Review: Tuludi

Aspire checks into one of the newest camps from Africa specialist Natural Selection

Location: Tuludi is set within the southern region of Khwai Private Reserve, a 200,000-hectare concession that borders both Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park.

Here, the Okavango Delta’s rivers, waterways and floodplains bleed into sprawling stretches of dry woodland, concealing vast and varied flora and fauna. Khwai Private Reserve features its own airstrip, making it accessible via light aircraft from Maun and Kasane airports, and any other camp in northern Botswana.

First impressions: Tuludi feels like the new kid on the block – partly because it is (unveiled in July 2019, the property only managed a few months of operation before the Covid-19 pandemic safari camp offering.

Indeed, Tuludi is proof that style and substance needn’t be mutually exclusive; that you can be chic and sophisticated even while deep in the wild.

The facts: Tuludi is one of the newest camps from Africa specialist Natural Selection, which owns and runs the property. The brand – known for its Botswana flagship, Jack’s Camp – operates 25 lodges across Botswana, South Africa and Namibia, and has four camps in Khwai Private Reserve (no other brand operates here).

Intimate and exclusive, Tuludi features seven standalone tented rooms scattered among a grove of leafy leadwood trees, encompassing six twins and doubles and one family suite. Each room is connected by a network of wooden boardwalks.

The property is unfenced, so guides escort you at night. The main camp is set over a series of wooden and canvas stilted structures; the centrepiece is the bar – adorned with a beautiful bird mural – and restaurant area at the front of the property, where a stunning open-air veranda overlooks the delta floodplains boasting sunken seating and a glowing firepit in the evenings.

Quirky features include a treehouse library, set four metres above the ground in the tree branches, complete with a slide. There’s also a swimming pool and camp shop.

Guests should prepare to be well fed: hearty breakfasts are enjoyed before sunrise, followed by a coffee and pastry stop in the bush. Three-course lunches and dinners are feasts for the senses – and washed down with generous helpings of Okavango Delta gin.

Ideal for: Design-forward clients who don’t want to compromise on style while on safari. The property will also appeal to those who value their space: the exclusive nature of the lodge means that even at full occupancy there is only 16 guests in camp, and only three cars are allowed out in the reserve at any one time.

Explore: Visitors can spend their days enjoying morning, afternoon and evening game drives. There’s also the option of walking safaris and, subject to water levels, boat trips and mokoro excursions, where guests will track the waterways of the delta on traditional wooden dug-out canoes.

In dry season, between April and October, and at an extra cost, clients can arrange to sleep out under the stars at the property’s Skybeds platform, a two-hour drive from camp.

Wow: Secluded suites are expansive and exquisitely designed. The door, set at the top of an ascending walkway, opens out onto a huge bedroom with a pitched roof. There’s a writing desk, Nespresso coffee machine, separate dressing room and an en suite bathroom with twin washbasins and a brass[1]embossed shower with emerald-green tiles. Guests hoping to bathe alfresco – since there’s nothing but wildlife for neighbours – will be in luck: there’s an outdoor shower built around the trunk of a tree and a free-standing tub set against the backdrop of the bush.

Three of the room’s tented walls are unzipped throughout the day, giving residents an unimpeded view of the nature that surrounds them.

Outside, a wooden veranda has been carved around the trees, furnished with a plunge pool and outdoor seating area with a hanging basket chair.

Every detail has been considered, from the colourful cushion prints and artwork inspired by local wildlife and vegetation, to the antique artefacts and trinkets such as maps, trunks and telescopes scattered across the camp. It’s contemporary and stylish, without losing sight of where it is.

Book it: Rates lead in at $1,395 per person per night during the ‘green’ season. Prices include accommodation, all meals and drinks, Wi-Fi, guest laundry, daily activities, airstrip transfers, guiding, park entry fees and VAT.

Erica Rich

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