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Mapula Lodge

Mapula Lodge

Mapula Lodge is an owner-operated destination in a private concession in the northwest seasonal floodplains of Botswana’s iconic Okavango Delta. The waters that fill the Okavango Delta rise in the Angolan Highlands and enter Botswana below Namibia’s Caprivi Strip. Home to more than 200,000 large mammals, many of which migrate during the summer rains and return during the cooler and drier winter months, the delta encompasses an area of more than 6,200 square miles, making it the world’s largest inland river delta, roughly the size of Uruguay, Syria, or Senegal.

The Okavango is a safari paradise, home to lion, cheetah, leopard, wild dog, elephant, buffalo, hippo, giraffe, hyena, zebra, red lechwe kudu, impala, wildebeest, steenbok, waterbuck, reedbuck, porcupine, jackal, genet, and caracal. In addition, there are many birds, insect, fish, and plant species.

Mapula Lodge is in a stunning position on the edge of seasonal floodplains, overlooking a permanent lagoon with resident hippos. This intimate camp yields a real sense of being part of the environment, as it wraps itself around the trunks of African hardwoods, with the roots and branches featuring throughout the camp. Or is it the trees wrapping themselves around the camp? You be the judge. The area has large shady trees that create intimate areas from which to enjoy both the vistas and refreshing drinks.

Accommodation is in eight double chalets and one family chalet. The en-suite rooms are on stilts above the bush and feature open-air showers and zinc bathtubs. Each room chalet has either a large double bed or two spacious single beds. They also have a small lounge area and a private veranda. The family chalet has a second bedroom adjoining the main room.

The lodge’s common area is a lovely thatched area that melds perfectly with the surroundings. Here is a comfortable lounge and dining area, small library, curio shop, and a large deck with shade courtesy of an ancient African ebony. A small pool on the lower deck is most welcome and has loungers for a siesta. A nearby bush is where everyone gathers before and after dinner to recount the day’s happenings and to make new friends.

Normally, a light buffet breakfast is served prior to the day’s activities. A hearty lunch greets returning adventurers, and tea precedes the afternoon activities. When guests return from the afternoon/evening game drives, a full three-course dinner is served, and as with all meals here, everyone eats together.

Game drives are the preferred way to pursue the animals, reaching them in the shortest time and optimizing photographic opportunities. Night drives offer the real possibility of seeing night predators, and sundowners while marveling at the African sunset in the bush are a real treat. Game walks are an excellent way to get up close to the bush and see the smaller animals and plants that are missed by vehicle.

Birding safaris in the Okavango are outstanding because of the diversity of bird species that make their home here, from waders to predators, and many others too. Photographic safaris will be a real delight for amateur and professional photographers alike, as this is Africa at its most beautiful and diverse. Mokoro trips are a gentle way to be polled through the water without so much as a whisper and to get very close to the birds and the animals.

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