July 4

Chief’s Island: Where All The Wildlife Go


July 4, 2023

Welcome to Chief's Island in Botswana, the crown jewel of the Okavango Delta and a sanctuary for an astonishing array of wildlife. As the largest island in the delta, Chief's Island, holds the key to an unrivalled wildlife experience. Join us as we unveil the captivating secrets that make this destination a true haven for nature enthusiasts.

Mokoro safari along the shallow waterways in and around Chief's Camp

Experience the Delta in the most authentic way possible, Image Credit: Oddballs' Enclave Camp

Location and How to Get There

Chief's Island in the Okavango Delta is located within the pristine Moremi Game Reserve. To reach this remote wilderness, in most cases, you’ll have to catch a light aircraft from Botswana's Maun International Airport to a nearby airstrip. From there, a thrilling game drive or a short boat transfer will bring you to the Chief's Island lodges.

Elephant sighting on viewing deck

The game viewing opportunities at Sanctuary Chief's Camp are awe-inspiring, Image Credit: Sanctuary Chief's Camp

Why is Chief's Island a Wildlife Mecca?

When the delta's waters surge, Chief's Island becomes the largest area of refuge for countless animals. It's here, in this extraordinary setting, that you'll encounter the richest concentration of wildlife in Botswana.

You'll find lion, leopard, buffalo and elephant roaming freely. And, for those seeking rare sightings, both the black and white rhino grace these lands. Additionally, with a stroke of luck, you may even catch a glimpse of the endangered African wild dog, adding a touch of intrigue to your adventure.

Mother leopard with cub

Chief's Island is home to the Big 5 and a wealth of other wildlife, Image Credit: Wilderness Mombo

Yet, the wildlife encounters on Chief's Island extend far beyond African wild dogs and the famous Big 5. In fact, there are almost too many species to list! Here, you can witness zebra, giraffe, numerous antelope species dotting the landscape, flourishing birdlife in the skies, and so much more!

Lion and antelope standing in a grassy-area on Chief's Island

There's no end to the array of animals you'll find on Chief's Island, Image Credit: Wilderness Little Mombo

Chief's Island Activities

Discover a world of safari activities that will keep you captivated during your stay on Chief's Island. Prepare to get up close and personal with throngs of wildlife on sensational game drives, intimate nature walks, bush breakfasts, brunches and lunches, and, of course, classic boat and mokoro excursions.

While the availability of mokoro and boat trips may vary depending on the season and water levels, rest assured that our team will be there to assist you in planning your trip to ensure you make the most of these unique experiences. We've been to the Okavango Delta many times and know exactly what experiences you shouldn't miss!

Picnic in the wilderness

From game drives and walks to mokoro safaris and bush picnics, enjoy a host of activities, Image Credit: Wilderness Little Mombo

Our Favourite Chief's Island Lodges

As a very secluded and exclusive destination, Chief's Island offers a limited but exceptional range of camps and lodges. However, whether you're looking for a lap-of-luxury escape or something with a little rustic allure, Chief's Island has the perfect lodgings for you. Here's a selection of our personal favourites.

1. Sanctuary Chief's Camp

Found beneath a grove of jackalberry trees, Sanctuary Chief's Camp offers a remote oasis where you feel like you're the sole human presence for miles. Moreover, the camp has been designed in a "safari chic" style and boasts a number of facilities. 

Views of the delta from the camp's viewing deck

Relax and appreciate the views of the Okavango Delta, Image Credit: Sanctuary Chief's Camp

The bar and library area offers a refined space for relaxation, while the extended dining room and pizza deck allow you to delight in delectable creations. Alternatively, if you're seeking a bit of rejuvenation, a tranquil spa and well-equipped gym await, while a kids' playroom ensures your little ones have their own adventures.

Notably, Sanctuary Chief's Camp's accommodations are just as impressive, with big bush pavilions and luxury suites, each enjoying its own private dining area, outside seating area and a terrace pool – all ideal for absorbing the surrounding nature and wildlife passing by.

Plunge pool and outdoor deck

You can often view game without even leaving camp, Image Credit: Sanctuary Chief's Camp

2. Mombo Camp and Little Mombo Camp

For those seeking an authentic African safari, Mombo Camp and Little Mombo Camp are the ultimate choices. Perched on elevated platforms, these two camps treat you to some of the best views of the Okavango Delta. Moreover, embracing their historical roots, both camps proudly preserve the traditions of "old-world" safaris.

Firepit area overlooking delta views at sunset

A perfect choice for those interested in a rich and immersive African safari experience, Image Credit: Wilderness Mombo Camp

Tucked away in a verdant thicket of towering mangosteen and fig trees, Mombo Camp's spacious wood and canvas suites beckon with their plunge pools and expansive decks, offering sweeping vistas of the flourishing floodplains. Additionally, other facilities include a gym, spa, viewing deck and pool area, as well as a hide.

Outdoor private pool deck

An in-room massage treatment is a great way to recharge and relax, Image Credit: Wilderness Mombo Camp

Designed for exclusive-use groups and connected to its larger sibling, Mombo Camp, by a raised wooden walkway, Little Mombo maintains its self-sufficiency with its own lounge, dining area, firepit, boma, bar, and plunge pool. Its three spacious canvas rooms exude elegance and are exquisitely equipped with their own lounge, sala, verandah, and opulent bathroom.

Women enjoying the serenity of her private veranda and day bed

Little Mombo allows you to feel as if you have it practically to yourself, Image Credit: Wilderness Little Mombo

3. Oddballs' Camp and Oddballs' Enclave

Bordering the Moremi Game Reserve on a small island just off the edge of Chief’s Island, you'll find Oddballs' Camp and Oddballs' Enclave. These two remarkable camps have been meticulously designed to leave the lightest possible footprint on the environment. 

Viewing deck

Raised viewing decks overlooking the Delta, Image Credit: Oddball's Camp

What truly sets these camps apart is the sole provision of a personal guide for each pair of guests. These guides are not only intimately familiar with the area but were also born and raised here, granting them a wealth of knowledge about the intricate local culture and the fascinating dynamics of the ecosystem.

Dedicated guides offer fascinating insight into the complex ecosystem as well as the local culture, Image Credit: Oddballs' Camp

In terms of accommodation, Oddballs' Camp presents elegant ensuite tents perched on raised decks, providing an elevated vantage point to admire the breathtaking delta. What's more, the camp features a central bar and lounge area where you can unwind and socialise.

Tented room

Al fresco en-suite tents are built on elevated decks, Image Credit: Oddballs' Camp

On the other hand, at Oddballs' Enclave, the smaller, more exclusive counterpart to Oddballs' Camp, you'll find only a handful of "mini-Meru" tents, carefully crafted to provide a cosy and peaceful retreat. The emphasis is on tranquillity and privacy, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the wild surroundings and enjoy a true sense of seclusion.

Tented room interior with view

A more intimate and secluded offshoot of its sister camp, Oddballs’, Image Credit: Oddballs' Enclave

Discover the Enchantment Chief’s Island for Yourself

The captivating wonders of Chief's Island await! With its unrivalled wildlife encounters, stunning landscapes and lodges, this is a destination beyond compare. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning and delve into the secrets of this wildlife mecca, where each moment is filled with unapparelled natural splendour. 

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About the author 

Michelle Welvering

Growing up, Michelle always wanted to become a world-renowned artist, a kickboxing-champion and an eccentric explorer – aka a Kickboxing Exploring Artist! After pursuing an education in Fine Arts and opening her own Kickboxing gym in Pretoria, an unexpected twist led her to a six-year stint as a travel consultant in South African tourism. She believes that all things happen for a reason and, driven by adventure, she was eager to find a more “wild” and cultural space to call home. This led her to wander the Western Cape coastline, fall in love with the city of Cape Town and, of course, her workplace, Rhino Africa.

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