Botswana, a safari fit for a royal
Best known for its rare combination of desert and delta, as well as a vast array of wildlife, Botswana is regarded as one of Africa’s most exclusive and breath-taking luxury safari destinations, recently anointed by Travel & Leisure Magazine as one of the best places to travel in 2017. So it’s easy to see why it’s a favourite of newly engaged Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Specialist safari operator, Sanctuary Retreats, operates four unique luxury boutique properties in Botswana – three of them in exclusive private concessions in the Okavango Delta – Sanctuary Baines Camp, Sanctuary Stanley’s Camp and Sanctuary Chief’s Camp, and a fourth, Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero, overlooking the Chobe River.
Says Michael McCall, the company’s Director of Sales Australia, NZ & Asia, “No destination in the portfolio better epitomizes our philosophy of Luxury, Naturally than Botswana. In recent years its popularity has grown exponentially with Australian travellers, and we have more guests stay with Sanctuary Retreats in Botswana than any other country”.
Quite apart from the fact that it could well be a destination fit for a royal honeymoon, here are Michael’s top reasons to visit.
First and foremost, says Michael, it’s hard to top Botswana for game viewing. Often referred to as ‘Harry’s second home’, this magnificent destination offers some of Africa’s finest game viewing thanks to the concentration and diversity of its wildlife, including the greatest population of elephants in the world in Chobe National Park, and the high concentration of lion, cheetah and other predators in the Moremi Game Reserve, which has cemented the latter’s reputation as the Predator Capital of the World.
Located in on Chief’s Island in a remote region of the Moremi Game Reserve, the company’s flagship property, Sanctuary Chief’s Camp recently featured on Sir David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II. Says Michael, “The series focused on Chief’s prides of lions who have learned to swim in their bid for survival – very fitting for the area’s reputation as predator capital!”
Also enhancing Botswana’s appeal to Australians, according to Michael, is the emphasis the country places on high quality, low-impact tourism. “Botswana is highly regarded – and rightly so, for leading the way in Africa with its government-led anti-poaching initiative and we are proud to be a part this. For the past few years we have been working alongside Rhino Conservation Botswana and the Botswana Defence Forces to successfully translocate and rehabilitate the critically endangered Black and White Rhino to the Moremi Game Reserve, which has so far resulted in the birth of three new calves in the last few months.
Diverse Landscapes and Activities.
For Michael, the sheer diversity of Botswana’s offering is also hard to match.
“A Botswana safari offers up varied holiday across a broad expanse of savannah, desert, saltpan and wetland in one of the most pristine wildlife destinations in Africa. So whether guests are after a luxury big game safari in the dense jungles of the Chobe National Park, or a romantic honeymoon in the mighty Okavango Delta, it is a destination that really has something to offer everyone. Expect to encounter literally anything from rare birds, buffalo, warthogs and leopards, to baboons, aquatic antelopes and endangered wild dogs.”
Nowhere is this diversity more in evidence that the Okavango Delta. A World Heritage Site at the southern edge of the Great Rift Valley, the Okavango is a spectacular patchwork of clear streams, sparkling lagoons, dramatic floodplains, and thriving forests. In addition to traditional game drives, as the narrow channels of the Delta are flooded for much of the year, Michael says one of the best ways to explore them is via a traditional mokoro.
“Gliding through endless lily ponds in these dugout canoes on a poled excursion is sublime and gets you right up close and personal with all kinds of wildlife. Or at Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero, guests can take a boat safari along the Chobe River where they watch a huge variety of animals grazing along the banks.”
For an über luxury safari experience, Michael says it’s hard to go past Sanctuary Chief’s Camp. Renowned for its exceptional service and customer experience, the property was recently named Botswana’s Leading Safari Lodge 2017 at the prestigious World Travel Awards. The contemporary safari camp features 10 stylish pavilions, as well as the superb Geoffrey Kent Luxury Suite, each of which offers incredible views over the surrounding Okavango Delta from their own private pool and terrace area.
According to Michael a luxury safari isn’t complete without an evening under a beautiful blanket of stars.
“Africa has some of the most impressive night skies around, and at Sanctuary Baines Camp in the Okavango Delta we give guests an opportunity to sleep out underneath them, after an outdoor star bath in the wilderness. Each of the five suites has a private viewing deck where a freestanding candlelit bathtub for two can be set up while guests are out on their evening game drive. Each suite also has a four-poster sky bed that can then be rolled out onto the candlelit wooden deck for a truly unforgettable experience.
Extended Stay Offer.
Regardless of where Harry and Meghan end up honeymooning, 2018 is still the perfect time to book a safari getaway to Botswana thanks to Sanctuary Retreats’ extended stay offer, when you stay at one or more of its camps and lodges.
· Stay 4 – 6 nights & save up to 30 percent.
· Stay 7+ nights & save up to 40 percent.
Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero from US$371per person per night (normally from $530)
Sanctuary Stanley’s Camp from US$385 per person per night (normally from US$550)
Sanctuary Baines Camp from US$525 per person per night (normally from US$750)
Sanctuary Chiefs Camp from US$885 per person per night (normally from $1,180).
NB All prices are based on 7+night stays.
Terms and conditions apply.
For more information, please visit: www.sanctuaryretreats.com