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Exclusive Retreats

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Imagine going on safari in Africa and you have an area two-thirds the size of Wales for your own exclusive use. That is what you get with Sanctuary Retreats if you stay at either Sanctuary Baines’ Camp or Sanctuary Stanley's Camp in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.

As part of our lease of the land from the forward-thinking government of Botswana we have exclusive use of an area of 85,500 acres (or 346 square kilometres), known as NG32 zone 1. The letters ‘NG’ come from the name of the local area, Ngamiland, and the 32 zone 1 is like the zip-code for our portion of it. The area is also officially referred to as a “Community Based Natural Resource Management Area”. 

Sanctuary Baines Camp Walking Safari

This exclusive arrangement means that there is a mutually beneficial relationship between Sanctuary Retreats and the local villages of the Delta and our promise is to look after the land and wildlife and in return our guests get to enjoy a very private safari experience. There are six local villages that are beneficiaries of the payments we make to secure the lease and these villages also provide the staff that work at our lodges. In fact, when we need to employ a new member of the team at Sanctuary Baines' or Sanctuary Stanley's we go to the villages as the first point of call and only bring someone in from outside if there isn’t a local person with the right skill-set for the role. In that way the villages have employment for their people and in return we get expert local guides and camp staff who know the area inside out.

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Since we have sole use of this part of the Okavango Delta we can set our own proceedures for our safari guides, such as if we spot a new born cub only one vehicle will be allowed in the area to see it. Likewise, for all hyena and wild dog dens, we allow only one vehicle at a time at the site. For other sightings, such as an adult leopard or lion, we allow a maximum of two Sanctuary Retreats vehicles at at what the guides call the “loc” (short for location). If we have other Sanctuary Retreats jeeps out on safari they can only come in to the “loc” once one of the others has left. We also have other rules in place such as communication on the radio will be kept to an absolute minimum (to minimise noise) and when vehicles are at a static sighting then engines will be turned off where possible.

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This is all in sharp contrast to the safari experience in some other parts of Africa, where crowds of jeeps descend upon a kill and it feels more like being at a zoo than being in the African wilderness. Since we also have our own airstrip (called Stanley’s) in the NG32 concession guests will not see a single vehicle during their stay that is not from the Sanctuary Retreats fleet, nor will they see visitors staying at any other camps in the Delta. Part of the arrangement we have with the Botswana government is that we manage the entire land in the concession and we are responsible for monitoring the wildlife and keeping a look-out for any poaching. If we spot any suspicious activity we immediately alert the authorities so that they can deal with it quickly.

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One of the other unique features of our private concession is that we host Jabu, Thembi and Morula, a trio of semi-habituated orphaned elephants. Fancy an elephant as your tour guide? Now you can with our unique elephant interaction in partnership with the Living with Elephants Foundation. Observe and interact with them while leisurely walking in their big, silent footsteps through the wilderness. For a truly uplifting experience that leaves a lasting impression on all who share their time with the elephants, this rewarding activity in Botswana is a must.

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Sanctuary Retreats also has another private concession in Botswana and that is at Sanctuary Chief’s Camp. Sanctuary Chief’s Camp is located in the exclusive Mombo Concession in the Moremi Game Reserve on Chief’s Island, one of the many islands created by the seasonal floodwaters of the Okavango Delta. The Moremi is known as the ‘predator capital of Africa’ and is also home to huge herds of elephant and buffalo. There are also healthy populations of wild dog, the most endangered predator in Southern Africa.

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In South Africa we have a private concession at Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge. The lodge is located on over 4,400 acres of privately owned ground which is reserved exclusively for our guests, and this is adjacent to Madikwe Game Reserve. The area is malaria-free and home to lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and black and white rhino.

Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge Wild Dog


Enquire today to book your very own exclusive retreat and receive up to 40% off when you use our Stay Longer, Pay Less offer.