Fancy a round of golf? Do so in very close proximity to the vast elephant population surrounding the course at Cresta Mowana Safari Resort & Spa. Magical- even if you have to wait for various game to be coaxed off the course.
Here on the banks of the Chobe River, in north- eastern Botswana, on the outskirts of the town of Kasane, there’s no rush in any case- unless it’s to bring your camera or binoculars to your eye in this fabulous game viewing destination. Rather chill, catch a cocktail, as you enjoy views from the beautiful grounds across the river and the floodplains into Namibia on the far side.
Enjoy the friendly service, the extensive facilities and activities- on and off site- not forgetting about nine holes of golf of course. Enjoy, too, the old world yet fresh style of this grande dame, the recent recipient of a major overhaul.
The brief was to freshen up the whole property, taking inspiration from the river and the surrounding vegetation, and to make it contemporary. I would definitely say the overall tone of “luxury meets nature” was achieved and, having visited before, appreciate the new decks, the decluttering, the clean, contemporary surfaces with minimalistic organic elements like chandeliers and iconic pieces of furniture and wall sculptures.
The fresh blues and greens with greys and white lighten everything and create a cool, calm, refreshing feel which complements the warmth of the thatch and terracotta flooring. The tech upgrades are much appreciated, with an improved Wi-Fi experience and many more plug points- although the large tv in my room was never switched on. Too much to do.
Mowana, more elevated than other lodges on the Botswana river bank, has arguably the best views, with all 112 bedrooms and four suites having sliding glass doors opening onto a private patio with views of the Chobe River, though you may have to share the patio with vervet monkeys or a warthog or two, especially if you have fruit. The upstairs bar is the place to be if you want to see the most beautiful African sunsets.
Within the resort complex the mowana (baobab) is a central focus point. The high thatched roof of the lobby pretty much points at the tree, and lodge buildings circle it- at a respectful distance.
The hotel amenities are superb. it has tennis court, several swimming pools, golf course, gym, spa- and the masseurs really know their stuff!
Mowana is a 10-minute drive from the North part of the 11 700 square kilometre Chobe National Park. Arguments rage as to whether the elephant population is 60 000 or 120 000. It really does not matter which is correct as the sight of herds numbering in the hundreds is a sight you will never forget. In this park, where predators like lion, leopard and wild dog abound, it is no wonder it has been called the Galapagos of Africa.
Another argument (mine) is that the best way to view game is from a boat. Mowana’s custom designed game viewing boats are designed to go where the larger game viewing boats are not able to, creating an opportunity to get up close and personal with what the Chobe has to offer.
Other options on the Chobe- and neighbouring Zambezi- include an outing on Flame of Africa’s luxurious double decker Chobe Style or a day aboard the triple decker Chobe Explorer, or fishing. These particular waters are home to the voracious, most powerful power to weight ratio fresh water fish in the world- the tiger fish- a true delight to every serious or amateur angler.
Or outings to Victoria Falls (full day) which, if you’ve not been, is a moving must-do. Impalila Island, which straddles the intersection of where four countries- Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia- meet, is another interesting visit, with a huge 2000-year-old baobab tree riddled with bullets from when South African armed forces used the tree as both a lookout, a machine gun placement and- clearly- target practice.
That mowana outlasted all- and, I’m sure, your memories of Cresta Mowana Safari Resort & Spa will similarly linger. You can experience this by taking advantage of the 2019 Mowana Christmas special of P7425 (approximately R10042) for a three night stay.