Where the wild things are: An extraordinary safari experience in Botswana
"The lioness is watching that herd of buffaloes," our guide Jonah whispers, shutting the engine of his safari vehicle. He can sense something is coming, but with just five in number compared to their 30, the odds are well and truly stacked against the big cats. The lionesses break away from the cubs, walking around the herd, hoping to surround them. The cubs follow shortly after, treading carefully towards the standoff: the buffaloes can see the lions and vice versa - it is a case of who makes the first move. "They're going for it," he says in excitement, driving at breakneck speed in pursuit of the action. In front of us is a cloud of dust from charging buffaloes. For the lions, it is an opportunity missed. "One of the lions had caught a calf, but her hold was not strong enough, so it slipped," Jonah sighs. Encounters like these are rare and often come to those with the patience to stop and observe. In Qorokwe, the slowing down happens instantaneously through scattered acacia woodlands, the wild sage-scented wind that hits your face, sculptural dead trees dramatising an already noticeable landscape and wildlife at every turn: lions heading into denser forests by dusk, hyenas scouting for their next kill by dawn, teenage elephants showing their antics and gnarled buffaloes.Qorokwe, meaning "the place where the buffalo broke through the bush into the water," is one of the high-density game zones within the Okavango Delta, thanks to its position next to Moremi Game Reserve. The vast concession area is known for its predator sightings and diverse habitat types - from savannahs, dry mopane woodlands, palm-dotted islands and permanent floodplains.Set amid this landscape is Wilderness Qorokwe Camp, a contemporary nine-villa safari lodge designed to highlight the terrain it occupies. The property was built in 2017 by architect Joy Brasler and interior designer Michelle Throssell who took inspiration from the natural setting of Botswana. The result is tented suites built on stilts and constructed using easy-to-install, low-carbon impact materials such as steel infill walls, timber decks and canvas. Connected by a walkway, the villas stretch along the lagoon where rhinos submerge for hours, and herds of elephants make the occasional pit stop. Qorokwe is one of four camps in an almost 65,000-acre concession. The cap allows authorities to monitor tourism and provide an exclusive experience. You could be out all day and not see another safari vehicle around or behind you. Building on such precious land comes with the responsibility to co-exist rather than conquer. At Qorokwe, 100 per cent of the energy is solar-powered, and all water is heated through thermodynamic solar geysers, helping to mitigate carbon emissions.