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Ngoma Safari Lodge Review: The Best in Chobe National Park

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.

Elephants sometimes drink right from the pool of your chalet at Ngoma Safari Lodge, Chobe National Park.
Elephants sometimes drink right from the pool of your chalet

One of the best Chobe safari lodges

Ngoma Safari Lodge, Botswana
Where to stay in Chobe National Park? Ngoma Safari Lodge!

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!

Chobe safari lodges - Ngoma Safari Lodge
Wake up to great views beyond your toes through picture windows like these!

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.

Chobe safari lodges - Ngoma Safari Lodge
If we weren’t busy on games drives, we’d be content to sit out on our deck all day

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.

One of the top Chobe safari lodges, Ngoma overlooks the mesmerizing Chobe River floodplain
One of the top Chobe safari lodges, Ngoma overlooks the mesmerizing Chobe River floodplain

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.

Sunset cocktails before dinner

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.

ngoma safari lodge dining room
Dinner is about to be served!

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.

Sundowners at the bar at Ngoma Safari Lodge
There’s no better place for a sundowner at the end of the day than Ngoma’s bar

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.

accommodation in chobe national park
Elephants? To be expected when booking accommodation in Chobe National Park

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.

These two giraffes are circling each other in a strange dance-turned-playfight

It’s high on the list of best lodges in Chobe!

Location, location, location

One reason our Ngoma Safari Lodge review is so positive is because Ngoma is located just outside Chobe National Park’s less-visited West Gate.

Most Chobe lodges are located near the East Gate almost 30 miles away, and most visitors to the park enter through this gate and stay in that area for their game drives.

This means you don’t see many other vehicles on your game drives when staying at Ngoma Safari Lodge – so it feels more wild.

This reason alone makes it tops among Chobe safari lodges.

Another magnificent sunset over the Chobe River
Another magnificent sunset over the Chobe River

Easy to get to

About an hour’s drive from Kasane (Botswana), Ngoma Safari Lodge is easy to get to from Victoria Falls, another popular stop on Africa’s southern safari circuit.

Bottom line?

For an affordable luxury stay combined with wildlife-rich Chobe safari excursions, Ngoma Safari Lodge ticks all the boxes.

The magic hour

Rates and booking information

Rates at Ngoma include all meals, alcoholic and other drinks, and game drives.

See the Ngoma Safari Lodge website for more information.

More Ngoma Safari Lodge reviews: You can also see other reviews and check rates on TripAdvisor

Experience more of Africa!

Zambia: Check out the Chinzombo safari camp in Zambia. It wows with leopards and luxury!

Zanzibar: Visit the historic capital of Zanzibar, and you’ll be entranced by all the amazing things you can do in Stone Town.

South Africa: Here’s our guide to hiking up Table Mountain in Cape Town.

Our top travel tips and resources

Hotels: is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)

Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours, plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out Viator (a TripAdvisor company) and GetYourGuide.

Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.

Travel insurance: SafetyWing is designed for frequent travelers, long-term adventurers and digital nomads. It covers medical expenses, lost checked luggage, trip interruption and more. We also have and recommend Medjet for global air medical transportation and travel security.

Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)

Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.

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Ngoma Safari Lodge

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.

About the authors

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!

Melissa S.

Tuesday 31st of January 2023

We stayed at Ngoma Safari Lodge in December and it is incredible!!

A herd of buffalo came right to our kids' room!

We must have seen over 1,000 elephants — not kidding! Plus hundreds of giraffes, zebras, impala, buffalo. The amount of wildlife is crazy. Male and female lions too. Hippos!

We recommend people do a boat safari too. We loved watching the elephants in the water.

Janice and George

Wednesday 1st of February 2023

Thanks for sharing! You obviously had a fantastic time at Ngoma Safari Lodge :-).

As you know, we loved our safari experience there too...

Irene S Levine

Thursday 15th of February 2018

What views! Both on your game drives and at the lodge. Ngoma Safari Lodge seems to offer an awesome safari experience!

Janice and George

Saturday 17th of February 2018

We were really quite blown away by the numbers and variety of animals we saw, especially on the full day safari expedition combining the game drive with the river boat tour. Chobe is a great option for those who want an easily accessible safari experience. And because it's more remote, Ngoma Safari Lodge feels much more wild and in the bush than the hotels and lodges near the Kasane entrance to Chobe National Park.