On an elephant-back safari, you’ll encounter all kinds of wildlife, from giraffes and zebra to wildebeest and lions. (Image courtesy Wilderness Collection)
If you’re the type of couple that is always looking for a new adventure, Wilderness Collection’s Abu Camp will be a dream honeymoon (from $1,715 per night including meals, camp activities, park fees, laundry, and Wi-Fi, wilderness-collection.com). Fly into Botswana’s Maun Airport, where you’ll be met by a Wilderness Collection staffer and shepherded to Abu Camp. The camp sits on a private reserve of more than 100,000 acres tucked among ancient hardwood trees at the edge of a lagoon. The remote surroundings, luxury tent accommodations, delicious cuisine, and antique furnishings make you feel like you’re truly exploring the most remote regions of Africa, but with such style and comfort it’s more than honeymoon-worthy.
Explore From the Top of an Elephant
Abu Camp was named after a special bull that starred along Clint Eastwood in White Hunter, Black Heart (among other movies and commercials), and was later brought to the camp to start its unique elephant-back safaris. This is an incredible way to explore the surrounding grasslands and delta, where you’ll meet all types of animals—giraffes, zebra, wildebeest, and even lions. Since there are no trucks or machinery to scare anything off, and elephants are not natural predators, the animals simply walk right up to you for close encounters.
A well-appointed bedroom suite at Abu Camp.
Navigate the Delta in a Mokoro
Mokoros are traditional canoe-like boats that are propelled with poles, pushing you along the delta. There is nothing quite like swishing by the massive resident hippos of the lagoon in such a small boat—it will leave your heart pounding, but also make you feel pretty brave! Mokoros need very little water, so you can also squeeze into some of the less accessible shallow ribbons of the delta that fan out across the plain.
Take in Your Surroundings
Winding raised decks connect the secluded tents with the main lodge area, where shelf after shelf of field guides and other literature can educate you about the surrounding habitat. Relax on the tiered decks overlooking the giant, otherworldly termite mounds and the grasslands beyond, or sip some Pimm’s and watch the hippos in the lagoon from your own private deck. Whether you’re on a game drive, interacting with the roaming elephant herds, or just relaxing in your claw-foot bathtub, Abu’s surroundings make you appreciate the natural world—and each other.
Most of the meals on safari are eaten al fresco—supremely romantic.
Meet New Friends
Every Wilderness Collection camp is small, making for an intimate experience during which you get to know the other people staying there. Dinners are usually around one table, where everyone shares the day’s stories and how they came to arrive at the camp. Game drives and safaris also bring you closer to your fellow travelers as you explore the delta together and relax around the fire when the sun goes down. No matter what activities you choose, you’ll leave Abu with more friends than you had when you arrived.
TIP: Take some time to talk to the mahouts (elephant trainers). They are an incredible group of people with deep-rooted traditions—most are family—and they tell great stories.
TIP: Don’t miss a chance to spend a night in the “star bed,” an open bedroom platform that lets you fall asleep under the stars—to the soothing sounds of a snoring elephant herd.