Botswana is undoubtedly the mecca of safari destinations in Southern Africa and a beacon of sustainable tourism. It is an innovator in the art of timeless safaris, in regions of distinctive contrasts. High calibre lodges embody the essence of luxury and eco-conscious travel, keeping this part of the planet as pristine as it was once discovered. This is where wildlife spectacles astonish all that visit, showcasing the might of the African continent.
Botswana has been making headlines for its famed Okavango Delta region having low water levels this season. In my opinion, while the land is parched, the wild beasts congregate in greater droves around smaller water sources and islands that are usually submerged, are now more easily explored on foot. The Okavango Delta still continues to provide a superlative experience and proves itself to be a year-round safari destination, as I was once again reminded of during my travels.
Mack Air – The first leg of my journey was to travel from Maun and board a charter flight with Mack Air, as most camps and lodges in Northern Botswana are only accessible by air, which only enhances the allure of these remote destinations. The flights are quick, enjoyable and safety is paramount. Mack Air boasts having flown the equivalent distance to the moon and back 140 times and have done more than 800 000 landings in the Delta alone.
Sanctuary Retreats Stanley’s Camp – A word I would use to describe Sanctuary Retreats Stanley’s Camp would certainly be classic. This safari camp is on a private concession that borders the Moremi Game Reserve and is four-star magic. The accommodation is tented in style, with ten tents furnished with antiques that are reminiscent of the early days of safari ventures. It is ideal for family travel and is also one of the few camps that allows three adults sharing. Being on a private concession gives it the advantage of offering night drives.
Sanctuary Retreats Baines Camp – Sanctuary Retreats Baines Camp is chic, colourful and a great option for honeymooners. There is a strong emphasis on eco-luxury at this camp. They have creatively used over 150 000 aluminium cans that they incorporated within the walls for insulation. Six luxury suites have their own private wooden deck and four-poster beds that have the capability to be rolled out for a night under the stars.
andBeyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp – andBeyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp is nothing short of a captivating Botswana experience. It enjoys its solitude on its own Delta island within an exclusive wildlife concession. There are nine spacious tented suites, each with their own private plunge pool and an ambience of African romance. It is also the only safari lodge in the Delta that offers a guide as well as a tracker, sharing intimate knowledge of this unique eco-system.
Sanctuary Chief’s Camp – Sanctuary Retreats Chief’s Camp was a definitive highlight of my trip. This paragon of luxury safari experiences is consistently rated as one of the top camps in Botswana by Condé Nast and Travel & Leisure. The camp is located on the renowned Chief’s Island, the former royal hunting reserve of Chief Moremi, within the Moremi Game Reserve. Today, it holds true to the buzz term, safari chic, where opulence meets the wild.
Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge – I was fortunate to see Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge after its re-invention, having been closed for months for a total rebuild. The furnishings are quite simply stated, beautiful and each tented room is on a raised wooden platform making it a quintessential immersion into the surrounding landscape.
Sanctuary Retreats Chobe Chilwero – I particularly loved Sanctuary Retreats Chobe Chilwero. It was renovated last year and is the only five-star property in Kasane. It has all of the bells and whistles as well as the only full spa on the Botswana safari circuit. This is where you will enjoy sundowner cruises on the Chobe River, game drives and a photographic safari cruise.
Pangolin Chobe Hotel – Pangolin is suited for the photographic niche market and has an industrial design and feel. They have a select number of comfortable rooms and the primary focus is on the perfect shot. Pangolin Chobe Hotel is all inclusive and that includes your desired amount of memory cards as you happily shoot all day in the national park that is home to the largest concentration of elephants in Africa.
Chobe Safari Lodge & Chobe Bush Lodge – Chobe Safari Lodge and Chobe Bush Lodge are three-star classic favorites and geared for groups. Chobe Bush Lodge is a slightly more modern than Chobe Safari Lodge but they are located right next to each other and managed by Under One Botswana Sky.
aha Chobe Marina Lodge – aha Chobe Marina Lodge is an elegant safari option and is the closest lodge to Kasane emigration. It has a cluster type setup and looks out directly over the Chobe River. It has a natural warmth and charm and is decadently spacious.
Chobe Bakwena – I was pleasantly surprised by Chobe Bakwena Lodge. It is a lodge with character and the walkways through the bush give it a quaint and intimate atmosphere. They have an ethos, ‘Treading lightly upon the earth’, which I found evident throughout the design of this lodge including its eco-pool, filtered by plants, alongside the Chobe River.
Cresta Mowana Safari Resort & Spa – Cresta Mowana Safari Resort & Spa underwent a refurbishment last year and is now under new management. I thoroughly enjoyed the buffet and I am more than happy to use this property for groups and FIT business. Facilities at Cresta Mowana Safari Resort & Spa also include a nine-hole golf course and a fully equipped spa.
With you in travel,