Most famous for the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park and River as well as refuge to Africa’s largest population of wild elephant, Botswana is also home to the “Big 5” and critically endangered species including the African Wild Dog.
In addition, Botswana offers cultural and multi-activity experiences suitable for everyone. Low impact, higher cost policies have enabled a vast 20% of the country to remain protected, offering an exclusive safari experience, often only accessed by light aircraft. Self-drive safaris offer a more affordable alternative and experiential way to explore.
The main ecosystem of Botswana is Kalahari Desert, with the Chobe River, Okavango River (Panhandle) and Okavango Delta creating wetland oases that a myriad of wildlife and birds depend on year round. There are areas where waters flow permanently, however, much of the country will only see rivers and pans filling seasonally. These unpredictable and dynamic phenomena make Botswana a unique and exciting destination. You never quite know what you might encounter next!
Key destinations and experiences in Botswana include:
- The Okavango Delta UNESCO’S 100th World Heritage Site. This is the only Delta in the world to accommodate Africa’s Big 5. This fragile ecosystem is varied: flooded plains, dry saline sand tongues, riverine forests and termite mound islands. Unique, private concessions offer exclusivity, sensitive and knowledgeable game-viewing and luxury. Moremi Game Reserve and Khwai are superb destinations for self-drivers and mobile safaris.
- Chobe National Park and River and Savute Chobe is an easily accessible and popular destination, offering consistently good sightings of Lion, Elephant, Buffalo and Giraffe as well as unusual animals and birds. Explore the Park in a 4×4 or take to the river on a boat cruise. A visit to Chobe is simply not complete without taking to the water. By contrast, the now-dry Savute region in the southerly part of the greater Chobe reserve offers an unusual landscape with open marshland overshadowed by rugged rocky outcrops. Predators here have adapted to the environment and exciting interaction with prey is often seen. Luxury lodge accommodation as well as campsites for mobile and self-drive safaris are available here.
- The Central Kalahari This wide open scrubland is inhabited by a surprising number of animals and birds, including Oryx, Ostrich, Giraffe, Aardvark, Brown Hyena and Black-maned Lion. The desert transforms into a carpet of flowers and colour during the rains, filling waterholes dotted around the Reserve. Luxury camps and adventurous camping are both recommended here.
- The Makgadikgadi Pans Once ancient “super lakes” these Pans are now vast open vistas that fill seasonally with rain water, then attracting prolific birdlife, as well as Africa’s second largest migration. In drier months, quad-biking, star-gazing and finding ancient artefacts on the Pans themselves is a surreal experience. Year round, follow Meerkats and enjoy interpretive walks with the San Bushmen. Accommodation ranges from luxurious Arabian-inspired tented camps to camping under the stars.
- Tsodilo, Tuli & “The Land Of Giants” These are all destinations of cultural and geological interest, located in different parts of the country. Ancient artwork drawings are still visible today on the rock surfaces in Tsodilo, which is place of great spiritual importance to the San Bushmen. In Tuli, where Mashatu “Land of Giants” Reserve is situated, huge monolithic rock formations as well as massive baobabs dominate the landscape. These destinations are best reached by self-drive, mobile or fly-in access.
- The Okavango Panhandle This is “the source of the Delta” in Botswana. Here, the Okavango River flows creating papyrus channels, floating islands and open sandbanks. Try your luck at fishing for Tigerfish, Catfish and Bream. Also popular with birding enthusiasts. Houseboat, relaxed camps and lodges and camping are available. Easy access to Tsodilo Hills from here.
Victoria Falls Either on the Zimbabwean or Zambian side. Road transfers from Kasane to both towns are easy and visas may generally be obtained at the borders. (Please note that if visiting Zambia, Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required when flying out of South Africa afterwards). Direct flights to Victoria Falls Town or Livingstone from Johannesburg
South Africa For wine tasting, Robben Island, Table Mountain, Cape Point, penguins and more – there is Cape Town. Whilst Johannesburg offers cultural tours of Soweto, some great shopping and the Cradle of Humankind. The Kruger – as well as other National Parks in RSA offer a very different safari experience from Botswana. Please note that if travelling with children unabridged birth certificates are required
Mozambique For a relaxing, luxurious, beach side holiday where diving is simply extraordinary. Do as little or as much as you like. Visas are required for Mozambique by most nationals and may usually be obtained at the border.
Namibia There are direct flights from Windhoek to Gaborone with Air Namibia – home to the largest sand dunes in the world at Sossusvlei. Distances are great here, so taking sufficient time to explore is recommended. Popular with self-drivers, there are also remote fly-in locations. Accommodation to suit every budget and comfort level.
Air Botswana & SAA Airlink – Direct daily flights from Johannesburg to Maun, Kasane and Gaborone
Air Namibia – Direct daily flights from Windhoek to Gaborone
By Road – Main roads in Botswana are in good condition and a sedan car will cope easily and is cost-effective. However, when taking to the Parks, Reserves and other destinations off the beaten track a 4×4 is essential. For more info on these safaris, please contact us.
Please note that if travelling with children unabridged birth certificates are required
Top Tip: We recommend you booking your flights in and out of Botswana as part of your international flight from home to protect you in the event of missed connections caused by delays!