or power for much of anything, and they handled the situation very well. The power was actually back on in several hours but you could tell the mgmt was very professional in the way they handled guests and the whole situation.

We would definitely recommend this camp.

  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank TCP-GDI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Beach, California
Level Contributor
76 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
Reviewed July 29, 2007

July is winter down here so there was not a lot of use for the swimming pool. Activity at the elephant pool, on the other hand, was running strong most of the day and night. The trumpeting and other sounds these critters make lets you know that you are definetly not in the city any more.

We spent several hours tracking down a male leopard and got some wonderful photos but at around 6:30 pm someone looked over at the bird fountain and noticed that a female had just wandered in to join us for drinks! Naturally, my camera was in my tent just a few feet away... on the other side of the leopard. She drank her fill and after several minutes, wandered over my porch and off into the bush.

Our guide, Frank, was a bit of a legend around there and would be a top choice.

The rooms are clean, comfortable and about as close to wild elephants as one could want.

See the video from an earlier contributor for a tour.

  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank Steve S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Level Contributor
27 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed July 20, 2007

This was the last of three safari camps owned by Orient-Express in Botswana that I stayed at. The living quarters were wonderful (tents that are great hotel rooms covered with canvas.)

If I had a choice of camps, however, this would not be the place I would elect. The game viewing of all the camps that I have experienced in Africa (3 previous safaris) was probably the worst. You will see animals and birds, but it pales compared to other areas of Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania. The area is very, very arid, with watering holes, most of which are kept full by pumps, being the only source of water. The area was reminiscent of Samburu in Kenya which is also very arid, however, Samburu has a river running through the area that provided the wildlife with sustenance, resulting in an abundance and diversity of game.

This is not to say that my experience was less than wonderful. Everything about the camp, management and staff was beyond expectation. You will be treated wonderfully. I write this review only to suggest that if this is your first safari, you might consider other camps and countries.

  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank BornTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
111 reviews
94 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 158 helpful votes
Reviewed July 6, 2007

I stayed here last year during peak season for Chobe, as part of a 4 camp itinerary involving two camps in Botswana and two camps in Zambia. Of the four, this was easily my least favorite.

It seems to cater to very wealthy groups of travelers going together; as a solo guest, I was rarely given much attention. Twice at dinner during my four nights I had to request a place to sit at the table, as I had been overlooked. Never was an apology made. When they brought the early breakfast in the mornings, they always brought me coffee despite my asking time and time again for tea. My request for vegetarian food had not reached the camp and thus I had to eat around the meat on offer.

I opted not to join the guides, preferring to enjoy the peace and quiet in the morning and evenings to view the elephants. After all, this is what Savute is (supposed to be) famous for and is the reason I chose to book here. All things considered, the close encounters with elephants are amazing and some of my fondest memories of my stay in Africa. That had little to do with Savute Elephant Camp other than its geography. I virtually had to defend myself with the staff when I told them I was not interested in game drives; they could not understand why I would not want to go out. Judging by the stories from other guests, I didn't miss anything special.

Savute is WILDLY expensive for what you get. I found the two managers too busy to be bothered with me, although most of the local staff were all to happy to help whenever I asked a question. I would definitely not stay here again; the price for my four nights was almost as much as the total for 10 nights in my other camps! I definitely prefer Star of Africa and CCAfrica properties as I felt they were more genuinely African and head and shoulders above Savute in terms of service. They may not be as luxurious but I didn't go to Africa to sleep in 500-thread count sheets and bathe with Egyptian cotton linens.

Also, after doing more research when I came home on Orient Express Safaris, it seems apparent that they take much more than they give to the communities where they choose to do business.

  • Liked — Location was amazing
  • Disliked — Everything else.
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank SFO-World-Traveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge

Property: Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge
Address: Savute Channel, Chobe National Park, Botswana
Phone Number:
Location: Botswana > North-West District > Chobe National Park
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Chobe National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge 4.5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated at the very heart of a wildlife reserve, Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge is authentic and truly wild - the perfect place to feel the pulse of Botswana. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Savute Elephant Camp By Orient-Express Hotel Chobe National Park

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