Chobe National Park, Botswana
Safaris have gotten a real makeover in recent years as travelers have become more discerning about the environment and welfare of the land, the animals, and the people who safeguard it . Chobe Game Lodge in elephant-rich Botswana is Ecotourism-certified by TKTKorganization, and despite being a five-star operation (Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton honeymooned here), sustainability and the delicacy of the ecosystem is taken very seriously. Accommodations are absolutely stunning—even standard rooms have private terraces overlooking the landscape with binoculars to spot the giraffes among the treetops, four-poster beds made up with local textiles, and deep tubs for late-night soaks. Emissions-free, electric game drives start early, when the lions, leopards, and crocodiles are still hunting (hot coffee and warm throws for your shoulders make these cooler sunrise drives extremely pleasant), while solar-powered boat safaris are best in the early evening when herds of elephants come to the river to drink. In between, head to the lodge with a book, cool off in the pool, or wander the gardens and get acquainted with the monkeys.
Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
If ever there was a word to describe the fusion of glamping and safari, “San Camp” would most definitely be it. The retro-tinged tented camp is on the edge of the Makgadikgadi salt pans in the Kalahari desert in Botswana. Recently refurbished, San Camp evokes a feeling of Morocco meeting India in the African desert. Leave the serene comfort of your spacious sleeping quarters and venture into the grand mess tent, where decadent culinary masterpieces are served family style. Explore the salt pans by quad bike in the day or spend time with the meerkats. At night, soak up the retro-chic atmosphere in the warm glow of paraffin lanterns. Here, solar energy is the main source of power.
The Okavango Delta is one of the most beautiful wildlife habitats in the world. Right in the heart of this wetland paradise lies Little Vumbura, a six-room camp nestled in lush greenery. The property is understated yet thoughtfully appointed with a plunge pool, star deck, and comfortable dining area—perfect for families or honeymooners. Ideally situated for elephant, lion, and hippo sighting, the little island is an animal-lover’s paradise. With your knowledgable guide in tow, you can approach the plentiful game by traditional canoe (mokoro) as well as by motor boat and 4x4. During the wet season, when the waters are high, the campgrounds can only be accessed by boat. It’s truly as authentic as it gets.