three grey elephants drinking from a watering hole in Africa

A Genuine Review of Elephant Sands Resort – Why You Should Immediately Visit

Published on: January 5th, 2020 at 8:16 pm

If someone were to ask me where my favourite place is that I have ever stayed in? Then a destination in Botswana Africa would be almost certainly be sitting at the top of the list. At the very least, it is one of the first destinations that comes to mind when I think of my past travels and the highlights I’ve been lucky enough to experience. Elephant Sands Resort is the place I’m speaking so glowing of and today I wanted to tell you why.

 
Where to stay in Botswana when on an Africa Safari tour. You can watch wild elephants from the pool

As I mentioned above Elephant Sands Resort is located in Botswana Africa, some of you might be asking where is Botswana? So let’s dive in and have a look at the accommodation and let me explain exactly why I think everyone travelling to Botswana should have this place on their list.

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two grey baby elephants sttanding at a watering hole and one is about to spray water out of his trunk
Watching the cheeky activity of the local elephant residents of at Elephant Sands Resort kept me entertained for many hours

Elephant Sands Resort review

 

Where is Botswana?

Botswana is a country located in the south-west part of the African continent and is one of several that is actually landlocked. This means that none of its borders touch the coastline of any sea or ocean. It has neighbouring borders with four other popular African tourist countries, with those being Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and a small but important corner in the north-east shared with Zambia.

Botswana is actually ranked the 48th largest country in the world but over half of it is consumed by the Kalahari desert. It has an area that covers  581 730 square kilometres and offers many incredible National Parks and world-renowned ecosystems throughout its vast landscape as well. 

All Botswana accommodation options

National Parks of Botswana

Some of the national parks of Botswana that are famous include the Chobe National Park as well as the Nxai Pa National Park.

It also has one of the seven natural wonders of Africa in its backyard as well, the Okavango Delta is one of the worlds largest inland deltas and is a constantly changing landscape depending on the time of year. I have actually included a canoeing and camping trip in the Okavango Delta as one of my African highlights. Botswana elephants are a mesmerising figure across all of these locations but I think the Elephant Sands Resort is the best place to watch them up close and personal.

 

The green lushh grass lands of the Okavango Delta with African wildlife roaming
If you are in Botswana then a trip to the Okavango Delta is a good destination to include

Where is Elephants Sands Resort?

Elephant Sands Resort is an incredible location located in Botswana, Africa where everything is centred around the local Botswana elephants. Without these magnificent and intelligent animals, I’m afraid this place wouldn’t survive as an accommodation location. But luckily for them, the elephants are frequent visitors to the area and the local watering hole that surrounds the facility is one of their most reliable sources of water in this harsh landscape. 

The accommodation is located 51km from Nata if you are heading in the direction of Kasane. If you are coming from the direction of Kasane it is approximately 300km away. The journey between Nata and Kasane is a popular route for many tourists as they travel between two of Botswana’s most famous locations, the Chobe National Park and the Okavango delta. 

As such the Elephant Sands Resort is ideally located to have visitors stopping by throughout the entire year.

Why visit Elephants Sands Resort

If you are a general animal lover then this place will be right up your alley but if you are an elephant admirer then Elephant Sands Resort is going to leave you with the risk of never wanting to leave. Almost everything is set up to enhance the viewing experience you can have with wild Botswana elephants.

There is a watering hole in the centre of the accommodation and then the living facilities, restaurant, pool and bar are strategically placed around it. This ensures that anyone staying at the accommodation has a view of the watering hole from any location, you just never know when the next thirsty elephant is going to roll on passed your accommodation.

I was lucky enough to witness over 30 Botswana elephants socialising, drinking, flirting and arguing at the watering hole all at once one evening while having dinner and a swim in the onsite pool. You can really see how intelligent these animals are and the respect that they hold for one another. There is an obvious pecking order when it comes to earning a drink, socialising and being in the herd. On many occasions, we were able to witness as a larger elephant entered the area and the social dominance of the herd shifted.

A line of different aged and sized elephants walking towards a watering hole in Africa
Botswana elephants of all shapes and sizes will visit the watering hole at Elephants Sands Resort

You need to be careful while in such a location of course but as long as you keep an eye out for the largest animal on the planet then no risk should occur. I’m not aware of too many accommodations that give you a chance to sit anywhere on-site and witness nature in its rawest form.

Accommodation options at Elephant Sands Resort

Even though the name suggests this could be a grand resort that only a selected few of us could afford, me not being one of them, this is actually not the case. It is an accommodation that has stayed true to itself and gives almost anyone the chance to witness the magic of nature without being scared to look at their bank statement after booking.

The variety of accommodation on offer includes a designated area where you can set up a rooftop vehicle camper, sleep in a van/car or even pitch your own tent on the ground. If this is your choice of accommodation style you will have full access to all the on-site facilities including a pool, restaurant, seating and viewing area, toilets and showers. You can opt to cook your own food as well if you have the equipment.

A relaxing sunlounge couch facing a pool in an African accommodation location
How does watching animals sound while enjoying a refreshing swim in the onsite pool?

If camping independently is not your style while travelling in Botswana Africa then don’t fear as Elephant Sands Resort also offers 20 en suite tents and 14 ensuite chalets. The ensuite tents and chalets wrap their way around the watering hole leaving you with a balcony to sit and watch these playful animals anytime you wish.

No matter what option you decide on, be assured that the friendly staff will ensure they go above and beyond while you are enjoying your stay with them.

All Botswana accommodation options

Botswana animals you can see while staying at Elephant Sands Resort

Botswana elephants are undoubtedly the kings of this area and the prized attraction for why people opt to stay here. Some 95,000 elephants are expected to call this part of Botswana home but by no means is the elephant the only Botswana animals you can expect to spot while staying here.

Other exciting wildlife to witness includes another 3 members of the African big five, lions, leopard and buffalo. These are obviously much harder to spot than the Botswanan elephant but certainly are possible.

The other animals you can hope to see either around the resort or while on an exciting activity include wild dog, hyena, kudu, steenbok and even giraffe.

Safari options in Botswana

Three giraffes in Africa standing on green grass and drinking water
Botswana elephants are certainly not the only animals you can see while staying here. Giraffes are just one of the extra Botswana animals you could spot

Other facilities onsite at Elephant Sands Resort

As I have briefly touched on above the area is well stocked with extra facilities onsite that you may not automatically expect from such an isolated location. There is a small but refreshing kidney-shaped pool that allows you to be watching the watering hole area while enjoying a refreshing cool down from the African climate. 

Right next to the pool area is a bar that serves refreshing beverages including local beer. It might just be the Australian in me talking but enjoying a beer in a pool while watching huge African elephants is going to take some beating. 

The onsite restaurant also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner options each day and also offers a set menu that changes daily and seasonally. If you are roughing it in your own tent or vehicle then there is also a shower block and toilet area located both inside the viewing/bar area and also a free-standing amenities block.

Mobile service is on limited supply out here though but if you ask me that is more of a positive than a negative unless of course, you are struggling to wait any longer to post your favourite picture to Instagram and make everyone back home jealous.

Botswana safari options you can experience

As well as having the best location to watch Botswana elephants coming and going Elephant Sands Resort also offers visitors the chance to do a variety of different Botswana safari options. I completed many different African safaris while enjoying my time in the country and everyone was met with excitement throughout the experience. It’s an adventure where you just never know what you might see.

The extra activities that are available while staying here include Game Drives, Bush Walks and a Bush Braai.

Safari options in Botswana

Botswana Safari Game Drive

You can opt to take either a morning game drive or an evening one depending on the time of year and what is on offer at the time by Elephant Sands Resort. A Botswana safari will give you the chance to spot local animals such as members of the big five including buffalo, lion, leopard and over 95,000 local Botswana elephants. Other Botswana animals you could come across throughout these safari game drives are giraffes, wild dog, hyena, steenbok and kudu.

These tours are done so in the resorts own open style game viewing vehicles and operated either onsite or in a nearby wildlife concession.

Bushwalks

Throughout a bushwalk you not only have the chance to spot some of the local Botswana animals but you can also learn about how locals have used techniques to track these animals in the past and still currently in some locations throughout Africa. You will also be exposed and learn some of the unique native plants and other flora and fauna located in this region.

Walking along the bush brings a completely different perspective to that of when you are completing a safari game drive. I did one in the Botswana Okavango Delta and it was one of the highlights during my time in Africa.

Bush Braai

Fancy combining an evening game drive with a deliciously hearty and traditional local meal. Let the chef spoil you by cooking an unforgettable dinner over the opening fire as you witness an African sunset and see the day turn to night. The noises you start to hear when the evening sets in will be sure to have your attention levels on high alert.

 

Other important information to know about Botswana

Is Botswana safe

The great thing about travelling throughout Botswana while in Africa is it is one of the safest ones you can explore. The high tourist levels and low crime rates support this opinion, petty crime is the main issue. Enjoy a great trip in Botswana and not be concerned about requiring extra safety measures. 

As with any place you visit just use basic common sense and ensure your belongings are next to you or in safe storage at all times.

Botswana visa

Many countries in Botswana are entitled to visit without requiring a visa beforehand. This makes for easy entry and exit possible from the country. If you do require a visa then you will need to allow a minimum 21 working days prior to your arrival to apply for one.

To apply for a Botswana visa you will need to submit an online form and many supporting documents such as passport copies, flight and accommodation details while in the country and ensure that you have at least 6 months still remaining on your passport when entering.

Here is a list of countries that do not require a visa to enter Botswana, the list includes the United States of America.

AngolaGambiaMauritiusSolomon Islands
Antigua & BarbudaGermanyMexicoSouth Africa
ArgentinaGreeceMonacoSouth Korea
AustraliaGrenadaMozambiqueSouth Sudan
AustriaGuyanaNamibiaSpain
BahamasHoly SeaNauruSt. Kitts & Nevis
BahrainHong KongNetherlandsSt. Lucia
BarbadosHungaryNew ZealandSt. Vincent & the Grenadines
BelgiumIcelandNorwaySwaziland
BelizeIrelandOmanSweden
BrazilIsraelPapua New GuineaSwitzerland
Brunei DarussalamItalyParaguayTanzania
BulgariaJamaicaPeruTonga
CanadaJapanPolandTrinidad & Tobago
ChileKenyaPortugalTurkey
Costa RicaKiribatiQatarTuvalu
CroatiaKuwaitRomaniaUganda
CubaLatviaRussiaUnited Arab Emirates
CyprusLesothoSamoaUnited Kingdom
Czech RepublicLiechtensteinSan MaricoUnited States of America
DenmarkLithuaniaSaudi ArabiaUruguay
DominicaLuxembourgSeychellesVanuatu
Dominican RepublicMalawiSierra LeoneVenezuela
EstoniaMalaysiaSingaporeYugoslavia
FinlandMaldivesSlovak RepublicZambia
FranceMaltaSloveniaZimbabwe

Here is a list of countries that do require a visa to enter Botswana

AfghanistanCôte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)Kyrgyzstan (Kirghizia)Philippines
AlbaniaDjiboutiLaos (Lao People’s Dem. Rep.)Rwanda
AlgeriaEcuadorLebanonSao Tome & Principe
AndorraEgyptLiberiaSenegal
ArmeniaEl SalvadorLibyaSerbia
AzerbaijanEquatorial GuineaMacedoniaSomalia
BangladeshEritreaMadagascarSri Lanka
BelarusEthiopiaMaliSudan
BeninFiji IslandMauritaniaSumatra
BhutanGabonMicronesiaSuriname
BoliviaGeorgiaMoldovaSyria
Bosnia & HerzegovinaGhanaMongoliaTaiwan
Burkina FasoGuatemalaMontenegroTajikistan
BurundiGuineaMoroccoThailand
CambodiaGuinea BissauMyanmar (Burma)Togo
CameroonHaitiNepalTunisia
Cape VerdeHondurasNicaraguaTurkmenistan
Central AfricanIndiaNigerUkraine
Republic
Chad
IndonesiaNigeriaUzbekistan
ChinaIranNorth Korea (Dem. People’s Rep. of)Vatican City
ColombiaIraqPakistanVietnam
ComorosJordanPalauYemen
DRC- Democratic Republic of Congo
Congo (Republic of)
KazakhstanPanama 

A great source of reference to ensure you know the latest visa requirements for your country is found here.

Botswana climate

The Botswana climate is mostly dry and classified as semi-arid. It has two main seasons that are called the summer and winter seasons. The summer is when the temperature is at its hottest but this is also the period that Botswana gets its rain.

Summer is a combination of hot, cloudy weather that is interrupted with periods of heavy rain that cools things down, albeit mostly for a short period of time. When the sun appears again after a heavy rain period it creates for some high humidity levels as the water is evaporated from the earth surface.

The summer period in Botswana is from November until the end of March.

The winter season is the other main season of note in Botswana and this runs between the months of May and August. During this period the temperature of the weather is much cooler overnight and in some cases drops below freezing point.

The days are usually sunny with very little chance of rain occurring throughout this period of the year. The temperature during the day is cool to warm.

Any period not inside these two seasons is still generally dry with little rain with the days cooler than summer and the evening/night temperatures warmer than throughout winter. This is when to visit Botswana and travel to in my opinion.

A large grey elephant with tusks staring at a safari car in Africa
Spotting wildlife in the national parks of Botswana becomes easier as the watering holes begin to dry up before the start of the summer season in November

Vaccinations for Botswana

While travel vaccinations for Botswana are not compulsory there certainly are some that are highly recommended. The chance of having any issues with malaria are also greatly lower than some of the nearby areas, although the higher north you travel the more at risk to malaria you will become.

Check with the areas you are travelling to see if you will require a course of antimalaria tablets from your doctor before you travel. Some other vaccinations that are worth strongly considering include the following.

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid
  • Yellow Fever
  • Rabies
  • TDAP (Tetanus, Diphtheria & Pertussis)

Please remember that a yellow fever vaccination is compulsory in some countries throughout Africa and if you have travelled in any of those countries then you will also need to show a yellow fever vaccination certificate if travelling from any of those countries.

When to visit Botswana

The best time to visit Botswana and the time of year that gives you the best chance to view the wildlife is from April to October. As mentioned above these months will still be dry and offer mostly sunny does throughout with the chance of cool evenings.

The game viewing is at its best throughout these periods though as the wildlife are searching for the remainder of the water supply on offer. They can easily be found at almost dry waterholes or at man-made bores. These months are when to visit Botswana if you can plan it as such.

I hope this review gives you enough information on not only one of the most exciting and unique places I have stayed at but also some brief and important information on travelling in Botswana itself. 

If you would like to know any more specific information about my stay ay Elephant Sands Resort or my travels throughout Botswana or any other African country I encourage you to write a comment in the comments section below.

If you plan to combine a visit to Botswana with a stopover at one of the seven natural wonders of the world then I highly suggest for you to see the mass of information I have put together on Victoria Falls and the surrounding area

 

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Victoria Falls Blog series – All the information required to plan and enjoy a trip to Victoria Falls. Find things to do in Victoria Falls, the best value accommodation option in Victoria Falls, restaurant advice, visa information and much more

Best Africa Safaris to do – find a selection of quality safari options that include South Africa and Zimbabwe

All other Africa Travel blogs – Information on these and other destinations such as Botswana, Namibia, Morocco and Egypt.

Organise Your Trip: Travel Advice and Tricks I Personally Use

Book Your Flight

Heading to either Skyscanner or Momondo are my methods of choice for this. They are my favourite as they search for flights from different companies all over the world. You can filter the results to suit your needs and ensure you land the best price every-time.

Book Your Accommodation

This is an important part of any holiday you’re going on. Read all the reviews and get the right accommodation via TripAdvisor. They even show you the best prices available at the time for that room from suppliers like Booking.com.For booking a hostel your best bet is to start with HostelWorld or possible even use CouchSurfing if you’re on a real budget.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is a must these days so you have a piece of mind you’re covered for anything that could go wrong while on your trip. I now never go on a trip away without travel insurance. I’ve been using World Nomads for the past few years.

My favourite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • SafetyWing (cheaper option to just cover you for health issues)

Looking for the best companies to save money with?

As I have been travelling frequently over the last few years I’ve learnt some great tools to use for saving money when travelling. I have a travel resource page that lists all the trusted companies I personally use and rely on. I think you will find them good as well.

I also have a couple of great blogs that share quick and easy ways to save money on flights or accommodation. Take a look and save some cash on your next trip.

The Best Place To Book Your Tours

If you are someone you likes to have the best tours in one place and read reviews from other travellers about their personal experiences of each different tour then the best platform to use is GetYourGuide.

They offer the best tours, have money-back offers in case your trip is cancelled and ensure the price of each tour is the lowest possible.

Other posts that might interest you:

If you made it this far, chances are you have enjoyed this post, please SHARE, TWEET or PIN IT. Thank you

A review of where to stay in Botswana where you can watch Elephants from the swimming pool
A guide on where to stay while on a road trip in Botswana, Africa

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Last Updated on: May 27th, 2020 at 12:45 pm

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