When it comes to picking the best Botswana safari camps, there is a lot of choice. Botswana is known for its luxury boutique camps and lodges. The best manage to deliver excellent service and provide full amenities while being environmentally responsible. From the Okavango Delta to the unearthly Makgadikgadi Pans, here are some of the most popular, top-rated Botswana safari camps.
Zarafa is undoubtedly one of the best Botswana safari camps, with just four luxury tents located in the Selinda Concession of the Okavango Delta. It is owned by nature documentary filmmakers and conservationists, Dereck and Beverly Joubert. One of the perks at Zarafa is that they loan out state-of-the-art camera equipment to guests, affording them the best possible photography during their stay.
2. Jack’s Camp
In the Makgadikgadi Pans of Botswana – vast salt flats, home to a surprising amount of wildlife – Jack’s Camp has lots of character. Designed in the style of a 1940s safari camp, it was founded by one of Africa’s most famous guides, Ralph Bousfield. The camp allows guests to explore the pans on foot with the bushmen, on quad bikes, or, of course, in a game drive vehicle. Watching the sunset over the barren salt flats and stargazing when all the light has faded are two experiences not to be missed.
3. Belmond Eagle Island Lodge
One for those who need their creature comforts and struggle with the heat, Belmond Eagle Island Lodge in the Okavango Delta is one of the few camps in Botswana to have air-conditioning. For many people, this is a deal-maker! The 12-tent luxury lodge is also in a great spot for photographic and water-based safaris. A private helicopter trip to Fallen Fig Island is a highlight.
4. Meno a Kwena
Allegedly Prince Harry’s favourite Botswana camp, Meno a Kwena is perched above the Boteti River on the border of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. From here you can go on boat cruises down the river, take walks with the bushmen, and head off on day-trips into the park. As Meno is just 90 minutes’ drive from Maun, it’s an ideal place to spend a day or two relaxing at the start or end of a Botswana safari.
5. Duba Plains Camp
The lions of Duba Plains are famous buffalo-hunters and this lodge – like Zarafa, also owned by the Jouberts’ company, Great Plains Conservation – is one of the best places to see them in action. These lions are documented in National Geographic’s Relentless Enemies, which is a must-watch movie before your visit. The area is also rich in birdlife. Overlooking the floodplain, the camp has just five, luxuriously appointed tents, each with private plunge pools.
6. Mombo Camp
Arguably the most famous – and in demand – of the best Botswana safari camps, Mombo is known for the huge amount of wildlife that surrounds it. Known as the ‘place of plenty’, lions and leopards are commonly sighted, alongside rare creatures such as the Pel’s fishing owl. Though very luxurious, the camp is also eco-friendly; among other eco-initiatives, it is 100% solar-powered.
7. Uncharted Africa Mobile Camp
One of the best ways to explore the delta is in a mobile camp, moving locations during the day and setting up camp in a new spot each night. This is a traditional, adventurous style of safari. However, with a camp like Uncharted’s, you needn’t forego all the luxury. These tents have Persian rugs, campaign-style furnishings and proper beds. The guiding is also excellent.
8. Abu Camp
Abu Camp’s elephants are the camp’s main draw. These ellies are habituated and you can join them for a walk through the bush, meet each member of the herd and learn all about their habits and characters. Abu Camp has five tents and overlooks a lagoon in a beautiful Okavango Delta hardwood forest. Alongside the elephant interactions, the camp offers game drives and mokoro trips through the delta.
9. Chobe Game Lodge
Chobe Game Lodge is the only permanent lodge in Chobe National Park, one of the best places to see big herds of elephants in the wild. Though a larger lodge with 47 rooms, it’s a great Chobe base. It is known for having electric game vehicles and boats, which are not just environmentally friendly, but also less alarming for animals. Chobe Game Lodge is also recognised for having the first all-female guiding team in Botswana.
10. Khwai Tented Camp
On the Moremi Game Reserve border, Khwai Tented Camp is a luxury safari camp with six tents in this wildlife-rich area of Botswana. It’s a particularly great place to see wild dogs. The camp provides a proper safari experience, albeit with hot water bucket showers and flushing toilets. Even better, a portion of the fees are returned to the local community and the Khwai Community Development Trust.