Cha Cha Metsi Camp: an unforgettable family safari in Botswana’s Okavango Delta

Last updated 14th March 2024

Botswana’s Okavango Delta is famous for water safaris. But last November, Phoebe Oliver and her family travelled with African Horse Safaris and discovered an entirely unexpected way to explore one of the most phenomenal places on Earth.


Safari with Ride Botswana, Okavango Delta

Cha Cha Metsi nestled in the untamed wilderness of the Okavango Delta,  was a home from home to our horse-riding family for a week last November.

Our journey had begun in Maun, where the Heli Horizons team greeted us, but the real adventure started when we soared into the skies aboard a helicopter, offering breath-taking views of the Delta’s sprawling plains below and, from our lofty vantage point, we spotted herds of elephants gathered around waterholes and pods of hippos basking in the rivers.

The flight was a visual feast, revealing the Delta’s beauty as lush islands came to life after the first summer rains.

Upon landing at the camp, we were welcomed with warm smiles, refreshing drinks, and family greetings. What struck us immediately was the way children were seamlessly integrated into the camp family – all that was missing were the dogs!


Exploring the Okavango Delta © Emma Badger

Sharing the wonders of the Okavango Delta

Stepping into Cha Cha Metsi camp, we were warmly greeted by Clyde and his wife, who exude a genuine passion for sharing the wonders of the Okavango Delta with their guests. Although it’s new, Cha Cha Metsi has been designed to harmonise with its natural surroundings.  However, the camp’s lounge area was a haven of comfort, featuring leather sofas and inviting cotton air chairs that encouraged us to immerse ourselves in bush life. And our living and dining area overlooked a permanent lake, providing constant wildlife activity to be enjoyed by the entire family, in particular an elephant that bathed in the lake just meters away from our tents. Naturally, this delighted the children who loved witnessing this gentle giant – often accompanied by a few smaller females – while we indulged in afternoon tea.

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Cha Cha Metsi Camp, Okavango Delta

Becoming part of the Cha Cha Metsi family

Days began with a light breakfast of coffee brewed over the fire and accompanied with fresh bread, scones or muffins, before we embarked on our morning adventure. Then upon returning to camp, we enjoyed a decadent brunch, with a vibrant mix of flavours that has  left a lingering smokiness in our memories.

Afternoon tea was a quintessentially English experience, featuring homemade iced tea, scones with clotted cream and strawberries, mini-quiche, and cucumber sandwiches that transported us to an authentic “out of Africa” vibe. We savoured these treats while watching elephants splashing in the water, with baboons and zebras in the background.

A harmonious relationship between people and nature

Evenings at Cha Cha Metsi Camp were a time to gather around the dinner bell, calling us to the main dining area. The dinner table, a heavy wooden piece from Clyde’s grandparents, was adorned with brass candles, cotton placemats, and grasses from the surrounding bush, creating a true bush atmosphere. The camp’s chef, Nketsang, crafted masterpieces that combined modern dishes with local African flair.

Dining at Cha Cha Metsi Camp is a communal affair, bringing guests and the Niven family together. Clyde’s vision for the camp was evident in every meal: a harmonious relationship between nature and people. And this wasn’t just a nod to community, we really were part of the extended family.


The perfect end to the day, Cha Cha Metsi Camp

The gentle thrill of evenings under vast African skies

After dinner, we would gather around the fire, basking in its warmth and the enchanting dance of flames: an authentic bushmen’s TV. The distant calls of jackals added to the ambiance as we lost ourselves in conversations or stargazing. Occasionally, our guides would point out constellations like the Southern Cross, Orion’s Belt, and Sirius, making our night in the wilderness even more magical.

The guides also ensured our safety by accompanying us back to our canvas tent at the end of the evening, along pathways illuminated by beautiful paraffin lamps. Then lulled by the smell of woodsmoke and distant roars of lions, we drifted to sleep under the vast African skies.

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Family tent, Cha Cha Metsi, Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta fills every day with possibilities

Each day at Cha Cha Metsi Camp begins with the rising sun but holds endless different possibilities.

Snacks and refreshments prepared us for our morning activities, which could be anything from a game drive or bush walk to horse riding or simply a leisurely nap in our comfortable tent.

But those mornings, out in Botswana’s wilderness, whether from the saddle, on foot, or in a vehicle, have created lasting family memories. And we’ll never forget the feeling of excited anticipation at the start of each day, as we never knew what wildlife we would encounter.


Riding in the Okavango Delta © Emma Badger

Choose how to shape your own day at Cha Cha Metsi Camp

Cha Cha Metsi Camp offers a range of activities to enhance the safari experience. For experienced riders, horseback rides through the Delta were thrilling; following trails made by herds of zebra, elephants, and antelope, along with exhilarating canters through water channels.

Game drives, usually held in the early morning and evening, offered fantastic opportunities for photography, birdwatching, and big cat sightings. Plus, the small group size ensured an intimate experience with the wildlife, creating even more lasting family memories.

The unique experience of canoeing the Okavango Delta waterways

Mokoro trips in traditional dugout canoes allowed us to explore the Delta’s waterways from a unique perspective. And guided walks were also available for those interested in a slower-paced adventure. These walks were particularly engaging for the youngsters, getting them involved in animal tracking and discovering Africa’s insect life, and we learned so much about the Delta’s flora and fauna from experienced guides.


The perfect bathroom, Cha Cha Metsi Camp

Thank you Cha Cha Metsi for memories to last a lifetime

One aspect we truly appreciated about Cha Cha Metsi Camp was its commitment to the local community.

Many of the staff members came from nearby villages within the Delta. Through partnerships with organisations like Ride Botswana and Peace Parks, local students were selected and trained in South Africa, equipping them with valuable skills in hospitality and tracking. This emphasis on community support added depth and meaning to our experience.

A truly authentic African safari for families

In conclusion, Cha Cha Metsi Camp is a haven for families seeking an authentic African safari experience.

With its unique location in the heart of the Okavango Delta, a commitment to conservation, and a welcoming atmosphere, it offered us an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the beauty of Africa’s wilderness. Clyde and his family invited us to join them on a journey into the heart of Africa, where adventure, wildlife and warm hospitality awaited. It almost goes without saying that our time here was filled with memories that will last a lifetime.

How to plan your horseback safari

Our trip was expertly managed from start to finish by the team at African Horse Safaris

Find out more about African Horse Safaris

How to get there

UK flights to Maun, Botswana, via Johannesburg, from 14 hours, 35 minutes

Where to stay

Cha Cha Metsi Camp, 7 nights for a family of four (2 children under 12) from £11,462, including transfers

Find out more about Cha Cha Metsi Camp, Okavango Delta