Botswana is a country of diverse beauty and excellent game-viewing. From the channels of the Okavango, the world's only inland delta, to the waterless salt pans, to the muddy banks of the Chobe River teeming with elephants, to the vast Central Kalahari, Botswana is filled with an array landscapes and uniquely adapted flora and fauna. This varied landscape also lends itself to an array of activities and ways to experience this stunning country.
This is a country for people who value remote areas and appreciate the wild. The most popular areas are the Okavango Delta, the Linyanti, Chobe National Park, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and the Makgadikgadi and Nxai Salt Pans.
Thanks to massive tracks of game concessions providing an explosive mix of both predator and prey, visitors are assured of a memorable trip. Botswana's exclusive lodges, excellent service, conservation ethos and good infrastructure make this a welcoming safari destination.
The world's only inland delta - Remote and exclusive properties - Huge elephant population
Consistently beautiful, Botswana’s landscape changes to fit the seasons, mesmerizing travelers with variations of setting, scenery, and activities. The Okavango and the Linyanti are spectacular and unique parts of Botswana with consistently good game-viewing. The Kalahari and the Makgadikgadi and Nxai salt pans are amazing in the right time of year and offer a stunning desert landscape. Chobe is probably the most crowded area but the shear volume of elephants, the comparatively lower price point and easy accessibility from Victoria Falls and Livingstone mean that it is popular for a reason!
Botswana is great for travelers who want remote, wild areas and great game-viewing without giving up comfort or luxury. Botswana has a wealth of luxurious camps that are set in remote areas with strict limits on the number of people who can be in the concession at once. These camps offer privacy and excellent game viewing without hoards of guests disturbing the peace. These luxurious camps also come with excellent service and expert guiding.
Being a politically stable country, it is ideal for visitors who are concerned with security. Botswana also has a well-established infrastructure that allows for easy transfers and access to camps.
Regular regional flights from South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe make Botswana an easy destination to combine with other countries in Southern Africa.
The privacy and luxury that define a Botswana safari also means that it is a comparatively expensive destination. Although some great deals can be found at certain times of year, in general Botswana is not best for travelers looking to save money.
Transfers in and around Botswana are largely by air and in small planes. This is an incredible way to view the country, but not ideal if you dislike flying or small planes.
Being predominately a wildlife destination, Botswana does not offer great nightlife. This is a quiet, relaxing destination - food for the soul. It is not ideal for people who want to spend time in a city with lots of nightlife and restaurants.
In addition, although it is possible to visit properties in the Kalahari and Makgadikgadi that offer the chance to intract with members of the San Bushmen, Botswana is not the best destination for travlers who want numerous opportunities for cultural interactions.
Finally many camps in Botswana are part of larger property groups. While this often means smooth and friendly service, it is in contrast to the quirky, personal touch of owner-run properties you can find in a place like Zambia or Kenya. Motswiri is one of the few lodges in Botswana where the owner is present.
For the northern areas, including the Okavango and the Linyanti, we recommend traveling from June through September when game viewing is at its best. High water levels from annual floods concentrate the wildlife on available islands yet it is the dry season so the animals congregate near water. In addition, the lack of leaves on trees and bushes makes them easier to spot. October is considered the peak month for wildlife photographers but it is not uncommon for temperatures to hit 110 degrees.
Keep in mind that water levels shift (advance and recede) throughout peak season in the Okavango Delta. This means that the ideal camp in June may not be the same as the ideal camp in September.
April and May in this area are also a time to consider traveling. There is good weather and game-viewing and the prices can be 30% to 50% lower than peak season.
Chobe is consistently good year round, with August being a very busy period in the park and a time that is best to avoid if possible.
For animals, Kalahari the central Makgadigadi are best to visit between December and April as the rainy season brings new grass and draws a huge migration of grazing animals. We have had some amazing lion sightings during that time. We also love the desert during the dry season (July to October) for taking advantage of the fun activities – like quad biking – and walks with the bushmen and even sleeping under the stars.
While peak season in Botswana is June through September, the key is picking the right camp. This is where we can help. To fully experience what Botswana has to offer, it is important to stay at both land and water camps, and this can change depending on the time of the year and the flood levels.
In the Delta and the Linyanti, the green season (November - April) is a time for birding, newborn grazing animals and impressive predator activity. It is also a lush and beautiful time of year making for great pictures. Prices during this time are also quite a bit lower than peak season. That said, there are definitely certain areas within the Linyanti and the Delta that we would not recommend in the green season because the game-viewing is just not up to par.
As a safari destination Botswana offers exclusive luxury in remote areas. Naturally, this exclusivity and luxury comes at a premium.
As a rule, high season (July to October) can cost anything from $700 per person day at a property like Machaba, to $2500 – 3000 per person per day at properties like Mombo or Zarafa. Low season (January to March) prices start at around $400 - $600 per person per day and peak at $1500 per person per day at the high-end camps.
Botswana can be experienced in a number of different ways – from canvas tents, to luxury lodges, on the back of an elephant or horse, or in a canoe or mokoro.
The country has a variety of different accommodation options such as mobile camping, lodges, and luxury canvas tents. Lodges like Chobe Game Lodge are more suited to groups while intimate camps like Little Mombo cater to families, small groups and couples. Mobile camping is another great option for the adventurous and the mobile safari guides are excellent.
A variety of fun and interesting activities are available. For adrenaline seekers, quad biking and ATVs are operated during the dry season in the desert areas. Bushmen walks offer a fascinating look into the traditional and rapidly changing culture of the San people. Game drives are conducted in open 4 x 4 vehicles and where water is present; mokoro excursions, motor boating and fishing are provided. Many camps also do nature walks through the bush.
We also recommend the specialist elephant interactions at Abu Camp, Stanley’s Camp and Baines Camp. These are incredible experiences for animal lovers to touch, ride and walk with these gentle giants. For an interaction of a smaller kind, guests at Jack's Camp, San Camp and Camp Kalahari have the chance to interact with groups of habituated meerkats.
Botswana is home to a wide variety of species including leopard, lion, cheetah, hyena, wild dog, hippo, buffalo, duiker, aardvark, civet, serval and the jackal. There are also many antelope species such as wildebeest, tsessebe, roan, sable, kudu, impala, and sitatunga. Rhinos are currently being reintroduced into the Okavango Delta and you can currently see them around Boteti River in Makgadikgadi NP.
The desert is famous for habituated meerkat and brown hyena. Chobe is well known for its puku and massive herds of elephant, and Savute has a large predator population. The marshes and swamps are a birders paradise with countless interesting bird species, such as the Wattle Crane and Pel’s Fishing Owl. Your guides are sure to show you the unique species of the region.
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