Known as the pride of Africa, landlocked Botswana ranks as one of the most game-rich and unspoiled spots on the planet – making for a fantastic safari holiday. Complete with a fascinating Bushmen culture and the world’s largest inland delta, Botswana is perfect if you want to see superb game in a unique environment. The landscape is dramatic and diverse, marked by diamond-rich deserts, stunning salt pans, fertile flood plains, a unique wetlands experience, and national parks and reserves with safari lodges that will suit all tastes and preferences.
Landlocked between Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, Botswana is one of Africa’s success stories. It is a country big on wild encounters, and a safari holiday here allows you to watch a buffalo face up to lion, ride an elephant, drive a quad bike across a lunar landscape, and spot animals galore.
It is one of southern Africa’s top safari destinations with over 40 per cent of Botswana is made up of national parks, reserves and private concessions. The jewel in its crown is the Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland delta. Named UNESCO’s 1,000th World Heritage Site in 2014, this wonderland of waterways has all the wildlife sightings an animal-lover could want; hippos, zebras, wildebeest, antelope, baboons and herds of elephants. Explore the palm-fringed islands and natural lagoons, visit Moremi Wildlife Reserve, and float along the crocodile-infested waters on a mokoro – a traditional Okavango Delta dugout canoe – with an experienced guide!
Equally gripping is the Makgadikgadi Pans, an expanse of dazzling whiter-than-white salt pans in the famous Kalahari Desert, and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, a protected area filled with grasslands and dune desert – this is home to the country’s Bushmen. Whilst all Botswana’s national parks amaze, Chobe National Park, probably the most famous, is home to one of the highest concentrations of game on the African continent. It boasts the most safari lodges, and is the most accessible, and you can spot up to 15 different species of animals on any one game drive – including The Big Five – if you are lucky.
At the end of each action-packed day, enjoy blood-red sunsets and sleep under a dome of stars. For most, Botswana is all about safari, but culture-lovers may want to explore the incredible rock art site Tsodilo Hills, nicknamed the ‘Louvre of the Desert.
Botswana is at the high end on the cost scale. The reason for this is that the government have decided to go down the route of high end, low impact tourism making it ecologically friendly and sustainable. It also means that you can enjoy a very private safari without the crowds.
When to visit
Botswana is a year round destination so it really does depend on what you want to do and see. The winter months are from May to October and are the best months to go to make the most of a safari. The summer months are November to April.