Royal Tree Lodge is beautifully built on a small private reserve on the outskirts of Maun.
Royal Tree Lodge: Our full report
Formerly known as Motentsela Tree Lodge, Royal Tree Lodge is a small lodge situated on a private game farm about 15 minutes from the center of Maun. Although this lodge is in Maun, it feels very remote, and it's an ideal spot if you need a night either at the beginning or end of your safari but don't want to stay in town.
The main area at Royal Tree Lodge is a large, semi-circular, open-plan building, with solid walls and a tall thatch roof; its ceilings display exposed wooden beams. The front of the complex has large glass windows overlooking the outside deck. Inside is beautifully decorated in earthy tones and African prints. There are polished wooden floors and rugs, African carvings and masks on the walls, large clay pots, comfy sofas, a brown leather couch, and tasteful touches likes a collection of ostrich eggs in a bowl.
A huge wooden door leads into the entrance hall where three stunning glass and wrought iron chandeliers hang. From there you can walk outside on the teak deck, which has been built around an enormous Leadwood tree. To the left lie the spacious lounge and a welcoming wooden bar where pre-dinner drinks and tasty snacks are served. To the right is the dining room which has a long wooden table – made up of a few smaller tables which can be separated for individual dining. Breakfast buffets are set up in the dining room.
The lodge also has a small pool and deck with a few sun loungers. An ideal spot for a relaxing afternoon.
Royal Tree Lodge has seven spacious Meru-style tents which are stylish, yet understated. Each is beautifully decorated in creams and African prints, with polished wooden floors, large comfortable twin or double beds, curtains to soften the canvas walls and wooden bedside tables and head boards. Each also has a ceiling fan – appreciated in the hot summer months.
The en-suite bathrooms are at the back of each tent at Royal Tree Lodge. There's a large vanity unit with a wooden counter and twin ceramic basins. A white 'slipper' bath stands in the one corner, with a flushing toilet opposite. There's no door to the toilet, but a wall does separate it from the bedroom for privacy. Then, leading outside from the back of the bathroom is a private outdoor shower.
All the tents at here are raised on wooden decks, and have a little veranda in the front. They have solid wooden doors and large gauze windows – with canvas flaps which can be rolled down at night.
Royal Tree Lodge also has two honeymoon chalets. I didn't get to see them on my last visit in October '07, but I believe they're just as beautiful. They're thatched and have large indoor and outdoor showers, and a large sunken bath.
There are walking trails around the reserve which range from 30 minutes to 1½ hours. They well marked - and there are no large predators, so it's safe to walk on your own and a great place to stretch your legs after a long flight! The private reserve is a haven for numerous bird species, and it also has plains game, such as giraffe, eland, kudu, zebra, gemsbok, impala, springbok and ostriches.
Our viewRoyal Tree Lodge is beautiful and is usually our first choice for a relaxing night or two in Maun. We found it very comfortable, the food good, hospitality warm and generally very well run.
Ideal length of stay: One or two nights – usually as a stop before or after a safari into the Okavango Delta or Botswana's northern wildlife reserves.
Directions: 15 – 20 minute road transfer from Maun. The lodge will collect you from Maun; it is accessible by self-drive 4x4 vehicle only.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: When we last visited in October 2007 for a night – our dinner was delicious.
Dinner is served outside under the stars, on a wooden deck which leads out from the main area. It's a relaxed affair, although we found the meal top class and the service faultless. We ate with the other guests, at a long wooden dining room table, and enjoyed a cheese & asparagus soufflé starter, followed by delicious lamb chops, piped mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables. To top that off, desert was crepes and ice-cream.
Breakfast was a buffet of cereal and yoghurt, with eggs to order. We also had some entertainment at breakfast… Two yellow-billed hornbills joined us – tapping on the window, asking us to pass them some cornflakes.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Excluded. There is a full bar – for your own account. Complimentary fresh water is provided in the rooms.
Birdwatching: Royal Tree Lodge has a diverse habitat which is a haven for numerous bird species – quite apart from the hornbills at breakfast. They have counted over 300 species here over the year, and the best time for birding is the summer months (October to March) when the migrants arrive.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Botswana
Traditional Cultures: If you spend more than one night at Royal Tree Lodge, you may like to visit a nearby village. The lodge will arrange a morning village tour where you can see how the locals live, and listen to their stories.See more ideas for Traditional Cultures in Botswana
Walking: Royal Tree Lodge is a great lodge for stretching your legs. They have three walking trails which range from 30 minutes to 1 ½ hours. The trails are well marked and perfectly safe to explore on your own. There are waterholes for game viewing (provided that you approach quietly) and there's also a hide if you'd like to sit and take things easy.See more ideas for Walking in Botswana
Attitude towards children: All children are welcome.
Notes: The swimming pool at Royal Tree Lodge is unfenced, and children should be supervised at all times when at this lodge.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: The camp has a land line. Email is available on request but it is a very slow connection.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: Maun
Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk
Security measures: The reserve and lodge are both surrounded by fences to keep their animals in or out. You need a security code to get through the entrance gate if on a self-drive trip.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Possible at an additional cost.
Accepted payment on location: Credit cards, Botswana Pula and US Dollars are accepted.