Botswana is rightly regarded as one of Africa’s top safari destinations. The famously large herds of elephant in the Chobe and Linyanti regions, the arid beauty of the Kalahari and the wildlife-filled oasis of the Okavango Delta all add up to an unforgettable safari experience.
Recently Nicky Kirchner, a Giltedge Senior Travel Consultant, spent five days in Botswana visiting the Desert & Delta Safaris camps. She returned with beautiful photos and many a story to share.
“Earlier this year Airlink began operating direct flights from Cape Town to Maun, the gateway to the Okavango Delta. From there it’s generally a short light aircraft hop to your lodge, so you can have breakfast in Cape Town and be on safari in the delta that same afternoon!”
Leroo La Tau
“Our first stop was Leroo La Tau, which sits on the bank the Boteti River bordering Botswana’s Makgadikgadi National Park. I was pleasantly surprised by this lodge with its spacious rooms and lovely river views. We were there at the start of the zebra migration, so we could sit on our decks and watch dazzles of zebra wander by.
“The Makgadikgadi forms part of the Kalahari where, being a more arid region, the focus is on game drives. We went on an evening drive and had some excellent sightings including lion courting. On the way back to lodge we stopped for sundowners around a bonfire, where the staff told stories and pointed out constellations in the clear night sky. Fantastic!”
Xugana Island Lodge
“Next we flew to the Okavango Delta. Here our first stop was Xugana Island Lodge, a true water-based camp offering year-round mokoro and motorboat safaris. Tucked away on a forested island, this lovely little lodge really gives the feeling of being deep in the delta.
“The grounds are well-maintained and there’s a fantastic deck where we had lunch (we didn’t spend the night). Xugana has just 8 reed-and-thatch chalets, so it’s intimate and cosy. A great choice for honeymooners or anyone looking for a few peaceful days away from it all.”
“Camp Okavango recently opened after being completely rebuilt. This property is stunning with a fresh look and contemporary feel. Spacious suites are linked by elevated walkways that wind through the trees, there’s a boma overlooking the delta, and the whole camp is run on solar energy.
“Like Xugana, Camp Okavagno is a water-based camp which means no game drives. During our short stay we went on a mokoro safari, silently gliding past beautiful water lilies. We were also taken on a walking safari where we learned all kinds of interesting details. And although you don’t spot as much wildlife as you would on a game drive, seeing elephant while on foot was an exhilarating experience!”
“Then it was on to Moremi Game Reserve. Camp Xakanaxa offers year-round land and water activities: motorboat safaris and game drives.
“The camp has a similar feel to Xugana in that it is smaller and more intimate; rustic but comfortable. We didn’t stay here but had a look around, and I particularly liked the public areas such as the open-sided lounge and small plunge pool, both overlooking the lagoon.”
“Camp Moremi was one of the first Deset & Delta properties to open, and has a prime location in wildlife-rich Moremi. Like Xakanaxa, this camp offers both game drives and motorboat safaris but no mokoro safaris as the channels around the lodge are too deep.
“We had time for just one game drive, where highlights included seeing a cheetah along with excellent elephant sightings. This area is renowned for game viewing and, while nothing on safari is guaranteed, you have a good chance of spotting predators such as lion, leopard or even wild dog.”
Savute Safari Lodge
“Leaving Moremi, we travelled to the Savuti Region for a night at Savute Safari Lodge. This beautiful lodge has 12 timber-and-thatch chalets, each opening onto a private deck. The lodge overlooks a waterhole, and lying on my bed I watched elephant amble past on their way to the waterhole to drink.
“I also saw hyena and antelope at the waterhole, and our game drive included sightings of lion, cheetah, and a family herd of elephant with babies splashing about. The game viewing really was excellent! And since the Savuti Region focuses on game drives, I’d highly recommend combining a few days at Savute Safari Lodge with a water-based camp such as Camp Okavango.
Chobe Game Lodge
“Our final stop was Chobe Game Lodge. Last year the lodge was redecorated, and the new rooms are magnificent with touches of Zanzibar flair. The rooms have a slight river view, but then there’s that fantastic deck that runs alongside the Chobe River and has plenty of spots to settle in and enjoy your incredible surroundings.
“Chobe Game Lodge is the only property in Chobe National Park itself, so game drives start early before other vehicles arrive. We went on a game drive in one of their electric vehicles, which was wonderfully silent. We also ended our day with a cruise on the mighty Chobe River, a true bucket list safari experience.”