This is classic Africa, a solid structure of wood and stone built before the designer-chic lodge invasion. This six-chalet lodge–completely upgraded in 2014–is at the eastern end of the Caprivi Strip (before the strip broadens and widens on its way to Botswana) on a small island in a teak forest in the Bwabwata National Park. Here, the deep, clear waters of the Kwando River lap the island's edges, and swamp boubous whistle their melodious calls. Take the time to climb to the highest viewing deck—up in that bird-rich canopy your inner spirit will be restored. A brass lizard, frozen in time, scurries up a wooden stair rail, while a long-lashed giraffe with bead earrings adorns the outside of one door. Two mokoros act as bookcases; a tiny, tiled elephant watches you from a corner of the stone floor; and in your emperor-size chalet, you'll find candles in carved logs, faded kilims, and a personal plunge pool beside the rushing river. This river trip is one you won't likely forget. Though elephants are around, this is not Big Five country; it's a place to unwind, which is a perfect way to end a safari.
Caprivi Strip, Namibia