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“Rather a fizzer”

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Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 17 June 2014

We recently had three nights here as part of two weeks in the Central Kalahari,Savute,Selinda and was left a little disappointed considering what one pays.The location by the Savute Channel is beautiful,tents large and comfortable but weeds at the entrance,weeds around the tents,broken footpaths and steps,a fallen tree right at the entrance to the lounge/bar that one has to navigate gives an unkempt impression.The staff were friendly and helpful but the food was a non event despite the trappings and fancy menus.Interesting game sightings were relayed to other guides/vehicles and meant jostling for position with numerous vehicles,all wanting a prized spot.It is a long way to travel and considerable to find that your bush experience is shared with loads of others.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with friends
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5  Thank dag108
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
LouisePheiffer, Manager at Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 20 June 2014

Thank you for taking the time to share your review with us and we do apologize that you had such a disappointing experience at our lodge.

We have addressed the general maintenance of the camp with regard to weeding. However, the broken footpaths are caused by the elephants that roam through the camp on a regular basis. As our camps are not fenced off, they have free access to roam as they please. Footpath maintenance is ongoing, until the next ellie decides to visit us!. (if you look on our Facebook page, a number of guests have posted images of our 'resident' elephant).

The tree you mentioned, was an icon of the lodge – an old jackleberry tree who welcomed everyone who entered the lounge area. However, over the years it has become more and more brittle and one morning we woke up to have the entire tree down in the public area. It took as 3 days to cut the tree up and to remove the branches. As this is one of the sacred trees in the bush and the totem of one of the families, we had to deal with this in a very sensitive way, and even now, part of the tree is still there, though you do not have to navigate around it.

We have recently appointed a new Food and Beverage manager to address the food & beverage issues, as there is room for improvement.

Nothing we say will turn your experience into a positive, but we have taken your review to heart and will address the areas we can.

We trust you have arrived back home safely, and please do extend our apologies with the guests that were traveling with you.

Best regards
Louise Pheiffer (on behalf of our General Manager, Karin Van Zyl)

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56 - 62 of 130 reviews

Reviewed 15 May 2014

We went on a six day safari to all three former orient-express camps in Botswana. The first was the Savute Elephant camp. We were impressed with the tents, they were really nice. clean and very well kept. The staff was very nice specially Bujos who is the assistant manager. His knowledge about his country is enormous. We had some wonderful safaris and saw many animals.
The only draw back was that the pool was not clean.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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3  Thank Amaya A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 May 2014

Great location, wonderful view on the Savute channel and the elephants, perfect room, even if air conditioning is a bit shocking in a tent...
BUT
Poor service, common food - I could not even eat what they serve you with morning tea & coffee at the tent, lunch and dinner were not you expect in such a place, breakfast buffet is quite small.
Old vehicles. Very nice guides and staff, but old and dirty (smelly?) clothes for some of them.
The pool was dirty when we arrived (but had been cleaned the following day).
In summary: does not worth the price neither the 5 stars.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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2  Thank Pierre D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
LouisePheiffer, Manager at Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 26 May 2014

Dear Pierre D,

Thank you for taking the time to share your comments with us.

What you experienced at the lodge is most certainly not our service standard, and we apologize for not living up to our 5 star promise to you as our guest.

We have recently employed a new Food and Beverage manager to address the availability and quality of the food served at all our lodges. We have been experiencing a few supplier difficulties - but this should never have an effect on our guest's experience.

The staff are all being issued new uniforms and we have made a note to address any hygiene issues that you raised. Thank you for making us aware of this.

Nothing we say can turn your experience into a positive, but we will ensure that this does not happen again in future.

We do hope to see you back again soon to show you our true level of service and hospitality.

Best regards
Louise Pheiffer (on behalf of Karin van Zyl)

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Reviewed 2 March 2014

thankfully, given the rates, this lodge lived up to expectations. The tents, service, waterhole and food were all exceptional. It should be noted, however, that the bush around Savuti Elephant Camp is mostly very dry mopani so do not expect the diversity or density of game you would see at Chobe waterfront or in the delta. Nice contrast however.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank roadtrippingscot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 February 2014

this is the place to go to sleep in a tent,A/C at that, and enjoy annimals outside you front door. you are protected from them but you can sit on your porch and hear the sounds of Africa. We watched painted dogs chase impalas on our porch. we had an excellent guide,Mighty,who found all the animals we wanted to see as well as giving us lots of interesting information on the mammals,birds and trees that we saw. the food was outstanding and very plentiful. We were fortunate that there were very few people in the reserve and we had wonderful sightings.

Room Tip: all the tents are the same and very luxurious
See more room tips
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank fishwish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 December 2013

If you want to visit Africa and see game but like some luxury then this is the place for you. Accommodation, facilities and food are all top quality but the biggest benefits are the quantity of game and quality of the guides. Except for rhino we saw almost everything else, hundreds of elephants, thousands of buffalo etc etc but the best were the very close encounters with lion and leopard. Watching a pride of lions eating their kill and the cubs playing with their father all within about 15m. Another time my wife could have leant down and stroked a leopard as it walked by our vehicle. Our guide Watch took us to the best viewing positions and could answer any questions we had with knowledge and humour.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Colinwr5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 December 2013

Savute Elephant Camp was the first lodge during our first 8 days safari in Botswana. We stayed for three nights and we are very happy for choosing this lodge to begin our safari in Botswana.
All the staff were very kind and available for all we needed. The Lodge, belonging to the Orient-Express company, has high level managing and we can not specify nothing to improve.
Our guide. WATCH, give us the opportunity to follow a young Leopard for at least 30 minutes. Great job which gave us all the conditions to obtain so many fantastic photos. We had spot all the animals we expect to see in this safari, some of them with excelente spots. When we return to Africa we ensure that this Lodge will be in our minds, Negative: too many cars inside the park.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Antonio_J_Macedo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge

Address: Savute Channel, Chobe National Park, Botswana
Phone Number:
Region: Botswana > North-West District > Chobe National Park
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 21 Speciality Lodging in Chobe National Park
Price Range: £282 - £1,926 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge 4.5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated at the very heart of a wildlife reserve, Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge is authentic and truly wild - the perfect place to feel the pulse of Botswana. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Savute Elephant Camp By Orient-Express Hotel Chobe National Park

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