Islands in the stream
For a change of scenery, climb aboard a 12-seat Cessna and follow the sun westward to Eagle Island Lodge, another of the Belmond Safaris experiences. Enjoy the isolation of a private island in the unique setting of an inland river delta where the Okavango evaporates into the sky above the Kalahari rather than meet the sea.
By canoe and powerboat explore channels that cover 5,800 unpopulated square miles—roughly the size of Connecticut—classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, along with Mount Kilimanjaro, the Nile and Sahara. In addition to the by-now ever-present lions, elephant and zebra, you’ll see flocks of wading heron and flamingo, and ostriches strutting through hip-deep grass.
With accommodation similar to Belmond’s Savute Elephant Lodge, Eagle Island adds a twist of sensual style—somber mineral tones, private plunge pools outside each room, and sculptural, monolithic, black bathtubs—that melds into the sage-scented morning mists.
“There’s no better way to understand how connected we are with all this,” says F1RST’s Erika Reategui, an Africa veteran. Her experience in luxury conservation excursions includes work with the Jane Goodall Institute. “Something like 77% of wildlife has disappeared since mankind came to be—10% of that just since 1990. There’s no better way to understand how precious this is than to feel it for yourself.”