Paging Dr. Livingston. Wilderness, a 40-year-old leader in luxury safaris, is opening a new camp in virgin territory, the company tells Robb Report exclusively.
Welcoming guests in September, the property, dubbed Wilderness Mokete tented camp, will be the operator’s only property in Botswana’s Mababe Concession — a remote 124,000-acre oasis located between the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park. And in this virtually untouched expansive, Africa’s wildlife runs the show.
“Picture herds of buffalo by the thousand, the largest concentration in Africa, as well as prolific predators and mega-aggregations of elephant,” said Kim Nixon, Wilderness Botswana MD.
Because of its unique location, where the nutrient-rich Okavango waters meet an inviting sea of grass plains, Mababe is an animal magnet. For example, the hyenas here don’t come in mating pairs. They come in clans of more than 60. The cats? Mababe’s lions are such successful hunters (the cornucopia of prey helps) that kills are a daily occurrence.
As the only property in the concession, Mokete doesn’t need to worry about nosy neighbors. Whereas most game drives in Africa are limited to a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the afternoon, guests at Mokete can stay out all day. And their Land Cruiser doesn’t have to jockey for position just to get a decent view of the leopard, or to listen to its long, sawing roar.
“Sound travels far here, so guests will be able to hear the sound of whatever is happening out there very clearly” said Hadley Allen, Wilderness COO.
But what’s going on in camp is almost as good as what’s going on in the bush. All nine tents are en-suites with retractable roofs, so you can soak up the African sun, or star gaze all night, from the comfort of your luxurious canvas quarters. Wooden walkways lead to the camp’s communal areas, including a tented lounge, a swimming pool and a sunken hide where you can observe everything from wild dogs to wildebeest at eye level.
“The camp has been purposefully created to give guests the feeling of being completely immersed in the surrounding landscape,” said Allen who promises panoramic views and an array of activities.
For instance, you can take a helicopter safari (for a surcharge), and starting in 2024, go for a hot air balloon ride for a unique, less invasive experience for the animals. Mokete will also offer “cultural experiences with the local community.”
After all, Wilderness plans to be in the area for years to come. While Mokete is a limited edition camp – open for just two years – it will eventually be replaced by Wilderness Meraka, a permanent camp that will feature 10 rooms, including two family units.
“The building of Wilderness Meraka involves some very careful planning and will take a long time,” explained Allen. “So because the area is simply too spectacular not to be available for guests, we decided on a limited edition camp.”
Rates at Mokete start at $1,320 per person, and even though it won’t open until September, tents are going fast.
“Since launching the camp on April 4, there is already strong interest and booking activity,” Allen added.