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Bespoke Feature

Wild at Heart

For an exclusive safari adventure, PORTER escapes to Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge, an adventurous tented hideaway in Botswana’s epic wilderness


When did you last experience something for the first time, or make a promise to travel more? Hot-air ballooning over a crocodile-filled river? Horse riding through the Kalahari to seek out families of elephants? Waking up at dawn on a platform built into the trees? Africa is an eternal source of wonder and adrenaline-fuelled adventure offering an unparalleled vision of the natural world. Continually inspiring and intoxicating, it is a destination and a state of mind that reminds us of who we are and what makes life worth living.

When the jeep first pulls up at Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge – a discreet cluster of part-tented, part-thatched houses on the leafy banks of the Savute Channel – you know you’ve arrived somewhere special. Following a full redesign, the lodge recently reopened to much fanfare as the most stylish Timeless Explorers Lodge in the Savute region, which has long been associated with great explorers such as David Livingstone, who arrived in the area in 1851 and observed the dramatic surroundings of one of Africa’s best wildlife spots. Situated at the heart of the Chobe National Park and boasting the highest concentration of elephants in Africa, the sense of wilderness is still incredibly strong. Surrounded by abundant flora and fauna, the lodge includes 12 tented rooms, spa, lounge, bar, open deck with pool, fire pit and wildlife viewing hide overlooking the watering hole, a first in the area.

Once you’ve stayed at Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge on safari, no other bush lodge will do. It’s not just because this tented oasis immerses you immediately in the abundant wildlife: over breakfast, you’ll already be in prime position to see majestic Kalahari elephants making their way to their watering holes. Nor is it because the guides are as skilful at bringing to life the prides of lions as they are the cultural rituals of the region’s Bushmen, with visits to the area’s remarkable ancient San Rock cave paintings, as well as game drives and mokoro cruises to discover an intoxicating natural world. It’s because each of the camp’s 12 tents (designed by Inge Moore of Muza Lab) is decadent in the least showy way: floored in wood and stone, filled with tasteful African artefacts and furniture, and swathed in cream and white cottons.

Over breakfast, you’ll already be in prime position to see majestic Kalahari elephants making their way to their watering holes

What to wear on your stylish safari adventure? Pack your cargo pants in tough cotton twill, arm yourself with some well-made boots for varied terrain, and bring your Leica camera to capture experiences of a lifetime and the most heavenly sunsets.

There is a happy marriage of style and substance; for the eco-conscious traveler, Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge raises the stakes with its strong environmental credentials – the tents’ sustainable design features include the removal of all concrete, the use of eco-friendly composite bamboo decking in the principal areas, and a 95% solar-grid system for power. But as you’d expect from the Belmond group, a stay at this glamorous lodge also offers a host of luxuriously relaxing things to help you unwind after a day on a 4x4 safari. Indulge in holistic spa treatments and refreshing dips in the sleek infinity pool, then feast on the exquisite food served on the lodge’s Boma terrace – the perfect spot for an intimate dinner.



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