Modest lodge with potential for great game viewing on the edge of the Delta.
Mapula Lodge sits on the edge of a seasonal floodplain, in a private reserve just outside the official bounds of the Okavango Delta. It is north of two of the regions' most prolific game viewing areas, the Vumbura and Duba Plains concessions. Much of the terrain and game is similar here at Mapula, however, it falls outside the buffalo fence, which is the border where livestock can no longer enter the delta. The camp itself is rustic and discreetly tucked into an old-growth forest full of African ebony, water fig and albizia trees. Sure, the lodge might need a few updated touches, but it offers potential for great game and an intimate atmosphere at a reasonable price.
At the lodge
You'll sense a Swiss Family Robinson-esque atmosphere in the main area, tucked between the ancient old-growth trees. The open-plan thatch lounge is built on stilts above the seasonal lagoon with lovely hardwood flooring. Despite being slightly dated, it's cozy and intimate, with ample seating, a small library, a curio shop and a communal dining area. The bush bar is a separate thatched structure that hovers above the floodplain. A plunge pool also sits on the main area deck, with views of the horizon beyond.
Nine large, stilted, stone and thatch chalets are amply spaced along sandy pathways on the edge of a pristine floodplain. Each has its own magnificent view, especially from the shady private deck. One chalet acts as the family unit with two adjoined rooms and would serve a small family or two couples travelling together. Though slightly stuffy and hot in the evenings (the generator stops working at night so the fan does not operate), each chalet is spacious with nearly floor-to-ceiling mesh windows. Beds have an organic looking hardwood headboard with either a double or twin bed configuration and mosquito net, which can be tucked away during the day. Like the rest of the lodge, chalets could use a face-lift but are nevertheless roomy with great views.
Game drives operate on either side of the veterinary fence (the line delineating the Okavango Delta and the regions outside). Both areas yield great game viewing, especially since the fence has many holes through which wildlife freely wander. The region is beautiful, with several switching channels and shallow lagoons to be explored via mokoro. Night drives are highly encouraged as often predators are active in the cool evenings; never mind the host of nocturnal species like porcupine, honey badger, aardvark, aardwolf and bush babies, just to name a few.