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“Had to Keep Pinching Myself”

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Sanctuary Baines' Camp
Reviewed March 1, 2013

Just saying Baines Camp is different does not do justice to this incredible place. After a long flight from Capetown followed by a flight in a 6-seater piloted by a 24 year old guy [I checked] and then a 45 minute drive on "roads" with water over the hood of our vehicle at times, we arrived at Baines and were greeted by Lara and her singing staff, hot towels, and cold drinks. What a place! Only five rooms and more staff members than the maximum number of guests [10]. Intimate gourmet meals, drinks around the fire pit, bathtubs and champagne on our deck. And that's just the beginning. Martin, our very wise wiseguy guide, drove us on game drives on unbelievably twisting, bone jarring roads with underwater stretches so deep he yelled "feet up" prior to the water gushing over the hood and into our truck. One evening he took us on a boat ride up the Bora river and just as we got to the furthest point a thunderstorm rolled in and we had to cover our bodies with wool blankets to protect ourselves from the stinging rain. On the last morning we rode in dugouts through channels no wider than our boats cut by hippos, which we came face to face with, of course. Whew! For a less heart pounding time, I experienced Doug and his three elephants. Very educational and fun, as well. Q: How much does an elephant's trunk weigh? A: When it is resting on your shoulder, A LOT! All this and more made for an incredible experience. It's not just about spotting game.

Room Tip: Beware-not air conditioned. Not a big deal for us, even in 95F days.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ALEXANDER L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Baines' Camp, responded to this reviewResponded March 5, 2013

Dear Guest,

Thoroughly enjoyed reading your review, thanks so much for taking the time to post it on Tripadvisor.

It gives us great pleasure to know that you had such an incredible experience with us. Lara, Martin and the rest of the team really appreciated your comments. The Elephant Interaction is truly an amazing experience and we are so happy that you enjoyed it.

Hope this was the first of many more visits to come…we looking forward to welcoming you back soon.

It would be great f you could share your experience on Facebook, just search for Sanctuary Retreats.

Best wishes
Sanctuary Retreats

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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96 - 102 of 131 reviews

Reviewed October 2, 2012

Baines Camp is much smaller (only five rooms) than its nearby sister camp, Chief's Camp. It is just as nice, with perhaps even better food than Chief's. For us, this made for a more intimate and pleasant experience. (We also stayed at Chief's Camp.)

The rooms have a special feature; namely, elevated decks. This means you can be on the deck at night without having any concerns about unsolicited visits from wildlife! The staff can actually wheel your bed onto the deck and you can sleep under the stars (under a mosquito net, of course). We did this and thoroughly enjoyed it. A hippo passed right below us - so close you could have reached down and touched it (assuming you were into risking your life ....).

And Knight - the very personable manager - can arrange a very special end-of-the-day bath on the deck. It is a mind-blowing experience not to be missed!

And while at Baines (or neighbouring Stanley Camp), we highly recommend the Elephant Experience. You will get to learn about these remarkable animals and meet Doug and Sandi and their 'family' of three adopted and now semi-habituated elephants. Is is a fascinating and uplifting experience.

Room Tip: All are equally good.
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Paul F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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1  Thank LMODelMar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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Thank davidemeador54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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Thank Anagramata
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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1  Thank Jean L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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1  Thank mjnorton
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 #26 of 72 Specialty Lodging in Okavango Delta
Price Range: $1,432 - $2,267 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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. An eco-friendly property built using only commercially grown wood, with over 150,000 recycled aluminium cans incorporated within the walls to provide insulation. The camp is raised above the permanent water of the Boro River while wooden walkways connect the main areas and luxury rooms. The swimming pool and the wide wooden deck that surrounds the main dining and sitting room is the ideal place to relax while observing the varied wildlife present here. See prowling lions looking for prey at the edge of the lagoon that the camp overlooks, or watch one of the many elephants who live in the area. The five suites at Sanctuary Baines’ are opulent and luxurious, with ensuite facilities and four-poster beds. Traditional safari ceiling fans create a cooling breeze at even the hottest times of the year. Should you wish, your bed can be wheeled out onto the private wooden deck for a night under the stars, overlooking the shimmering waters of the Boro River where hippo can often be spotted. Or take an indulgent soak under the stars on your own private viewing deck in our opulent star bath. At Baines’ Camp, the sky’s the limit. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sanctuary Baines` Camp Hotel Okavango Delta
Sanctuary Baines' Camp Botswana/Okavango Delta

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