5 of the loveliest luxury lodges in Southern Africa

Nine times out of ten, tourists come to the southern countries of Africa for a safari adventure; to enjoy the sights and sounds and smells of Africa, natural beauty, diversity of wildlife, interesting people and lovely landscapes.

Five luxury lodges, Drotsky's, green lawn

Africa is magical, but a holiday in Africa isn’t necessarily linked to luxury travel – it is always an adventurous experience, but often without the comforts and amenities of Europe or America. However, five lodges, of which three are on the banks of the mighty Okavango River, tick all the boxes: authentic Africa, unparalleled beauty and five star luxury.

Five  luxury lodges, Okavango River

River Dance Lodge invites you to dance

After travelling through the arid, wide open landscapes of northern Namibia, the well-tended gardens and lovely green lawns of the lodge look like a corner of utopia. River Dance invites you to a happy foxtrot with the birds and the buck that graze among the chalets and camping sites, or a languid two-step on the sundeck, or a romantic waltz in pace with the slow-flowing Okavango, or a sensual tango in the silver path of the full moon on the water…

Five  luxury lodges, River Dance, Okavango

The buildings of the lodge are unobtrusive. Constructed with indigenous wood and stone, they melt into the natural surroundings. Spacious, private river front living units nestle under beautiful trees. Luxurious camping sites offer private ablution facilities, stunning views, and your own deck on the river. A simple but stylish reception area opens onto the real living space of the lodge: a terrace with soft sofas, a huge fire pool for cooler days and a dining area – and the ever-changing river that flows by.

Five Three luxury lodges, River Dance terrace

Friendly and helpful staff graciously serve their guests. An early morning basket with freshly baked scones sets the tone for a day under the African sun. Fishing, bird watching, a visit to the Mahango Game Reserve with a variety of game, the Popa Falls or the Andara Roman Catholic settlement nearby are amongst the activities you can consider.

Five luxury lodges, River Dance, hippos

A must-do is an unforgettable sunset cruise on the Okavango River: the scenery along the banks of the river is amazing; a crocodile sleeps on a sandbank; hippos snort to warn you that this is their world and you are the intruder; a fish eagle swoops low over the water with a haunting cry; the day dies in a blaze of red and gold.

Five luxury lodges, River Dance, sunset

River Dance will steal your heart!

Ngepi Camp, tongue in cheek charm

Ngepi Camp is a total surprise: pretty, peaceful and different. Humorous comments, words of wisdom and quirky philosophies blend with the overwhelming beauty of Namibia.

Five luxury lodges, Ngepi, carbon footprints

Five luxury lodges, River Dance, Ngepi, slogans

The Camp is situated in the unspoiled upper reaches of the Okavango delta panhandle in the western Caprivi Strip. Ngepi’s Namibian delta experience includes, sunset & sunrise boat cruises, fishing, trips in ‘makoros’, game drives, Dragon river rafting, guided nature and village walks. Make yourself at home on the river front deck what a drink in one hand and a pair of binoculars in the other – you are guaranteed to see some Kudu or Impala in the game reserve across the river.

Five luxury lodges,Ngepi, Mahango,kudu

Enjoy the excitement of swimming in the Hippo&Croc cage, Ngepi’s version of a swimming pool.

Five luxury lodges, Ngepi, croc cage

No visit to Ngepi is complete without a leisurely Loo Tour, yes – you have read correctly – a tour of the funky abutions on the terrain. Each one is unique, none of them has a roof. There is probably no other tour like this in the world: it will make you laugh, it will amaze you with its originality, it will make you think…

Five luxury lodges, Ngepi, bathroom

Accommodation, in the form of en suite Tree Houses, is built on the river’s edge. At Ngepi nature did not have to make way for construction, each cabin genuinely sits in and around the trees and over the undergrowth. These houses have the stylish luxury of simplicity, no bling, part of nature. Private to prying eyes, but open to the stars and the sun and the river – it does not get more romantic than this! Award winning campsites on the river bank are every traveler’s dream; lush grassy lawns with all amenities and quaint ablutions.

Five luxury lodges, Ngepi, tree house

Five luxury lodges, Ngepi, tree house

Ngepi will put a smile on your face.

Drotsky’s Cabins, in an authenic African forest

Drive south with a gravel road from Ngepi, through the Bwabwata Game Reserve and cross from Namibia into Botswana at the Mohembo Border Post. A few kilometres further, near the town of Shakawe, you will enter the wonderworld of Drotsky’s Cabins: with tall, shady African trees, lush green lawns and Samango apes for never ending entertainment.

Five luxury lodges, Drotsky's, Samango apes

The original lodge was built more than 30 years ago by Jan and Eileen Drotksy, and they developed a luxurious new complex a few years ago. Drotsky’s lodge, the main main building as well as the ten air-conditioned en suite chalets, is constructed with sturdy wooden beams and decorated with original African wood artworks of crocodiles, hippos and pangolin.

Five luxury lodges, Drotsky's, pangolin

The deep porch of the main building, with comfy chairs, a panoramic view over the gardens and the delta, and free coffee and tea all day, is the heart of Drotsky’s. Around the lovely swimming pool in the centre, lie the beautiful gardens, with luscious green lawns and indigenous trees.

Five luxury lodges, Drotsky's, lodge, pool

An interesting metal army boat, from an era gone by, serves as a jetty on the river. Portholes are excellent for viewing the scenery and framing your photos!

Five luxury lodges, Drotsky's, porthole

Each of the twenty river side camping sites, with good ablution facilities, is large and completely private and shaded by age old African trees with lovely names like Jackal Berry Tree, Leadwood Tree, Sausage Tree, Thorn Tree and many more. The Drotskys are dedicated conservationists and they have preserved this wild forest untouched and pristine for decades.

Five luxury lodges, Drotsky's, river bank

At Drotsky’s you can while away the days with birding and fishing, taking a boat cruise on the river, visiting Tsodilo Hills (a World Heritage Site) or go game viewing in the Mahango Park. Make a point of enjoying a sundowner on the spacious wooden terrace of the old lodge: the view on the tributary of the Okavango River flowing past the lodge, the abundance of bamboo and water plants and so many species of birds, is an unforgettable experience.

Five luxury lodges, Drotsky's, river plants

Drotsky’s is a piece of paradise…

Khaudum Lodge, solitude and free roaming wild life

Towards the end of 2017 a new luxury lodge will open on the edge of an ‘omuramba’, dry river bed, in the Khaudum National Park in the north of Namibia. The lodge consists of a main building, with an open plan lounge and bar and dining area that expands onto an open deck with a fire pit and lovely views. Five star catering is done from a state-of-the-art kitchen.

Five luxury lodges, Khaudum, elephant

Accommodation consists of nine private individual luxury chalets for two. Here you can lie on your bed and enjoy the unique natural beauty outside. Each chalet is an ingenuous blend of traditional African ‘rondawel’ style with top quality contemporary amenities. While you shower in the modern en suite bathroom, open to the skies, the water runs through openings in the wooden floor onto the natural undergrowth beneath the chalet. Elevated environment-friendly wooden walkways connect the buildings.

Five luxury lodges, Khaudum, walkway

Game drives, with a knowledgeable guide, are arranged in the morning and afternoon. Traveling slowly through the thick sand on single track roads, while keeping your eyes open for elephant, roan antelope, leopard, lion, a lilac-breasted roller or an exotic flower– is an experience you will never forget.

Five luxury lodges, Khaudom, troupant

Five luxury lodges, Khaudum, flowers

Khaudum takes you back to the wilderness

Tautona Lodge, where lions live

Tautona Lodge is situated near the village of Ghanzi in Botswana. Tau means ‘lion’ in various African languages (Tswana and Sotho) – no wonder that a lion camp at the entrance welcomes you to the luxury lodge in a private game reserve. There are various opportunities for game viewing and enjoying wildlife like lion, giraffe and wild dogs, nowadays an endangered species. Bushmen Dance performances can be arranged and there is a lovely swimming pool for those hot days under the African sun.

Five luxury lodges, Tautona, lion

Accommodation options range from luxury chalets to Meru tents, with en suite bathrooms. Near the camping site, nestled in the red Kalahari sand and surrounded by tranquil indigenous Bushveld, there is a game drinking spot with a look-out tower.

Five luxury lodges, Tautona, campsite

Tautona is a roaring success

Celine Renaud is Head of Sales for Leo Trippi.

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Comments (4)

  1. Alana says:

    I would love to visit Ngepi Camp, it looks fun whilst being motivational and inspirational too. The location looks amazing, the perfect spot to see some wildlife and enjoy nature, but I’m not sure about swimming in a Hippo and Croc cage, I might not quite be brave enough for that, but certainly a very unique experience.

  2. Graeme says:

    I like the sound of Ngepi too! I have always wanted to visit Namibia and that place sounds so fun and quirky. Not sure about the loo tour (?!) but the “swimming pool” looks interesting… :-)

  3. Lizzie says:

    I think staying in a lodge would be so nice, I don’t recall ever staying in one before! I like that the River Dance lodge blends so well in with its natural surroundings, I think that’s quite important, not to mention beautiful. Drotsky’s Cabin seems like such a fun place to me, I love the photo through the porthole

  4. Beth says:

    I would love to stay in a luxurious lodge and see all the animals roaming around. This would be my dream holiday. I’d take my husband and kids as they’d absolutely love this. Staying at Tautona Lodge and seeing the lions would be so amazing! Drotsky’s Cabins looks lovely too, beautiful photos.

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