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Yoga has been used for millennia as an effective method to connect with one’s own nature and the expansiveness of one’s inner self. While the practices of yoga can be taken up by anyone, anywhere, there is no better place to experience this connection than when surrounded by the primal energy of nature at its most pristine. Muchenje Safari Lodge provides just that kind of setting: located in one of the least crowded places on Earth, the deep connection between human and nature can be felt most tangibly.
Muchenje Safari Lodge has a 4-Star rating and is set in a peaceful environment in Western Chobe, Botswana, on top of an escarpment overlooking the vast plains of Africa. It is located in a remote area where there are no fences.
Elephants roam freely and often visit the grounds. From the yoga decks, one can see giraffe, waterbuck, impala and other animals drinking from the waterhole. Hyenas are often seen returning to their den in the early morning.
Muchenje offers 10 private thatched cottages and a larger family cottage, each being beautifully appointed with its own unique view of the Chobe flood plain.
The family cottage offers space and comfort, with an additional mezzanine open plan sleeping area which can accommodate two children. With two spacious bathrooms and a generous deck, it is perfect for a family or young friends traveling together.
Relax on your deck and soak up the sun whilst watching animals graze on the plains below.
The yoga practices you will be led through have been specially selected for their ability to bring about balance, harmony, strength, and resilience. You will learn simple yet efficient techniques that will not only enhance your experience but also give you powerful tools to improve the quality of your life for all times to come.
Individual tuition will be available for those with a keen interest to learn more, and for those with specific needs that require more detailed attention.
These are extensive and offer guests a full range of safaris and cultural experiences as well as leisure time. The safari activities are planned carefully to coincide with when you are most likely to see wildlife. This entails early morning activities: game drives or guided bush walks. Late afternoon game drives as the temperatures start to drop, and night game drives after dinner, for a unique viewing experience of various nocturnal animals after the sun has gone down.
The early morning game drive leaves the lodge before sunrise and goes into Western Chobe National Park. This gives guests the “golden hour” of light for photography and the chance of seeing big cats on the move before the temperature rises. The game drive returns to the lodge by 8.30 a.m. for an extensive buffet and cooked breakfast.
Morning walks are offered in front of the lodge in the Chobe Forest Reserve. A senior walking guide will introduce you to aspects of African wildlife, such as tracks and signs. The walking safaris are weather dependent. The walk explores the floodplain and open areas close to the lodge – a wonderful experience that stimulates all the senses and brings a tremendous feeling of accomplishment, arriving back at the lodge for a hearty breakfast at 8.30 a.m.
For those on “early mornings” there is a wake-up call with tea, coffee, and snacks available at the main lodge. Lunch is at 1 p.m.
The afternoon game drive leaves the lodge at 3 to 3.30 p.m. (depends upon winter / summer season) and goes into Western Chobe National Park. After “sundown drinks” in the park, the game drive returns to the lodge in the early evening, allowing guests time to freshen up and enjoy pre-dinner drinks. Dinner is at 7.30 p.m.
Muchenje is in the Western Chobe Forest Reserve and so we are licensed to provide night time game drives. After dinner, the guides invite you to leave the lodge to explore the Chobe Forest Reserve for a night time drive.
Although it is only an hour or so long, it gives a different perspective to the African bush. It is a wonderful opportunity to find nocturnal animals that have not featured during the other drives, such as genets, civets, porcupines, and hyenas. The evenings are often rounded off with a few drinks around the fire and swapping safari stories.
The game drive leaves at around 9.30 a.m. after breakfast and arrives at the national park's jetty at Sedudu, close to Kasane at around 11.00 a.m. The guide will escort guests onto an exclusive Muchenje boat moored at the jetty and then captains guests on the river cruise.
This cruise on the Chobe River is spectacular for animal sightings along the river and on Sedudu Island. Elephants and Cape buffalo are normally at Sedudu in large numbers and commonly swim to the island from the “mainland” during the cruise.
Lunch is served on the boat cruise.
After the boat cruise, there is an afternoon game drive along the Chobe River. Guests often see a pride of lions or two on the way back and it is not uncommon to see wild dogs - there are two separate packs of wild dogs (painted wolves) in the Chobe. You watch the sun go down with drinks and snacks, and then drive back to the lodge in the early evening.
Village trip to Mabele / Muchenje villages and local cooperative, two to three hours, after breakfast to have a cultural experience with village members and elders; involvement in pounding maize into flour for the making of pap (local polenta), discussion on cattle, goats and sheep and storage of crops for the winter season. The village cooperative also has items for sale, such as baskets, small wooden items, and dancing skirts. You return to the lodge for lunch.
This is a game safari drive starting at around 5 p.m., finishing with sundown drinks in the Chobe Forest Reserve by the Chobe River in front of the lodge.
The guides will be happy to discuss tracks and signs of the bush. Also included in these discussions will be the very real issues of human and animal conflict. This is a very emotive subject, as the guides come from traditional farming families in the area. This activity is held in the guide’s office close to the swimming pool.
Visit the school and village; this takes around an hour and a half and starts at 10.15 a.m. Muchenje Safari Lodge has supported the nearby Mabele Primary School for over twenty years. It is a government school that includes younger pre-school children.
During term times, the headmaster and teachers welcome visits from guests at Muchenje Safari Lodge where they will meet many of the children. The school has a library and many of the books have been donated by Muchenje guests. Muchenje runs and maintains the school bus.
The school visit takes place in the morning and guests are accompanied by one of the safari guides. A number of the guides and many of Muchenje's staff attended Mabele when they were young and, therefore, maintain strong links with the school.
Muchenje is extremely proud of its involvement with Mabele Primary School and will continue to support the school and Parent Teachers Association. These children are the future of Botswana.
There can be plenty of time for relaxation at Muchenje. There is always something to see, whether at the main lodge or on the luxury cottage verandas. Guests can relax in the morning and/or afternoon at Muchenje. There is a pool deck and swimming
pool, lower and middle decks, upper deck, or room verandas. One can use the library on the upper deck or the large lounge area at the main lodge.
Included in the holiday are:
Usha Devi Rathore is a qualified Yoga instructor trained by Bihar School of Yoga, Mongyr, India, founded by Swami Satyananda Saraswati. Usha has been practising yoga since the age of 13 and, having practised several mediation techniques, has also specialised in the integrated practices of Tantric Yoga. She has been teaching for over 30 years now and her students range from ordinary housewives, stressed executives, children and celebrities. In the 90s Usha was teaching therapeutic yoga at the prestigious Hale Clinic and has also taught yoga at The Haven, a refuge for women with cancer.
Mahesh (Ivan Pavlicek) has been practising yoga for over 14 years. Since 2007 he has been associated with the Bihar School of Yoga, today the only Indian institution providing in-depth training in the complete science of classical yoga both nationally and internationally. Between 2008 and 2018, he spent over four and a half years in residential training at the BSY ashram, to practice and teach hatha, raja, karma, bhakti, mantra and jnana yoga. Apart from that he also studied with the Satyananda Yoga Academy Europe, completing three modules of the Yogic Studies course culminating with a teacher
Koo, a 2nd generation yogini, has practised yoga all her life, first with Iyengar, who taught Koo’s mother. Koo then moved on to the Shivananda School of yoga and finally in 1987 Koo was introduced to the Bihar Tantric technique of Yoga and Kriya. Tantric means transforming, in which the emphasis is not simply on correct posture but on the awareness that yoga is having on you. Koo has been practicing yoga and meditation since she was a child and brings a practical wealth of experience to the group.
This safari and yoga retreat takes place in Muchenje Safari Lodge. It is situated on the quiet western side of the Chobe National Park. The nearest airport is Kasane (45 minutes transfer away, included). The lodge is also close to Victoria Falls (2.5 hours transfer away).
All meals are included - most dietary requirements can be catered for, but please discuss with the reservation teams for more information.
An experienced masseur will be available for massage sessions in both the morning after breakfast and in the afternoon after lunch. This will take place at Muchenje and will be by appointment. This will be at an extra cost for a one-hour session.
There will also be a day trip to Victoria Falls on offer, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. This trip includes the service of an experienced tour guide of the Victoria Falls. The cost per person is 120 USD, excluding lunch, excluding the Zimbabwe visa fee but including Victoria Falls entrance fee.
Spa treatments are available on request at an extra cost.
Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport
Transfer available for additional US$85 per person
Victoria Falls Airport
Transfer not provided
Please book your flight to arrive at Kasane Airport (BBK). Transfer from the airport is included in the price. You can also arrive at Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (LVI) or Victoria Falls Airport (VFA). Transfer from the two airports is available at an extra cost.
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