Makgadikgadi Pans, Private area
THE BAOBAB CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
Follow the road pointed out by the giant anteater and you’ll discover the intriguingly named Planet Baobab… This is the Baobab Capital of the World, where the average age of each tree is more than 4000 years, and the boundless lunar landscape of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans are the size of Switzerland. How’s that for awe-inspiring?
This is a quirky place in a quirky part of the world, where we live cheek to tusk with old elephants; sleep in Afro-chic Bakalanga Huts; swim in the largest, coolest pool in the Kalahari; eat the finest pan-African cuisine, and of course, drink something cold with hunters and vagabonds, travellers and locals in the funkiest bar in Africa. It’s the coolest desert oasis around – and a part of Africa that few will experience, but all will remember.
Our rooms are quirky, cool and super comfy. Scattered beneath a fraternity of colossal baobabs, the 18 thatched huts (eight Bakalanga, seven Baobab and three Bakalanga Family) take more than a little inspiration from the local Botswana villages, and all are arranged in friendly clusters. Vibrant murals adorn the outside walls and inside, you’ll find sunny patchwork quilts and a variety of eclectic trinkets that won’t fail to make you smile. Twin huts have two beds on either side of the room, family huts have a large double bed in the centre with twin beds on either side, and all have ensuite bathrooms. If you’re taking things a little easier on the pocket there’s also a selection of camping spaces with shared bathroom facilities, and a shady campsite with the best ablutions in Botswana, fact!
An enormous bar area, adorned with wine-bottle chandeliers and cow-hide chairs, is at the heart of the camp. There’s an a la carte menu to tickle your taste buds, and an even larger drinks menu to satisfy your parched throat after a day in the desert – and plenty of interesting characters to share them with. Outside, the largest, coolest swimming pool in the Kalahari glitters tantalisingly, as do the shady sun-loungers and braai areas.
Planet Baobab is accessible by two-wheel drive; look out for the giant aardvark 200 kilometres from Maun and 100 kilometres from Nata. You can also fly from Maun to Gweta, and road transfers to the camp are available from both towns.
Game drives from Planet Baobab will take you deep into the Ntwetwe Pan, the larger of the two Makgadikgadi Pans, and a vast expanse of sparkling salt that extends as far as the eye can see – and a little bit further! Remarkably, there is life to be found here and game drives will reveal some of the uniquely adapted desert species such as bat-eared foxes, springbok, kori bustards, and perhaps even the magnificent desert-adapted elephant and lion if Lady Luck is on your side. The arrival of the summer rains in December heralds the arrival of the zebra and wildebeest in the second largest migration of mammals on the continent, and life becomes frenetic as the hooved beasties feed on the fresh, green grass – and the predators have plenty to eat.
And then, of course, there’s our resident Kalahari cool cats of Ntwetwe– the meerkats. semi- habituated to human presence through years of research, you’ll get closer than you might think to the cheeky creatures! But just remember, they’re not tame – just used to our non-threatening presence.
Planet Baobab is in the region of Botswanas mysterious Makgadikgadi Pans, an area bigger than Switzerland, which was once the largest expanse of fresh water on the planet. Today, it’s a vast, salt-pan desert of shimmering sand and surreal landscapes so vast you can see the curvature of the earth. It’s a harsh and sparse landscape, but one that’s beautiful in its desolation. Here, perhaps more than anywhere else in the world, you’ll be struck by a feeling of utter, marvellous, isolation.
You’ll find Planet Baobab nestled amongst 17 giant baobabs, adjacent to the village of Gweta and about 40 kilometres from the Pans. During your stay, you’ll no doubt learn of the unique biology of these fascinating trees, which are in fact, not trees, but the largest succulent in the world. And you’ll just have to visit to find out more…
• Game drive in the Ntwetwe Pan and discover the unique, desert-adapted species that inhabit the lunar-like landscape.
• Get up close and personal with the coolest residents of the desert, the Kalahari meerkats.
• Visit the local village, learn about the local Batswana culture and munch on a traditional lunch.
• Join a Baobab Bushwalk and amble through the spindly forests with a knowledgeable guide by your side.
Dry Season (June to October)
• Rev your engine and quad bike across the never-ending pans (2 guests per quad bike), before sleeping out under the stars in a magical fly camp. (NB there is no back-up accommodation booked during a sleep out. Please chat to us for more details).
Green Season (November – May)
• Experience the spectacular migration of zebra and wildebeest (the second largest migration of mammals on the continent!), and keep an eye out for the predators that follow…
Sitting above the Chobe River, the lodge offers unparalleled panoramic views across the islands and floodplains as far across as Namibia. This is an incredibly luxurious lodge with just 15 suites, as well as the only full spa on the Botswana safari circuit. Relax in the split-level swimming pool, unwind with a pampering session in the spa or enjoy the gourmet food that the lodge has become known for.
LUXURY SAFARI LODGE
Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero is a luxurious riverside retreat in the heart of the bush, with all of the facilities of a larger resort. The main area commands fabulous views over the Chobe River which borders Chobe National Park to the north. As well as the elephants for which the park is famous for. Guests can relax in the split-level swimming pool, unwind with a pampering session in the spa or enjoy the gourmet food that the lodge has become known for.
SUITES AND FAMILY SUITES
Each of the 14 thatched suites has an en-suite bathroom featuring a large free-standing bath and separate rain shower. After a day of game viewing, what better way to relax than in your own private garden with a cocktail? Or if the fancy takes you, why not have your gourmet dinner served right here under the African sky. Coffee stations and Wi-Fi are available for guest in all rooms. Three of the new suites feature an extra bedroom - perfect for families.
Our new Pool Suite at Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero features a private plunge pool and private deck area where guests will be able to relax with cocktail enjoy private dinners for two under the stars (weather permitting). Coffee stations are now available for guest use in the rooms.
A hearty full English and continental breakfast is prepared by Chef Phinias and served before departing for your morning game viewing activity. After experiencing the magnificent Chobe National Park you will be taken back to the lodge for lunch where you could make your own pizza or enjoy a delicious three course plated meal. For additional food before or after your afternoon game viewing activity, an all day snack menu is available and can be ordered straight to your suite. During your afternoon game drive or sundowner cruises you might stop for classic sundowner drinks and canapés - the only way to celebrate yet another beautiful African sunset! Enjoy pre-dinner drinks on the terrace of the lodge before sitting down for a three course dinner. Please let us know if you are celebrating a special occasion? We could arrange a special romantic private dinner right under the African sky.
Botswana is well known for its mouth-watering beef so it is no surprise that Executive Chef Phinias's signature dish would be a Botswana beef fillet served with seasonal vegetables. Other dishes that have proved to be amongst guest favourites is grilled impala with port wine and chocolate sauce on roast sweet potatoes. Follow your meal with wine from our small air conditioned wine cellar which houses a variety of South African wines - the perfect complement to a delicious meal. A variety of vegetarian dishes are also available. Like most chef's, Phinias is passionate about his food and it's preparation, always taking the time to greet guests and find out more about their dietary requirements. His personal touch in this regard is much appreciated and he is regularly asked for his recipes by guest.
Elephants feature largely on any activity at Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero, as the largest population left in Africa occupies this northern corner between Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Game drives in open-sided 4 x 4 vehicles bring these grey giants into easy reach as they drink and frolic at the water's edge in their boisterous herds. Thrilling game drives lead by our qualified professional guides bring you close to hippos, buffalos, puku and other animals that gather on the banks of the Chobe River. The puku, a small rusty-brown antelope, alongside impala, kudu and red lechwe, are only a few of the common antelope found here. Naturally, lion and leopard are also found in the area.
The best way to end a day of safari here is sipping on a cocktail while watching an African sunset over the still waters of the Chobe River from the comfort of one of our specially designed riverboats. Sundowner cruises are also a great way of seeing buffalo up close as they come out of the shade to graze in the cooler evenings and elephants as they wade in the river. Chobe is renowned for its abundance of dramatic sable and roan antelopes with their impressive horns. Sitatungas - antelope with splayed feet to help them run in swamps - are often seen here, as are the wild dog and lion that prey upon them.
PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI CRUISE
Our new safari boat available from Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero can seat up to 18 guests and has a lower and upper deck, both featuring 360 degree swivel seats. The upper deck offers a great vantage point of the Chobe River and wildlife while the lower deck boasts a bar area and the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a scrumptious river breakfast or lunch. The boat offers a great exclusive and intimate alternative to enjoying the Chobe area especially for photographic enthusiasts.
Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero welcomes children of all ages and is the ideal choice for a family safari. A fence surrounds the lodge's perimeter and a whole host of children's programs and activities are available to keep the young ones busy. Our kids program includes guided walking safaris within the grounds of the lodge to collect pods, leaves and seeds and learn about tree identification, a "Safari hunt" with clues hidden away, kiddies croquet on the lawn, make your own pizza with the Chef and shortened game drives.
Natural Selection Safaris
Max. clients in vehicle
Game Drives, Meerkat Visits, Village Visit, Traditional Lunch, Baobab Walk, Quad Biking, Overnight Pan Sleepouts