Those that have spent some time in Africa will know that it is a continent replete with settings that call for flowery words. “Stunning”, “breathtaking”, “awe-inspiring” are but just some of the terms that are expressed about locations by holiday makers when sighting some of the myriad tourist destinations on offer in Africa.
One of the corners of this world that no doubt inspires more than its fair share of effusive adjectives is the Okavango delta in Botswana, a series of inland estuaries so steeped with natural beauty that it has been named one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.
Not only is it exceptionally beautiful, but it is also teeming with wildlife. Seasonal flooding of the delta attracts animals from long distances and a vast variety of creatures can be viewed those lucky enough to find themselves there. The contrast created by the meeting of the Okavango River and the Kalahari Desert produces sights, sounds and smells that are unique to this very special region, home to a variety of game, reptiles, birds and fish.
Visitors to the Shinde Camp will have to plunder their thesaurus’ to find a word flowery enough to express the charm and beauty of this setting.
Shinde Camp is in the northern part of the Okavango Delta and sits on lush palm island on the edge a lagoon surrounded by waterways. It is a perfect setting for those wanting to relax whilst soaking in the pulchritude of the surrounds (and I’ll thank my thesaurus for that piece of verbosity).
This camp is a flagship property of Ker & Downy, one of the oldest operators in Botswana, so it simply oozes pedigree. Earlier this year it underwent a thorough spruce up and is now shimmering in luxurious finery. Shinde (which is a translation of “tree squirrel”) is one of the original sites on the delta and is a favourite of those seeking a special safari experience. It is made up of eight newly appointed classic safari tents, all of them twin bedded with spacious en-suite bathrooms and posh walk in showers with luxurious fittings. Each tent, now larger than their original incarnations, has been carefully situated to offer spectacular views of the surrounding scenery over grasslands and waterways.
The central area is in itself worth talking about in its distinctiveness; a multi-tiered tree house that houses a lounge and dining room as well as an open campfire deck, bar and a plunge pool.
For even more exclusivity, the Shinde has the Enclave, a satellite camp within the camp. Visitors to the Enclave can expect personal service with a private dining area and lounge with the services of a private chef, housekeeper and waiter as well as their own guide and game drive vehicle.
Although visitors to Shinde would be forgiven for being tempted to do simply nothing but unwind and be pampered, there is much to do and see at Shinde Camp. To view the exceptional aquatic and bird life on the delta one can choose to chug along in a motor boat or the more tranquil means of a mokoro, a dugout canoe commonly used in the Okavango that is propelled through the shallow streams of the delta by standing in the stern and pushing with a pole. Much in the same way as punting, just with more sensible clothing. And for those that are keen on fly fishing, you can spin your lures for hours, leisurely casting about for tilapia and tigerfish.
There is also a whole lot to see on the many islands of the delta. Professional guides take visitors on morning walking safaris and game drives to see a wide variety of game in the private concession that extends across the many islands that make up the delta.
With all that said, Shinde, in all its spendour, does indeed test the thesaurus. Rather than trying to find the flowery words, one should simply put it on you bucket list and plan a trip to Botswana one day.