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You can stay in an eco-lodge in Botswana for free if you look after two very good dogs
(Picture: TrustedHousesitters)

Fancy staying in an authentic African Bush Lodge in a UNESCO heritage area… for free?

Are you also one of those poor people that absolutely loves dogs, but thanks to renting, or a hectic job, or your housemate’s allergies, you can’t have your own?

If you answered ‘yes, that’s me’ to the above, we have some wonderful news for you.

An opportunity has come up to go and stay in Ama Amanzi, in South Africa, for free. All you have to do in return is look after the owners’ two dogs, India and Storm.

The home is pretty incredible. It sits in an area populated by more than 400 species of birds, with access to a stunning natural pool. It’s fairly isolated, in the middle of the bush and 35km away from the nearest village, so it’s ideal for anyone who’s really keen to escape their normal life for a bit and switch off.

You can stay in an eco-lodge in Botswana for free if you look after two very good dogs
Ama Amanzi’s interiors. (Picture: TrustedHousesitters)

Walks around the area will allow you to see baboons, antelopes, and leopards. Sometimes elephants will pass by. It’s a dream for anyone with an interest in wildlife.

And indoors is lovely too.

In another free housesit in Botswana, everything in the lodge is solar-powered, the water is purified, and there’s eco-friendly waste management – everything an environmentally conscious person would ask for. The owners, Bas and Anita, grow their own vegetables, so guests can enjoy home-grown food while they’re hanging out at home.

You can stay in an eco-lodge in Botswana for free if you look after two very good dogs
The eco-lodge in Botswana. (Picture: TrustedHousesitters)

All you’ll have to do in exchange for a free stay in the lodge, as well as access to the pool, free WiFi, and views of the banks of the hippo inhabited Nhabe river, is look after the couple’s two dogs, Bowie and Donna.

Bowie and Donna will need the care and companionship of house-sitters while their owners are away, with feeding and walking twice a day. Easy, right?

You can stay in an eco-lodge in Botswana for free if you look after two very good dogs
(Picture: TrustedHousesitters)

Bas and Anita are hoping to find people who are animal lovers with experience in taking great care of dogs to look after their home while they’re away – for either five months or three months. Basically, it’s a free extended holiday for any couple who love animals.

If that all sounds dreamy, you can get in touch with the couple through Trusted Housesitters.

You can stay in an eco-lodge in Botswana for free if you look after two very good dogs
(Picture: TrustedHousesitters)

But if an eco-lodge in South Africa isn’t your speed, don’t stress.

Trusted Housesitters offers similar set-ups for a private Greek island near north Evia, and a stay in a village in Swedish Lapland if you’d be up for taking care of two cats.

The Greek island is run as a yoga retreat each summer, and the owners like to spend a few months traveling each year – so they invite cat and dog lovers to look after their home and their pets while they’re away.

You can stay in an eco-lodge in Botswana for free if you look after two very good dogs
A home on a private island needs looking after each summer. (Picture: TrustedHousesitters)
You can stay in an eco-lodge in Botswana for free if you look after two very good dogs
(Picture: Trusted Housesitters)

The home in Swedish Lapland is pretty special, set in a remote village perfect for fishing, hiking, and going kayaking in the lake, as well as skiing, husky tours, and snow-shoeing in the winter.

You can stay in an eco-lodge in Botswana for free if you look after two very good dogs
The area in Lapland where you could stay in exchange for looking after two cats. (Picture: TrustedHousesitters)

The area offers views of the Northern Lights if you’re lucky.

The home itself is spacious but cosy. Think fireplaces, a piano, a wood-stoked hot-tub, and two sweet cats for you to snuggle up with.

You can stay in an eco-lodge in Botswana for free if you look after two very good dogs
(Picture: TrustedHousesitters)

To head to any of these places you’ll need to be a Trusted Housesitters member, which requires an £89 a year membership for unlimited house-sitting and pet-sitting opportunities.

More: Travel

You’ll also need to genuinely love pets. There’s no point using this as a free holiday if you’re not going to give the owners’ kitties the attention they need.

Just make sure you don’t become so besotted with the pets you look after that you can’t bear to leave them behind. Going back to work after a holiday is hard enough without the heartbreak that comes from saying farewell to a very good dog.

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