The chiefs island area of the Okavango Delta is one of our favourites, the vast floodplain in front of the lodge stretches out towards Chiefs Island and every season offers visitors something exciting. I remember seeing a pack of wild dogs, silent except for the high pitched yips and chirps as they communicated between each other to swiftly bring down a red lechwe antelope. Or the amazing sight of and stumpy’ the elephant wandering past camp in the soft light of early morning, gently pushing the palm trees and squelching through the mud between the mokoros at the waters edge. In the late afternoon the sun would set rapidly through the trees and the moon would rise to bathe the area in a pale monochrome light. Just enough to see the shadowy figures of buffalo as they harrumphed through camp, or stealthy lions drinking from the channel in front of the bar.
The days at Gunns Camp are spent exploring the area in traditional dug-out canoes (mokoros), subject to water levels, poling through the low level floodplains that surround the adjacent islands whilst in search of wildlife, and walks on nearby islands with your poler/guide. In addition there are motor boat excursions water levels permitting. At times when the Delta channels are too low for safe mokoro excursions, the emphasis will be on exciting guided walks through the bush in search of the many wildlife species that make this area their home.
On a typical day guests take a morning activity, returning to camp for a hearty lunch and a siesta break from the heat of the day. Later in the afternoon guests will set off for another excursion returning to camp by sunset. There are many species to be found in this area and although they are often elusive visitors may hope to see signs of hippo, crocodile, buffalo, elephant, giraffe, zebra, many antelope, lion, leopard and perhaps even wild dog and rhino which were reintroduced into the Delta a few years ago.
The new vintage style camp at Gunns will consist of new dining, bar, lounge areas, swimming pool and 16 spacious, airy en-suite Meru tents each with its own private deck with magical views of the Okavango’s waterlilly studded waterways and onto Chief’s Island. Rates will be fully inclusive of all meals, drinks, activities, park fees and laundry. The new camp will offer a more personalized wildlife experience through the provision of high quality guiding services and new custom made boats. Activities on offer are mokoro trails, game walks, island camping and sunset motorboat cruises.
Similar to its sister properties Pom Pom Camp, Chobe Safari Lodge and Gunn’s Camp, the new camp will be an affordable luxury property and is aiming at the mid-tier market. The new camp will be common rated with Gunn’s Camp, which over the past year has benefited from an ongoing upgrade of the main building, kitchens and staff areas. From June 2009 onwards Gunn’s Camp, which consists of seven en-suite Meru tents and one honeymoon chalet, will also have new custom made boats and improved guiding services.