Botswana offers one of the most exceptional opportunities for a safari holiday imaginable. The game viewing is considered amongst the best on the continent and there is a strong cultural element too with the endangered Bushmen culture well worth exploring. Botswana is best known for the Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland delta offering a unique wetland safari experience which contrasts greatly with the red sands of the Kalahari Desert and the Makgadikgadi salt pans – it’s no surprise that it is often described as the pride of Africa.
Botswana is considered Africa’s greatest success story with a stable economy and political scene. Landlocked between Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Botswana leads the way in offering one of the most impressive safari experiences with a range of options on offer from authentic mobile safaris to luxurious lodges in prime-game viewing territory. Botswana owes its safari success in part to the fact that 17 percent of the country is protected as national parks and game reserves, coupled with having one of the lowest population densities in the world meaning that there are few clashes between nature and people.
The jewel in Botswana’s safari crown is undoubtedly the Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Africa’s most iconic landscapes. The world’s largest inland delta, the Okavango is rather unique in that it is formed as the Okavango River flows inland from Angola with an outlet in landlocked Botswana, rather than the sea as you might expect. The Delta is an area of intense natural beauty, with a network of channels punctuated by islands home to a variety of luxury safari camps and lodges. The Moremi Wildlife Reserve lies to the northeast of the Delta and offers some of the finest game viewing in the whole of Africa with all of the big five present, rarer species of antelope including roan, sable, red lechwe and tsessebe as well as being considered the best spot on the continent for wild dog sightings. Nestled between the northern reaches of the Delta and Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, Linyanti is a private wildlife concession offering wonderful wildlife sightings during the dry season, whilst during the green season, it is sometimes linked to the Okavango Delta through the Selinda spillway.
One of Botswana’s most-accessible parks, Chobe National Park is the country’s second largest national park and belongs to the greater Okavango region, linked to the Delta through Moremi and Savute. Best known for its impressive elephant population, Chobe offers all-round rewarding game viewing but is busier thanks to its easy accessibility both from elsewhere in Botswana as well as Victoria Falls, making it popular with day-trippers.
Standing in stark contrast to the verdant richness of the Okavango Delta, the Kalahari Desert is another of Botswana’s most well-known regions and makes up three-quarters of the country. Contrary to popular belief it is not strictly speaking a desert, but rather offers a unique wilderness experience. The game viewing in the Kalahari is rich and varied, and this is one of the best places on the continent to see meerkats, as well as offering the chance to interact with the last remaining San Bushmen. Another of the most impressive sights in Botswana is the Makgadikgadi Pans which lie in the northern Kalahari. A photographer’s paradise, the pans offer a magical feeling of complete solitude. From January to March during the height of the rains, the pans flood which not only attract impressive birdlife including flamingos, but also one of the most breath-taking wildlife spectacles as zebra and wildebeest migrate across the pans.
Laura from our product team recently went out to explore Botswana. Here, she tells us why travelling along the Okavango Delta by mokoro was one of her personal highlights.
As arguably the most exciting African country to go on safari, Botswana offers one of the greatest diversities of safari activities with game drives, bush walks, mokoros and motor boats amongst the most popular. Here our Botswana specialist, Annie, makes the case for why exploring the Botswanan bush on horseback should be top of your list.