This private conservancy is perhaps one of the greatest treasures in the Saadani area. It is a place of intense wildlife activity, includes large tidal salt flats, long navigable waterways through the mangrove forests, and a 3sqkm island regularly frequented by elephants. Located just outside the park, this area was in great need of protection.
The team from Tent With A View Safaris have now taken over the area and created the Elephant Island Conservancy at the heart of which is Babs’ Camp. The total area is only 10sqkm, but it is of massive importance to this unique coastal eco-system. Large herds of buffalo and giraffe use the salt flats and coastal bush around its perimeter as safe havens from which to feed and drink, elephants also feed, drink and wallow on Elephant Island, crossing the open flats to get there. The Tower lion pride is built around three remarkable lionesses who den with their cubs on small islands of bush beside the open sands, turtles lay their eggs on the beaches immediately adjacent to the conservancy, and a considerable variety of birds live and often breed in the area. In the dry season Elephant Island holds some of the last water in the area, in the wet it attracts many grazers to its new grasses. It offers safaris by day and night in 4x4 vehicles, great walks to study animal behaviour, canoe rides, powered boat excursions out to snorkelling sites where turtles breed, and, at its heart, is a magnificent viewing platform called The Roof of Saadani which also provides the main restaurant and bar facility for Babs’ Camp.
Even the rooms at Babs’ Camp are unique; extremely comfortable double storey homes, with magnificent elevated bedroom views, solar electricity, solar hot water, a full bath, and all part of a working Land Rover. The ease with which these rooms can be set allows them to be moved around the conservancy, at very short notice, to wherever the wildlife action is best.
When the moon is strong, dinner may well be on the salt flats with animals often visible in the remarkable night light reflecting off the sands.