In 1980 Jessie Neil, an American who had fallen for Botswana and visited multiple times during the 1970s, applied for a licence to build her own lodge in the Okavango Delta. The licence was approved for a lease on Nxaragha Island and this is where she built Camp Okavango. Two years later Jessie built Camp Moremi and the two camps were formally registered under the name 'Desert and Delta Safaris'
During this time friends and business partners Jonathan Gibson and Ian Green were venturing into the Botswana safari industry.
Chobe Game Lodge had been closed in 1977 and by 1983 it had still not reopened. Jonathan and Ian made an offer on the iconic lodge and in 1984 it was officially reopened by Sir Ketumile Masire, the then President of Botswana.
By 1985 Ian decided to pursue other business ventures and sold his shares to Jonathan, who in 1989 formed Chobe Holdings Ltd.
In 1992 Chobe Holdings purchased the Desert & Delta brand from Jessie, thus adding Chobe Game Lodge to the brand. At this time Camp Okavango and Camp Moremi were refurbished and extended to their current size.
Over the next few years Desert & Delta continued to add Camps and Lodges to the collection and in 2014 Chobe Game Lodge underwent a major renovation to elevate the lodge to the 5-start luxury it is today.
| Chobe Game Lodge |
Botswana is one of the most beautiful countries in Africa, with the most amazing Safari drives and wildlife, so of course they will always deliver stunning, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. However, what makes the Desert and Delta Safaris really stand out is its dedicated staff.
The group proudly declare that they are defined by their people and celebrate that each of the nine properties are managed by local citizens. It is evident from the moment your holiday starts that everyone, from management to housekeeping to guides are passionate about the properties, the country and who deliver genuine and warm service and want you to learn, experience and discover Botswana. The group are dedicated to nurturing and developing its employees’ careers and there are numerous stories about Managers who started as waiters working in the lodges or Head Guides who originally joined at a young age and worked their way up through the company.
Leroo La Tau
Highlighting their core values in developing human potential and building a sustainable tourism model at the heart of how Desert & Delta Safaris operates is their philosophy of ‘C.A.R.E.S.’;
Career & Community
Supporting local communities and creating employment opportunities for Botswana nationals through career and social development programs.
Advanced Health Program
Desert & Delta employ a company doctor dedicated to the well-being of company staff who regularly visits each property.
Responsibility to our Environment
As Custodians of Botswana, Desert & Delta Safaris understands the role it plays in conserving and protecting the areas in which it operates.
Equality in the Workplace
Core values centered on a focus of promoting citizen development within the workplace with an emphasis on female-empowerment.
Soul & Spirituality
A team that is dedicated to staff wellness coordinates visits from the company pastor and spiritual leader, who offers guidance, family advise and motivation classes. This support structure ensures that a healthy and welcoming soul is at the heart of Desert & Delta Safaris’ philosophy.
Desert and Delta has a successful and celebrated history but they continue to look to the future to not only promote Botswana as a destination but to also protect and develop it with groundbreaking initiatives that are shaking up the status quo in the Botswana tourism industry.
Chobe Game Lodge has an all-female guiding team which raised the profile of female guides not only in Botswana but throughout Africa. An all-female guiding team at one of Botswana’s most iconic properties is even more impressive as just 15 years ago women in guiding was a rarity in Botswana. The group continues to promote women into senior management roles and today around 50% of senior management in the camps are women.