Written by Lauren Maker
Botswana offers one of Africa’s finest and most exquisite safari destinations to escape to and explore: the Okavango Delta.
In an untouched ecosystem, the Delta is one of nature’s supreme masterpieces. This UNSECO World Heritage Site gives you ample opportunities to view the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino) in a virtually untouched ecosystem. The great extensive, grassy floodplains are home to the most dazzling array of wild animals, including the specially adapted sitatunga and red lechwe antelopes.
Whether you like land or water-based activities, when planning a safari trip to Botswana, you will need a place to stay. We have compiled a list of the most luxurious top 5 camps and lodges in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Handpicked by us, to make your African family vacation, luxury honeymoon or adventure the most special, holding memories that last forever under the African stars.
Duba Plains Camp sits in the heart of the Okavango Delta among an environment of beautiful islands, floodplains and forest on a 33,000-hectare private reserve. All the rooms are raised on railway sleeper decking, giving you sensational views of the floodplain and the steady gathering of all wildlife.
Each tent has a lounge area, environmentally friendly air-conditioning system over your bed as well as a ceiling fan keeping the tent cool at night. Spend your downtime on your private verandah with a private plunge pool and shaded sala. Known as a Botswana glamping luxury experience, Duba Plains never disappoints. The main camp area situated under shady ebony trees includes a raised dining room, lounge, interactive kitchen, wine cellar and a library, the perfect spot for fine dining and the centre point for all guests.
Duba Plains offers astonishing wildlife experiences from lions and leopards to elephants, lechwe, buffalo and everything in between. The area is also known for sightings of the elusive aardwolf and endangered pangolins. Your activities are early morning and late afternoon game drives in open 4×4 vehicles, and you’ll also be spoilt with boat-based activities should the water levels be good.
This tented camp in the Okavango Delta is small and intimate, with just five tented rooms and a maximum of 10 guests. Children from 8 years are welcome. This intimate lodge is perfect for honeymooners, a couple and friends travelling together. Duba Plains is authentic, spacious and luxurious.
Although newly rebuilt, Mombo Camp continues to uphold camp traditions and history stretching back nearly 30 years, including celebrating one of the country’s greatest conservation successes, the reintroduction of black and white rhino into the wilderness of Botswana. Mombo is known as The Place of Plenty’ as this area has massive concentrations of plains game and predators.
The best way to witness this remarkable game is on a 4X4 drive, both early morning and early evening. Your very experienced game ranger and tracker will find you the best sightings. From lechwe to giraffe, elephant to buffalo. Mombo Camp doesn’t offer mokoro or walking safaris, but this does not matter when most guests are treated to up-close sightings of lion, spotted hyena and leopard. Another special way to enjoy your day is to watch from the camp decks as the Moporota Lion Pride chases its prey right through camp!
Eight spacious suites overlook endless views of the Okavango floodplains crowded with constant wildlife. These suites consist of beautifully appointed sitting rooms with a separate bedroom and bathroom – as well as an outdoor shower!
Steadily rated as one of the top safari camps in Botswana, Chief’s Camp is found in a part of the Delta where rhinos can be seen in their natural environment. This area is around Chief’s Island is seasonally filled with water, making this a perfect spot for Big Five viewing all year round. Chief’s Island is a very happy place for predators and is known as the ‘Predator Capital of Africa’.
Chief’s Camp offers travellers their very own stylish bush pavilion, each featuring a relaxed outdoor area overlooking the floodplains and a private plunge pool! In the main area, comfortable dining facilities, a bar, curio shop and library create spaces for relaxation and enjoyment – all situated under extensive jackalberry, sausage and rain trees.
Your activities at Chief’s are extensive; game drives are conducted during the early morning and late afternoon, teamed up with excellent guides who endeavour to bring you the best of the Delta. However, the highlight experience at this lodge is the mokoro (dugout canoe) excursion. This incredible experience includes spotting the wide array of birds that frequent the area, tiny reed frogs and animals drinking on the banks.
Jao Camp lies on the shoreline of a Delta Island, protected by wild mangosteen, ebony and leadwood trees. This camp is set on a remote island and accessible only by air. Masterfully built on numerous levels, decorated with African wood carvings and local artwork, this wonderful camp is well known for having one of the best spas in Botswana. Jao Camp is situated in the Jao Flats, an area known for its absolute blissful beauty, and where it’s possible to enjoy both land and water-based activities.
This intimate and unique camp includes 9 suites and 2 villas, with a comfortable main area that is elevated into a tree canopy; this open-plan living experience really blends into the surrounding environement. Beautiful, spacious tents with private decks make the most of the Delta sunsets.
Another unusual addition to Jao Camp is its well-received entertainment room, made for private dining, children’s activities, watching wildlife documentaries and wildlife lectures. This is a very special addition and is well enjoyed by families.
A visit to Jao means a wealth of activities and experiences. The Jao spa offers an unforgettable balance between rejuvenation and relaxation, while the rustic sleep-out canopy has been built for the adventurous at heart! Enjoy guided walks, mokoro excursions, 4×4 guided game drives, bird-watching and sundowners on the water, while a full day game drive and picnic on Hunda Island is not to be missed!
Xigera Safari Lodge
Xigera Safari Lodge (pronounced ‘Kee-jera’) is set to open on 1 December 2020, and is found on the western side of the Moremi Game Reserve. Meticulously intended to frame the breathtaking deltas and riverine forests, the lodge is in complete synergy with the Okavango Delta.
Xigera is a labour of love, born out of love of the hospitality industry! As part of the family-owned and run Red Carnation Collection, the lodge joins an array of exceptional accommodation around the world that already has a reputation for transforming and creating experiences that are quite extraordinary.
This lodge has front-row seats to the Delta’s magic! Each suite has been handcrafted and built with flame-torched timber, overlooking wild lily-filled lagoons. From your private bathroom (complete with indoor and outdoor shower, as well as a free-standing bathtub), to a private deck and daybed, each suite at Xigera is a place to unwind and take in the natural beauty.
One of the undeniable perks at Xigera is the pure flexibility afforded to each guest. Enjoy game drives at your own leisure, disappear into the bush for a private breakfast or picnic, enjoy a glass-bottomed mokoro excursion, or head up onto the elevated deck of the lodge motorboat for an afternoon game viewing session. From feet-in-the-water sundowner cocktails to private walking safaris, photographic excursions and yoga sessions, there is so much to do and experience at Xigera.
Xigera has been innovatively designed to protect its pristine environment; it is 100% solar powered, with a dedicated focus on sustainability. The lodge and its staff are dedicated to guarding this valuable space, and to empowering local communities, alongside environmentally conscious hospitality and sustainable conservation initiatives. Working together with The TreadRight Foundation, they are committed to ensuring that the unique wildlife surrounding Xigera survives and thrives.
While these luxury Botswana camps and lodges certainly stand out, the clear winner is the natural backdrop – the Okavango Delta. This natural jewel and World Heritage Site is truly one of Botswana’s greatest – and most treasured – destinations.
If you’re looking for a world-class African safari, then consider a trip to the Okavango Delta – ideally combined with Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls or the Makgadikadi Pans, the Delta is truly in a world of its own. Contact us to make your safari dreams a reality.