Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Botswana product updates from New Frontiers Tours

Destination BOTSWANA

New Frontiers Tours recently visited Botswana and has lots of great updates below. Ask your New Frontiers consultant for full details or to book any of the properties below (when they are open and refurbished). Sally Moon, in-house Botswana guru, is our go-to resource for all things Bots. Many of our US team consultants, and Craig himself, have recently visited Botswana, as well. 

Belmond Eagle Island Lodge - Okavango Delta
Belmond Eagle Island Lodge has closed for a complete rebuild and refurbishment. Opening on the 1st of November it will be the flagship of Belmond Safaris three safari lodges. Taking inspiration from the delta's natural beauty the 12 light, bright suites will feature a colour palette of dusty gold, bright yellows and oranges. Furnished with day beds, walk-in wardrobes and indoor and outdoor showers guests can unpack and relax in comfort. The public areas are also being totally redesigned and will include the creation of a roomy reception area, restaurant with inside and outside dining, lounge area with central bar and library and a new swimming pool. A roof will span across the entire space allowing guests to move freely between the different areas should it rain.

Camp Kuzuma - Kazuma Forest Reserve
A couple of years ago Sally stayed at Camp Kuzuma and was not impressed. Upon hearing the camp had undergone a soft refurbishment and a lot of hard work had taken place behind the scenes she decided it was time to make a return visit and is thrilled she took the trouble to do so.

Situated in the Kazuma Forest Reserve, 85 kms from Kasane, Camp Kuzuma has five spacious canvas units with en-suite bath and indoor and outdoor showers. There are plans to build a family unit. The attractive lounge, bar, dining area, bush spa and pool deck look out onto a waterhole which, depending on the time of year, is frequented by a variety of animals - especially elephant. Passionate and hands-on, General Manager Jaco Kok has created a warm and friendly atmosphere where nothing is too much trouble for his small but attentive team. Dinner and breakfast are worthy of a special mention as they were absolutely delicious and most attractively presented.

Chobe Game Lodge - Chobe National Park
Life at Chobe Game Lodge certainly doesn't stand still. Their latest innovation and a first for Botswana is the introduction of an electric safari vehicle and river skimmer that produce zero exhaust emissions. In addition to reducing the carbon footprint in a pristine and sensitive environment (electricity is produced by the renewable energy from the Zambezi Hydro-electric power scheme) the guest experience is enhanced by game viewing in silence. Further boats and vehicles are already in the process of conversion to the advanced lightweight lithium battery operated engines and Chobe Game Lodge looks set to have the first all-electric run game-viewing fleet in Africa. A handful of the 16 strong Chobe Angels (all girl) guiding team recently underwent extensive training at Mashatu and are extremely proud of their achievements.
The entire west wing of the lodge is closed for refurbishment and will re-open on the 16th of July

On her recent visit Sally stayed in the newly refurbished Elizabeth Taylor Suite. She loved the feeling of spaciousness that has been created by knocking down the wall between the bedroom and sitting room and the installation of French doors that lead out onto the terraced private pool. New furniture and light fittings combined with an eclectic collection of colourful textured fabrics complement the Moroccan themed d├ęcor in the main guest areas. Best of all, the bathrooms have been extended and now feature a standalone bath, massive shower and contemporary fittings. A new walkway links the dining room to the boardwalk where private dining is a feature. Last but not least, new Executive Chef, Garth Edas (ex Singita), is refining the extensive menu and will no doubt be adding a couple of his signature dishes.

Duba Plains & Duba Expedition Camp - Selinda Concession
Duba Plains is closing on the 25th of April for a complete rebuild and redesign. When it opens at a date to be advised in 2016 the new look Duba Plains will incorporate the best design features from Zarafa and the Great Plains east African camps - this is great news and we can't wait to see the end result.

From the 01st of May guests will be accommodated in Duba Exploration Camp, situated a mere 1 kilometre from Duba Plains. Overlooking grassy floodplains will be six comfortable tents laid out in the shape of a 'T'. Set on a low deck with double doors leading out onto a large veranda, each tent features a good size bedroom behind which is a dressing area with a washbasin and wc on either side. The main guest area will have a massage spot but no swimming pool (this could change). Activities include day and night game drives, bush walks and exploring the waterways by boat. It should be noted guides accommodation will remain at Duba Plains. Rates and booking terms and conditions remain unchanged.

Khwai Tented Camp and Khwai Family Camp - Moremi Game Reserve
Work is about to start on building a brand new Khwai Tented Camp. Whilst building work is taking place, the current KTC will continue to operate as normal and every effort will be made to ensure guest enjoyment is not compromised.
When the new KTC is complete the existing KTC will be converted into a family camp, Khwai Family Camp, featuring two family units and three standard tents. Once both camps are up and running the current family cottage, which will sit between the two camps, will be converted into a Conservation and Research Centre.

Operating independently, KTC and KFC may be combined to accommodate larger groups. The plan is to replace the current vehicle fleet - KTC already has one new vehicle.

Despite its relative proximity to Khwai village, KTC is a great example of where man and wildlife co-exist in harmony. It's one of the few camps in Botswana where guests can experience village culture.

Shinde & Shinde Enclave - Okavango Delta
When Shinde re-opens for the season on the 01st of March it will have been completely refurbished. The tents are being extended and, when combined with new soft furnishings in classic tones befitting the natural surroundings, will provide the perfect wilderness retreat. Panoramic sliding doors lead onto an extended front deck from where guests may admire the expansive views across the Okavango Delta's mysterious waterways and open grasslands. The larger and completely remodelled bathrooms will also be refitted with new, stylish brass fittings and a new 'wet room' style shower. Apart from new softs and furniture, Shinde's unique multi-tiered dining room and lounge will remain essentially unchanged, with some minor alterations to the bar area adjacent to the fire deck.

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