Taking a safari is one of those quintessential African travel experiences. While it’s possible to take day excursions, there really isn’t anything quite like staying on or next to a natural park where you can be truly immersed in nature and its wildlife. Beautiful Botswana offers a range of opportunities like this, however, when I came across Muchenje Safari Lodge at the edge of Chobe National Park in the north of the country, I knew I’d landed on something special. Discover this magical all-inclusive lodge and its amazing safari activities at wonderful Chobe Park with me below.
A Stunning Setting Bordering Chobe Park
Botswana is a relatively flat country and the position of Muchenje, perched atop the Chobe and Caprivi flood plain, offers a unique vantage point that few other safari lodges have. Much of the rest of the accommodation around Chobe is close to the town of Kasane (where you can arrive at the airport), however, Muchenje benefits from being on the other side of the park, offering tranquility and a prized, peaceful setting with the most spectacular views that literary took my breath away. Chobe National Park, with one of the greatest concentrations of wildlife on the whole continent, is reachable within minutes and can be explored by Muchenje’s guests on the various safari experiences that are included in a stay at the lodge, more on these below.
African Spirit with Excellent Amenities
The lodge’s lush property combines manicured lawns and gardens with the dense vegetation of the Chobe Forest Reserve which encircles it. Since there are no fences at Chobe, you might have some unexpected visitors… like elephants coming up from the valley for an evening snack of the lodge’s bushes or baboons taking a quick sip from the pool — this is all part of the magic!
Further enchantment is spread throughout Muchenje. The main lodge, with its vast ceilings and wooden furniture, is both airy and cosy. African carvings and large photographs of Chobe’s wildlife complete the stylish safari ambiance. This is where you’ll have your meals during your stay, which are all included in the price of your stay, as are local alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. Outside the main lodge is the heavenly pool and various decks where you can relax and savor the views.
Spacious Chalets Nestled within Nature
You can also enjoy those views directly from your own balcony at one of the lodge’s 11 thatched private cottages. These are quite spacious, well space out and surrounded by greenery. Inside you’ll find the same rustic-chic decor as the main lodge and the sheer mosquito net adds some additional romantic essence. The bathrooms have double basin sinks and large shower stalls. There’s also a mini-bar stocked with beverages, tea & coffee making facilities and each guest gets his/her own metal water bottle to use during their stay, fillable from their coolers of reverse osmosis water. There’s one larger family unit that can accommodates 4 guests, perfect for families or friends.
Unforgettable Safari Experiences
One of the fabulous advantages of Muchenje is that guests can have unlimited game activities, most of which we experienced over the course of our three-day stay. These include early morning, mid afternoon and evening game drives, early morning safari walks and a boat cruise on the Chobe River. Each experience has its own allure. The afternoon game was our first, therefore it was our initiation to Chobe and holds special memories. It finished with a sundowner drink and snacks within the park, accompanied by a few passing giraffes and prancing zebra.
The early morning walk was extremely fascination as we witnessed nature’s wake and also got to have an up close look at the plain and discussion with our guide on nature’s workings. The boat cruise totally blew us away. Almost as soon as we set sail, we encountered dozens, if not hundreds of elephants bathing down at the river whom we observed from the unique perspective of the river. We also saw hippos, crocodiles, kudos and a variety of birds. Lunch aboard was a definite plus.
For something a little different, guests staying three nights have the opportunity of visiting the nearby Muchenje village. This provides the chance to learn about daily life in Botswana while touring a school, clinic, women’s collective and the Lodge’s involvement in the community. For example, former guests have helped fund the school’s library/media center. Muchenje is also a sponsor for Pack for a Purpose and guests can bring supplies with them to donate.
Exceptional Staff & Service
While all of the above created the grounds for a fantastic safari experience, it was the staff of the lodge that truly elevated our stay from great to outstanding. From our excellent guides K.B. and Ali, to the friendly bar and wait staff, and notwithstanding the lodge’s three adorable Jack Russell Terriers, we were made to feel completely at home. The lodge is managed by Toff and Kiddy, from South Africa and Holland respectively, who have over 25 years experience in the safari business in Botswana. This ensures that everything runs smoothly at the lodge, but also provides for exciting fodder around the dining table in form of riveting stories of epic wildlife adventures — which definitely leave one hungry for the next safari experience and, with any luck, a return to magical Muchenje.
Airport pickup in Kasane and free laundry are additional perks included in your booking. Learn more about Muchenje, its rates (including seasonal discounts) and other details on its website here.
I was a guest of Muchenje Safari Lodge, however, all of the opinions expressed above all entirely my own.
A special thank you to Josh Heise for taking many of the beautiful safari photos!