Botswana offers some of the best African wildlife safaris and pristine habitats from scorching desert to lush waterways and from wide open plains and pans to thick riverine woodland. Great herds of game ramble between the Kalahari’s red sands and the grand channels explored on an Okavango Delta safari and expect wildlife abound when on safari in Chobe or the Kwando river. Botswana is also known for its predator action, from the largest population of the critically endangered African wild dog to strong lion prides including the impressive Kalahari lions.
There is no better place to visit than Botswana for an African safari holiday. Every wilderness area is unique – and the activities on offer are as varied as the wildlife. View wildlife from the back of an elephant, a dugout canoe (mokoro) on foot, from a helicopter or the more traditional 4×4 safari vehicle. It’s the ultimate environment for fly in safaris because roads are few and far between! Botswana is also a romantic honeymoon destination because of its genuine remoteness and raw, authentic beauty.
The country with a population of less than 2 million sits in the centre of southern Africa completely land locked and just 950 metres above sea level. It’s area size totals 582,000 square kilometres, the size of Texas. Botswana is a triple world record holding country for the largest salt pans, the largest inland delta and the world’s shortest border (with Zambia – it is just 700 metres).
The Okavango Delta, in the midst of the Kalahari sands, is Africa’s largest and most beautiful oasis and one of the world’s greatest mysteries – water in the desert! Ultimate big five safaris for African holidays with a difference. Explore magical expanses of water and forested islands on foot, in 4×4 and mokoro (dug out canoes). An Okavango Delta safari is ideal for everyone, from first time safari holiday goer to the more experienced safari connoisseurs.
Chobe & Savute
Notable for its shifting migratory population of over 50,000 elephants and abundant birdlife, a visit to Botswana is not complete without time in the Chobe. In addition to spotting Chobe’s great pachyderm herds, you may get to spot lions, leopards, hyenas, wild dogs, impalas, waterbucks, kudus, zebras, wildebeests (gnus), giraffes and warthogs.
Makgadikadi & Pans
The Makgadikgadi Pans are the residue of a great lake that once covered much of northern Botswana, fed by rivers carrying salts leached from the lake’s catchment area. This vast, open land has plenty of folklore and mystery, ideal for African safaris off the beaten track, photographic safaris and landscape lovers.
Kwando, Linyanti & Selinda
This forgotten paradise offers adventurers the ultimate Africa safari in the heart of Botswana’s wilderness. Ideal for those seeking refuge from the busy tourist route of the Chobe. Great for camping safaris, family safaris, walking safaris and luxury African safari holidays.
The second largest game reserve and the largest sand basin in the world, the Kalahari is characterised by vast open plains and salt pans where roads are no more than sand tracks. Experience San bushmen culture, meerkat interactions and quadbiking adventures.
Nestled between the Sashe and Limpopo rivers, this section of land forms a triangle where the international borders of Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa meet. Tuli offers its own majesty and is ideal for adventurers seeking off the grid safari holidays in Botswana.
Flying 500 feet above the waters of the Okavango Delta, a helicopter safari gives you the ultimate aerial view and perspective of an otherwise inaccessible area. With the option to take the side doors off, the helicopter tours take you over this unique ecosystem and provide fantastic photographic opportunities. Nothing beats seeing wildlife in their natural habitat from the air.
One of the ‘must do’ activities in Botswana’s Salt pans is quad biking. Set out for a day trip or overnight tour and experience an exhilarating ride across the white expanse. Savour a night sleeping under the stars on a comfortable bedroll set up by friendly staff who prepare a fantastic meal and light the campfire for a night of story telling. Laying back and gazing at the stars in the sheer silence of the desert pans is in our top ten African experiences.
The Chobe offers perhaps the most unique cruise holiday in the world. Spend your days cruising the waterways, wildlife watching, birding, fishing and relaxing. Home to an astonishing proliferation of bird, animal and aquatic life, there is always something on the horizon. Nothing beats game viewing from the comfort of your cabin, from the top deck or on a tender boat that gets you down the smaller channels.
For the adventurous traveller, mobile camping in Botswana allows you to get back to basics without compromising comfort. You truly immerse yourself in the wilderness and sleep under canvas, falling asleep to the sounds of the wild. By day, venture out on safari in open sided 4x4s with your guide. Mobile camping can be done privately or on a Botswana small group tour.
A safari in Botswana offers the unique opportunity to search for rare desert wildlife like the charismatic, captivating and oh so cute meerkats. The meerkat in the Kalahari have become used to humans and you are regarded as nothing more than useful lookout posts. Sit still long enough and you may have a market clamber up your leg and onto you head. How do you compare the meerkats? It comes down to their preoccupations of guarding and feeding because physically, adults all look the same!
Only in Botswana’s Okavango Delta can you experience the beauty of a mokoro safari. Imagine sitting in a dug out canoe that glides effortlessly by the ‘poling’ of a professional local guide through lush scenery of waterways, islands and lagoons. Once the only form of transport in the Delta, a mokoro safari is now an immersive experience where you discover the beauty of silence in the wilderness and creatures great and small, from elephants drinking at the water’s edge to frogs clinging to the reeds.
The San (or Basarwa) people, commonly known as the Bushmen come from the Kalahari, a vast desert stretching over South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. Surviving by hunting and gathering in one of the world’s most inhospitable terrains is what sets this culture apart along with their unique click language. Spend time with them walking through wilderness, learn about their culture and traditions and take part in their every day life. The highlight is learning how to track and hunt as they have been doing for generations.
The thrill of riding on horseback through game rich landscapes captures the attention of most horse riding enthusiasts. A horseback safari in Botswana means you get in the saddle with extremely experienced guides on well schooled horses and explore this exceptional wilderness setting. The Okavango Delta has been the main highlight and there are a few choices in accommodation and duration. Two other regions have opened up in the Makgadikgadi pans and in the Tuli Block
A white tented oasis on the edge of the mysterious Makgadikgadi Pan, is San Camp. Almost entirely run on solar energy, this camp boasts a true escape from any reality. Safari elegance, spectacular and endless vistas will greet you from the moment you arrive. Stay in luxury and enjoy the fantastic facilities including mess tent with mini museum and library, tea tent, yoga pavilion and of course brilliant safari activities on foot, in 4×4 and on quads. Rare brown hyaena and meerkats are at least two animals you are almost guaranteed to see.
Little Kwara Camp
Nestled in game rich Kwara Concession, Little Kwara borders the Moremi Game Reserve in the north of Botswana’s safari capital, Okavango Delta. With five tents the safari promise of intimacy and personal service is delivered. Activities here are day and night game drives, walks, power boating, mokoro trips and fishing. The stand out feature for us is the guide and tracker team on each vehicle – two sets of trained eyes on safari are always better than one.
Meaning ‘roar of the lion’, Duma Tau is set on an expansive lagoon on the Linyanti River with ten luxury tented rooms. This is a private reserve and game rich area of Botswana so you will love getting out on gamed drive in open sided 4x4s in search of plains game not to mention the predators of the region like lion, cheetah and wild dog. Savour the serenity of the unique floating river barge with drink in hand as you spot wildlife coming to drink. With other activities on offer like fishing, a wildlife hide and safari walks there truly is something for everyone.
Ngoma is an intimate safari lodge in the Chobe Forest Reserve, away from the hustle and bustle of Kasane. There are eight exclusive river facing suites offering stunning views over the flood plains down to the river. For those seeking solitude and the full Chobe safari experience, it is perfect with full day excursions combining game drives, picnic lunches and afternoon Chobe River cruise. Game walks are another privilege here for the more adventurous and brave!
Duba Plains Camp
The Okavango Delta’s most remote safari camp, Duba Plains offers intimacy on a private 77,000 acre island reserve surrounded by seasonal flood plains. With just six tents raised on platforms and a main mess area complete with bar, dining and campfire you can expect casual comfort and safari elegance of yesteryear. The emphasis is on the wilderness and wildlife. It is here you may witness the lion and buffalo confrontation.
Situated in the game rich Khwai area on the eastern tongue of the Okavango Delta, this 1950’s inspired classic safari tented camp offers a wonderful experience for safari holidaymakers seeking an authentic African holiday. There are 8 spacious luxury tents for couples and 2 family tents so children are welcome and encouraged here. Main area is tented with lounge, bar, dining indoors and outdoors around the campfire. For summer months you seek reprieve from the heat in the plunge pool with loungers for afternoon siesta. Morning and evening game drives, walks, gameviewing from the comfort of your tent, visit to local community and mokoro safaris are on offer (water levels dependent).
Footsteps across the Delta
Footsteps Across the Delta holds the elegance and eccentricity of the original ‘under canvas African safari’. It offers a personal safari experience, hosting a maximum of 6 guests at a time, making it an ideal option for small groups of friends or family. The emphasis is on guided walks where you have the time to focus on learning about tracking wildlife and understanding animal movement, patterns and behaviour, as well as more in depth information on the finder details such as trees and grasses. Being on foot, instead of a vehicle, affords this unique perspective.
A return to the traditional safari style of the old explorers, Camp Kalahari is the best way to experience the Makgadikgadi in a fresh and affordable way. Camp Kalahari accepts children of all ages and makes for a fantastic family safari holiday destination. Activities vary depending on the season. Late April to October offers quad biking, meerkat interaction, bushmen guided walks and 4×4 game drives. November to mid April is wet season and the emphasis is on the zebra and wildebeest migration, game drives and morning walks with Bushmen.
It was incredible to think that we saw all of the animals most people hope to see on our first ever safari in Botswana. We arrived at Chitabe Lediba and even on the drive to camp we saw so much – elephants, giraffes, antelopes even little mongooses. Cheetahs are really rare and yet we saw a mother and her three cubs. We also saw a stunning young leopardess which had killed and was resting afterwards batting at flies like a kitten. The birds are all fabulous, they were a pleasure in themselves – every day we saw new and amazing sights, with elegant little impalas everywhere, baboon babies that sat against their mother’s tails as if in an armchair, incredibly vivid sunsets and gorgeous light lining the animals at dawn.
Botswana yielded fantastic and extensive viewing of local birds, cheetah, leopard and of course the wonderful wild dogs – we spent time marvelling at their complex social life and followed them as they hunted the local impala. I have a photo of a dozen or so dogs waiting patiently for the lead dogs to signal them that an animal had been brought down – quite incredible discipline. As expected, I have come home with great memories and, of course, thousands of photos which I’m enjoying sifting through now.
First ever trip to Africa for my fiance and his brother (I’d been before) and Botswana was amazing. The Pans was a great intro to the trip. Beautiful scenery and great activities. The delta was amazing and we loved the Chobe too. Accommodation was lovely yet i think it is the guides and managers in camp that make all the difference. We met so many lovely people and saw so much. Thanks for arranging a great trip, we will definitely be going back to Africa on safari.
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