Deception Valley Lodge
Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Central, Botswana
Situated on private land bordering the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, this striking thatch-and-stone lodge was the first to be built in the Central Kalahari and is arguably still the best. Built largely by hand by the desert-dwelling Naru people, the main lounge has deep-red sofas and kilims with wooden sliding doors leading out onto a wraparound deck, which faces a busy water hole. You'll sleep in a large thatch bungalow where the roomy lounge has polished wooden floors, more kilims, wrought iron, wood chairs, a deep comfy sofa, and framed bushman memorabilia. Your bedroom will have a hand-carved headboard, crisp white linens, and plump duvets. There's a separate en-suite bathroom with a claw-foot bath and outside shower. Enjoy delicious food (try the tender oryx fillet marinated in Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, and herbs) including homemade bread and rolls, before sitting out under the blazing desert stars for a nightcap. Although you'll be taken on game drives and birding expeditions, the absolute highlight of your stay at this unique lodge will be a walk with the bushmen themselves. Dressed in skins and thong sandals, with their bows and arrows over their shoulders, and carrying spears and digging sticks, they'll lead you through the dry grass and bush on a three-hour walk through one of the most remote areas on earth. You'll be shown how to trap a bird or animal, how to make fire, which plants and trees will heal and sustain you, and at the end of the walk, they will dance and sing for you. This is pure magic.
- if you're looking for solitude, this is the place
- great curio shop
- there's game here, but it's not always easy to find
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