Lodges

Mapula Lodge

Modest lodge with potential for great game viewing on the edge of the Delta.

Mapula Lodge

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

The hotel

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.

The rooms

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.

On safari

Experiences

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.

When to go

Okavango Delta by month

January

Season: Wet
  • This is the wettest month of the year with an average of just 10 days of rain expected, providing a unique experience in this lush landscape.
  • Incredible birding and the start of the birthing season, providing excellent game viewing with high predator excitement.
  • The vegetation is lush and green, animals are in presine condition and birds are in full breeding plumage providing incredible photographic opportunities.
  • Make sure you have your insect repellent packed, the wet season is also mosquito season.

February

Season: Wet
  • This time of year is the height of the wet season, on average rain falls only a couple of days a week, leaving plenty of time to explore this lush green paradise.
  • Good game viewing with high predator excitement during the birthing season.
  • The vegetation is lush and green, animals are in presine condition and birds are in full breeding plumage, providing incredible photographic opportunities.
  • Keep your insect repellent handy, particular in the early morning and late evening, as this is mosquito season.

March

Season: Wet
  • March is still relatively hot and considerably drier than January and February, expect sporadic afternoon showers.
  • Still good predator excitement with many young antelope learning the harsh lessons of an unforgiving wilderness.
  • A great time for land based explorations with water based activities only available at a handful of camps.
  • Be sure to pack mosquito repellent at this time of year.

April

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures start cooling with a handful of rainy days at the end of the wet season, welcoming in the floods from the North, indicating the start of the Delta flooding.
  • As birds look to migrate, game starts to make its way back into the region as other water sources become more scarce.
  • A great time of year to explore the Delta wilds by land before the flood waters rise too high.
  • Mosquito's are still around but not as prevalent, pack your insect repellent just in case.

May

Season: Dry
  • The perfect time for delta explorations, flooding is approaching its peak towards the end of the month, providing the perfect conditions for water based activities.
  • Temperatures are comfortable with little to no rain expected.
  • The ideal time for photography, animals are in their prime after the season of plenty, however migratory birds are beginning to fly North.
  • Mornings and Evenings can be a little nippy at this time of year, a couple of extra layers will surface during the month of May.

June

Season: Dry
  • Flooding is reaching its peak, creating one of the ideal months to visit this watery wonderland.
  • Temperatures are cool with little to no rain expected, making for comfortable safari conditions.
  • Wildlife of every shape and size migrate into the delta, taking advantage of this water source in the dry season.
  • Include a warm jacket in your essentials as morning and evening temperatures are chilly.

July

Season: Dry
  • The height of the water levels are achieved, ensuring a great diversity of activity in the Delta region.
  • Temperatures are warm during the day with little to no rain expected.
  • Enjoy some of the best wildlife viewing on the planet with incredible variation and big game encounters.
  • Pack a warm jacket for the chilly mornings and evenings.
  • Without a cloud in the sky, stargazing is an absolute treat during the month of July.

August

Season: Dry
  • The ideal time to visit this region with plenty of water around, leading to great water and land based safari, depending on your preference.
  • Temperatures are beginning to climb but still very comfortable, with little to no rain expected.
  • Enjoy some of the best wildlife viewing on the planet with incredible variation and big game encounters.
  • Include a warm jacket on your packing list because mornings can be chilly at this time of year.

September

Season: Dry
  • The perfect time to visit the Delta, the flood levels have began their decline, increasing the size of the islands and the weather is ideal for game viewing.
  • Temperatures are warm with midday temperatures climbing, clear blue skies are still to be enjoyed.
  • Home to the best wildlife viewing in Botswana at this time of year, encounter a myriad of species, all on your doorstep.
  • Very few mosquitoes are present during this time of year, making for a carefree safari experience.

October

Season: Dry
  • The flood levels begin to drop with the temperatures and humidity reaching their peak, expect some rainfall in the later days of the month.
  • Excellent wildlife viewing with incredible variation and big game encounters, the animals begin to disperse with the arrival of the rains.
  • Visibility is still good with sparse vegetation, making it easier to spot the animals of this region.
  • A full day in the bush is not recommended during October, as many of the bush species seek refuge from the midday heat.

November

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are still hot and humid with the first true rains of the wet season, it should be noted that in most cases rains are just passing afternoon showers.
  • Wildlife will start to disperse with the receding floodwaters, making the delta game viewing exceptionally good, instead of world class.
  • As vegetation becomes green wildlife becomes more difficult to spot but that much more beautiful photograph.
  • Be sure to include a water based camp on your itinerary, ensuring the complete Delta experience.

December

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are not as persistent with occasional afternoon showers soothing the heat of the day.
  • The "emerald season" is now in full swing, foliage is green and plentiful, flowers are in bloom and the migratory birds have returned.
  • The readily available water and green vegetation means animals enjoy prime condition, ideal for photographic enthusiasts.
  • Mosquitoes can be an issue at this time of year, be sure to pack some insect repellent.

Wildlife


The Okavango Delta boasts some of the best game viewing in Africa, with numerous species present across a range of wet and dry habitats. Encounter the Big Five in this region, with black and white rhino only present in the Moremi section of this conservation area. The numerous hoofed species including giraffe, zebra, lechwe and warthog, which are preyed on by lion, leopard and the endangered African wild dog, providing frequent hold-your-breath moments while on safari.

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