Fodor's Expert Review Deception Valley Lodge

Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Central, Botswana Fodor's Choice

Situated on private land bordering the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, this striking wood-and-thatch 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 thatched lounge, furnished with an African theme, has plush sofas and kilims (flat-woven carpets) leading out onto a wraparound deck, which faces a busy waterhole. 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, while a separate en suite bathroom houses a claw-foot bath and outside shower. Enjoy delicious food (try the tender oryx fillet marinated in Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, and herbs) including house-made bread and rolls, before sitting out under the blazing desert stars for a nightcap. Although you'll be taken on game drives, where you will be amazed at the skill of the bushman trackers, 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 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 afterward, they will dance and sing for you. This is pure magic.


  • amazing tracking skills
  • great value
  • fantastic bushman experience


  • no water activities
  • landscape not as scenic as inside the park
  • can get very dry and hot in summer


Local Flavor


Phones: 27-61-419–5064-in South Africa


10 chalets
Rate Includes: All-Inclusive

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