Top 5 Unique Okavango Ecolodges

Home to one of the world’s most diverse landscapes, with the parched Kalahari semi-deserts and bush savannahs to the south giving way to the wetlands of the north, opening up to the world’s largest inland delta, referred to as ‘the river that never finds the sea’. The Okavango Delta is the sparkling jewel in the crown that is Northern Botswana, considered one of the 7 natural wonders of Africa.

Game is bountiful amidst the wetlands and mopane woodlands that encompass the Delta. The ‘Big 5’ comprising lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo represent only a fraction of the wildlife that thrive along the fertile channels of the Okavango. With over 500 documented bird species and countless mammals large and small, this ecological masterpiece facilitates some of the finest safari game viewing in all Southern Africa, encouraging a plethora of sustainable travel operators to impart their own unique spin on the ultimate Delta safari experience. Here are five of the most unique Delta ecolodges that are a must-visit for safari enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Bushman Plains Camp

Situated within the north-western region of the Okavango Delta in the Sekwana Concession, Bushman Plains Camp is Botswana’s first Bushman-owned safari lodge, operated by the latest generation of indigenous hunter-gatherer descendants seeking to share their knowledge of the land to deliver an authentic and impactful safari experience. This cosy and intimate lodge offers a comprehensive range of staple Delta safari activities, inclusive of land, water and air-based game viewing excursions, all led by experienced Bushmen guides and trackers.

For those seeking an adventure rich in history and culture, the helicopter excursion to Tsodilo Hills is not to be missed. There are few people more environmentally conscious than that of the San Bushman, which is why Bushman Plains Camp operates entirely on sustainable, solar power energy, with eco-friendly architecture at the forefront of the camp’s design, culminating in a unique, enriching experience for all who desire an authentic, grass-roots Okavango experience.

Abu Camp

Within the half million-acre private Abu Concession, west of the Okavango Delta amidst the Moremi Game Reserve – a UNESCO World Heritage Site protected under international treaty – lies the infamous Wilderness Safaris Abu Camp, renown for featuring some of the highest concentrations of elephants in all Botswana. Interactions with the Abu Herd will allow you to gain a better understanding of elephant conservation, further incentivised by regular sightings of elephants that roam leisurely through camp. The encompassing landscapes comprise open grasslands, island sanctuaries and the papyrus-fringed channels, facilitating some of the most diverse wildlife sightings in all the Okavango.

For those who seek both luxury and sustenance, Abu Camp has you covered, with lavish 5-star accommodation, all-inclusive rates and traditional game viewing safari activities, such as open water mokoro and motorised boat excursions, guided bush walks and open-top 4×4 vehicle safaris, few other places offer the same balance of classical safari adventure and cutting-edge modern-day comfort without compromising their commitment to the environment.

Camp Okavango

On the remote Nxaragha Island at the heart of the permanent Delta wetland lies Camp Okavango. This secluded and exclusive African safari gem is a hotspot for a variety of iconic Delta creatures and facilitates year-round water-based activities such as mokoro polling, motorised boat and cruise excursions.

The Camp itself is characterised by its elevated views over the surrounding wetland, standing atop the ground on raised timber fixtures, protecting the ecologically sensitive terrain on which it is built. If you’re lucky, you could spot some of the rarer creatures indigenous to the area, such as sitatunga antelope and Pel’s fishing owl – one of only a handful of fish-eating owls in the world. 

If you’re not won over by the astonishing sights of the wild, the invigorating safari activities or the all-inclusive luxury, then it’s the vibrant and kindhearted staff at Camp Okavango that are sure to leave the ultimate impression upon your Delta adventure.

Chiefs Camp

This extravagant, “award winning” camp lies within the northwestern tip of the Okavango’s largest island in the heart of the Moremi Game Reserve, shaded by the jackalberry, sausage, and rain trees that speckle the landscape of Chiefs Island. Besides the astonishing bushland vistas and abundant roaming game, the first thing to grab your attention is Chiefs Camp’s rich style and lavish aesthetic. The 10 spacious thatched-roof pavilions, all decked out with modern amenities are the epitome of luxury, mixing conventional safari elements with modern inspirations. A must-visit for those seeking all the Delta has to offer without compromising top-tier, lavish comfort.

Jao Camp

Jao camp delivers one of the most intimate and bespoke Delta experiences around. Surrounded by vast floodplains and small forested islands within the Jao Concession, this secluded island paradise offers all the sustenance one would expect of a luxury Delta safari retreat, with an emphasis on privacy and tranquillity. Accommodation consists of five tented suites and two ultra-luxurious villas, ensuring there are no more than a handful of guests present at any given time.

Big 5 sightings are truly a sight to behold as you traverse the expansive and merging ecosystems of the Okavango with your own experienced and friendly guides. The glass-bottom mokoro excursion is a Jao safari staple, not to be missed, so too are the atmospheric star bed bush sleep-outs under the shimmering canvas of stars beneath unpolluted Delta skies.

Botswana - Okavango Delta - 1553 - Jao Camp
Jao Camp

“The future of the travel industry is rooted in sustainability. The actions we take today have a direct impact on the world tomorrow. Ecolodges, like those situated around the Okavango Delta set a benevolent standard for the travel of tomorrow, demonstrating how we can responsibly enjoy the spectacles of the world while treading lightly”

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