Whether you are spotting an infinitely diverse number of bird species from the depths of a dugout canoe, or trundling along in an open 4×4 Land Rover while admiring leopard, lion, elephant and wild dog with staggering frequency, one’s love of Botswana can only be renewed after a visit to Mapula Lodge. This exquisite setting in the north western region of the Okavango Delta shares a border with the breath-taking Moremi Game Reserve and cradles on its riverbank, Mapula’s wooden construction. Wrapped around the water fig trees and perched atop tall stilts, Mapula Lodge sets the scene for an unforgettable Botswana safari.
Ten chalets produce vast views of the watery maze before it. The Hippo Lagoon slithers through the expanse of grass and stretches towards the woodwork of the leafy trees on the riverbanks. It is a stylishly comfortable lodge that clearly makes the most of its position. Rustic thatch covers the stone units, while wooden pillars frame the doors and act as bed posts, keeping nature at close hand. The ensuite bathrooms are beautifully ‘country’ with great, zinc bath tubs, taps and sinks, and again, promote the exceptional views through lightly meshed windows and walls.
Mapula has a generous array of activities on offer, all conducted by guides and trackers who live in the villages surrounding the Delta and the Moremi, making their knowledge of the area unbeatable. A true passion and understanding of the waterways of the Okavango, these Tswana men and women provide a link to one of Africa’s most primeval wildlife destinations. Land-based game drives often take guests on an interesting adventure through flooded paths and overflowing walkways after the rainy months. A silent and serene canoe safari drops one’s vantage point to eye-level with the hippos that peer out from shallow surfaces. River-crossing elephants send wading ripples across the surface of the water creating an incredible mokoro experience. Lions, leopards and wild dogs are regularly sighted in the conservancy, as are buffalo, wildebeest, zebra and crocodile. A wildlife extravaganza awaits visitors at Mapula Lodge and with mokoro, driving and walking activities, there is little that can be missed.
A scrumptious array of dishes is produced by the chef, making mealtime a heavenly occasion that can be enjoyed on the open, wooden deck providing a fantastic ambience of the Delta by night. Specific dietary requirements are smoothly accommodated into the diverse menu, ensuring every guest is catered for with equal enthusiasm. Children over the age of 6 will delight in the discoveries they make at Mapula Lodge, bringing an imaginative animal world to life, but if Moms and Dads prefer a less worrisome afternoon in this peaceful paradise, Mapula’s staff members will happily entertain little ones, given prior notice.
Accommodating only 20 people at full capacity, one’s time spent at this gloriously positioned safari destination will undoubtedly remain private and undisturbed. It is truly a wonder to behold such an uninterrupted view of one of Africa’s most precious wildlife abodes. The Okavango Delta has been named a World Heritage Site, giving it its deserved status as the protected pulse of the continent. The vitality of the Earth is envisaged in the greens and blues of the Delta and the activity of the animals flourishing within its intertwining waterways is a gift to be enjoyed.