“From your pool, you often see elephants wander by,” says Garryd, the manager of Ngoma Safari Lodge in Botswana, Africa.
“They also like to drink from the pool. If you return to your room and see the pool empty, you’ll know thirsty elephants have been by.”
“And keep your door closed too so the baboons don’t go in,” Garryd adds.
One of the best Chobe safari lodges
Ngoma Safari Lodge is found just outside Botswana’s Chobe National Park, where wildlife is prolific.
The park isn’t fenced, so animals wander freely beyond the park’s borders across Ngoma’s property.
We did our research before staying here, and Ngoma ranks right up there with the top Chobe safari lodges.
It’s also part of Machaba Safaris, an organization that helps support the local community.
Ngoma Safari Lodge: Oh, the views!
Ngoma Safari Lodge is decidedly romantic.
It has eight, butter-yellow stone chalets with thatch roofs.
Strung along an escarpment overlooking the wide flood plain of the Chobe River, each chalet has a private plunge pool on the outside terrace.
We especially love the bathroom at the back half of our egg-shaped chalet – it’s all pale gold stone with a river of inlaid pebbles in the floor and two egg-shaped, above-the-counter sinks.
A carved tree stump serves as a chair when sitting at the bathroom vanity.
And how to describe the river views?
Let’s just say they’re so captivating that you’ll spend a lot of time fussing over how your photos can do justice to them – which they simply can’t.
You see plenty of animals too right from the dining room.
Placed amongst centuries-old baobab trees, Ngoma’s thatched-roof restaurant overlooks a waterhole where elephants, giraffes and other animals drink.
Over breakfast – whisked egg white topped with tomato, bacon and cheese, with mushrooms on the side – we see a dazzle of zebras drinking from the water hole below the restaurant.
At dinner one evening, Garryd shines his flashlight into the bush, and we see a huge herd of elephants tromping down about 100 feet past the restaurant.
What’s the food like?
We’ve talked before about how you’re wined and dined very well on safari.
Ngoma Safari Lodge is no exception; meals are delicious.
Fresh herbs come from a local supplier in the nearby village.
All bread, muffins and pastries are baked at Ngoma.
At the end of the day, after sunset artisanal gin-and-tonics, candlelight dinners are three-course affairs.
The menu changes nightly, depending on what the chef wants to offer.
Entrée choices might include lamb with mint sauce, Botswana prime beef fillet served with a red wine jus, or kingklip fish in a coconut sauce.
What’s the weather like?
September and October in Chobe – while prime game viewing months – are known to be super hot.
In early June, however, it’s cold first thing in the morning and the air is fresh and crisp; we put on fleece-lined ponchos (provided) when driving out in the open Land Rover.
By mid-morning, the sun in the clear blue sky has heated up the land and it’s deliciously warm.
Come early afternoon, it’s dry and hot – we could even take a dip in our plunge pool if we felt like it.
By dinner time at 7:30 pm, we throw our sweaters on again and wrap ourselves in blankets to dine outside under a starlit sky at a table just for the two of us.
Game viewing at Ngoma Safari Lodge
Luxury Botswana safari lodges should boast superb game viewing, right? No worries – you get that here.
Chobe National Park is known as the “Land of the Giants” because it’s home to so many elephants.
But we also come across a large variety of other animal species too.
Ngoma’s game drives occur in small groups (we share our vehicle with just one other couple). Vehicles head off separately in different directions, so you may not see another vehicle for long stretches of time.
The full-day game drive and river boat excursion – with an elegant picnic lunch in the wild – is a highlight.
For an affordable luxury stay combined with wildlife-rich Chobe safari excursions, Ngoma Safari Lodge ticks all the boxes.
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Photo credits: 4 and 11 to 13 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase
We stayed at Ngoma Safari Lodge as media guests. But as professional travel writers who adhere to professional codes of ethics, we always keep the right to write what we like.