Africa’s Last Eden

The Okavango Delta is an enchanting rarity. One of the great wonders of the world, it is the largest inland delta on the planet. Half the year, the Okavango River rises and a rift in the Earth’s crust causes it to flood 6000 square miles of northern Botswana land, creating a maze of sparkling waterways, channels and lagoons, and islands teeming with wildlife.

Of all the scores of safaris I have enjoyed across Africa, the Okavango holds a special fascination. My wife and I recently returned to the Delta and it was better than ever. We stayed at two fantastic camps run by Great Plains, experts who believe in combining enjoyment, luxury and conservation. The co-founders, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, are National Geographic filmmakers, conservationists, and explorers. We could not have been in better hands.

To call their accommodations camps is to rather undersell them. From every tent and terrace there are stunning views of the floodplain with its endless parade of wildlife. Both Zarafa Camp and Duba Plains are accredited by Relais & Chateaux. The tents are 1000 square feet of sheer style with luxury amenities such as private plunge pools, spa treatments, and the latest Canon camera and Swarovski binoculars in every room. Dining is five-star. There is even a walk-in wine cellar. This place is seriously exclusive with a guest maximum of five couples.

I could spend an eternity exploring this place. Though it is known as the Jewel of the Kalahari because the desert is transformed into a vast water garden, for me, the description that best captures the spirit of this magical place, its lush habitat and boundless wildlife is Africa’s last Eden.

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