Situated on a beautiful old tree-island in a prime wilderness locale in the south-east of the Okavango Delta, Chitabe Camp is built on raised decks to provide superb views across an expansive floodplain. Thanks to its mosaic of habitats, a plethora of plains game is seen on day and night drives as well as guided walks.
Chitabe Camp is such a firm favourite of mine that it is the very first camp that we visit during the Botswana Wilderness Safari, a scheduled departure which runs twice a year in April and November. The general game viewing at Chitabe is always very good but the predators of the region are almost always the highlight of our stays at Chitabe with our groups enjoying excellent sightings of Wild Dog, Leopard, Cheetah and Lion.
Chitabe Camp is situated in a private concession shared only with the adjacent Chitabe Lediba Camp (ideal for familes with young children) and the &Beyond Sandibe camp (located further North-West of Chitabe). Activities at Chitabe include day and night game drives, walking safaris and of course, birding. The focus, as with most camps in the Okavango Delta, is on game viewing and morning drives extend well into the morning before returning to camp for a hearty brunch.
Because of its location in the south-eastern reaches of the Okavango Delta, the concession receives only a small amount of water, if any, during the annual floods. Activities here do not include mekoro's or boat cruises regardless of the time of year one visits.
Back at camp and in-between drives guests can take advantage of the pool, gym, library or the bar which overlooks a seasonal floodplain and small channel.
Eight spacious tents with fine-art wildlife photographs are set on elevated wooden decks. The walkways and main area are was rebuilt, along with a new 12-metre lap pool and gym. In keeping with the light footprint, much of the decking and gumpoles were reused during a recent camp upgrade.
My Personal Highlights from Chitabe Camp
I've been privileged enough to share some incredible moments with guests whilst staying at Chitabe Camp. One such moment involved a morning spent watching a pride of lions who are known for regularly hunting and killing Giraffe. We spent much of the morning watching them slowly stalking a couple of Giraffe.
After about an hour of watching the pride edge closer and closer to their prey one of the lions broke cover and began the hunt. The giraffe bolted and, despite the lioness getting right beneath the legs of the Giraffe, they unfortunately missed on this occasion.
Another highlight has to be a morning spent with a female Leopard and her cub as they finished off the remains of an Impala kill which they had hoisted into a Leadwood Tree close to camp.
One of the great things about Chitabe is that there is almost no vehicle pressure at sightings. That means that one has the freedom to spend extended periods of time with the animals. There are also never more than 3 vehicles in a sighting at any one time which makes for a very exclusive safari experience.
Chitabe Camp in A Nutshell
- Who should go: Chitabe is ideally suited to everyone from the firs timer to the seasoned traveller. Chitabe Lediba, situated right next door to Chitabe caters for families and groups with young children.
- When to go: Chitabe is a great camp to visit at any time of the year as it doesn't get impacted as much by the annual floodwaters. The dry winter months (April to August) are great, with my personal favourite time of year being November when the first rains start to fall. October becomes very, almost unbearably, hot.
- How to get there: Flights using Wilderness Air will connect you from Maun to Chitabe (20 minute flight) as well as any other camps you may be visiting in the Okavango Delta.
- Suggested length of stay: I would recommend a minimum of three nights at Chitabe given how good the game viewing is.
- Insider Tip: Arrange for a packed breakfast which will allow you to get out nice and early on your morning game drive, maximising your time in the field.