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Cruising back downstream to Little Pan, a private tented camp on an island in the Thamalakane River on the Moremi side of Maun, is simply the best way to end the day here in the world-renowned Okavango Delta. Magical evening light, balmy river scents, magnificent bird life and the sound of hippos and fish eagles will permeate your holiday memories forever.

This family friendly hideaway allows you to enjoy the best the Delta has to offer without having to fly in. But what’s unique about its location, you might ask? It’s the only camp that has access to the Boro River within minutes of its jetty which means that you spend days idly exploring the tea-coloured waters by mokoro with a poler and guide, drifting through swathes of nodding water lilies and stopping to sit quietly when elephant come down to drink.

Access to this beautiful tented camp is by boat only, under the watchful eyes of a resident hippo known as ‘The Boss’! Enter through the Welcome Door, inspired – of course – by CS Lewis. Prepare yourself for a gin tasting under the trees around the corner… and your holiday has officially begun.

Four ultra-spacious safari tents and a large tented living area are set among mature trees – a twitcher’s paradise. At night, the trees come alive with curious bushbabies jumping from tree to tree around the campfire. With menus inspired by Ottolenghi and a wonderfully warm staff and kosher chef Mark Stephenson, meals here are an absolute delight. Fresh ingredients are sourced and grown locally and dishes feature plenty of wild basil, wild sage and sour plums found on the island.

Luxury canvas tents await, with a romantic outdoor Victorian bath in the honeymoon suite – bliss! Two tents are contemporary 1950s Meru-style tents and two are family friendly with generous space for little ones to sleep near parents.

Spend days on the river or discover why Little Pan has been declared the Okavango Delta’s first botanical garden, where artist Maisie McNeice has just completed drawing some of its most unusual species.

Head out on a private horse safari straight from the camp, an incredible privilege and an experience not to be missed – watching game from the saddle is SO up close and personal. Or climb on a fat bike and explore, returning to the welcoming pool each time to cool off. Others might want to take it easy, spending time lazing in a hammock with a good book or quietly bird watch (almost 600 species have been recorded in the Delta, making this a twitcher’s paradise). After a siesta, take a walk on the island with Vicky Stephenson, Little Pan’s manager and professional guide, or book a late afternoon scenic flight over the shimmering Delta, returning each time by boat to the peaceful shores of the river

A day trip to Moremi with Rodgers Sibanda, one-and-a-half hour’s drive from Little Pan, guarantees some of best game sightings Africa has to offer. Little Pan is also the perfect base to relax for a few days before taking a mobile safari. Tailor-made to suit your needs each of Little Pan’s carefully selected mobile operators offers a safari experience second to none.

What we love!

  • that Little Pan is in the lower Delta – on the corner of the Boro River, which means that you have access to the Delta without having to fly in – simply board your boat at the jetty and sail upstream on the Boro for the day (this access is unique to Little Pan – no other camp in this area can do this because the camp is part of NG32, the concession that includes the Boro River)
  • that it’s family friendly (and hippo friendly – even the pool is sloped to take hippos should they wish to come ashore and swim!)
  • the amazing diversity of birds and trees … no surprises then that this has just been declared the Delta’s first Botanical Garden (there are more than 200 trees on the island)
  • Little Pan’s rate is fully inclusive (with a kosher offering too), including a mokoro ride (if water levels appropriate), one sunset boat cruise and transfers to and from the airport

What you need to know…

  • it’s 15 minutes north-east of Maun on the Moremi side (the best side) on an island in the ThamalakaneRiver. Crossing to the island is by boat (its perfectly safe to leave your car on the river bank if you are self-driving here)
  • It’s 1.5 hours’ drive to Moremi so a day trip to go game viewing is easy
  • Horseback safaris need to be booked in advance – an experience not to be missed
  • There are fat bikes to explore the island but if you feel like a pampering rather, spa massages can be booked
  • The camp is set in Delta tribal land so you’re bound to hear the ‘Tamakalane Lion’, the local donkey, but it doesn’t deter game from drifting through
  • Maun has THE best iced coffee in southern Africa. Head for the Tshilli Coffee Bar – bamboo straws too!
  • In August, the Okavango Delta Music Festival rocks the Delta. Be sure to book ahead

Sleeps 8 but additional children may be accommodated on request with their parents but no more than two children under 12 in a luxury tent.

Reviewed by Michelle Snaddon

Guests

Sleeps 8 but additional children may be accommodated on request with their parents but no more than two children under 12 in a luxury tent.

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Rates

Little Pan rates:

Special exclusive-use opening rate: R33 000 per night for 8, fully inclusive

Per person rate: $350 per person, fully inclusive (luxury tents may be booked individually)

Sleeps 8 in four luxury tents.
Additional children on request.
No more than two children under 12 in a tent.