We spent a few nights on safari at the truly incredible, highly luxurious Shinde Concession by Ker and Downey, located in the heart of the Okavango Delta, Botswana. In our Shinde Camp review we dive into the entire experience, what it’s like staying here, what the wildlife safari encounters were like and help you decide whether it should have a place on your Africa bucket list.
It’s no secret that we love African safaris.
We really, really, love African safaris.
So during our two months travelling around southern African we made it our mission to go on as many safaris as possible.
From the popular Kruger in South Africa to the legendary Pangolin Photo Safaris in Chobe and the deserts of Etosha in Namibia, we sought out the best wildlife experiences imaginable, and had a blast doing it.
Whether it was sleeping rough in a basic tent in the Okavango Delta, sprawling out in a mid-range lodge in Zimbabwe’s Hwange or living it up in the prestigious tree houses of Jaci’s in Madikwe, we tried it all.
But as our time in Africa was winding down, we knew we wanted to go out with a bang.
So we booked a few nights in two different locations with Ker and Downey, one of Africa’s most exclusive safari operators, and lived it up in pure luxury with their all-inclusive packages.
Our first stop was Ker and Downey’s Shinde Camp in the heart of the Okavango Delta, Botswana, which left us utterly awestruck.
From the moment we arrived until the day we flew out on our own private propeller aircraft, this luxurious safari camp provided an unforgettable adventure that we will cherish forever.
Table of Contents
- Ker and Downey Shinde Camp Review – The Ultimate Luxury Safari
- The Shinde Okavango Delta Experience
- The Activities at Shinde Camp
- Wildlife Encounters in the Okavango Delta
- Ker and Downey Shinde Concession Review – 9.5/10
Ker and Downey Shinde Camp Review – The Ultimate Luxury Safari
In our Ker and Downey Shinde Camp review we dive into the entire experience, including how to get there, the accommodation, dining, landscape, wildlife safaris and activities, to show you exactly what it’s like.
Ready for an insight into one of the best Botswana luxury wildlife safaris imaginable? Let’s dive into it…
Who is Ker and Downey?
Ker and Downey is a renowned name in the luxury travel industry, known for its commitment to providing exclusive and immersive safari experiences across various destinations, with a strong presence in Africa.
The company’s roots trace back to the pioneering days of safari in East Africa, where it established a reputation for bespoke, high-end travel experiences that blend adventure with unparalleled comfort.
Founded in 1968, Ker and Downey prides itself on its sustainable tourism practices, ensuring that its operations contribute positively to wildlife conservation and community development.
Ker and Downey have a number of camps across Botswana, with four in the Okavango Delta (Shinde, Shinde Enclave, Shinde Footsteps and Kanana), one in the Kalahari Desert (Dinaka, which we also visited) and one in the private Moremi Game Reserve (Okuti).
Where is Ker and Downey’s Shinde Camp?
Ker and Downey Shinde Camp’s location in the heart of the Okavango Delta, Botswana, is simply mesmerising.
If you want to feel like you’re in the heart of the African wilderness, this is the place to visit.
Ker and Downey Shinde Camp is situated on a private concession within this watery paradise.
The camp is surrounded by lush floodplains that transform into huge arrays of colours and patterns throughout the seasons.
During the dry months the landscape is punctuated by islands of acacia trees and grassy plains.
But as the floodwaters arrive the scenery undergoes a dramatic transformation.
The camp becomes an island itself, accessible only by boat or mokoro, the traditional dugout canoe that you’ll learn all about.
READ MORE: Don’t miss our full story from Ker and Downey’s Dinaka camp – a luxury safari lodge in the heart of the Kalahari Desert.
The location offers not only spectacular views but also an opportunity to witness the dynamic wildlife of the Delta.
The seasonal changes bring about a shifting tapestry of colours and wildlife, making every visit unique.
Whether you’re gazing out from the deck of your tent, savouring a meal in the dining area, or embarking on a game drive, the Okavango Delta’s captivating beauty is ever-present.
This remote location also means that you are far removed from the distractions of modern life.
There is no better place to disconnect from the world and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the African wilderness.
The stillness of the evenings, punctuated by the calls of nocturnal creatures, creates a profound sense of peace and serenity.
How to Get to Shinde Camp Botswana
Heading to Ker and Downey’s Shinde Camp in the heart of the Okavango Delta is an adventure we’ll remember for a lifetime.
The only way to get to the Shinde Concession is by air, and Ker and Downey take care of all the logistics for you once you’ve made your booking.
For us we left from Kasane Airport direct to Shinde, although many flights will either depart or touch down in Maun, which is the gateway to the Okavango Delta.
On our flight we were amazed to discover we were the only ones onboard. It was practically like having a private plane all to ourselves!
The ‘bush plane’, is a small, twin propeller aircraft which is the plane of choice all across Africa for getting into safari camps and remote regions.
It’s a scenic flight and we had our cameras ready the entire time. The views over the Delta are nothing short of spectacular, with winding waterways and lush landscapes stretching as far as the eye can see.
Landing on the grass airstrip in the heart of the Delta was such a cool experience, and our guide Mr Bee met us right at the plane and helped us unload our luggage.
From the airstrip it’s just a short drive or sometimes even a boat ride to Shinde Camp, depending on the water levels in the Delta.
This part of the journey is an adventure, offering us a chance to spot wildlife even before we reach the camp.
One important thing to note is that luggage is strictly limited when taking one of the small charter flights to Shinde, or any of the other camps in the region.
You are limited to one 15kg soft duffel bag and one small personal bag for the flights, and there are no exceptions.
We had been travelling for a while so had a large backpack and large suitcase with us, and we ended up consolidating the bare essentials into the backpack.
All of our other bags were couriered off at the Kasane airport by the airline and scheduled to be delivered to Maun airport on the day we arrived back from our final camp for about USD$50.
To be honest we were a little sceptical that we’d ever see our bags again, but sure enough there they were at the airport, in perfect condition, on the day we landed in Maun.
The bags had been immediately driven to the Ker and Downey office, then transported with a staff member to the airport at the end.
What a service!
The Shinde Okavango Delta Experience
The Delta itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and for good reason. It is a sprawling oasis that stretches across approximately 15,000 square kilometres, making it one of the world’s largest inland deltas.
What makes this place truly remarkable is its unique formation – it’s not fed by a river flowing into the sea like most deltas, but by the seasonal flooding of the Okavango River, which fans out into a labyrinth of lagoons, channels, and floodplains.
The Okavango Delta, nestled in the heart of Botswana, is a geographical marvel and a true jewel of Africa.
This sprawling oasis of life stands in stark contrast to the surrounding arid Kalahari Desert.
Its unique formation begins with the Okavango River, which flows southward from the Angolan highlands into the flat expanse of northern Botswana.
Rather than reaching the ocean like traditional deltas, the river fans out into a vast, labyrinth network of channels, floodplains, and lagoons, creating a sprawling inland delta that covers an area roughly the size of Switzerland.
This natural wonder is renowned for its astonishing biodiversity.
As the Okavango River cascades through this lush mosaic of habitats, the water sustains an incredible array of wildlife.
Elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, and hippos roam freely in this watery wonderland, while the skies above are filled with the calls and colours of over 400 bird species.
Accommodation at Shinde Camp
Shinde Camp is a haven of tranquility and luxury in one of Africa’s most pristine wilderness areas.
The accommodations at Shinde Camp are a vital component of the overall safari experience, seamlessly blending the comforts of modern living with the authentic charm of the African bush.
Here’s an look at the accommodation at Shinde Camp:
Canvas Tents with an Abundance of Elegance
Forget camping, this is proper 5-star glamping!
Shinde Concession offers a collection of spacious canvas tents, each designed to provide guests with a luxurious and immersive experience that is as much about the surrounding nature as it is about comfort.
These tents are elevated on wooden platforms, not only to ensure breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness but also to create a sense of security amidst the Delta’s diverse wildlife while protecting the fragile earth below.
The interior of each tent is tastefully furnished with comfortable beds creating a welcoming and cozy atmosphere.
The attention to detail is evident in every corner, from the elegant wooden furnishings to the charming decor that reflects the camp’s natural surroundings.
Ensuite Bathrooms Under the African Sky
One of the highlights of Shinde Camp’s accommodations is its open-air ensuite bathrooms.
Guests can enjoy the unique experience of showering under the open sky while surrounded by the sounds and scents of the Delta.
This close connection with nature is a defining feature of the camp and adds a sense of adventure to the overall stay, especially knowing there are large cats around.
The bathrooms also feature modern amenities and piping hot water ensuring guest comfort while immersing themselves in the wilderness.
Private Decks with Stunning Views
Each tent at Shinde Camp boasts a private deck that extends from the living space, offering a front-row seat to the surrounding wilderness.
These decks are the perfect place to unwind, enjoy a refreshing drink, or simply take in the breathtaking views of the Okavango Delta.
They are also an ideal spot for wildlife enthusiasts, as they provide opportunities for birdwatching and even occasional wildlife sightings right from the comfort of your tent.
One of the couples we met here had a hippo lazing in the water right in front of their deck for hours when they first arrived, and were woken up in the middle of the night by an elephant staring into their window.
Luxury in Harmony with Nature
While Shinde Camp provides a high level of comfort and luxury, it is also committed to eco-friendly and sustainable practices.
The camp’s design and operation minimises its environmental impact, allowing guests to enjoy the Delta’s beauty while preserving it for future generations.
Hospitality at Shinde Camp
The staff at Ker and Downey Shinde Camp deserves a standing ovation.
Their warm hospitality, attentiveness, and deep knowledge of the surrounding wildlife added immeasurably to the overall experience.
From the moment we arrived we felt like a valued family member, and their genuine enthusiasm for sharing the wonders of the Okavango Delta was infectious.
The camp’s staff go above and beyond to ensure that every aspect of your stay is tailored to your preferences, from dietary requirements to activity schedules.
Dining at Shinde Camp
The culinary offerings at the camp were nothing short of exceptional, and everything is included as part of your stay.
We didn’t think it’d be possible to gain weight in our last few weeks of travelling Africa, but Ker and Downey proved us wrong!
Meals were a delightful mix of local and international flavours, and the chefs were more than happy to accommodate dietary restrictions, such as us being vegetarians.
Dining is held in communal style, with large tables accommodating all guests so you can get to know your fellow safari lovers.
If you prefer a more intimate experience though you can always request a private table, which the staff are happy to organise.
Breakfast and lunch is held in the open-air dining room and is usually served as a healthy buffet.
Dinner is out in the open on the deck, next to the fire, and is either a buffet or a-la-cart.
Trust us, it’s divine and you won’t go hungry here.
Dining under the star-studded African sky while listening to the sounds of the bush was an experience in itself.
There’s also a snack and drinks bar open 24/7.
The Pool, Library and Other Facilities
If you find yourself with a few hours to relax between safaris and activities why not explore the fantastic facilities around camp?
There is a beautiful pool overlooking the river with lounge chairs tucked away in the shade, which is the perfect way to cool off during the warmer months.
There’s a library up in the camp as well with plenty of books to read around wildlife and African history, and of course with drinks and snacks ready should you be feeling peckish.
And of course there’s our favourite section – the massive open deck with a fireplace in the middle for kicking back with a drink in hand, watching the wildlife pass you by.
The Activities at Shinde Camp
If you’ve ever researched luxury African safaris before you most likely have become excited about the main activity that everybody offers – game drives.
However the Okavango Delta, and Ker and Downey’s Shinde Concession in particular, offers so much more for the wildlife lover.
Not only do they offer game drives, but there’s also the option of boat safaris (something you can’t experience in many other African lodges), mokoro rides, walking safaris, wilderness dining and even helicopter flights.
Each activity provides a unique perspective on the Delta’s ecosystem, allowing you to appreciate its diversity from various angles.
Wildlife Safari Drives
The classic and still arguably the best way to see wildlife in Africa is by jumping in an open-top Land Cruiser or Land Rover and driving around the park.
The private concession has an abundance of wildlife, even though there’s no fences, and by jumping in a vehicle you can traverse all over the park to find them.
Each game drive starts either early in the morning, before the sun has risen, or late in the afternoon when the heat has died down, giving you a few hours to explore the terrain of the Okavango Delta.
Guest numbers in the vehicles are strictly limited to ensure everybody gets the ‘best seat in the house’ with ample room to store camera gear and extra clothes.
You head out from the camp and your expert guide will drive to various areas based on the best opportunities for wildlife viewing.
Being a private concession means the drivers don’t have to stick to any roads. If your guide spots a lion sleeping under a tree a few hundred metres away, they can drive straight through the grass and over rivers to get there (as long as the animal doesn’t become disturbed of course).
Bush bashing across the fields was an incredible experience, and so much better than the public parks we had visited previously where we were limited to sticking to the roads.
About halfway through your drive you’ll find a safe place to park up and the guide will serve up coffee, tea and biscuits in the morning, or a huge selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and snacks in the evenings.
There’s nothing quite like sipping on a gin and tonic as the sun sets, with elephants and hippos hanging upwind from you.
When the sun sets the Okavango Delta wakes up again, and while most guests snuggle up into their beds you can have the chance to head out again on a night drive!
Night safaris are an absolute game-changer in the world of wildlife adventures.
Imagine being under a blanket of stars, venturing into the wilderness when it truly comes alive.
It’s not just about seeing; it’s about listening, feeling, and immersing yourself in the nocturnal symphony of nature.
With the right guide, and Ker and Downey have the best in the industry, every rustle and shadow becomes a story, revealing the secret lives of creatures that shy away by day.
It’s thrilling, a bit mysterious, and utterly captivating.
Whether it’s the glow of eyes in the darkness or the silent flight of an owl, night safaris promise an unforgettable journey into the heart of the wild.
Being in the safety of a vehicle is one thing, but there’s nothing quite like being on the ground with the rest of the African animals.
Walking safaris offer a chance to stand amongst the wonders of the wild, guided by experts who unveil the secrets of the bush.
At Shinde your guide will drive you out to a wide open, elevated area of the park with low grass so that they can spot any wildlife from a distance, and then when they feel it’s safe to do so, will exit the vehicle and take you for a walk.
It’s truly captivating to know that nothing stands between you and the iconic wildlife of Africa.
Don’t worry, safety is Ker and Downey’s number one priority, and all guides are experienced at reading wildlife behaviour and remain armed at all times.
A mokoro is a traditional dugout canoe in Botswana, and has been used for millennia to navigate the waterways and channels of the Okavango Delta.
To this day they are still the preferred method of transport for local fishermen, and going for a paddle in one is a popular tourist activity.
At Shinde Camp they have a number of mokoros available for guides to take their guests out on, and it’s such a peaceful, unique way to check out the Delta.
Taking a boat safari with Ker and Downey in the Okavango Delta offers a unique perspective on one of Africa’s most stunning ecosystems.
There’s only a handful of places in Africa that allow you to get up close to wildlife from the water rather than from a vehicle, and that makes this experience all the more special.
These excursions glide through the intricate network of waterways, providing unparalleled opportunities to observe wildlife from a different vantage point.
Ker and Downey’s expert guides are well-versed in the area’s geography and animal behaviours, putting us in the right place at the right time for memorable sightings.
At one point we even ended up coming face to face with two elephants who were using the waterways to transit between islands.
Luckily our boat captain Mr Bee had been in this exact situation hundreds of times before and knew how to handle the beautiful beasts.
The boats used are designed to navigate the delta’s channels efficiently, making the journey both smooth and eco-friendly.
If you want to see lagoons filled with hippos, crocodiles and hundreds of birds, this is the activity for you.
It’s an informative, engaging way to experience the natural beauty of the Okavango Delta.
Barbecue Dinner in the Wilderness
When we jumped off the afternoon boat safari we were treated to one of the most magnificent surprises – a barbecue dinner and cocktail hour right in the middle of the Shinde concession!
The staff from Ker and Downey had setup a full bar and barbecue to greet us, and when Mr Bee came around the corner we couldn’t believe our eyes.
Beneath the golden glow of sunset we sipped on gin and tonics and fresh fruit smoothies, snacked on grilled vegetables (plenty of meat was available for the meat lovers of course) and chatted with all the guests staying at Shinde.
Over the river we saw elephants wander by and antelope grazed just a few hundred metres from us.
It might seem like a simple gesture, but this was a real highlight of our stay and we couldn’t leave it out of our Shinde camp review.
Doors-Off Helicopter Flight Over the Okavango Delta
This is one of the only activities at Ker and Downey’s Shinde Concession that is not included in your stay, but if you have the opportunity to do it, it really is one of the most remarkable experiences imaginable.
Jumping in for a doors-off helicopter scenic flight over the Okavango Delta elevates the safari experience to new heights.
This aerial journey offers a bird’s-eye view of the Delta’s vast, intricate waterways and islands, showcasing the scale and beauty of this unique ecosystem in a way that’s impossible from the ground.
The helicopter’s ability to hover and manoeuvre provides unparalleled opportunities for photography and wildlife spotting, revealing patterns and animal movements that are hidden at ground level.
Pilots are knowledgeable about the area and often share fascinating insights, turning the flight into an informative tour that highlights the Delta’s ecological importance and conservation efforts.
It’s a thrilling addition to the safari experience, combining adventure with a deeper understanding of the Okavango Delta’s grandeur and fragility.
Wildlife Encounters in the Okavango Delta
The Okavango Delta is renowned for its incredible biodiversity, and what we found at Ker and Downey Shinde Camp did not disappoint.
Morning and evening game drives and boat safaris offered spectacular opportunities to witness a staggering variety of wildlife.
We were fortunate enough to spot elephants, lions, hippos, buffalo, antelope and countless bird species during our stay.
But most exciting was seeing a whole pack of African wild dogs, or painted dogs, one of the rarest species in Africa.
The knowledgeable guides and trackers made each excursion an educational and exhilarating experience.
The Okavango Delta is a wildlife-rich haven and one of Africa’s premier safari destinations, offering an exceptional diversity of animals.
Here are some photos of wildlife we spotted in the Delta:
Ker and Downey Shinde Concession Review – 9.5/10
Wrapping up our stay at Ker and Downey’s Shinde Camp, we were genuinely blown away with absolutely everything about our visit.
With more than 15 years full-time travel experience under our belt, to all 7 continents, 100+ countries and on some of the most unique bucket list adventures imaginable, Shinde was honestly in the top 10 trips we’ve ever undertaken.
From the moment we boarded our private flight from Kasane to Shinde Concession we had our jaws to the floor, and it only got better from there.
The camp combines exquisite luxury and comfort with the raw beauty of the Okavango Delta wilderness.
The staff were some of the most hospitable we’ve ever encountered, the guides were next level, especially Mr Bee who we later found out is famous around Botswana for being one of the best in the industry, and the accommodations top-notch.
Our days were packed with unique wildlife sightings and peaceful boat rides, making every second memorable.
Shinde Camp delivers an authentic safari experience without sacrificing any comforts, setting a high standard for eco-luxury in the wild.
It’s a place we’d gladly recommend for anyone looking to explore the Delta in style, and we will 100% be back.
The Okavango Delta’s dynamic ecosystem, with its seasonal flooding and changing landscapes, ensures that every safari experience is unique.
Whether you’re exploring its waterways on a mokoro (dugout canoe) or embarking on a thrilling game drive, you’re bound to encounter a remarkable array of wildlife that defines this African wilderness.
Do yourself a favour – book in for a stay at Ker and Downey Shinde Concession and be blown away.
Ker and Downey Shinde Camp
We recently visited this incredible 5-star luxury safari camp in the Okavango Delta, Botswana - Check out our Ker and Downey Shinde Camp review.
Product Brand: Ker and Downey Shinde Camp
- Exclusive and luxurious
- Industry-leading guides
- Amazing wildlife experiences
- World-class dining
- Unique boat safaris
- Helicopter flights over the Okavango Delta
- Expensive due to its location and exclusivity