Belmond Khwai River Lodge
What We Love
- Jetsetter 2014 Best of the Best Winner: Best Hotel For Communing With Nature
- Rate includes all meals and drinks (including premium spirits and wines), two game drives a day, flight to/from Maun, national park fees and more
- Staying off the grid in the Okavango Delta, with the option to stay in touch with free WiFi access and satellite TVs and phones (on request)
- Post-safari sundowners by the fire pit
What To Know
- Minibars come stocked with preferred beverages (selected prior to arrival)
- Most journeys involve an overnight stay in Johannesburg, a flight to Maun and a short flight to Khwai River Lodge
- Children eight and over are welcome at the lodge
- The small plane to the camp allows only soft bags, and there’s a 44-pound weight limit per person
- Pair with a stay at one of Belmond’s neighboring safari camps, Savute Elephant Lodge or Eagle Island Lodge
- Free WiFi
At the Belmond Khwai River Lodge, on the flood plains of Botswana’s lush Moremi Wildlife Reserve, guests sleep outdoors. But the tents here are far from ordinary — they’re more like five-star suites with private terraces that overlook the Moremi Wildlife Reserve, which teems with elephants, wild dogs, zebras, hippos and more. Chaise longues and wooden furnishings give the 15 tents a colonial homestead feel, and the discreet raised observation decks and terraces hidden beneath the ebony trees allow you to watch animals graze and sleep near the 65-foot pool.
Bed & Bath
Rattan roofs, canvas walls, colonial-style furnishings and handsome dark wood floors create a rustic look in the 15 tents. Mosquito nets are draped over four-poster beds, hammocks sling low on private decks, and en suite wooden bathrooms (some have outdoor tubs) are sleek and spacious. Unlike at most bush camps, Khwai’s tents are equipped with air conditioners that are as quiet as a whisper, and minibars that come stocked with preferred beverages (which guests can select via a prearrival questionnaire).
Open-top Jeep drives depart daily at dawn and at dusk (when the animals are most active). Expect myriad giraffe, buffalo, hippo, crocodile, wildebeest, impala, wild dog, warthog, kudus zebra and leopard sightings. Encountering more than 20 elephants on a bush walk in the Moremi Reserve is as ordinary as learning how to get water from animal dung. Don’t want to lug your camera on the three-plane flight to the lodge? The property lends photo equipment, as long as you supply the memory card. In between game drives, dine alfresco on authentically prepared dishes such as grilled crocodile and seswa (goat stew), and sip post-safari sundowners by the firepit or pool. For pure indulgence, unwind at the spa with the Inkomfi Sloughing body treatment, which exfoliates with walnut and marula shell grains and nourishes with an antioxidant cocktail.
How to Get There
An incredible safari experience! The location cannot be beat – you look out on the river and can see hippos and other animals throughout the day and night. The lodge is well equipped, with friendly staff and well maintained (albeit sometime tired) amenities.
We went to Khwai after three nights at Belmond Savute, and Savute was by far the nicer of the two camps, but the combination of both lodges was great if you have the time to do both.
The game viewing was great – we saw a leopard make two kills, wild dogs, elephants, zebras, giraffes, and lots of antelope and bird varieties. We went in the rainy season (February), which meant it was wet and took a while to find the animals, but the park was very quiet, and the animals were very active.
Absolutely gorgeous room with lovely personal infinity pool on deck overlooking hippos in the river. I was thrilled to have a moonlight bath in a claw foot tub on the back deck outside! Service and food were spectacular and we enjoyed every minute! Tsile was a great guide, very knowledgeable and worked hard to find us lions and a leopard! If you want to be spoiled, check in! Ruan and Sue will take great care of you.
We lived in Tanzania for just short of a decade and have been on about 30 safaris. This was among the best. For those complaining about the facilities : THIS IS AFRICA. I understand they are going to refurb the place but you are missing the point - you are here to see the animals. If you want a luxurious resort go to some beach. We have stayed in some high end lodges in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania and never had WiFi, 24 hour electricity, or air conditioning. In four days we saw wild dog take down an impala. lion take down an elephant, and got within 30 feet of two leopards. Our previous leopard sightings were bumps on a tree limb at 200 meters. If you want to see game, come here. Otherwise it is a long trip tom complain that they did not stock your favorite sauvignon blanc. Ask for Obie as a guide - he is great
The location of Khwai River Lodge, between the Moremi and Chobe game preserves, is the primary reason to stay here. The lodge and cottages directly overlook the river, enabling incredible wildlife viewing without ever leaving the property -- though of course the game drives are not to be missed. With fifteen cottages, Khwai River is larger than the other two Belmond safari camps, which we also visited (see separate reviews), and consequently it can feel slightly busier. Our cottage was comfortable and had a nice porch; its dark wood furnishings gave it a cave-like feel, dim but cozy. We were told that this camp is due for refurbishment in the next two years, which will do it good; it generally feels as though it needs refreshing. Nevertheless, we liked many of the features, especially the large swimming pool adjacent the main lodge (very refreshing in the hot weather), the "treehouse" game-viewing lounge, and the generally strong internet. The menus at meals were also diverse and the food was very good. Staff in the dining room and at the bar were very friendly and accommodating. One note: as this is an unfenced camp, be alert at all times of day for animals passing through, particularly elephants. This is their home and we are the visitors. We look forward to returning.
Went here with a Tauck tour and it was nothing short of wonderful. Excellent local guides who knew their stuff and truly wanted to share. You truly live among the animals--and need to exercise some care! Once in a lifetime!