By our second full day on the road, we are starting to get the hang of things, waking up around 530am, packing up our tent, digging into a big egg and bacon brekky, and helping to wash up all the dishes before setting off on a 5 hour drive towards our camp. We’ve heard plenty of talk that Elephant Sands is the best camp on the entire trip, so we are all excited when we arrive around 11am. After a delicious pasta lunch, we throw on swimsuits and head to the pool area (stocking up on some G&Ts at the bar because we are on holiday and we deserve it). Instantly, I can see why this camp is a fast favourite— the pool and bar are set directly in front of a watering hole that attracts dozens of elephants looking for a cool splash or a sip of water. It’s a safari from the comfort of a cool pool, what’s not to love?
All the details: Elephant Sands
Cost: Stay in one of the stilted tents/chalets overlooking the watering hole for about 900 Pula per night, or camp in your own tent and use the shared facilities for about 290P. It’s much costlier than other campsites in Botswana, true, but the watering hole set right in front of the camp bar and pool makes it worth every penny.
Getting there: Elephant Sands is about 50km out of Nata, Botswana, so the best option is to drive. The nearest airports Francistown (180km from Nata) or Maun (300km from Nata).
Top tips: It is possible to organise a safari through Elephant Sands for around 300P.
We happily spend our afternoon moving between the icy pool and the table, gawking at the elephants that are less than 5 metres away while enjoying too many cool drinks to count, playing cards with the group, and swapping stories about our adventures. Cal and I even spend some time just sitting next to the pool where we meet a South African family that are traveling for a few months through rural southern Africa. The dad shares some pretty amusing stories about finding a cobra inside the toilet while his daughter entertains us with a full Broadway production in the pool, so there are plenty of laughs. Even though it is free of any actual planned activities, it is a phenomenal afternoon and everyone trots off to dinner feeling very content and recharged, ready for some action in the coming days.