If you’ve been dreaming of a safari honeymoon to Africa, Botswana has probably popped up on your radar already. From expansive, sandy deserts to deltas brimming with life, the landscapes are iconic and stunningly beautiful, and on a lucky day, the chances of spotting all the top predators are high. Add to that a phenomenal roster of activities, from quad biking to mokoro trips, game drives to hot air balloon flights, as well as a selection of drool-worthy lodges, and you’ve got a honeymoon that’s worth splashing out on. Most of the best Botswana honeymoons include some time in the iconic Okavango Delta, but there are other off-the-beaten-track spots worth discovering too. Read on for some tips on how to combine them – and what we consider to be the best Botswana honeymoons out there…
We’re kicking off this list with our classic Botswana honeymoon, and unlike the name suggests, there’s nothing ordinary about it. This safari is a great place to start if you’d like to experience the best bits of Botswana – and will certainly set the tone for married life! You’ll fly straight into the heart of where the wild things are, the Okavango Delta, and game drive to your heart’s content. In Linyanti, you’ll float silently down the glassy waterways, watching wildlife from a traditional mokoro, and in Chobe, it’s all about spotting elephants in the wild. The trip ends at Victoria Falls, where of course the mighty ‘smoke that thunders’ takes pride of place – but take time to nibble on afternoon tea delights, cruise down the Zambezi, and soak up the vibrant sunsets too.
Top spots to stay
Botswana is home to Africa’s finest lodges, but there are also a few hidden gems that are definitely worth noticing. Blow the budget with a combination of Mombo and Jao – two of the Okavango Delta’s most iconic camps, they are both wildly luxurious and utterly fabulous – or save some pennies with Shinde and Kanana, cheaper but no less wonderful in many ways. Lodges in Chobe and Linyanti generally have fewer noughts on the price tag and somewhere like Muchenje Safari Lodge or Linyanti Bush Camp will appeal to honeymooners looking for a bit of peace and quiet but without forfeiting incredible game viewing.
Bush and beach
It might be a land-locked country, but who’s to say you can’t add a little beach to your bush on a Botswana honeymoon? The eye-poppingly beautiful Indian Ocean coastline is only a short flight away from Maun (via Johannesburg), and options for a spot of beach-lounging and cocktail-sipping can include anything from Mozambique to Mauritius. In this trip, we’ve settled on the Seychelles, a group of white-hot, island atolls with plenty of swishy accommodation to choose from. Combined with wildlife watching in the Okavango Delta, big cat chasing in the Linyanti and a quick stop for some adrenalin-filled activities at Victoria Falls (or, indeed, some time to just put your feet up in a dreamy location), we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Top spots to stay
When it comes to authentic safaris with a touch of style, Kwando Safaris are always near the top of our list, and Lagoon Camp in the Linyanti and Kwara in the Delta are an ideal combination. Sandwich your safaris with a couple of nights at the Royal Chundu River Lodge at Vic Falls (where everyone is treated like royalty) and Constance Lemuria in the Seychelles for intoxicating sunsets and romance by the bucket-load.
With its abundant wildlife and bejewelled landscapes, there’s no denying that Botswana puts plenty of ticks in the most iconic of safari boxes. But what about doing something a little different on your Botswana honeymoon? What if you could swap a 4×4 for a quad bike, open the throttle, and hurtle across the lunar-like Makgadikgadi Salt Pans to the ends of the earth (almost)? Perhaps a helicopter flight, high above the creatures of the Okavango Delta, or floating down the remotest of waterways in a dug-out mokoro in the Linyanti sounds as if it would be up your street? This adventurous trip combines all of the above and it’s not just the activities that will keep you on your toes – we’ve got cheeky meerkats, elusive brown hyena and desert-adapted lion for you to spot too.
Top spots to stay
In the Makgadikgadi, San Camp has romance written all over it, from the dazzling white tents to the pretty-as-a-picture afternoon teas, served overlooking the salt pans, and the iconic Jack’s Camp will certainly get your trip started on the right foot. Baines Camp in the Delta has a list of activities as long as our arm (heli flights, visits to the elephant sanctuary and walking safaris to name a few), and in the Linyanti, we’d probably head to Ebony Camp for spectacular mokoro and boating trips along the meandering waterways.
Despite popular belief, you don’t have to spend several weeks in Africa to make the most of the sights and sounds. This short but (very) sweet honeymoon to Botswana and Zimbabwe will whizz you through two of southern Africa’s most iconic areas, the Okavango Delta and Victoria Falls, and make sure you come away with memories to tell the grandkids, even if you don’t have a great deal of time to spare. In the Delta, it’s all about bucket list experiences and this watery wonderland delivers them in spades, from mammal-filled game drives to mokoro safaris and even a hot air balloon flight if you so desire. Then, at Victoria Falls, it’s time to take a moment and marvel at one of the world’s most incredible natural phenomena… What a way to end a Botswana honeymoon!
Where should I stay?
Staying in two different areas of the Okavango Delta will allow you to experience a greater spread of activities, habitats and, hopefully, wildlife. We rather like Mapula Lodge in the northern reaches for hot air ballooning, heli flights and tip top water-based game viewing. Combine it with somewhere like Tuludi, where game drives and walking safaris in Khwai Private Reserve are guaranteed to knock your binos off, and think about adding a night under the stars in the unique Skybeds too…
Delve into the culture
Botswana is nothing if not varied. Not far from the Okavango Delta is the lunar-like, arid expanse of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans and the Kalahari Desert, so mind-bendingly different from the juicy landscapes of the Delta it’s hard to believe they are in the same country. It’s in these sandy lands, seemingly devoid of life, that the ancient San Bushmen live and this Botswana honeymoon allows you to delve into their fascinating lifestyle. It’s not simply a glimpse here, or a snatched hour there either; you’ll join the Bushmen whilst they hunt, make weapons and cook, and walk with them through the thirsty desert, learning the tricks of their trade. Having a hard time persuading your other half to visit Botswana and not see the animals? We’ve added a couple of days in the Delta at the end to satisfy the most ardent of wildlife-lovers.
Where should I stay?
In the Central Kalahari, Kalahari Plains is famous for showcasing Bushmen culture, as is Jack’s Camp in the Makgadikgadi. At Jack’s, the Bushmen family have evolved with the camp and you’ll be welcome as a long-standing friend. These areas are remote and the accommodation doesn’t come cheap, but Meno a Kwena (owned by the same company as Jack’s) is a wonderfully quirky option that offers a similar experience on the edge of the Makgadikgadi. In the Delta, there are more lodges than you can shake a stick at, but somewhere like Pom Pom will deliver wildlife in spades.
Bucket list ticks
The last Botswana honeymoon on our list is the King of them all. We’ve already mentioned the vast and untouched Kalahari, the Okavango Delta and its blockbuster of activities and wildlife, and Chobe with its mighty river and accompanying herds of ellies – and this trip rolls them all into one, action-filled package. It’s a honeymoon for those that want to see and experience a little bit of everything and what you do is (within reason!) up to you. The Kalahari might be famous for black-maned lion and large numbers of cheetah, but maybe you’d rather embark on a walking safari with the Bushmen and discover the many uses of a scorpion? In the Delta, perhaps you’d like to forgo a traditional lodge and sleep in a mobile camp on a faraway island? And at Victoria Falls, who says you have to stay on land to admire the waterfall, with white-water rafting, micro-light flights and bungee jumps to take advantage of. Well, we did say ‘bucket list’…
Where should I stay?
For maximum flexibility, choosing the right accommodation is paramount. In the Kalahari, again we love Kalahari Plains for its combination of wildlife and culture-focused activities (and alfresco sleeping platforms) and in the Delta, the mobile nature of the Uncharted Expedition Camp allows you to plan your days as you like. Continue the mobile theme in Chobe Under Canvas and fall asleep to ellies snuffling outside your tent and at Victoria Falls, we couldn’t think of a more honeymoon-appropriate lodge than Tongabezi.