Deception Valley Lodge
Luxury in a rugged wilderness with authentic Bushman walks
Deception Valley Lodge
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) is surprising beautiful in its harshness and austerity and is home to an array of well-adapted wildlife - from the elegant oryx antelope and ostrich to the majestic cheetah and black-maned Kalahari lion. Perhaps most notably, it is the historic home of the San Bushmen tribe, one of Africa's ancient people known for their rich cultural heritage and expert survival skills. There are few permanent lodges in this under-explored region, making Deception Valley Lodge just one of a handful of luxury all-inclusive options. Misleadingly, however, this family-owned lodge is located nearly 75 kilometres from the Deception Valley region within the CKGR. But the nearest gate is just a 6 kilometre drive, and thankfully the wilderness surrounding the lodge itself is still quintessentially Kalahari, with a productive waterhole within view of the main area.
At the lodge
The peaked thatch with butter coloured walls blend naturally into the surrounds. African prints and wood carvings create a rustic, easy-going safari ambiance that may feel slightly outdated. However, comfort is the higher value: plush leather sofas on a breezy outside verandah, sumptuous daybeds in an indoor lounge. A small library and well-stocked bar meet most needs in-between game viewing, as does a large swimming pool. It's pretty simple but luxury is attained by way of the attentive staff and owners' hands-on approach.
Eight thatched chalets raised on stilts connect to the main lodge with a wooden walkway. Each room boasts indoor and outdoor showers and deep Victorian tub. There's plenty of room to sprawl - on your private deck or spacious lounge; enjoy a gin and tonic while you're at it, courtesy of your mini-bar. The family room is simply two adjoining double rooms. If exclusivity is what you're after (or you're a small family with children between 8 and 11 years) the Kalahari Manor is your very own bush palace, complete with a private guide and chef. It has a large, elegant lounge a sunny veranda and can comfortably accommodate four.
The CKGR is home to some of Botswana's better summer game viewing - the abundant plains game and ensuing predators. The Bushman-guided walks, with their intimate knowledge of the region, are a year-round experience not to be skipped. If getting into the heart of the Kalahari is your aim, however, you might want to reconsider - it's at least a few hours to the most productive pans and a day-trip into the CKGR will cost you an extra $500 dollars per person per day (there must be a minimum of four guests). But the lodge itself is located in a private reserve where off-roading is permitted, as are night drives - a great opportunity to catch some of the scarcely seen night-life of the desert, including brown hyenas, porcupines and aardwolfs.