Shakawe River Lodge

Shakawe River Lodge: Our full report

10chalets, campsite
Best for 12+
All year

Shakawe River Lodge stands on the banks of a channel of Botswana’s Okavango River, approximately 10km south of the small town of Shakawe. This is a prime Panhandle location offering a classic deep-channel Okavango experience, with great fishing and birding opportunities. However, as with the rest of the Panhandle it is a little out the way and is not in a big-game area.

Shakawe River Lodge is relatively economical and this, combined with its location only 2km from the main Shakawe–Sehitwa road, makes it a convenient stop for self-drive safari goers wanting to explore the Panhandle. That said, with the exception of crocodile and hippo, big game is scarce here.

The lodge’s 10 thatched chalets are built relatively close together, with wooden and canvas screens between them for privacy and the honeymoon chalet at the far end of the row. Each chalet is built on a raised wooden platform to help reduce the chance of flooding and make the most of the views of the river.

Inside the chalets are decorated in sandy tones with pictures and hangings to brighten the walls and rugs adding a splash of colour to the wooden floors. The bedrooms are made up as either doubles or twins, each with its own fridge, A/C, safe, hanging space, sofa and chair. All the chalets have an en-suite bathroom at the back with a separate toilet and shower.

Outside you’ll find a covered deck with views of the river, a couple of chairs and a coffee table. The honeymoon chalet also has an outdoor day bed on a separate but adjoining deck, and an outdoor shower.

A little way downstream, the lodge has its own campsite with ten pitches and four equipped dome tents complete with stretcher beds – ideal if you haven’t got your own. There is also a self-catering chalet for those who want the freedom to cook for themselves but don’t fancy sleeping under canvas.

Sandy walkways link the chalets at Shakawe to the main area: a large, open-fronted thatched building that houses the reception, lounge area and bar, and a dining room spilling out onto a wooden deck where you’ll find a wood-fired pizza oven. It’s a great spot to relax, with lovely views over a manicured lawn and garden to the river beyond, and hanging chairs suspended from the larger trees by the water’s edge. While enjoying lunch here on our visit in June 2017 we were lucky enough to spot otters in the river. To one side of the main area is a large firepit and beyond that is a moderate-sized swimming pool.

Activities at Shakawe River Lodge focus mainly on the river, with fishing trips, birding trips and sundowner cruises. The waters of the Panhandle are well-know for their fish, including tigerfish, bream, tilapia and, barble (at the right time of year), and this is a great spot to indulge in a spot of fishing. Equally the area is a birding paradise with most of the species of the Okavango Delta present.

Finally the lodge offers day trips to the historic Tsodilo Hills. Although we have not experienced this from Shakawe, it is a round trip of some 100km in an open vehicle, and would make for a long day. We believe that there are better options for those wanting to visit this unique site.

Our view

Shakawe River Lodge is a comfortable and well-located place to relax and indulge in fishing and birdwatching from the river. While the Panhandle is a little out the way for most visitors to Botswana, it would combine well with those on a self-drive trip along Namibia’s Caprivi Strip.


Location: Okavango Panhandle, Botswana

Ideal length of stay: 2–3 nights is ideal to allow travellers to relax and make the most of the river.

Directions: Shakawe River Lodge is located 2km from the main Shakawe–Sehitwa road (A35), about 10km south of the town of Shakawe.

Accessible by: Self-drive

Key personnel

Staff: Matthew Greeff - General Manager - 2017

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Half Board

Food quality: Although our visit in June 2017 was brief we did have time for lunch and we thoroughly enjoyed our burgers. The menu was varied and we thought good value. The food itself was well-presented and very tasty – in retrospect I find myself wishing I had tried one of the pizzas!

For breakfast expect a buffet including cereals, yoghurt, fruit, tea and coffee with a hot cooked breakfast on request.

Dinner is served from the same à la carte menu as lunch.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £10-15

Drinks included: Drinks are not included. Tap water is filtered but comes from the river and is unsuitable for human consumption. Bottled drinking water is available from the bar.


Attitude towards children: Shakawe River Lodge welcomes children of all ages.

Property’s age restrictions: None

Special activities & services: None

Equipment: None

Notes: There are crocodiles in the river, and in the past it has been known for hippo to graze on the lodge’s lawn, so children must be supervised at all times.


Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: There is a generator back-up system.

Communications: There is Wi-Fi in the main area of the lodge.

TV & radio: There is TV in the main bar area with DSTV.

Water supply: Other

Water supply notes: The water is pumped from the river and filtered. There is hot and cold running water and flush toilets throughout.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The nearest doctor is in Shakawe, 15km away but road.

Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk

Security measures: The lodge is fenced with a gateman on duty throughout the day and nightwatchmen after dark.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers throughout the property, including outside each chalet.


Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: Laundry is offered for an additional charge.

Money: There is a small electronic safe in each chalet for valuables.

Accepted payment on location: Cash payments may be made in Namibian dollars, South African rand, US dollars, euros, GB pounds and Botswana pula. The lodge will also accept Visa and Mastercard payments.

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