The floodplains of the Okavango Delta in Botswana have all the ingredients for one of the most romantic getaways in Africa: serenity, incredible sunsets and starry African nights, relaxation, the sound of nature and pampering spa sessions for you and your lover all in the lap of luxury and in utter privacy.
Not surprisingly, honeymoon packages are a popular choice, with many camps catering especially to couples. But even if you’re celebrating your 25th wedding anniversary or just the fact that you are travelling together, Africa can offer an utterly magical and memorable experience for couples. Imagine the experience of seeing a giraffe in the wild for the first time or enjoying a gin and tonic (just the two of you on your own private deck) as a herd of Burchell’s zebra lean into their striped reflections of the watering hole just yards away from you.
Some of the all inclusive resorts that we recommend are ideal honeymoon destinations, with private suites in the remote bushveld – far away from the main lodge to afford you some seclusion – away from your busy lives, with a chance to rekindle the memories of your honeymoon or first date.
If you’ve ever had the chance to read the popular Lady Detective Agency series, you’ll understand that the people of Botswana – like Mma Ramotswe herself – are romantics at heart, and their country is an unhurried place of wide open spaces, big skies and beauty. Hence, the perfect place to be in love! Honeymooners in particular are given extra special treatment. The lodge staff will lay out a path of rose petals for you and are always eager to serenade lovers with harmonious African songs and dances. They’ll arrange secret bush picnics for just the two of you and private dinners under the stars or an ancient baobab tree, or on a private island, or even in your own luxurious safari suite. There are dugout canoe trips through the wetlands, lush plains teaming with wildlife, and sunsets to make it one of your most extraordinary safari holidays.
Here are our five most romantic safari camps in Botswana, though we should warn you in advance that privacy and exclusivity comes with a VIP price tag.
1. Sanctuary Baines’ Camp
The setting at Sanctuary Baines’ Camp couldn’t be more romantic, situated on stilts in the Borro River of the private Moremi Game Reserve, amongst the reeds and waters of the flood plains. You will be one of only five couples, each enjoying a private deck with a star bed to pull out and sleep under the stars if you wish, not forgetting the outdoor bath. Dinner time is particularly unusual as your dinner companions might include Jabu, Morula and Thembi, from the local habituated elephant herd. There’s plenty of other wildlife to spot, as well as numerous activities. The camp also sponsors some local conservation initiatives.
2. San Camp
By contrast, San Camp is the complete opposite with no water below your suite but an incredible feeling of freedom with near 360-degree vistas from your isolated tented chalet on the edge of the vast Makgadikgadi Salt Pans that stretch for miles and miles. This is one of Africa’s zen-like experiences, where you feel there’s no one else out there as far as the eye can see – with surreal sunsets on the distant flat horizon and nowhere for the animals to hide from you. The cuisine is first-class, and there’s the added intrigue of the local San people (nomadic Bushmen) who roam these parts. We suggest that adventurous couples go quad biking to explore the magic and mystique of the Kalahari.
3. Vumbura Plains
We think that if James Bond were to go on safari, he’d choose Vumbura Plains! Operated by one of our preferred partners, Wilderness Safaris, Vumbura Plains offers the best of both worlds – wide open grasslands as well as plenty of water in the wet season to attract the animals. Think herds of elephant a dozen strong dropping in for afternoon tea, and lechwe bounding through the wetlands. The savannah bushveld creates a lovely environment with a quintessentially safari atmosphere as well as an utterly romantic setting. Each one of the private suites has their own plunge pool and sala. Billed as an eco-resort and couples retreat, it has a low impact on the environment whilst still providing the usual safari activities like game drives or sundowners on the waters edge of the Vumbura Plains.
4. Zambezi Queen
Perhaps one of the ultimate romantic weekend getaways is to cruise down the Chobe River through the channel from the mighty Zambezi River, enjoying the serenity of the plains from the vantage of the purpose built three-tiered Zambezi Queen houseboat. With its low draft, it can even navigate the smallest of tributaries in search of elusive wildlife. Dine in style, whilst floating safely on the water, with the ultimate sunsets across the river or flooded plains. Smaller tenders take you onto the land for walks; otherwise it’s a self-contained exclusive luxury experience on one of the greatest rivers of the world.
5. Camp Okuti
Camp Okuti is the one truly affordable camp on our list. It’s noted for its unusual and attractive architectural design with arched roofs tented in canvas, and air-conditioned rooms furnished in a homely manner for one of Botswana’s best honeymoon destinations for the budget conscious. It lies alongside the Maunachira River which flows through the Xakanaxa Lagoon within the world famous Moremi Game Reserve amid lush bushland, with water right outside your window and the promise of plenty of animals.
For the most romantic and utterly unforgettable Botswana vacation packages or honeymoon ideas look no further than these five camps. They are bound to sweep your loved one off their feet and into your arms! If you need more inspiration to visit Botswana, we’ve got another 8 reasons on why you should go.