Like a shiny diamond amid a no-less glittering array of exquisite jewels, Botswana shines as a top-notch safari destination. Home to some of the most prolific wildlife parks and reserves in Africa – if not the world – Botswana has firmly set its mark as a bucket-list safari destination.
From the vast wilderness of the Okavango Delta, which teems with birds and animals, to the incredible Big 5 safari viewing in Chobe National Park, Botswana is a must-visit for both first-time safari goers and regular safari aficionados. With a stable economy, reliable logistics and infrastructure, and a network of excellent safari operators, lodges and hotels, Botswana should top your bucket list. Here are some of the reasons why you should plan your next safari here:
Land & Water-Based Activities
Unlike other safari destinations in southern Africa, Botswana’s unique offering of both land and water-based activities in a single destination is what sets it apart. The Okavango Delta is a sprawling oasis of free-roaming wildlife, and many of the islands are only accessible by plane. The floodplains come to life during the ‘Green Season’ between November and February, but often the best game-viewing is done during the drier months.
You can easily enjoy a motorboat safari in the morning, followed by a guided safari walk after tea and a game drive in the afternoon. One of the highlights on an Okavango Delta safari is the mokoro excursions. Mokoros are hollowed-out tree trunks made into comfortable canoes, often 6 metres in length, and which are poled through the water, giving you a unique viewpoint.
TOP TIP: bring a loose sarong or kikoi with you on the mokoro; dipping it in the water as you cruise along and then draping it over your shoulders provides a refreshing feeling in the humid air!
Greatest Elephant Population in Africa
You never really need to wait at a waterhole in Chobe for animal action. Without fail, there are scores of gazelles, zebra and giraffe all coming to drink, while scuttling warthogs race around and fluttering hornbills make mad dashes from tree to tree. Now and then a lazy lion will raise his head and flop back down in the shade, an impala ear will flick away the flies during the midday heat and a crocodile will lazily open his yellow eyes to take in the scene on the bank.
But suddenly in the distance, a procession will be spotted, and soon dozens, scores, often hundreds of elephants will suddenly congregate around the water – splashing, jostling and nudging one another. This is Chobe, home to the most significant elephant population in Africa, if not the world.
Herds are made up of a matriarch, flanked by numerous other females and adolescents, with a number of babies running around. Bachelor herds are also common, often appearing on the scene when the females arrive. Lone bulls will also lope up; their giant tusks rubbed raw by breaking down trees and clashing with other males.
TOP TIP: While you’ll want to snap away on your camera, make sure you take some video footage too; the sounds of a massive herd of elephant eating, jostling and rumbling is quite something.
Remote and Wild
One of the greatest attractions of a Botswana safari is the remoteness of the parks and reserves. Many places are inaccessible by vehicle, which means that there are always fewer visitors in a single area – this is what real luxury is!
The Okavango Delta is typically accessed via a small plane from Maun, considered the gateway to the Delta. Hop on board your small scheduled charter plane and fly over endless floodplains, islands and open woodlands to reach your airstrip. You’ll then enjoy a road or boat transfer to camp. Discover the wildlife-rich Moremi Game Reserve, explore Chief’s Island – an oasis of dry land in the heart of the Delta – or embrace the utter tranquillity of a private concession.
Botswana’s wild safari destinations also extend southward; the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is one of the country’s truly unique regions. Home to the annual zebra migration and exceptional birding opportunities – particularly in the Green Season – its vast horizons, spectacular sunsets and starry night skies make for a true tapestry of safari experiences.
TOP TIP: Chat to your safari consultant about how to best combine Botswana’s top experiences in different regions; this will enable you to keep travel efficient to maximise your time in the parks.
If this hasn’t convinced you, then maybe our exciting Botswana itineraries might!
– This incredible 8-day tailor-made tour takes in three showstopper Southern African destinations. Begin your journey marvelling at the magnitude of Victoria Falls before indulging in the romance and beauty of Botswana’s breathtaking Okavango Delta. End your adventure with thrilling wildlife encounters in Zambia on classic open-vehicle game drives and leisurely river cruises.
– Take in the sights and sounds of Cape Town, the wildlife of the Kruger National Park, the majesty of Victoria Falls and the romance of the Okavango Delta on this tailor-made tour. Soak up some Mother City charm, embark on a classic safari in the gem of South Africa’s wildlife crown, and experience of the legendary ‘Smoke That Thunders’ before ending your journey in Botswana’s glittering Delta.