5 unique safari camps in Botswana perfect for Honeymooners
A honeymoon and safari combination
05 Mar 2018
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Every honeymoon should come with a slice of exclusivity, a sprinkle of the unusual, and of course bragging rights to last a lifetime.
Beaches, palm trees and the obligatory coconut with a straw are all well and good, but unless you can afford your own private island, the chances are you’ll be sharing the sun-loungers with fellow-honeymooners, no matter how early you lay down your towel.
Honeymoons are meant to stand head and shoulders above other holidays. They’re the ones you want to remember for the rest of your life. When it comes to exclusivity, utter indulgence and out-of-the-ordinary, Botswana has it all.
Bragging rights: glass bottomed boats and wine cellars
If you’re looking for remote wilderness and a luxury Botswana safari experience, then this is it. Jao Camp lies in the heart of the Okavango Delta surrounded by emerald islands, riverine forests and dramatic floodplains. The 150,000 acre concession is one of the most beautiful areas of the Okavango and is perfect for enjoying both water and land excursions.
The 8 huge canvas tented suites all come with panoramic verandas, outdoor showers and a whole lot of privacy. The views out across the water are what Africa is all about, as is the beautiful dining boma for those romantic celestial suppers. The camp has a gym if that’s your thing, as well as 2 plunge pools and a spa, but perhaps more importantly, it has its own wine cellar. And a hide where adventurous people can sleep out overnight!
Activities in these pristine wetlands are mainly water based, with boating, fishing and even trips in dugout canoes (mokoros) on the cards. Hippos and crocodiles are the stars of the show here. Game drives are available too, although sometimes a boat trip is needed just to reach the safari vehicles.
All of course part of the adventure. If you’ve already seen enough impala to last a lifetime, then this is a great place to see the more unusual Sitatunga antelope as well as the red Lechwe. Lion, leopard and cheetah are also often spotted on the floodplains.
Bragging rights: bushmen banter and salt pan quad biking
Jack’s Camp is a real charmer. Surrounded by the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, it embodies a 1940s exploration style with antique wooden colonial furniture in attractive canvas tents boasting secluded verandas and open air showers. The views out over the pans are far-reaching and refreshingly different to many other safari camps.
Uniquely there’s a small African-themed library and a fascinating collection of artefacts, making Jack’s Camp a designated national museum of Botswana. How many people can say they’ve stayed at a museum in the heart of Africa?
This is not the place to come for big game safaris, although seeing the black-maned lions is a real treat. Instead it’s about history, geology and archaeology, with added meerkats and some rather unique activities thrown in for good measure.
Guests can enjoy safari drives and walks with expert San Bushmen trackers, try horse riding, and even go quad biking into the remote pans during the winter months.
There is an impressive 5000 year old Baobab tree to gawp at (it was once used by early explorers like Livingstone), as well as the possibility of visiting a remote cattle post to learn more about Botswana’s culture.
Bragging rights: treetop spa and a whole lot of elephants
Chobe National Park is home to the world’s largest elephant population. Reason enough to head to Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero for your honeymoon.
If you need even more incentive, perhaps the name itself can persuade you. Chilwero means ‘place of high view’ and with panoramas out across floodplains and islands even as far as Namibia, the vistas really don’t come better than this.
The cottages are luxurious with Victorian style baths and mosaic floors, and if you pick the honeymoon suite there’s even a dreamy private plunge pool as well as secluded garden with its own hammock. This is also the only lodge in Botswana to have a full spa, including a beautiful treetop treatment room for the ultimate in luxury relaxation.
One of the highlights at Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero is the sunset boat safari, which has 360-degree swivel seats so you don’t miss a thing, as well as an onboard bar.
Game drives here are excellent too, with lion, hippo and buffalo all regularly seen, and it’s a popular place for birding safaris and fishing expeditions if that’s your cup of tea. Day trips to the famous Victoria Falls are also possible.
Bragging rights: overnight island camping and campfire dinners
Hidden discretely on a small island in the heart of the Okavango Delta, Gunn’s Bush Camp lies on the border of the Moremi Game Reserve and offers a unique wetlands safari experience thanks to its location.
The camp overlooks Chiefs Island which is home to one of the largest animal populations in the delta, including elephant, buffalo, hippo, crocodile and plains game.
Gunn’s Bush Camp only has 6 rooms, meaning exclusivity and privacy are all part of the experience. The Kenya-style Meru tents have fantastic views of the plains, as well as traditional African furnishings and private verandas. At night enchanting lanterns light the way across the wooden walkways to the campfire boma, suggesting that perhaps magic is real after all.
Animal sightings are superb all year round thanks to excellent bush walks, safaris and traditional mokoro canoe rides. Intrepid explorers can camp out overnight on one of the small delta islands and enjoy picnics and campfire dinners whilst keeping an eye out for elusive nocturnal wildlife.
For a more leisurely evening there are sunset cruises on the lagoon, complete with sundowners of course.
Bragging rights: hippo filled lagoons and elephant ‘corridors’
Anywhere named ‘roar of the lion’ (Duma Tau) can’t help but get the spine tingling. For all the right reasons. This luxury tented camp can be found in the private wildlife reserve of Linyanti, which borders Chobe National Park and isn’t far from the Savute Channel. Duma Tau perches on the edge of a hippo-filled lagoon between two elephant ‘corridors’, making it an excellent place for some great game viewing thanks to the high wildlife concentrations.
Again it’s small camp with just 10 luxury thatched and canvas tents, each with their own dramatic river views under the welcome shade of mangosteen trees. Showering under the stars is a possibility here, as is watching hippos whilst you wallow in your own rather more enticing pool up at the lodge.
The highlight of a day at Duma Tau is a game drive along the wildlife rich Savuti Channel, where you can spot everything from wildebeest, giraffe and waterbuck to baboon, leopard and lion. Even wild dogs and hyenas have been known to make an appearance. Bush walks are also an option, whilst boat trips on the Linyanti River give a different perspective of the reserve. Rather fun little extras are the hides and platforms dotted around the area, perfect for wildlife viewing and photography.