Exclusive accommodation in Botswana


REMOTE CAMPS & PIONEERING LODGES

No other African safari destination offers exclusive accommodation quite like Botswana. The government here carefully restricts visitor and bed numbers, meaning the bush camps and lodges peppered through its private concessions are, by definition, exclusive. They may consist of just six tents, tucked away in unspoiled wilderness, with exceptional views and game viewing on the doorstep. This cap on numbers also means there’s little money to be made from budget travel, so Botswana accommodation is typically at the luxurious end of the spectrum, generally placing emphasis on comfort and service, rather than the bling decor found in some other safari destinations.
In addition to controlling tourist numbers, Botswana’s government also imposes strict environmental standards. It means most camps boast excellent environmental credentials, take great care of their staff and support community and conservation projects, so you can enjoy an authentic African adventure that’s responsible and locally beneficial, too.

All the holiday companies on Responsible Travel that arrange tailor made itineraries in Botswana will offer a range of exclusive accommodation in the different locations typically visited on a week or two’s break. Small group holidays tend to use more rustic accommodation and campsites, to keep trip prices down, but speak to your tour operator about what’s possible. You may be able to take a camping safari and then splash out on a few nights in a luxury lodge at the end of it.

Gunn's camp


Gunn’s Camp sits in the western Okavango Delta, overlooking Moremi Game Reserve. Its six furnished tents are set on platforms and tucked under palms and African ebony trees, blending in perfectly and ensuring guest never feel divorced from the sights and sounds of the wilderness. Luxuries include freestanding baths, a private veranda and outside private showers – hot water is provided by solar panels – and the tents are kitted out in vintage safari style. A wooden walkway connects them to the main lounge, elevated bar and pool, lit with lanterns at night. The whole atmosphere is wonderfully private and tranquil, with views across the Delta that take some beating.
As well as game drives and walking safaris, Gunn's can provide camping gear and food so you can set off with your guide and wild camp on an island in the Delta for the night. It’s a really intimate and exclusive way to experience the region, and the highlight is cooking dinner around the campfire, serenaded by Africa’s nocturnal wildlife.
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Chobe Game Lodge


Most exclusive accommodation in Botswana is small, and the Chobe Game Lodge is, by comparison, a whopper, with 47 guest rooms and four deluxe suites. The facilities, which include a gym, health spa and large outdoor pool, tick all the luxury boxes, but it’s the lodge’s location right on the Chobe River that really marks it out. You can enjoy amazing views and spot game from your private deck and, as this is the only permanent lodge within the national park boundaries, you won’t waste time driving in and out each day.
The lodge also boasts impressive environmental and socially responsible credentials. It’s ahead of the curve when it comes to the mechanics of game viewing, pioneering electric safari vehicles and boats that are not only eco friendly but silent, too. More than 65 percent of all staff here are women, including an all female guiding team, known as Chobe’s Angels. This is unique in Botswana and a real coup for women in a profession dominated by men. The lodge itself features impressive green technology. Around 95 percent of all waste is sorted and recycled, there is a biogas plant here that processes biodegradable waste to create power for the kitchens, and around 60,000 litres of grey water are processed every day and used to irrigate the site. The lodge offers comprehensive health care for its staff and contributes financially to over 20 initiatives that benefit local people.

Linyanti Discoverer Camp


The 125,000 hectare Linyanti Concession borders Chobe National Park and is bisected by the Savuti Channel. Here, Linyanti Discoverer Camp (also known as Linyanti Tented Camp) has just four large wooden framed, canvas sided tents. They’re designed to recreate the accommodation used by early explorers – think teak director chairs and wooden trunks – but brought up to date with contemporary comforts including reading lights, comfy beds and ensuite showers. There’s a beautiful communal area with dining spaces, a lounge and bar, or guests can relax outside around the crackling campfire.
The landscape of the Linyanti is diverse, from floodplains to woodland to open dry land savannah with sweeping views. It’s home to a huge range of wildlife and bird species, including the rarely seen sitatunga, a swamp dwelling antelope, plains game, lions, leopards and the endangered wild dog. Activities include game drives in the private northern sector of the concession, exploring the huge mix of habitats.
Photo credits: [Intro: Walter Schärer] [Gunn's camp: Odyssey World] [Chobe Game Lodge: Tribes Travel]

Written by: Joanna Simmons
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