Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Botswana
Situated between the sprawling Okavango Delta and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve near Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, this camp offers a comfortable retreat in nine traditional canvas tents overlook the Boteti River. The camp's name translates to “teeth of the crocodile,” referencing the common presence of these reptiles chilling out on nearby riverbanks. Style supersedes opulence in Meno a Kwena's cool, relaxed atmosphere. Tent sides roll up to take in the broad vista, but your private space remains hidden among thorny branches that offer seclusion and protection from wandering wildlife. Each tent has an en suite flush toilet and authentic indoor and outdoor safari showers. Furnishings are distinctly African, with dark wood, bold textiles and woven carpets under foot. Harnessing the power of Botswana’s typically sunny days, solar power fires the camp’s energy-efficient lights as well as your camera battery charger. This is a low-impact camp that supports recycling and recognizes water as a limited and precious resource.
In addition to game drives over adjacent grasslands and salt pans, a visit to the camp also offers a chance to engage with local Bushmen and learn about their age-old culture. Explore the surrounding habitat on foot with a resident guide, then cruise the languid Boteti River on a boat. Afterward, relax in the natural rock plunge pool with views over the river—quite possibly overlooking a herd of frolicking elephants. Share stories in tented outdoor spaces and meals under the boundless night sky.
Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana
This remote desert safari camp is tucked beneath acacias and Mokolwane palms on Hyena Island at the edge of the glittering expanse of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. A legendary location, these are the stomping grounds where storied explorer Jack Bousfield set up his original camp in the 1970s, claiming this spot within the vast emptiness of the pans as his own private paradise.
Today, the camp retains its traditional flavor with 10 spacious Meru-style tents that gather around an airy, thatched-roof living space housing a library and dining area. Ample cushioned lounge seating invites guests to linger. Each airy canvas tent features authentic African furniture and textiles, canopied four-poster beds, colonial antiques and Moroccan kilims to keep your feet cozy. An en suite bathroom includes a flush toilet and hot and cold running water. Immerse yourself in the 19th-century atmosphere evoked by vintage maps and rich wood textures. Complementing the complete desert experience, indulge in a dip in the shaded plunge pool that invites you to cool off during a toasty afternoon.
Days at camp include private game drives, unparalleled stargazing and a visit to one of Africa’s largest and oldest baobab trees. Take in the glittering expanse of the dry Makgadikgadi Salt Pans on a quad bike expedition, then get up close and personal with a colony of habituated meerkats.
Khwai Private Wildlife Reserve, Botswana
This eco-friendly camp at the edge of Botswana’s massive private Khwai wildlife reserve is a complete rebuild of a longtime favorite bush camp. Part of a community-based partnership with a keen sensitivity for the environment and local culture, the camp’s 12 raised log and canvas tents have uninterrupted views of a lagoon connected to two rivers, which is regularly frequented by thirsty wildlife. A resident pod of about 30 hippos provides steady entertainment while elephant, buffalo and herds of plains game come in and out to drink.
Stylish contemporary finishes in the tents include canopy beds, hardwood floors and crisp bedding. Each tent has its own deck, ceiling fan and en suite bathroom with flush toilet and private indoor and outdoor showers to rinse away the dust. A swimming pool, lounge and outdoor seating area share uninterrupted views of the vast plains and star-filled sky. Take game drives and walking safaris with indigenous guides into the Khwai Reserve, looking for lion, leopard, wild dog, and of course the eponymous sable antelope, among many other species. A trip down the Khwai River by traditional mokoro, a poled canoe, provides a chance to converse and learn about the community from local polers. Night drives may offer glimpses of leopard, porcupine and feisty honey badger.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
This luxurious boutique hotel enjoys an exclusive setting on the Zimbabwe side of the Zambezi Gorge and Victoria Falls. Geographically, it is the closest accommodation to the falls, which are accessible via an easy walk—as is the town of Victoria Falls—yet guests enjoy peaceful seclusion. Guest rooms on the upper tier open out onto a private balcony, while lower-tier rooms open onto manicured gardens frequented by wildlife that roams the vicinity. Enjoy impromptu entertainment from warthogs, impala and sometimes even hippos that graze on the hotel lawns. Large guest rooms have views either of the spray from the falls in the distance, or of the lush gardens. Each spacious room is a study in style and comfort, and teak furnishings made from railway sleeper cars enhance the distinctive African ambience. Amenities include high-quality linens and towels, air conditioning, ceiling fans, satellite television, free Wi-Fi, hair dryer, complimentary toiletries, refrigerator, tea- and coffee-making facilities and an in-room safe.
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