We landed in Maun from Gaborone on an early morning flight. The Belmond Group is eagerly waiting for the guests, comprising of myself and a fellow travel buddy at the Maun Airport. We depart Maun by road, in an open 4x4 Safari Vehicle.
It is a long drive from Maun to Khwai, not because of the distance but because the gravel road is bumpy. It takes some patience to get used to sitting back and just taking in the sights and sounds along the route. The trip to Khwai is about 4-5 hours. The duration of the trip to base is worth every minute. We are treated to the best scenes that Botswana has to offer on this part of the country. It is scenic in the sense that you get to see humans settlers and wildlife along the way. We are fortunate to spot zebras, elephants, and wildebeest.
Upon arrival at Khwai River Lodge, we are taken through camp orientation on safety, meals and times for game drives. After the hours spent on the road, I am happy to check into my room. I am literally blown away. It is interesting on how you can find luxury in the middle of the wilderness far away from civilization. The room has a deck that overlooks the Kh- wai River, which divides the Khwai concession from Moremi Game Reserve. I marvel at the king size bed in the luxurious room. The tented luxury room is even air-conditioned with a beautiful wooden bathroom. Ideally, this means that one gets the luxury of the city right in the middle of the bush.
The rooms are built in such a way that you can lazy about on your hammock and still be able to spot wildlife in the open lush fields along the river. The king-sized bed is netted to avoid being disturbed by the whizzing sounds of the mosquitoes.
There was no time to lazy about on the ham- mock, admiring the Khwai River as on the par- ticular day, we arrived right in time for lunch. I love food, and therefore went straight to the restaurant to explore what was offered. It was not a buffet but rather they offered a menu with different choices on the starters, main course as well as dessert. This is a true 5 -star dining experience in the wilderness.
The guests also get to drive out on a scenic game drive. Khwai is known for a good number of birds and we spotted a lot of them ranging from Eagles, cranes owls to name just a few. In no time, dark clouds are above us and the dark skies let loose with rain, lightning and thunder. But you will never know what is around the corner even under such heavy rain conditions. It is then that we spot lionesses on a hunt.
They don’t make a kill or go far from where we spotted them. One makes its way back closer to where we were, with the cubs following their mom. The cubs seem a bit shy, Richard Sepopo, our Tour Guide explains that it is probably the first time the cubs see a vehicle. This is most likely because of lockdowns and travel restric- tions. Even some paths have overgrown because they were not in use for sometime.
Nights in the wilderness are amazing espe- cially if you will be sleeping in a luxury-tented room on the banks of the Khwai River. In a place like this, you sleep like a baby listening to all kinds of sounds made by crickets, frogs, hip- pos, owls and lions in the heart of the night.