Located in central southern Africa, Botswana is about 950 meters above sea level and more than 600 kilometers from the nearest coast. The country’s most striking features are its relative flatness and aridity. This makes the Okavango Delta even more remarkable: a swampland in a desert that receives its water from the rain that falls in Angola, 1,000 kilometers away.
After independence in 1966, Botswana has become a true African success story. The country’s leaders have taken an innovative approach to tourism, believing that low-volume, inexperienced ecotourism is the best way to create a sustainable conservation economy and uplift communities while preserving the environment.
Often overlooked by safaris in South Africa, Zambia, or Kenya, Botswana has so much to offer when it comes to safaris and adventure travel. Discover this side of Botswana that no one in the news is going to talk about.
So let’s pack our bags and travel to the safaris of Botswana!
From the vast, arid desert of the Kalahari to the beautiful Okavango Delta, a maze of waterways running through the desert sands – Botswana safaris offer you a breathtaking contrast that will be a feast for your senses, bored and tired of the sameness and uniformity around it.
Here is a brief outline of some of the top destinations:
The 10,600-acre Khama Rhino Sanctuary was established in 1993 to save the disappearing white rhino. Starting with just four, the rhino population has now swelled to nearly 20. There are plans to introduce the almost extinct black rhino to the sanctuary as well. It is run by a community trust involving local people from the area. The entrance fee with a vehicle is only $5, and contributions from visitors keep it going. There is the Mokongwa Camp or the Boma Camp, which offers various facilities at reasonable accommodation prices.
Chobe National Park has an area of 4,079 square miles just across the borders with Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is also a picture of contrasts – from a lush riverine area north to the dry bush in the south. Some 45,000 elephants have made their home there. If you can be sure you won’t be trampled by one of them, try fishing. You’ll find more than 90 species, including the mighty tigerfish. And remember, the big cats rule here too. Accommodation is no problem: Chobe Safari Lodge is moderately priced and comfortable.
A lake millions of years ago is now Nxai National Park, covering 2,787 square miles of arid basins that go from a strange deserted but inviting dust bowl in winter to a shallow, wet wonderland when it rains in summer. In damp weather, flamingos, wildebeests, and zebras (and inevitably their predators) can be spotted here by the thousands. For accommodation, Planet Baobab is there for your comfort.
Covering more than 100,000 hectares, the Mashatu Game Reserve is the largest privately owned nature reserve in Botswana and is part of the Northern Tuli Game Reserve. In addition to lions, leopards, zebras, kudu, elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, and hyenas, it also offers riverbeds full of baboons, ancient archaeological sites, and beautiful sandstone dikes!
Although known as an expensive place for accommodation, Mashatu Main Camp is quite reasonable compared to most Botswana lodges.
The 1,881 square mile Moremi Wildlife Reserve sits on the beautiful Okavango Delta. More than 300 bird species teem in the delta’s vast maze of inlets and islands, in addition to the hippos, crocodiles, elephants that pass through, and lily pads that seem to stretch on forever. Avoid the summer season if possible, as there would be too much water for the traditional « mokoro » (a type of canoe) ride at that time of year. Make yourself comfortable at the Audi camp, which offers hugely moderate rates and many attractions.
Botswana safaris come in several varieties. The three main ones are mobile safaris, luxury honeymoon safaris, and fly-in safaris. Mobile safaris usually employ 4×4 vehicles to cover larger areas or various habitats in a single trip. Luxury honeymoon safaris are for romantic couples who want to spend time drinking champagne on a private terrace while gazing at Botswana’s vast plains. Fly-in safaris use top luxury safari camps in areas with a high density of wildlife, such as the Okavango Delta.