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The 1000th UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Okavango Delta in northwest Botswana is an oasis in the Kalahari desert. The largest inland delta on the planet, this rare ecosystem is home to some of the world’s most endangered animals—and one of the world’s most luxurious lodges.
On a private island surrounded by some of the deepest stretches of water in the Delta, Belmond Eagle Island Lodge is considered the ultimate water-based lodge experience in Africa. Here guests can silently glide past hippos in canoe-like mekoros, take in the vastness of the Delta and see elephants, giraffes and zebras from above in a helicopter, go on a horse riding or motorboat safari, visit local villagers, or simply relax in the beauty of the lodge.
Belmond’s flagship safari lodge reopened in November 2015 after a ten month rebuild that took both the lodge’s design and environmental credentials to a new level. Each of the 12 new spacious and light-filled deluxe tented rooms has its own plunge pool and deck, positioned in such a way that when guests retire to their rooms they are afforded total privacy and can see no signs of human life—only Botswana’s unique animals and birds.
Housed on raised wooden platforms and shaded by traditional African thatched roofs, with discreet air conditioning for when the temperatures rise, the centrepiece of the 82 square metre rooms is an oversized bed that looks out over the Delta. The unusual grey mosquito netting makes for easier viewing of animals at night and the copper finish on the bed heads is inspired by Botswana’s copper mining tradition; each one perforated with tiny holes in a water lily pattern that allows light to filter through and flicker on the bed.
A black free-standing bathtub adds drama to the bathroom where guests can also choose between an indoor and outdoor shower, the latter with views over the Delta, and with both wet areas featuring a rippling water effect in the cemcrete floor.
The rooms may have Wi-Fi and subtle USB chargers for modern devices, but elegant echoes of colonial camp days are felt throughout, including hand-stitched leather pockets for binoculars on custom-designed tables and a mini bar that looks like an explorer’s toolbox and reveals drawers and hidden cupboards full of complimentary drinks and guest amenities.
After arriving by private charter plane on an airstrip that has been temporarily cleared of wildlife, guests are welcomed at a boma, or traditional hut, before exploring the lodge. Here structures are inspired by the massive ant nests that are found in the area, their organic shapes rising from the ground and bending around the camp’s ancient trees.
In the lounge guests can relax by a large fireplace and artisanal style bar made from locally sourced timber, while in the dining pavilion they can gather around the open-style kitchen and pizza oven at meal times. Both areas have stunning Delta views, and are linked by an external deck.
Guests can mingle in the Fish Eagle Bar where the white, brown and bright yellow colour scheme is inspired by the bird the lodge is named after—and can listen out for its evocative high-pitched whistle. The nearby open camp fire and barbecue area provides more places for guests to connect as they swap tales from their safaris under a blanket of stars.
Inge Moore, Principal & Creative Director of the design firm The Gallery HBA says she brought the natural world and spirit of adventure into every area of the lodge. “By using local artisans and materials, reinventing traditional safari camp paraphernalia and translating the natural world into the interiors, the design is crafted to fill the hearts and minds of both safari camp connoisseurs and newcomers alike.”
Stays at Belmond Eagle Island Lodge include full board with breakfast, lunch and dinner along with drinks including alcohol, with some premium brands and imported champagnes at additional cost. Dining options range from light and healthy to indulgent, and special dietary requests can be catered for. Meanwhile same day complimentary laundry keeps safari clothing options in the walk in wardrobes fresh.
Stays here also come with a sense of being transported to a different world. A world of calm where you’re at one with nature. “The Delta is all about slowing down and taking time out to sit on your deck and enjoy Eagle Island’s tranquillity and peace,” Christelle Horne, General Manager of Belmond Safaris, explains.
“There are no outside influences. No cars, no people apart from the small group of fellow travellers in the lodge. You can lie in your pool or sit on your deck and watch an elephant walk past, or watch antelope in the river or hippos in the dam. Here nature comes to you.”
For the full Botswana nature experience, Belmond Eagle Island Lodge can be combined with stays at Belmond’s other luxury Botswana lodges: Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge in the Chobe National Park and Belmond Khwai River Lodge in the Moremi Wildlife Reserve.
Belmond Eagle Island Lodge, rebuilt and reopened in November 2015 is perched on a private island in the water wonderland of Botswana's Okavango Delta, recently named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is Belmond's flagship safari lodge.
Belmond owns and operates three luxury safari lodges in Botswana, each situated in a unique location and eco-system, which gives guests the opportunity to experience a variety of safari experiences within one complete itinerary.Download Factsheet