The ultimate Okavango Delta water-based safari, Belmond Eagle Island Lodge in Botswana reopens in November 2015 following an almost total rebuild, bringing innovation and originality to the Okavango experience. Reflecting the region’s natural beauty and offering an insight into the heart of the delta, local artisans and materials have been used to create the lodge’s fresh new tented guest accommodation, restaurant and lounge.
Each of the lodge’s new 12 Deluxe Tented Rooms is 82 square-meters in size and boasts its own plunge pool and outdoor deck. Offering contemporary luxury, every detail has been carefully thought-out, from a mini-bar crafted in the style of an explorer’s toolbox to the hand-stitched waxy leather upholstery on furniture and a custom-designed table with canvas and leather pockets. The centrepiece is an oversized bed with views onto the delta. Its handmade copper finish headboard references Botswana’s mining tradition and its design, inspired by the wildlife that inhabits the lagoons, allows light to filter through and dance on the bed. Like the gentle hues of the surrounding grassland, the colour palette combines greens and soft yellows with subtle grey tones, reflecting the land itself as well as the elephants that feed nearby. Shades of dusty gold and bright yellow have been added to suggest the vibrancy of birds. Each Deluxe Tented Room features a luxurious bathroom with a large bathtub, a double vanity unit and a walk in wardrobe, as well as a walled outdoor shower with a window looking onto the delta.
The public areas of the lodge have also been totally renovated and now include a roomier reception area, new restaurant offering inside and outside dining and new lounge area with bar and library. Just like the numerous water channels that weave through the grasslands, the design flows through the spaces, highlighting the stunning delta views from various vantage points.
At the heart of the restaurant is a family-style open kitchen with a wood-burning pizza oven. Collections of explorer’s instruments and displays of brightly coloured insects add to the sense of discovery, and contemporary lights inspired by intricate birds’ nests weave intriguing shadows across the space in the evening.
The lounge connects to the restaurant by way of an outside deck. Featuring an artisanal style bar made from locally sourced timber and a huge fireplace, the lounge is a place in which to relax. Natural elements are retained wherever possible with an ancient sycamore fig tree being incorporated into the design, sheltering a hanging cocoon swing on which to enjoy the views. Butterflies are drawn to the water in the Okavango Delta and have also been used as inspiration in elements of decoration. Inside the lounge, a kaleidoscope of handmade metal butterflies appears to fly through the air, illuminated to enhance the magical effect.
Outdoor areas include a new campfire and barbecue, in an enclave directly on the edge of the water channels, around which guests can gather at night to share their stories. Located close to the camp fire is another bar and alternative destination – Fish Eagle Bar, whose colour palette is inspired by the distinctive snow white chest, brown body and bright yellow beak of the indigenous bird.
Perched on a private island encircled by some of the deepest stretches of the Okavango Delta, one of the world’s largest inland water systems and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Belmond Eagle Island Lodge is one of three Belmond safari lodges in Botswana. No other lodge in Africa offers such a water-focused safari experience, with activities including motorboat safaris, barge cruises and mekoro (a local canoe) safaris, as well as walking and air safaris in a private helicopter.
For an all-embracing Northern Botswana experience, Belmond Eagle Island Lodge can be coupled together with Belmond’s two other luxury lodges, Belmond Khwai River Lodge in the Moremi Wildlife Reserve and Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge in Chobe National Park. All three were among the first lodges built in Botswana, and as pioneers in the region each was able to secure an unrivalled location, offering the most spectacular views of wildlife and the most authentic local experiences. Each lodge occupies a unique eco-system which, when combined, create a truly genuine African adventure, rooted in heritage, knowledge and the natural world.
Prices for a Deluxe Tented Room at Belmond Eagle Island Lodge start from $1,560 (approx. £1,000), based on double occupancy, per night. From 1st November until 23rd December 2015 Belmond is offering four nights for the price of three at any combination of Belmond safari lodges in Botswana and a complimentary 35 min helicopter safari when staying at Belmond Eagle Island Lodge. Accommodation is fully inclusive, including all meals, safari activities and alcohol. To book or for more information, visit belmond.com.