Visiting Botswana for an African Safari of a Lifetime

Botswana is part of the old Africa and one of the world’s great wilderness areas where animals and birds migrate and contrasts in scenery are breathtaking. There’s the untamed beauty of the savanna, the parched stretches of sand and expanses of forests, floodplains and jungle that attract a variety of big game and wildlife.

For 20 years Belmond Safaris have operated in Botswana helping visitors safely explore their own call of the wild. The spirit of Africa is rich at all three of their safari lodge locations.

The Khwai River Lodge sits on a floodplain and is packed with unexpected luxuries including its own spa where guests can enjoy alfresco spa treatments using products derived from local native plants. These floodplains are a magnet for an astonishing variety of big game. Viewing patios get visitors safely up-close to the parade of animals that make their homes in the area.

Belmond’s Savute Elephant Lodge is the choice for those who want the experience of living deep in the heart of the bush but with abundant comforts. Dine alfresco in a traditional boma, or use the gorgeous pool and private outdoor showers to refresh after a long day. As with every safari there are daily game viewing outings to compliment the deluxe lodge accommodations.

Just reopened with a fresher look and feel, Eagle Island Lodge lets visitors discover a unique and dramatic ecosystem from luxury accommodations. New tented guest suites, dining areas and lounges were redesigned to reflect the region’s natural beauty. Eagle Island Lodge is nestled in the lush Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is one of the world’s largest inland water systems. It sits in a privileged position at the heart of the delta on a private island, an oasis at the center of the Kalahari Desert. 

The area here is floodplains, with endlessly changing channels and tributaries that attract a staggering number of animals, birds, and fish – a landscape to view in its full glory on a helicopter safari, or from the private deck of a spacious tented room that features its own plunge pool. The focal point of every room is an oversize bed positioned for a view of the delta. In-room amenities include a fully stocked mini-bar, discreet air conditioning, and a private en-suite bath with walled outdoor shower, indoor bathtub and walk-in closet. The lodge has internet access in the main lounge and offers same-day laundry service and a private airstrip and helipad.

Guests might choose an early morning game drive out into the wild areas where they can expect to see a huge range of creatures from big cats to rhino, antelope and buffalo. Take a helicopter safari for an airborne view of animals roaming freely in their natural habitat, or explore African village life in a community of people who have adapted ancient traditions to modern times. At Eagle Island Lodge a mokoro, the traditional dugout canoe, can even take you over shallow waters to areas inaccessible by regular boats to experience life on the delta – where luminous dragonflies hover and game such as red antelope, reed bucks and giraffes come to drink. For many, it’s the birds that are dazzling. The area attracts egrets, storks, and fishing eagles that often swoop overhead.

The Okavango Delta is Botswana’s most well-known tourist location and ranks among the most pristine wildlife regions in the world. There are more elephants in Botswana than in any other country. Here big cats roam free and you may see anything from endangered African wild dogs to aquatic antelope, from rhinos making a comeback after near extinction to abundant bird species.

If this is your idea of a dream vacation, start saving and brace yourself for some serious sticker shock. These wild safari adventures really are exotic once-in-a-lifetime experiences but they come at a high price. Depending on flights, choice of accommodations and activities they can cost from $12,000 per person and up.

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