Bakwena Lodge, located in Botswana, is nestled into the Chobe riverfront. I hadn’t heard of it days ago, but when scrambling to put together some last minute plans, we lucked out on a package. When I say lucked out I mean the availability, not the price. But even with the price tag being more than we were hoping to pay, the lodge lived up to my expectations.
We did an all-inclusive package at this eco-friendly luxury lodge, which included all meals, transport and entertainment. They were waiting as soon as we arrived at the airport and had the enormous safari 4×4 ready to go. The entire staff welcomed us with song when we pulled up and not just the first time, but every time! The song and dance continued at dinner one night where they put on a show for us and belted songs designed to give us a glimpse of their culture. Songs about their president, or appreciation of the environment were also sung. It made me think of some of the shallow or completely ridiculous songs we have in our culture with a side eye. And while the staff was very friendly and welcoming, they were also filled with personality. Bob, our safari guide, a.k.a. Shaggy’s voiceover double, was very honest and funny when driving us and shared with us a bit of his life story. Actually everyone was willing to let us in a bit and tell us about their journey. One staff member even helped me find a place to get my hair braided, an unusual request, and walked over with me to both book the appointment plus drop and pick me up.
With an all you can eat package it can sometimes be hit or miss. After all, who’s going to eat that much if the food is crap? But the food at Bakwena was delicious and the wine and drinks were plentiful. What I liked most about it was that it wasn’t all western. We got to taste the local specialties, such as greens, beans and mashed maize but also had some treats like pasta, cheesecake and Greek salad. Even on the safaris and river cruise we had tea, coffee, cookies, wine, nuts, etc.
The safaris and boat tour though were my highlight. I’d only been on safari before in Sri Lanka and the two experiences cannot be compared. The Chobe National Park was beautiful, as was the Chobe River. Floating near the shores of the park we were able to see all sorts of animals gathered at the water to get a drink. We even saw hippo and elephants fully submerge and come back up for more food. Both in the park and from the boat we were able to see lions feasting with their pride, and we were able to get dangerously close in our jeep. Baboons, impala, giraffe, and buffalo were all plentiful throughout the park and we were able to just kind of sit in the middle of the herd as they made their way around us.
If you are planning a trip to Chobe, Bakwena Lodge is definitely worth a stay!