Botswana has a stellar reputation as a safari destination, and it boasts some of Africa’s top safari accommodation choices. Here’s our guide to the best luxury safari lodges in Botswana:
The distinctly modern style of Vumbura Plains – with its cube-shaped, open-plan guest tents in pale wood, and wrap-around windows – caused a few raised eyebrows when it first opened. Having grown into its surroundings, Vumbura Plains will impress you with its sense of space and freedom. Perhaps more than anywhere else in the Okavango, Vumbura is transformed by the arrival of the annual floodwaters. Stroll across a sandbar in ankle-deep, crystal-clear Delta water as you sip your sundowner, or peer into the perfect blooms of water lilies in search of painted reed frogs. Vumbura Plains has a happy way of making dreams come true – whatever you were looking for when you booked your stay, you’ll most likely find it – and much more besides. If you never imagined finding modern architecture in the heart of Africa, or learning how to weave a basket from reeds, Vumbura Plains will both embrace and invigorate you.
- Botswana’s most uniquely stylish safari lodge.
- A wonderfully modern take on safari traditions, from morning coffee fireside to high tea.
- An infusion of Botswana’s understated but heart-warming cultural identity.
SANCTUARY CHIEF’S CAMP
Chief’s Camp takes its name from Chief’s Island, the large spit of dry land that forms the backbone of the Okavango Delta. The location is ideal, as it gives access to seasonal channels for water activities as well as never-ending floodplains. It offers the best of the Delta – and the best of Botswana hospitality. Being made welcome here means many things – you’ll feel relaxed and energized at the same time, and you’ll gain amazing insights into this rich, rewarding ecosystem even as you learn to switch off. Chief’s Island was once reserved for royalty, and the design and furnishings of this contemporary but opulent lodge evoke the idea of a hideaway fit for a queen or a king. Chief’s Camp creates a sense of modern luxury from moments as diverse as the trademark coughing call of a leopard or the roar of a lion as you drift off to sleep – in what could just be the most comfortable bed you’ll ever experience.
- Luxurious seclusion at the heart of the Delta, fused with contemporary amenities and design features.
- Guides who are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge and drawing you in.
- Starlit meals on the expansive deck followed by a nightcap and safari tales around the fire.
ZARAFA DHOW SUITE
One of the newest properties on our list, this two-bedroom sole-use safari villa is something very special. It’s authentically styled (with canvas roofs) to recreate the romance and elegance of yesteryear, whilst offering a very modern take on luxury. The Zarafa Dhow Suite is in the private Selinda Concession with its setting hand-picked by award winning wildlife filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, who fell in love with its lingering lagoon views. The owners are incredibly well-traveled, and the style of the camp is influenced by their journeys to the four corners of the continent. This perfectly proportioned lodge can so easily become your own family safari holiday home – why not add the happy sound of children’s laughter to the glorious chorus of bush sounds as you enjoy finding your feet somewhere wonderfully new.
- Arguably Botswana’s most luxurious accommodation option.
- Steeped in love for the wild places of Africa – a feeling that you’ll find is contagious.
- Your own secluded hideaway to share with only the people closest to you.
BELMOND EAGLE ISLAND LODGE
Peeking out from beneath the boughs of ancient trees on a lush island, this lodge is just a few steps away from the flowing waters that give it its character, and shape your experience. Eagle Island has embraced its watery domain, and the waters have become the life force that flows through the very soul of this lodge. Spending time here lets you unlock the mysteries of the Okavango – and possibly also discover the secret to ultimate relaxation on safari. Continuing the aqueous theme, each of the twelve tented rooms is flooded with light, and decorated with swirling patterns that artfully echo the eddies of the water moving past outside. The tented rooms provide a cool place of respite during the heat of the day, while having your own private plunge pool lets you connect more directly (and even more refreshingly) with the dominant element in this wonderful wetland habitat.
- Quintessential Okavango water experiences – glide through your holiday.
- Discover just how relaxing being surrounded by beauty can be.
- Fill your safari days with as many – or as few – activities as you wish, and just be.
If the idea of tastefully selected pieces of Balinese furniture seems a little at odds with being on safari in Africa, then you’ve yet to discover the sense of harmony and equilibrium that pervades Jao. The first architect-designed lodge in Botswana, Jao is renowned for both its epic views of essential Delta scenery, and the attention to detail that is the hallmark of every experience that happens there. Completely rebuilt in 2019, Jao is ready to reclaim its crown. Two new villas and five tented guest suites combine with the double-storey main area that reaches into the canopy of shady tree. Nothing is overlooked at Jao – they even have glass-bottomed mekoro to let you immerse yourself in the Delta without getting your feet wet. If you’re on vacation with your special someone, a quiet word in the ear of the manager will see the two of you dining in the inimitable setting of Jao’s candlelit wine cellar, after a day spent enjoying iconic wildlife moments like red lechwe antelope running through shallow lagoons.
- A seriously stylish luxury lodge where no detail is too small and no request too large.
- Impeccable finishes, thoughtfully chosen interiors and a wonderful flow of energy.
- Immaculate service – sophisticated yet warm.
Enjoy the ‘suite’ safari life at this remarkable property. Co-located with Selinda Camp (itself extremely exclusive), this property mirrors the Zarafa Dhow Suite in concept. It comprises an entirely self-contained two-bedroom safari villa. The Selinda Suite comes with its own dedicated team of staff, plus a private guide and safari vehicle. Choose your own programme – or have no programme at all. Feel the thrill of running with the pack as you head out on game drive to spend time with the area’s famed wild dogs – the ultimate African predators. Selinda Suite has achieved that tricky balance of catering to your every creature comfort without taking away from the majesty of its setting – whether you prefer to watch sunrise or sunset, you’ll gain a sense that anything is possible here during the golden hour at each end of the day. And believe us, it is.
- Your own bush home from home – and you may never want to go home.
- Enjoy being on safari at your own pace and spending quality time with the people who matter most.
- Perfect for families or groups of friends or anyone who appreciates the finer things in life – like seclusion, privacy and exclusivity.
MOMBO CAMP & LITTLE MOMBO
Mombo means ‘place of plenty’ in a local language, and it’s easy to see why these two lodges make our list of the best luxury safari lodges in Botswana. If you’ve ever pictured yourself on safari, you’ve been daydreaming about Mombo. Peaked canvas roofs blend in perfectly to the treeline, but this is a very different kind of camping. Step out of bed and glide across the hand-polished hardwood floors to the double bathroom, or continue outside to discover your own private sala – the ultimate secluded spot to combine a siesta and some impromptu wildlife viewing. Sundowners at Mombo’s iconic bar are an Okavango institution, with steps leading down to the floodplain, as if inviting you to explore the wilderness. Choose to stay at one of Mombo’s nine super-spacious tents, or book all three of the Little Mombo tents for an exclusive family safari lodge. Either way, you’ll see incredible wildlife on game drives and get to spend your evenings in the eclectic company of other guests, ranging from billionaires to butterfly experts.
- Safari chic gone wild – think metallic touches gleaming alongside organic elements.
- Some of Botswana’s top guides, with an uncanny ability to find even the most elusive species.
- Encounter a famous dynasty of limelight-loving leopards!
Whether your movie reference point is ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ or ‘The English Patient’, Jacks Camp is a legendary property that channels the romance of the desert and nomadic voyages. For many years a Kalahari landmark, the distinctive peaked white tents of Jacks Camp are being reimagined in time for the opening of the new iteration of the camp in 2020. Who could decline the chance to recline like a pasha on antique cushions and carpets? If you find yourself in a more playful mood, an encounter with a real-life Timon (or meerkat) will add joy to your life, while the otherworldly setting could just bring out the poet or artist in you. The new camp will update the renowned charm of the original, with Moroccan-style décor, a marquee feel, and a natural history museum composed of cabinets of curiosities. Whether you’re looking for prehistoric stone tools or want to embrace a mighty baobab, the new Jacks Camp will offer all the magic of the previous version, and more.
- A legendary lodge reimagined for romance and magical moments.
- Catch the secret stories of the Kalahari on the whispering wind.
- Discover the luxury of almost infinite space, and explore your thoughts and dreams under star-spangled skies.
Need some help planning your trip to Botswana? Reach out to the Alluring Africa team.