Deception Valley Lodge

Top choice lodge in Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Just outside the CKGR's northeastern boundary, this exclusive bush retreat inhabits 150 sq km of privately owned Kalahari bush and has a much more personal feel than many of Botswana's luxury lodges. The eight large chalets (two can be combined into family accommodation) are swathed in lovely earthen hues, while the food is as memorable as the warm, attentive service.

The soothing rooms blend Victorian and African design elements, which are never overdone, and feature a private lounge and outdoor shower. There's also a swimming pool. Activities, which are included in the room rates, include wildlife drives both into the CKGR and the private concession (because this is private land, not within the game-reserve boundaries, night drives are possible) and excellent Bushmen walks. The surrounding concession is known for being particularly good for lions. Travellers rave about their experience here.

The lodge is about 120km south of Maun, and most visitors fly into the airstrip from Maun. If driving, you'll need a 4WD and the lodge's detailed directions from its website.