The first place we bedded down in Botswana was at the Ngoma Safari Lodge. We’d heard and read a great deal about this luxury destination: the accommodations are supposedly beyond belief and the safaris as well. Naturally, we were curious as cats about what was waiting for us in the renowned Chobe National Park…
It started in semi-adventurous fashion with our crossing the border (on foot!) from Zimbabwe to Botswana: after spotting my Swiss passport the black border guard greets us with the “Chuchichäschtli” shibboleth in perfectly unaccented Swiss German and with the biggest grin south of the equator! We have to be careful not to burst out laughing; who knows, it might get us arrested on the spot otherwise. This actually happened to acquaintances of ours, admittedly for more serious transgressions…
Such may have been their fate, but we on the other hand are picked up at the appointed time on the other side of the border by the driver from the Ngoma Safari Lodge and chauffeured without major obstacles (relatively speaking…) through the heart of Chobe National Park to our lodgings.
Grand arrival at Ngoma Safari Lodge
The reed-roofed lodge with its rustic ethnic look clings to the edge of a plateau to offer sweeping views of a near-by water hole and the Chobe River, which here forms the border with neighboring Namibia.
We actually were ushered into the lodge’s main building from the building’s back, but for a good reason: it let us move through lounge, restaurant, and terrace in a dramatic sequence of ever-larger spaces, a cascade of impressions that ended in the panoramic outdoors view and with being handed a welcome, moist towelette.
Now this is how you do reception!
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Lodge managers Judy and Peter bid us a cheery welcome as if they had known us for ages. And then there was Jona, the good-humored manager of the parent company Africa Albida Tourism, who did his level best to appreciate my well-worn witticisms and even top them now and then. In any event, the banter went non-stop.
Adventuring at Ngoma Safari Lodge
Ngoma Safari Lodge offers guests a variety of adventure activities: bush walks, game safaris, night safaris, and river cruises. Wildlife sightings are guaranteed, so dense is the population of all sorts of quadrupeds and bipeds here!
We did “the whole nine yards,” including the bush walk (here is our review), and enjoyed it all immensely!
The game safari and the day excursion into Chobe National Park are beyond the scope of this article, hence we posted separate reports on them. Because in Chobe National Park, there’s more than just swimming elephants to marvel at…
Those interested taking a break from being out in the wild can relax by the pool with a gin and tonic on the spacious terrace at sunset while watching a herd of buffalo pass in review. It just doesn’t get any better than this!
At least so we thought; after all, this was only our first lodge…
The lodge’s eight suites are just as stylish as the main building and appointed with just as fine an eye for detail. You can indulge in the spectacular view even from the canopy bed — simply sensational!
The “aahh-s und oohh-s” continued when we sat down to the appetizingly presented meals: Here, chef Eva and servers Zita, Peter, and Sam see to it that your physical well-being also gets its due. And how well they do so, here in the middle of a wilderness! For as the title of this article already hints: We wonder if in the Ngoma Safari Lodge we find ourselves in an outpost of civilization in the wilderness or if it is really one with this wilderness outside the adjacent national park…
At dinner on the second evening, we are surprised by a birthday cake for me and a serenade joined in by the cook, service staff and rangers. How delightful!
My birthday was actually a few months earlier, but the travel agent knew, and so presumably did the lodge operator, that we booked this Botswana trip for my 50th birthday. I guess they think it’s never too late to celebrate ;-)
Just for that, I tried to bluff that it was only my 30th. If only Katja hadn’t burst out laughing, I’m sure I would have fooled everyone!
Warm thanks go to…
Judy and Peter of Ngoma Safari Lodge! They manage the lodge with a great deal of passion and, together with their staff, touchingly look after their guests’ well-being.
Many thanks also to The Safari Source for the tip and for booking our trip. We will be happy to recommend you! Everything worked out beautifully ;-)