botswana safaris

 

Botswana is one of the most rewarding countries in Africa in which to go on safari.

Situated in the center of southern Africa, landlocked Botswana has Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe as its neighbors. With the exception of the eastern part where the summer rainfall is slightly higher, the Kalahari Desert forms the majority of Botswana. The predominance of land makes for a remarkable phenomenon: The Okavango Delta is a wondrous wetland within a desert, receiving its waters from rain falling over a 1000 miles away, and sustaining a huge diversity of fauna and flora. In the north-east of the country, the Chobe and Linyanti reserves are renowned for their predators and large concentrations of game.

The Salt pans and Kalahari scrubland south of the delta are home to unique experiences like quad biking safaris and and some excellent cultural encounters with Africa’s first people, the San. The salt pans during the green season - between January and March (depending on rainfall). After the rain comes and fills the desert holes, thousands of zebra and antelope migrate into the area to feed on the new grasses. This in turn leads to dramatic predator-prey interactions as the lion prides make the most of the visiting herds. As many as 580 bird species have been recorded in Botswana with 75 larger mammal species known to occur and more than 80 fish species identified in the Okavango. The sense of being far from the hassles of everyday life is felt very keenly by many visitors to Botswana.

Quick Links to Botswana Travel Advice

  • When to go to Botswana: check our Explorist Guide to Planning your Botswana Safari. 

  • All the facts you need to know about Botswana green season. Why Travel to Botswana in the Green Season.

  • View our Safari Savings page and save a bundle on Botswana.

  • Why choose a Privately - Guided Safari to Botswana. Read about the advantages of tailor made safari travel. 

  • Looking for a more remote our uncrowded Botswana experience or wanting to go on a photographic safari - View our top Botswana safari packages and camps.

  • View our ten best camps in Botswana.

Our Styles of safari Will Guide You

Our African Safari Experts make planning your Botswana safari simple. Tours and safari packages range from our Livingstone Luxury to the rugged Adventurer style, specialist safaris for keen photographers and mobile camping in our Vintage or Heritage style packages. For first time travel to Botswana or for a short multi country combination safari, our Classic style safari packages provide the best way to see and explore Botswana.  View our Style Guide 

 
 
 

Top Reasons to Go TO BOTSWANA

The Okavango Delta:

Whether you are drifting dreamily in a mokoro through the crystal-clear, papyrus-fringed channels or walking among ancient trees on one of the many islands, your everyday world is guaranteed to fade from your consciousness.

Big Game:

You won’t find huge herds as in Serengeti, but you will come face to face with more critters than you ever knew existed. And there won’t be hordes of other visitors blocking your view or diluting the experience.

Birding:

Marvel at more than 900 species – many endemic – that crowd the game reserves. A sighting of a Pel’s fishing owl, one of the world’s rarest birds, will have Audubon twitching in his grave.

Walking With The Bushmen:

Far from being lifeless, deserts are miracles of plenty. You just have to be in the right company – that of the Kalahari Bushmen. Listen to their dissonant music, watch them dance a dance as old as time, and then listen to the stars sing.

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seasons & touring

When to Go

The best time to visit Botswana is in the autumn and winter months (April through September), though it’s also the most expensive. In the delta during the winter months the water has come in from the Angolan highlands, and the floodplains channels, lakes, and inland waterways are literally brimming with sparkling fresh water. Elsewhere, as it’s the dry season, the grass and vegetation are sparse, and it’s much easier to see game, which often have no choice but to drink at available water holes or rivers. But be warned: it can be bitterly cold, particularly early in the morning and at night.

Dress in layers (including a thigh-length thick jacket, hat, scarf, and gloves), which you can discard or add to as the sun goes up or down. During the Green Season (October through February), aptly named as it’s when the bush is at its most lush and is populated with lots of baby animals, you’ll find great economy deals offered by most of the lodges, but, and this is a big but, it’s very hot – temperatures can reach up to 35 C (95F). If you’re a birder (Botswana has more than 400 species of birds), this is the best time to visit, because all the migratory birds have returned. Unless you’re in a lodge with air-conditioning, can stand great heat, or are a keen bird-watcher, stick with fall and winter.

GREEN SEASON

  • Excellent game concentrations in Central Kalahari

  • Time of abundance... births, babies and breeding (+ predators)

  • Summer bird migrants present in breeding plumage

  • Excellent photographic opportunities... great light, colour and subject matter

APR - MAY

TRANSITION SEASON

• Moderate climate with a mix of the green and dry seasons including the dynamics of a change in season

JUN - OCT

DRY SEASON

• Diminished water availability results in high game concentrations and density

• Peak inundation in the Okavango – perfect time for mokoro and boating activities

• Great visibility in leafless woodland
• Cooler and drier time of the year with day time temperatures rising towards October

top botswana destinations

the Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta is formed by the Okavango River, which descends from the Angolan highlands and fans out over northwestern Botswana. It’s made up of an intricate network of channels, quite lagoons, and reed-lined backwaters. There is big game, but it’s more elusive and difficult to approach.

 
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top botswana destinations

the okavango

 

Moremi Game Reserve

Here the life-giving waters of the Okavango meet the vast Kalahari. Teeming with game and birds, it is one of Africa’s greatest parks, and, unlike the Masai Mara or Kruger Park, has hardly any people. You’ll love the Garden of Eden atmosphere even if you do encounter the odd snake or two.

 
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top botswana destinations

moremi game reserve

 

Chobe National Park

Huge herds of game roam this 11,700-square-km (4,500-square-mi) park that borders the Chobe River in northeast Botswana. Although it’s one of Africa’s great game reserves, its lack of roads and often almost inaccessible conditions – especially in the rainy season – means you’ll need a 4x4 to tackle it on your own.

 
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top botswana destinations

chobe national park

 

selinda & linyanti Reserve

Linyanti reserve

To the north-east of the Okavango Delta, along the Linyanti Fault line, lie the Chobe and Linyanti areas. The varied woodland habitats and ancient floodplains help to create a balanced experience of the country. In many ways the Linyanti is an essential complement to an Okavango visit.

Selinda Reserve content

 
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top botswana destinations

selinda & linyanti reserve

 

CENTRAL KALAHARI

South of the Okavango Delta and dominating central Botswana, the five million-hectare (12 million-acre) Central Kalahari Game Reserve is one of the biggest protected areas in Africa, its diverse wildlife and wonderful scenery offering an amazing contrast to the rest of the country. The Kalahari Desert is the largest unbroken stretch of sand in the world and at its core is the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

 
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makgadikgadi pans and

the kalahari

The Khwai Concession

 

The Khwai Community Concession borders the Moremi Game Reserve, being separated only by the Khwai River. The animals do not know the difference and most guides recognize that the game viewing is actully better outside the park! This concession is extremely productive for predator viewing and it is our “go-to” place to observe wild dogs. 

 
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top botswana destinations

khwai

 

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