Belmond Khwai River Lodge
On the outer edge of the Okavango delta, on the edge of a forest, overlooking a river. The Khwai River. Belmond Khwai River Lodge is here and just outside Moremi Game Reserve. You’re in the wild. You’re in their home. No fences, no kidding. Be alert. You could well be making eye contact with a wandering elephant. Or hippo.
Keep your eyes on the river. Wildlife can be spotted all year round. Giraffe, buffalo, lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dogs. And you can watch from your private elevated deck. This ain’t no TV nature programme, this is it. Elephants herding their young. Touching distance. Almost.
Fig trees. Botswana style. Bright orange, wild, massive. And they outsmart the elephants. Clever. Their stems form flattened buttresses reinforcing the trees and making it impossible for an elephant to uproot. They don’t mess around. They’re wild these figs. Wild. And they like to hang out with water. So why are we talking about this? Because this lodge is in a fig tree forest overlooking the vast floodplain. Big trees, big game, big beating heart of Botswana.
They’re called tents but think glamping. Raised on wooden platforms, the view is startling. Chairs and a hammock on your deck. And, and you’ll find Zeiss binoculars right there. How convenient? And ridiculously considerate.
There are 14 tents and they’re all canvas and thatched. All that canvas means you can hear... the outside... day and night. That’s a lion padding by. Roaring. Scratching. Snoring. Oh. No. That’s your roommate.
The tents have en-suites with king-size four poster beds. Air conditioning for when you’re baking by day, electric heaters for when you’re freezing by night. Hairdryers for when your barnet is failing. Miserably. And there’s a minibar when you’re gasping, tea & coffee when you’re desperate. Bathrobes and slippers make your good mood complete. Aah, lovely. And don’t worry about food cos it’s all full board here.
Honeymooning? Great because one suite in particular is the bees knees. It comes with an indoor shower and outdoor bath and shower, plus, plus... a heated private plunge pool. Nice.
There are paved walkways to the communal areas and you can have spa treatments in your room... zzz.
Internet access; 20m swimming pool; gym and spa; tree house game viewing lounge; dining area with broad vistas over the delta; observation deck with a high powered telescope; boma; same day laundry service; 24-hour emergency facilities and communications; private dining available; birdwatching hide
It’s all about the animals. Buffalo, hippo, elephant, leopard, lion, wild dogs and wildebeest. The lodge is on a private concession, so you can drive before and after sunset, as well as off road. There are guided morning and afternoon game drives in 4x4s. And night drives. With a talk about the stars. Check out the Southern Cross with the telescope and learn how Bushmen used the stars to locate the true south.
If you’re up for it there are guided safari walks along the river too. Look out for crocodile, elephant and hippo. It can be quite a trek through the rugged landscape, spotting animal tracks, insects and rare plantlife.
There’s a private hide for birdwatching. Wildfowl and raptors. Pink-backed pelican, spoonbill, hornbill, lilac-breasted roller, malachite kingfisher, open billed stork.
Go on a cultural visit to a local village or just sweat it out at the gym and chill at the lodge’s 'Naturally Wild' spa.
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