Luxury safari in the Okavango Delta
andBeyond Xudum Lodge
Botswana sets the standard for low density, low impact tourism in Southern Africa and the Okavango’s luxury lodges are some of the very best in the world. There are wonderful tented camps and lodges in every corner of the Delta, many so elaborate and beautifully constructed that it’s hard to imagine how they were built at all. Situated in some of the Okavango’s most remote, secluded regions they often seem to grow organically, directly from the earth. Ecological construction and management practices are a hallmark of many lodges and most use timber and other natural materials to blend in as much as possible. Depending on the lodge and the time of year, you may gaze out onto vast, open, game-rich plains, or sit high on stilts over an endless, lapping lagoon.
Every part of a luxury Okavango safari is a highlight in itself. From the moment you fly in over the lush, elephant-dotted floodplain, to the lodge’s stunning tented suites, the tranquil mokoro trips, the food. Days are spent exploring the Delta, often by boat which adds an extra special twist. And at night the lodges come alive with the soft light of glowing lanterns for an evening of fine dining under the African stars. The Okavango’s lodges are known for exceptional service, and private guides and bespoke activities are the norm. June to August is usually the best time for water-based activities and September and October are more suited to wildlife viewing.
Most of the Okavango’s luxury camps are small and intimate, which also means that space is limited and the popular camps tend to fill up fast. If you’re looking to visit during peak season especially (June to October), then consider making enquiries about a year in advance. If you’re undecided where to go, then try splitting your time between two different camps – perhaps three or four days near deep water for motorboat and mokoro trips and another few days in a drier area for game drives. Moving between camps involves planning and some precision, but there are plenty of established tour companies that have the logistics well in hand. It’s usually best, both in terms of practicalities and price, to book everything through a single operator rather than try to arrange your itinerary yourself. Fly-in safaris can vary in price considerably, from $600 a night for a luxury mobile safari, all the way up to over $3000 a night at a top luxury lodge. April, May and November are more affordable times to travel, while there’s still good weather across the Delta, but substantial discounts are available.