I was invited to experience a safari with Feline Fields in Botswana. School holidays were looming with not much on the horizon for my two kids but the prospect of more screen time. So I took them along.

As it turned out, it was the perfect teen breakaway!

What made this trip so special was experiencing two completely diverse safari destinations in one trip – the pristine, wilderness of the Okavango Delta and plains of the ancient Kalahari.

Digital detox in the wild

Feline Field Khwai Tented Camp, Okavango Delta 

Arriving by helicopter transfer from Maun was a great way to get my kids’ excitement levels up! We touched down 15 minutes later at an enthrallingly wild place filled with abundant wildlife in the 200 000-hectare Khwai Conservancy. The plentiful Khwai River and riverine forests are home to abundant wildlife typical of the Khwai region.

The Bell canvas tents are very unique and different to any other safari tent I’ve experienced.  Sumptuous and spacious and very comfortable with an en-suite bathroom furnished with a simple copper basin, flushing toilet and a large bucket shower filled each morning with hot water.  Honeymooners would love it here too  – the wonderfully intimate tents have a very feminine feel and ooze romance!

There is no electricity which really lets you sink into every element of the environment and reflect on the beauty all around you. With no device distractions, my kids were left with little choice but to immerse themselves in nature. After the initial shock of digital withdrawal, they emerged from their shells and grew curious about their surroundings. They noticed the tiniest details and wanted to know more….

I particularly loved the fact that you choose how to spend your time at Feline Fields Khwai Tented Camp,  at your own pace. You say what you want to do, and when. Morning, evening or full-day game drives are available, as are mokoro excursions, boat safaris,  catch and release fishing, and daily walking safari activities – all led by amazing local rangers and guides. We did everything and saw great sightings and had lots of superb photographic moments.

It’s a trend!  Disconnect & reconnect

Don’t underestimate how little touches can make you feel so very spoiled and cared for. The food was spectacular! Simple, not overdone, creative with lots of choices, and the team who took care of us were absolutely charming.

I’ve seen a lot of attentive service on my safari travels, but a well-timed sundowner cocktail floating towards my mokoro onboard an inner tube as the sun set the river on fire, tops my list! Our stay was peppered with loads of imaginative touches like this. It was 100% food for the soul!

Feline Fields The Lodge, Kalahari

Sad to leave the idyllic watery paradise of the Khwai, we were nevertheless excited to head by helicopter to Feline Fields’ second property – The Lodge.  A secluded retreat in Botswana’s Kalahari.  This untamed region welcomes only a handful of visitors each year, making it an ideal destination for a very private and peaceful African escape.

I was genuinely pleasantly surprise!  The lodge is designed with exclusivity and privacy at its core. The suites are positioned on the woodland’s edge, the suites are set far enough from each other so as to make you feel as though you’re in your own private home in the African wilderness! The suites were like an oasis with beautiful views across the endless savannah. Designed without walls to bring the Kalahari closer, we dined on raised decks and every sunrise and sunset sunk us further into the restful arms of the African bush.

Ruby and  I loved our welcoming Africology essential oil massage on arrival, then spent the afternoon lazing around the amazing lap pool. Again, how you spend your time here is yours to choose. You can explore the surroundings on fat bikes, hit a few golf balls on the rather novel driving range or if you fancy a game, there’s a tennis court in the middle of nowhere. Quite bizarre and random but somehow it just works!

What The Lodge is really known for however, is horse riding. The vast open plains make it the perfect environment to ride wild and free! There are horses for every level and you can ride whenever you want and for as long as you want.

The owner of The Lodge and Khwai Tented Camp is passionate about sustainability and Feline Field’s core ethos is rooted in empowerment and upliftment of the local people.

On our first evening, a group of Kalahari bushmen joined us around the fire in the lapa of the camp. Chatting freely via an interpreter, we were able to ask questions about their way of life and how they have adapted to modern times. The next morning we accompanied the family group on a 2-hour walk deep into the bush where they showed us their traditional survival skills. It was fascinating! The area is remote and sparse with little to no water so it’s not known for its big game or massive herds yet walking alongside people who know and understand the bush made every small sighting a fascinating discovery for us!

That evening we experienced a trance dance around the fire. The colours, sounds, rhythm, beat, heat, and dust were just transporting and certainly an experience my kids and I will never forget!

This is the perfect place to switch off, slow down, contemplate and reconnect to what really matters.

Often, when planning an African safari,  he knee jerk reaction is to want to spend time at a beach or river destination after being on a rigorous safari, but after our amazing ‘downtime’ in this remote, totally unexpected Kalahari outpost, I can recommend the The Lodge as the perfect post -safari ‘chillax and connect’ destination.

If you’re curious to know more and how to include these destinations in your Africa trip, feel free to contact me liesl@southerndestinations.com

See the Virtual Itinerary HERE