This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines now closed

User menu

Karangoma: True Delta Culture

3 min read

Updated 15 March 2024

A lioness resting in the shade at Karangoma. Image Credit: Karangoma - Melanie van Zyl
Picture of Chris McIntyre

By Chris McIntyre

Managing Director

*A version of this article originally appeared in the March 2024 Bush Telegraph newsletter. You can read our recent newsletters and sign-up to receive these in your inbox on our Bush Telegraph newsletter page.

Botswana is seeing a number of new camps in 2024 but one stands out for its strong connection to the local Bukakhwe San community. Due to open in May 2024, Karangoma is promising original insights into one of Africa’s most intriguing cultures.

In the early 1980s, the government of Botswana developed a new land use plan with large tracts of land divided into Wildlife Management Areas country-wide. In the Okavango Delta, a handful of semi-nomadic San communities were resettled in peripheral villages with the promise of improved living conditions and government services such as education, health and welfare. Areas the San once roamed became “concessions” for hunting and tourism companies who paid lease fees to the government. As tourism grew, a long process ensued for the rights of these original San clans to profit from their ancestral lands.

It’s rare to find camps with a genuine connection to San communities – but in a revenue-sharing partnership with local elder, Olatotse Sarefo, Karangoma has been established on the ancestral land once occupied by the Bukakhwe people, whose clans were resettled in Gudigwa village in the ’80s. This area was once home to Gudigwa Camp, a unique camp focused entirely on Bukakhwe culture – which sadly closed twenty years ago.

Karangoma is committed to employing members of the Bukakhwe clans and injecting revenue into an extremely marginalised community. It will support NGOs in helping people protect their livestock, access better veterinary care and manage grazing more effectively – thus reducing cattle losses in the community and allowing the wildlife population to thrive in tandem. There is a genuine opportunity here to witness these conservation efforts first-hand – so you can gain an insight into satellite-collared lion movements and the frequency with which community cattle are at risk from wildlife interactions. Visit the cattle boma, engage with herdsmen and learn about techniques used to prevent lion preying on livestock. A fly camp can be set up on request, providing a lens into village life alongside wild animals.

Karangoma itself is a small, classic safari camp tucked amongst ancient leadwood and sausage trees on a forested peninsula which extends into the Okavango’s floodplains. Its 6 stylish, tented suites – including one for families – feature modern interiors inspired by local basketry patterns and large mesh windows to afford all-round views and a welcome breeze.

In addition to spending time with the San learning about their lifestyle and involvement in the area’s conservation, more traditional land and water safari activities are on offer too. Located at the interface between the Okavango Delta and northern woodlands, these contrasting ecosystems promise a diverse wildlife experience. The two resident packs of wild dogs have already been out in force in anticipation of Karangoma’s opening and you can expect to see a good range of herbivores, with particularly high densities of elephant and zebra here. And as if more encouragement were required, two prides of lion patrol the area, calling most nights near camp, and their cubs are expected imminently…

If you’ve been inspired and want to find out more, give us a call or enquire now to speak to an expert.

Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link

New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team