At a Glance
Considered one of the richest game areas in the country, Chitabe has two small sister camps that have been the passion of their owners for almost two decades, and due to their stylish and sensitive touch, the camps’ distinct personality comes through.
- Outstanding guides who are fabulous trackers and encyclopedias of knowledge
- The homey touches of the owner that transform the canvas tents into cozy retreats
- The longtime staff—many of whom have been at Chitabe for more than a decade
The Chitabe concession in the eastern part of the Okavango delta borders the Moremi Game Reserve and is one of the richest wildlife zones in the country. It was established by the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks and awarded as a lease to its current holders. The camps were opened in 1997 by owners Dave and Helene Hamman, who are still intimately involved in the camps running, even though they are now part of Wilderness Collection. The Hammans come up to Chitabe three or four times a year from South Africa and each time Helene tweaks the design somewhat. Her attention to detail comes through in everything from the wine selection to the art in each guest tent.
Set on raised decks above the marshland and connected by boardwalks with rough tree trunk railings are eight guest tents in each Chitabe and Chitabe Ledibe (the sister camp next door). The canvas cottages have polished wood floors softened by area rugs, cozy club chairs with reading lamps and desk areas. Helene has always overseen the camps’ design and refurbishment. She has chosen every décor detail from the lovely Provencal-style boutis quilts on the beds and vintage-like suitcases that contain the coffee and tea services in each room to the tribal crafts in the lounge area and the leather bound books in the library. Her husband Dave is a well-known photographer and his black-and-white prints hang over each bed. Bathrooms have indoor and outdoor showers as well as double sinks with a tusk towel bar in between the basins.
The communal areas in large thatched tree house like structures include a living room, dining room (meals are communal except when a private dinner is arranged) and a small library tree house with club chairs and a selection of Africa-focused books. On another deck is a small raised pool with loungers and great views of the floodplains. Helene has also been deeply involved with the camp staff, hiring each member and working with many of them on continuing their education and skills by introducing a training and learning center in the camp. This has resulted in a distinct Chitabe pride and warmth among her team that infects guests.
Chitabe is a land-based camp so activities include day and night game drives and, depending on the season, walking safaris, but these can only be done in winter when the grass is low enough to ensure guests’ and guides’ safety. With open plains areas on this tree island, Chitabe supports lots of plains species like zebra, wildebeest, tsessebe and lechwe, which attract predators like lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena and wild dog. Both the diversity of animals and birds one can see here and the frequency of high drama feline spottings make Chitabe a favorite among Botswana wildlife enthusiasts.
Who Should Stay
People who want an amazing game experience in the Delta and love a family run camp.
Written by Melissa Biggs Bradley