Tucked away in the heart of Africa, the landlocked nation of Botswana is Southern Africa’s best-kept secret. For a luxury safari tour, there is no better destination – Botswana safari camps and private guides are some of the best in the world. And that’s reason enough to pack your suitcases and set off! But where will your quest for the best family safari holidays lead you? As your seasoned Africa safari experts, let us help you with the right choices and experiences for your Botswana travel plans and other luxury Africa tours.
You may have heard of the Okavango Delta Botswana, the vast expanses of the Kalahari desert, the surreal salt pans of Makgadikgadi, and the world’s largest population of elephants at Chobe National Park. Here’s your lowdown on best Botswana safari tour destinations.
Nestled in the heart of Southern Africa, Botswana is a peaceful nation, her people finding joy in the simple life spent amid wild giants who roam her reaches. Living in harmony with the land is the only mantra: harboring an astounding number of national parks, conservation reserves and private concessions, sustainable and responsible tourism are the reasons for Botswana’s unspoiled natural beauty.
Over 40% of the country is exclusively dedicated to Botswana’s wildlife!
Set in the verdant north of Botswana, this delightful waterworld is the ideal introduction to Botswana. Chobe National Park offers a unique combination of wild grasslands, open plains and meandering waterways, all at the same time. For elephant enthusiasts there is no better playground – Chobe is home to more than 120,000 elephants and counting, what with refugee elephants pouring in from neighboring countries everyday.
You may just wake up to staggeringly huge herds of these gentle giants ambling around your campsite. Later, hop into a safari tour vehicle and set out in search of the big ones – lions and leopards stealthily stalking their prey by the riverside, buffaloes grazing in the shade of mopane trees, and hippo families quietly bubbling in the water. Under the all-seeing eyes of the crocodiles, African Fish Eagles swoop in to snatch prey from the jaws of irate Spoonbills while the Long-Toed Lapwing watches from its snug perch atop an elephant – there’s plenty of drama going around! Climb aboard a boat and cruise gently down the Chobe river and you will be rewarded with the sight of hundreds of animals foraging and frolicking on the banks.
Hundreds of animals forage and frolic on the banks of Chobe River.
Tip: Being the most accessible of game parks in Botswana, Chobe is known to draw in large crowds. Start early for your safari tours and other activities.
On the fringes of Chobe, the rich grasslands, sandy plains and swamps of Savute and Linyanti offer remarkable private safari tour experiences. Far from the crowds of Chobe National Park, these private concessions can truly tailor your experiences to match all your interests.
The wildlands of Savute stretch along the northern border of Chobe until the tranquil Linyati river.
The wildlands of Savute stretch along the northern border of Chobe until the tranquil Linyanti river. Here, you will be crowded by graceful zebras and intrepid buffaloes and, hot on their trail, hungry lions. Watch a fearless pride of ‘giant killer’ lions in action or a pack of hyenas hunt their prey to ground. In the Savute Channel, leopards display their ample fishing skills while eagles, bee-eaters and kori bustards wait their turn on the sidelines. Take the road less traveled or better still, follow animal tracks through the lush landscape in your open safari vehicle to get close to the action.
Neighboring Linyanti is for the elite adventurer, boasting luxurious lodges and camps overlooking the tranquil Linyanti river. Drawn by the riverine landscape, hippos and crocodiles flock to Linyanti by the hundreds. This section of the reserve is easily accessible, either with a drive from the nearest town, Kasane, or by chartered aircraft that swoops directly into the small airstrip.
Lush grasslands and vast floodplains peppered by the occasional palm tree, hide a wealth of animals at Linyanti – while puku gambol around the bushes, bushbuck graze heartily and elands and impalas run around each other playfully. Often a buffalo is seen chasing wild dogs away from the younger ones, or a giraffe will aim a well-timed kick at a leopard – there is entertainment galore! The unfenced border with Chobe is often an invitation to large herds of free-roaming elephants – you may just find some of them making merry at your swimming pool! Or take a motorboat cruise on the river – this is where the hippos, crocodiles and hundreds of birds will reveal themselves to you.
This is where the hippos, crocodiles and hundreds of birds are.
Just a little south, Moremi Game Reserve is your gateway to the Okavango Delta. Before you travel on to sample the delights of the delta, pause for a while – it may be less exclusive, but excursions in Moremi can offer the ideal balance to your time spent in Okavango. Named after a chief from the BaTawana tribe who once roamed these lands, reaching the reserve is easy – you can drive through verdant, tree-laden roads straight into the heart of Moremi or fly into the small airstrip.
Take a gentle mokoro ride in the Okavango and explore its many hidden islands.
Once you reach, the rest of the reserve is easily accessible. This is the heartland for not just Botswana’s largest predators but also for the endangered rhino population, who were recently reintroduced into the region. A profusion of birds and local heronries ensure that bird-lovers are continuously occupied as well. Private concessions just off the reserve are known to offer extraordinary experiences – from scintillating bush walks to close encounters with the African big five (with trained rangers and guides, of course!), night safari tours to spot your favorite nocturnal species, or gentle mokoro rides in the Okavango to explore its many hidden islands.
This is the undoubted jewel in Botswana’s crown, if not all of Africa’s! Naturalists and geographers will take pains to explain just how the floodwaters inundate this vast expanse for months and are then soaked up by the thirsty Kalahari, but watching it unfold before your eyes is pure magic. In the dry months between June to September, the Okavango is a fascinating wetland with a labyrinth of floating islands, spectacular marshlands and meandering waterways.
As birds swoop down to perch on the backs of the tallest elephants, hippo males fight each other for control over the grazing grounds.
Innumerable animals walks its channels – witness scores of buffaloes walking the path from one island to another, giraffe reach at tall acacias, Blue wildebeest flit from puddle to puddle and hungry Nile crocodiles watch from a distance. As birds swoop down to perch on the backs of the tallest elephants, hippo males fight each other for control over the grazing grounds. Lionesses help their young ones navigate the shallow and deep waters, cheetahs lounge on the highest branch waiting for their chance to pounce, and spotted hyena stalk Sable Antelope and Greater kudu – the primal game of life and death is played out in all its dramatic glory every day.
A tranquil mokoro (dugout canoe) takes you deep into this enchanted oasis, past glittering blue waters lined with blooming lilies, into the dens of the shiest species that lurk in the recesses of the delta. Or don your knee-high boots and walk through the waters while you guide points out rare birds hiding in the lush green canopy overhead – over 530 species call Okavango home! Enjoy sundowners in remote islands, camp out in the open, sleep under the stars – this is the unspoiled Africa you have been dreaming of.
Many rare birds hiding in the lush green canopy, with over 530 species call Okavango home!
An endless white landscape stretches around you with no sign of life in sight. Here and there, a rocky outcrop offers sparse shelter. A cawing bird flies overhead. As the sun sets in the distance and the horizon changes color from a stark blue to pink and indigo, whip out your portable seat and pour out your favorite sundowner drink as you watch the spectacle. Welcome to the largest salt flats in the world – the vast Kalahari basin. This fossil lake is what remains of the ancient Lake Makgadikgadi that has now dried up to form the Kalahari Desert, with the Makgadikgadi Game Reserve and the Nxai Pans National Park forming a part of it. This is the best region to witness the seasonal migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra in Botswana.
When it rains, this vast open space is ideal for watching hundreds of migratory birds, including pelicans, flamingos and ostriches. Amble over to the Boteti river where thirsty wildebeest and zebras congregate. Or take a quad bike and venture out into the vast expanse, stopping only to take the occasional photo. The Nxai pans are home to varied wildlife and if you’re lucky, you may just witness a leopard hunt or a lion kill.
In the vast open spaces, you may just feel like you are the last living human on earth.
Barren desert and a lonely, boundless landscape await you at Central Kalahari. This is where you’ll meet friendly meerkats doing what they always do: scurrying around frantically and standing up on their hind legs to survey the scene every few minutes; after all, life is all about keeping an eye on things, such as the snake eagle circling right overhead!
The summer rain turns the dry Kalahari landscape into a colorful paradise that magically attracts countless animals: huge flamingos, oryx, wildebeests, giraffes, elephants and large herds of zebras embark on the hike. Traveling in the vast open spaces on your safari tour, you may just feel like you are the last living human on earth. Fear not, the San bushmen are here to keep you company, guiding you through the bush and helping you spot the rarest animals. Evenings at the Kalahari are magical – with virtually no cloud cover, this is the ideal time to witness millions of twinkling stars light up the night sky – true romance at the end of the earth!
Planning the right vacation can be daunting, but we are here to help. Bush walks, night drives, river safari tours and desert stays – we can plan it all. With our destination expertise and experience, let us help you make the most of your safari tour and offer you a true taste of Botswana.
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