This Valentine’s Day, take the road less travelled and zip off into the wilderness with your loved one. The starkly magnificent deserts, lush deltas and flourishing wildlife of Botswana make it the destination of choice for those who share not just plain ol’ love but also a love for adventure—with a luxe touch thrown in for that perfect finish
Valentine’s Day is here and you’ve been inundated with things to see and do together. How about trashing the mundane, run-of-the-mill options and going for something wild, primal and adventurous? There is nothing more romantic for a couple connected in heart and mind than sharing an adventure together—more so when there’s dollops of luxury thrown in for good measure. We bring you some curated options not from France or the Mediterranean but Botswana, a country termed as must-visit by none other than the traveller’s best guide—Lonely Planet. Located in southern Africa, it has been ranked ahead of Japan and USA in the list of wonderful travelling options.
The Kalahari Desert
Situated between Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, the 900,000 square meter desert is one you certainly can’t miss. Temperatures soar to 42°C (108F) in July and August but the extreme heat doesn’t stop vegetation from calling the harsh plains home, alongside springboks, lions, hyenas, meerkats and antelopes.
While you will be one with nature, you’d never have to skimp on creature comforts out in the desert. One recommendation is Jacks Camp on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Pans. Spacious and elegant canvas tents with ensuite bathrooms and outdoor showers are available. The safari provided by the camp will even allow you to walk through the Kalahari amongst wild meerkats and spot the elusive brown hyena. And the sunset in the desert is one of those famed romantic moments that make you sigh in bliss.
The Okavango Delta
This breath-taking natural landscape is the world’s second largest inland delta and is home to a bevy of wildlife. Stretching over 18,000 square meters in the north of Botswana, the UNESCO World Heritage site is a result of the Okavango River finding outlets in the Kalahari Desert; the river famously never makes it to the ocean. The islands formed over time from this natural process, are now home to wading birds, elephants, wild beasts and hippopotamuses.
It is recommended that you join an organized safari to visit the area. Our personal favorite is the Camp Okavango. Having been recently rebuilt, the camp boasts 11 guest suites and one family suite. The accommodations are built around local vegetation and are connected by a walkway through the trees. For a truly magical vantage point of the expansive Okavango Delta, try the elevated suites.
The Thamalakane River and Maun
Head to the Southern end of the Okavango Delta, to enjoy a romantic sunset at the Thamalakane River. While you’re there, make a trip to the nearby town of Maun a mere 19 km away and let it serve as a base for the trip to Moremi Game Reserve, also located within the Okavango Delta.
Chobe National Park
One of Botswana’s key tourist destinations, the national park is the third largest reserve in Botswana. With 40,000 elephants living in the park located near Kasane, they are a huge attraction, literally. Spotting other species within the park, is certainly not difficult with more than 250 calling it home.
A great choice in accommodation would be the Chobe Safari Lodge, with several different styles of rooms available. From the Safari Rooms, each with its own private patio, to the Riverside Rooms with a riverside garden frequented by the resident monkeys and mongooses, the lodge caters for those looking to enjoy Botswana in style. The lodge also has accommodation that is closer to nature with Rondavels and campsites that are scattered around the Chobe River.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Temperatures can be even higher here than the Kalahari (42°C in the shade 70°C out in the open) but that doesn’t stop this 38,000 sq km park from being the ideal location for Africa’s impressive birds of prey. The star however, is the gemsbok or Oryx gazella. Aptly named, the “place of thirst” allows visitors to follow a route along two dried up rivers which are said to flow only once a century.
So what are you waiting for? Let this be your off-beat romantic sojourn—moments of magic shared together almost at the edge of the universe.