Immersed in a sea of grass rippled with waterways, Mapula Lodge holds pride of place in a 220 000-acre concession on the north edge of Botswana’s Okavango Delta north of the famed Vumbura and Duba Plains. Mapula is a place of total solitude, with 9 canvas and thatch tents atop stilted wooden decking. These meander among the African hardwoods on a secluded tree-rimmed island edging on the Selinda Spillway floodplains.
Beautiful rooms and cleverly designed communal decks offer views over the lagoon and vast grasslands dotted with palm islands. It’s an outlook that’s interrupted only by passing animals.
At Mapula Lodge, the quirky emphasis is on exclusive, immersive experiences. Some of the best guides on the continent will lead you on journeys to discover their world. After hours, you’ll sink into sublime comfort and attentive hospitality.
A king size metal four-poster bed or 2 singles with fat feather pillows and exquisite linen take pride of place in every suite. En suite bathrooms come with the option to shower in- or outdoors as well as a tub-for-two, while the lounge area beckons for afternoon relaxation with exquisite views.
Richly coloured Kilims and touches of brass bling accents add to the interior luxury, while every wall of your accommodation rolls up to reveal some of Botswana’s most verdant scenes.
The tents are arranged along wooden walkways fanning out from the central entertainment area. Here, guests can sip on something cool or sink into the icy depths of a rim flow pool which reaches out to the savannah beyond. If you’d rather enjoy the views over the hippo-pool from a shady spot, pick one of the comfy couches in the lounge area, or gather in the chill pit. Meal times are enjoyed at a long communal table, around the campfire or on picnics in the surrounding areas.
When you’re not relaxing or lapping up the spectacle from one of the premium outlooks, your game guide will take you in search of lion, leopard, elephant, cheetah, hippo, rare sitatunga antelope and wild dog. Antelope flourish in this lush environment, buffalo, zebra and giraffe are a dime a dozen and you may even get to see serval and caracal.
Birds are abundant with wattled crane, carmine bee-eaters, Pel’s fishing owl, slaty egrets, African skimmers and paradise flycatchers appearing at regular intervals.
The dense grasslands are navigated by 4×4 vehicles, while the lilies flourishing in the Okavango channels can be enjoyed from a whole other perspective on a mokoro or flat-bottomed boat. Additional activities include hot air balloon safaris and helicopter flips.
Thanks to Botswana’s anti-hunting stance, the wildlife in these parts has no reason to fear humans and is habituated to their presence. As a result, you can look forward to unforgettably close-up experiences with these creatures. It’s all part of the uniquely intimate safari experiences on offer at Mapula Lodge.