The beauty, scale, and diversity of Botswana will take your breath away, and while you’ll be sharing the savannah, swamps, and woodlands with countless birds and animals, you won’t ever feel crowded. Botswana’s tourism policies manage visitor numbers for minimum ecosystem impact.
While the Delta steals much of the limelight, the rest of Botswana should not be overlooked. The immense spaces of the Central Kalahari (a desert which blooms and comes to life after the rains) and the almost-lunar Makgadikgadi Pans will give your imagination unlimited space to roam, while the Chobe National Park is the focal point for Africa’s greatest concentration of elephants. Your luxury Botswana safari starts here!
- Walk with the Bushmen (or San) and learn some of their survival secrets
- Admire the stellar displays of constellations from your “fossil bed” as you sleep under the stars
- Experience the sights and sounds of nature as you glide through the Okavango in a mokoro
- Mingle with meerkats, some of the most endearing creatures in the whole of Africa
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (or CKGR) covers some 10% of Botswana, and is bigger than the Netherlands. It’s one of Africa’s largest protected areas, and provides a marked contrast to the wetlands of the Okavango Delta further north. The CKGR is home to a wealth of specially adapted wildlife. The desert literally comes to life after the summer rains – from January to April, thousands of springbok and gemsbok gather to enjoy the green flush. This in turn provides opportunities for cheetah and the iconic black-maned Kalahari lion. The ancient dunes and dry river valleys shelter curiosities such as aardvark and pangolin, and many smaller predators like the legendary honey badger.
CHOBE NATIONAL PARK
Chobe forms a “bridge” between the Okavango Delta and the Victoria Falls area in Zimbabwe/Zambia. It’s famed for its incredible herds of elephant – nowhere else in Africa has a higher concentration of these remarkable creatures. Of course, there’s more to Chobe than “just” the elephant – the park also protects large numbers of buffalo and species of antelope – like puku – found in few other places. Chobe can be explored by land or water, with boat cruises offering a unique perspective on life on, in and alongside the river. When it comes to seeing wildlife in numbers, the Chobe is simply unbeatable, and bears comparison to all of Africa’s most famous national parks.
LINYANTI GAME RESERVE
The Linyanti, up against the border with Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, is a region delineated by the last wrinkles of the Great Rift Valley which runs down through Africa. It’s a remarkable place that deserves to be much better known. Like the neighboring Chobe National Park, it has a very healthy population of elephant. They are particularly evident in the dry season, when they gather along the Linyanti River as other sources of water dry up. The Linyanti features great tracts of mopane woodland, and the Savute Channel – a mysterious river that appears and disappears every few decades. In its absence, a ribbon of savannah supports grassland species: a great place to see rare wild dog.
MAKGADIKGADI NATIONAL PARK
Perhaps the closest you can get to walking on the Moon, without leaving Earth, the Makgadikgadi Pans have an otherworldly feel. The dried-up bed of a vast ancient lake, the Pans are littered with stone tools and criss-crossed by lines of palm trees, inadvertently planted by migrating elephant. Bulbous baobab trees are perhaps the most striking landmarks, while when it comes to wildlife, endearing meerkat are the undoubted stars of the show. Let your imagination roam where it will across these huge empty spaces, and back in time to when the world was young. Don’t miss the chance to sleep out under the stars in a “fossil bed” – you’ll not find a finer collection of constellations anywhere.
Botswana’s chief attraction is undoubtedly the Okavango Delta. Known as the “Jewel of the Kalahari”, this miraculous mosaic of wetlands, islands, floodplains, and channels is revitalized each year by local rainfall, and by the annual inundation of water flowing down from the highlands of Angola. With the water being regularly recharged, the Okavango can support very healthy populations of elephants and all the species you would want to see on safari and consists of beautiful and dynamic landscapes. Unmissable experiences include game drives, walking safaris, and boat and mokoro (dug-out canoe) excursions.