Nestled in the heart of the Khwai Private Reserve in Botswana, Sable Alley Luxury Resort from Natural Selection offers a true escape to nature with its breath-taking location on the banks of a lily-covered lagoon.
From the moment you arrive there is a sense of adventure and excitement, with ‘harrumphing’ hippos and buffalos gathering around the watering hole right before you.
Six helicopters circled above us as we arrived, flying low over the riverine forests before coming into land one by one.
Now that is arriving in style!
Luckily for those of us without access to a helicopter pilot, the five-hour drive from Maun is just as exciting and thrilling.
As you wind your way deeper through the African bush, you won’t be able to escape the climbing anticipation of what’s to come, and despite the challenging roads, it’s still a thrilling drive that adds to the overall adventure of your stay.
The lodge’s centrepiece is a beautifully designed thatched shaded area that serves as the main gathering spot for guests.
Here, there is something for everyone; you can relax in the lounge, sip a cocktail at the bar, take a dip in the swimming pool, or warm up by the fire pit.
There is plenty of space to enjoy some privacy, while the communal areas provide the perfect spot to mingle with friends and other guests.
Sable Alley boasts ten sophisticated twin tents, plus two larger family tents, all overlooking the waterholes.
The décor is African chic, with natural tones in keeping with the stunning surroundings.
The rooms are well-lit and beautifully designed, featuring large beds covered with a mosquito net, indoor and outdoor seating areas, a writing desk, and en-suite bathrooms with both indoor and outdoor showers.
All the lodges are solar-powered, allowing you to charge your phones, camera batteries and laptops as you relax and watch the hippos from the sanctuary of your private balcony.
The game viewing surrounding the Sable Alley is fantastic, with abundant hippos around the camp, but for the full experience, you should take a game drive.
On ours, we had an incredibly knowledgeable guide, Molls, who had tracked a family of leopards the day before for three hours.
We were lucky to see a group of elephants walking across the delta, their massive bodies moving gracefully through the river as a rainbow appeared in the sky, it was spectacular.
As they passed you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and wonder.
This was nature at its finest, reminding us of the beauty and power of the natural world.
As dusk approached, we found a lone hyena standing watchful and alert just outside the entrance of its den.
Its fur was a patchwork of greys and browns and was perfectly camouflaged against the forest floor.
Night drives are also available, offering the possibility of spotting some nocturnal animals, including leopards, honey badgers and wild dogs.
Sable Alley offers ‘mokoro’ canoe trips for those feeling more adventurous.
The mokoro, a traditional canoe-like boat, is the perfect vessel for exploring the tranquil waterways of the African delta.
You are punted along the river by your guide, gently moving silently through the water, allowing you to get up close and personal with the wildlife.
Our tour guide expertly navigated the narrow waterways, steering the mokoro through the reeds and lily pads that line the riverbank.
As we passed a bend in the river our guide pointed out an elephant on the bank ahead.
The bull elephant stood majestically in the water, almost entirely submerged, with only his trunk and the top of his head visible above the surface.
It was a magnificent sight to see this magnificent creature at home in his natural habitat.
The Natural Selection staff at Sable Alley are sociable and friendly, while remaining professional and efficient at all times.
Many of the staff are from nearby villages, adding to the authentic and welcoming atmosphere with their local knowledge.
Sable Alley has partnered with the community in Khwai, with proceeds from staying here going straight back into local village projects.
The culinary experience is truly exceptional.
The quality of the food is a testament to the skill and talent of the lodge’s chefs.
They create delicious and nutritious meals that cater to all dietary requirements using the freshest ingredients, locally sourced wherever possible.
So, whether you’re a meat-eater, vegetarian, or vegan you can rest assured that you’ll be well-catered for at this luxurious safari lodge.
Our three-course dinners were a highlight, we enjoyed smoked salmon, butternut squash soup, succulent steaks, and vegetarian ratatouille, and not to forget the delicious dessert selection at every meal.
For breakfast and lunch, guests have a range of options, including traditional African dishes, international favourites, and a selection of healthier options.
Sundowners, the traditional African pre-dinner drinks, are a must-try at Sable Alley.
Accompanied by tasty nibbles, these refreshing drinks are the perfect way to unwind after a long day of game drives and other safari activities.
You won’t be disappointed, bored or hungry at Sable Alley.
From its stunning location on the banks of the lush lagoon to the smart and sophisticated tented camps, there’s something for everyone here.
So, whether you arrive by helicopter or 4x4, get ready for an unforgettable adventure.
Sable Alley is located in the Khawi private reserve which means you are only sharing the game viewing with Natural Selections other camps.
Find out more on the official website.
Words and images: Mark Hakansson