Botswana’s Legendary Elephant Lodge is Reborn

A first look at Belmond’s newly renovated—and super-sustainable—retreat in the heart of Chobe National Park.

Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge Photo: Courtesy Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge/Mark Williams

One of Belmond Safaris’ extraordinary properties in Botswana, Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge, has reopened this summer after a multimillion-dollar rebuild. Located in the elephant haven of Chobe National Park, the new lodge is inspired by the world’s greatest explorers—including Sir David Livingston, who passed through the region in 1851—to give guests a sense of discovery at every turn.

Elephant Lodge’s new interiors are the signature of international designer Inge Moore from London-based Muza Lab (which has been behind other Belmond experiences like the Andean Explorer and recent renovations at the Mount Nelson hotel in Cape Town). Moore’s design aimed to make the new lodge significantly more sustainable, removing all concrete, employing eco-friendly composite bamboo decking, and adding solar panels that now power 95 percent of the lodge’s electricity.

In the 12 new tented suites, which are raised high on platforms, Moore has infused local culture with details like four-poster beds comprised of wood carvings by San bushmen and Tuareg people. Bright colors add a touch of modernity, from the vibrant blue sofas to the blue-and-ivory-toned rope chandeliers. All tents have outdoor showers and expansive terraces with daybeds that connect guests to nature both day and night.

Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge

Elephants  Photo: Courtesy Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge/Mark Williams

The public areas have also been reimagined. The dining tent, where guests take their morning coffee and breakfast before early game drives, is light and airy, with limed timbers, white floors, geometric fabrics, and rattan sofas. Positioned for privacy among the bush, the spa tent soothes with a sage-green color palette, hand-glazed green tiles, and beaded chandeliers. The pool deck and lounge and bar area have also been upgraded with new touches of glamour.

Bedroom  Photo: Courtesy Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge/Mark Williams

The Elephant Lodge’s most exciting new space, however, isn’t for luxuriating: It’s the camp’s viewing hide, located on the edge of a watering hole. Here, guests can spend an afternoon hidden from plain sight, observing the elephants, cheetahs, giraffes, and lions that are regular visitors to this spectacular corner of Chobe National Park.

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