A small group of guests will spend five days game-viewing and in the evenings, around the campfire, they will have the opportunity to chat with McCall Smith about the inspiration for his ‘No.1 Ladies Detective Agency' series of books, discussing his memories and personal stories from beautiful Botswana.
Orient-Express proudly owns and operates two luxury lodges in Botswana, Eagle Island Camp and Khwai River Lodge, located in completely different environments and ecosystems, providing adventurous guests with a wide variety of wildlife experiences. Botswana is one of the world's last great unspoilt wildernesses, with parched sands and lush savannah, it is also where the mighty Okavango River flows into the sands of the Kalahari Desert to form the magnificent Okavango Delta.
The ‘Journey to the Heart of Botswana' package, priced at US$5,999 per person based on two sharing, includes five nights' accommodation, all meals, two daily game viewing activities, scheduled light aircraft inter-camp flights from Maun, national park fees, laundry services, and emergency evacuation insurance.
Upon arrival at Maun Airport, guests will be met by an Orient-Express Safaris representative and transferred by shared light aircraft to Eagle Island Camp for three nights' – the actual setting for McCall Smith's new enchanting tale for children entitled “Precious and the Mystery of the Missing Lion”, as well as being the setting for his Mma Ramotswe detective novel “Double Comfort Safari Club”.
Situated on the island of Xaxaba, this cool retreat, shaded by a canopy of indigenous trees and Ilala Palms, overlooks a surrounding lagoon fed by the tranquil waterways of the Delta. Time at the resort will be spent viewing game in the magical and unique wilderness of the Okavango Delta and its surrounds, where over 1,100 animal, fish, bird, and plant species exist. Few people are privileged enough to visit this inaccessible area, as can be seen and felt by the abundance of wildlife and the utter tranquility in the camps.
Included in the stay at Eagle Island Camp is a spectacular game-viewing helicopter flight, from which the images and impressions will stay top of mind for a very long time. The helicopter features open sides allowing for the most fantastic photographs, to capture this experience forever.
The latter half of the experience, in the company of Alexander McCall Smith, will be spent at Khwai River Lodge, nestled on the edge of a leadwood and fig tree forest, overlooking the vast Khwai River floodplains and beyond into the Moremi Wildlife Reserve.
Guests at the lodge will enjoy superb game viewing all year round as the Khwai River is the only source of permanent water in the area during the dry months. The area is renowned for its large concentration of big mammals and raptors, as well as its predators such as lion, leopard and spotted hyena. The camp consists of fifteen luxury tents with shaded decks and unobstructed river views, including a magnificent suite overlooking the Hippo Poo, and a perfectly situated elevated bird hide. Guests also have the opportunity to visit the Khwai River Village, meeting with the elders and learning about their struggles to sustain the age-old traditions of remote communities.
Activities offered at the camp include morning and afternoon game drives in open Land cruisers, as well as after-dark spotlight game drives. Khwai River Lodge is the first luxury camp in Botswana to introduce night vision binoculars on the evening game drives. Experience the ultimate safari thrill of following a pack of hunting predators at night, ogling manic hippo-feeding frenzies, or perhaps enjoy a rare sighting of an aardvark; the brush-tailed porcupine with its brush-like quills that make a peculiar noise when rattled; and the spring hare, all coming out of their hiding places to forage.
For those wishing to enjoy further pampering, the lodge has a 'Naturally Wild' gym and spa facility. Guests are able to enjoy indulgent massages and body wraps in the spa or in the privacy of their own tent.
More information: www.alexandermccallsmith.co.uk and www.orient-express.com