Botswana’s abundant wildlife, private reserves, and stable political system have helped make the southern African country an eminently popular—and excessively expensive—safari destination. Now, new lodgings are bringing the country’s level of accommodation up to that of the on-the-ground experience, leaving no doubt that Botswana is Africa’s safari spot to beat.
Leading the charge is Great Plains Conservation’s Duba Plains, where a five-suite camp and an elegant two-bedroom residence opened last spring in a 77,000-acre private reserve rich with lions, Cape buffalo, and elephants. Luxury adventure at its best, the Okavango Delta escape complements Great Plains’ Zarafa, a five-suite retreat in the Selinda Reserve whose 2008 debut helped set Botswana on its upward spiral of exclusivity.
Another standard-bearer in southern Africa, Wilderness Safaris opened the eight-suite Qorokwe camp in the southeastern Okavango Delta in December. The company is also in the process of renovating its Mombo and Little Mombo camps—once considered Botswana’s definitive safari lodges—and reopening them in March in a prime location in the Okavango’s Moremi Game Reserve. Elsewhere in the Okavango, the outfitter andBeyond reopened its Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp last June, Belmond renovated its renowned Eagle Island Lodge, and Sanctuary Retreats reopened its Sanctuary Chief’s Camp with the new 6,673-square-foot—and as much as $12,000-per-night—Geoffrey Kent Luxury Suite.