Whether visiting the flats of the Okavango Delta in the east, the Linyanti marshes in the west or the vast Makgadikgadi Pan, Botswana’s kaleidoscope of contrasting landscapes will imprint on your soul. With the largest population of elephants in Africa and one of the lowest densities of human inhabitants in the world, the only sounds you hear at your Botswana luxury safari lodge might be an elephant trumpeting in the distance, warning off an approaching buffalo. While the elephants are the stars, keep your eyes peeled for the supporting cast including the rest of the Big Five.
Each of our top selections for best Botswana safari lodges has been carefully considered, not just for their luxurious offerings, warm hospitality, and exceptional game viewing and guiding, but for their commitment to protecting wildlife and the land they roam.
The Best Luxury Safari Lodges in Botswana’s Okavango Delta
Water flows from the Angola highlands feeding the Okavango River, flooding the semi-arid Kalahari between June and August, taking hold of the waters and creating a unique ecosystem hosting some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammals. Recognized by UNESCO for the outstanding universal value the seasonal flooding provides, the Delta is an opportunity for guests staying in some of the best safari lodges in Botswana to explore an array of wet and dry camps boasting elephant, lion, hippo, and oh so much more.
Discover what some say is the best year-round game-viewing destination in Botswana. Spend your days observing predator-prey interaction dominated by big cats—from the ground, on the water, or in the air—on a variety of safari experiences. On your return to Mombo Camp, your wood and canvas luxury suite is cradled in mangosteen and fig trees with breezy openings to enjoy broad views across the Okavango Delta.
- Helicopter safari for a bird’s eye view of the Delta
- A traditional evening of African song and dance in the boma
- Creative cuisine using indigenous heritage ingredients (like baobab fruit powder)
Best for: Travelers wanting a pure safari focus. Mombo is well suited to small groups, couples, and families. For a more secluded stay, sister property Little Mombo is ideal for exclusive use.
Seated on raised wooden decks snaked by Delta waterways and hugged by seasonally flooded golden grassland, Vurumba Plains is an exceptional wilderness hideaway. The property is comprised of two separate lodges (North and South), each graced with just six suites and a spacious two-bedroom family suite. From your private plunge pool, outdoor shower or veranda, watch for bathing elephants, and otters swimming by. Vumbura Plains offers delicious meals created with local, seasonal ingredients to be enjoyed in the dining room or as a romantic dinner on your private sala under a blanket of stars.
- Catch and release fishing, boating, and (seasonal) mokoros
- Sumptuous open-plan showers with postcard picture bush views
- Local phapata bread cooked over the morning campfire
Best for: Active safari-goers who want great game viewing balanced with a variety of activities.
Duba Plains Camp
Aardwolf, pangolins, and lechwe—you may not know what they are now, but you will when you leave the stunning Duba Plains Camp. While on safari, keep your eyes peeled for some more well-known wildlife too. Blending into the landscape, each of the five bespoke suites at Duba Plains camp sit upon raised wooden platforms and boast a lounge area, indoor and outdoor showers, and a luxurious bath. Though the aesthetic harkens back to classic safari camps of the 1920s, modern-day amenities including an environmentally friendly air-conditioning system are welcome luxuries.
- Young Explorers Camp, blending fun with conservation learning
- Speed boating down the Okavango River
- Heli-safaris to appreciate the scope of the Okavango Delta
Best for: Photographers and travelers with a keen interest in conservation including rhino translocation
Consistently rated one of the top safari camps in Botswana by Condé Nast and Travel & Leisure, each of Chief’s Camp suites features a tranquil outdoor seating area and a terrace plunge pool. While on safari, you may spot year-round area residents including zebra, lion, and antelope. With luck, you’ll encounter a pack of endangered wild dogs. End your game drive with a sundowner, reliving your day over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Adults can luxuriate with a spa treatment using indigenous plants while young explorers enjoy the children’s retreat.
- Ten 1,500-square-foot Bush Pavilions and the 6,673-square-foot Jeffrey Kent Pavilion which comes privately staffed and guided.
- Cultural talks, seasonal mokoro rides, and a fully equipped fitness center.
- Guided stargazing of the southern constellations.
Best for: Multi-generational travelers and those who crave creature comforts like air conditioning.
With forest and floodplain, river, and wetland, Jao Camp immerses guests in the beauty of the Okavango Delta, including the incredible variety of wildlife that calls it home. Boat in when the waters rise or travel by 4×4 when the sun warms the land. Set beneath towering trees, the unique bird’s nest-styled gazebo on the edge of the pool is the perfect place to relax in nature and the extravagant wine cellar offers a wonderful variety of pre-dinner drinks. There are just five sumptuous suites; two luxury villas perfectly accommodate families and small groups.
- Sleep-outs in the secluded, canopied Star Bed
- Get out on the water on a mokoro ride, boat cruise or cast a line for catch-and-release fishing
- Photo safaris
Best for: Honeymooners, design lovers, and safari-goers wanting a water-focused camp to complement a land-based Okavango Delta experience.
The best luxury safari lodges in Botswana’s Linyanti Area
Water, water, everywhere…and, unlike the Okavango Delta, in the Linyanti region, it’s permanent. Because of this, the region is lush with riparian forests hosting a variety of birds. Even the famed baobab tree can be found here. In this watery wilderness, flora and fauna flourish with the region boasting one of the densest wildlife populations in the world, including migrating elephant, zebra, buffalo, and wildebeest.
Award-winning filmmakers and National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert designed Selinda Camp “to pay homage to elephants, what we have done to them, and how we should apologize in many ways.” Still, conservation doesn’t mean you have to forgo luxury. The eight individually decorated suites have large verandahs and spacious, elegant bathrooms. The thatched main areas are built on raised wooden decks overlooking the Selinda Spillway and feature pieces from celebrated wildlife artist Keith Joubert, the owner’s brother.
- The hand-built camp marries luxury with a Robinson Crusoe-type feel
- The real possibility of elephants swimming in front of the camp
- Supports the Great Plains Foundation’s Solar Mamas
Best for: Photographers and travelers with an interest in conservation.
With each of the four, newly-refurbished guest suites resting on raised, reclaimed, railway sleeper decks, Zarafa Camp’s tents are luxury under canvas. Spanning 1,000 square feet and accommodating a bedroom, lounge area, and bathroom with a copper clawfoot tub, they’re some of the largest in the area. Expansive outdoor decking wraps around each suite offering guests a private plunge pool, outdoor seating, and a private outdoor shower. Enjoy sunset from a boat along the edges of the Zibadianja Lake with huge herds of hippo, crocodile, and other wildlife.
- A refuge for uncommon species, such as African wild dog, roan, and sable
- With a maximum of eight guests on property, service is ultra-attentive and personalized
- Lunch in the bush
Best for: Honeymooners and romantic couples celebrating milestones.
Translated from the Setswana language, DumaTau means ”roar of the lion.” Listen closely and you may hear a growl in the distance, but that’s not all. Sit back and listen for grunting hippos, trumpeting elephants, and the impressive sounds of other wildlife. Elephants, though, are in the majority here. Nestled between two busy elephant corridors with nearly 30 miles of river frontage, guests watch great herds play while making water crossings. DumaTau’s eight spacious tented suites, each with a private plunge pool, are raised on wooden walkways mere steps from where wildlife wanders peacefully through camp.
- Al fresco dining and sundowners on a barge on the Linyanti lagoon
- Spa treatments at the Osprey Retreat
- Gathering at the floating fire pit which extends into the lagoon
Best for: Elephant lovers and romantic getaways
The Best Safari Lodge in Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
With rugged, campaign-style furniture featuring strapwork and brass corners, the newly-rebuilt Jack’s Camp might bring out the Indiana Jones in you. At nearly 3,000 square feet each, the seven twin and two double tents are decorated with North African rugs and mahogany furniture. A drinks chest and an antique pool table in the mess tent complete the old-world ambiance. There’s no doubt you’ll enjoy the area’s wildlife which includes Kalahari lion, aardvark, springbok, and hyena. Jack’s Camp is located deep in the Kalahari Desert on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Pans. We like to pair it with a water-filled Okavango or Linyanti region camp so travelers can appreciate Botswana’s contrasting landscapes.
- Take a seat in the elegant Persian tea tent
- Unique activities like quad biking, horseback riding, and bushman walks
- Visiting charismatic habituated meerkats
Best for: Desert lovers; safari-goers craving a unique landscape alternative
Some of our favorite luxury Botswana itineraries
Conservation and luxury go hand in hand in this classic Okavango Delta itinerary
Going off the beaten path in the Okavango and Kalahari
Incredible wildlife and plenty of adventure