© Rhys Williams
Botswana is a country of diverse landscapes, incredible wildlife and has range of excellent camps and lodges varying from rustic to luxury. Situated north of South Africa, east of Namibia, south of Zambia and west of Zimbabwe, this landlocked country with its pristine wilderness parks is a jewel in the southern African crown. From the sparkling clear waters and palm islands of the Okavango Delta to the stark and dramatic landscapes of the Kalahari Desert and Makgadikgadi Salt pans, this country has a variety of experiences to offer.
The Okavango Delta
The Okavango Delta which includes the Moremi Game Reserve and Chiefs Island, is one of the most incredible wilderness areas in Africa. It is also one of the largest inland delta systems in the world.
Each year, water from the highlands of Angola flows down through Namibia via the Okavango River and floods the Delta. This creates a unique wetland area which sustains a huge diversity of fauna and flora. The water channels, lagoons, islands and wide, grassy floodplains are host to an incredible variety of animals and birds.
Guests are usually flown in to the camps and lodges by light aircraft. When there, they are given the opportunity to do a range of activities including mokoro (canoe) excursions, motor-boating, island walks, fishing and guided game drives. The activites all depend on the water levels and season. The Okavango Delta was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2014.
The Linyanti is similar to the Okavango Delta with its sparkling papyrus lined waterways, extensive reed banks, palm islands and towering riverine forest. It is situated in the north of Botswana, west of the Chobe National Park and includes the Savute Channel and the Linyanti River.
Wildlife viewing in the Linyanti region is excellent with huge concentrations of elephant, buffalo, zebra, lion, sable, roan, hippos, crocodiles and wild dog. Game viewing is superlative in both the wet and dry season. It is also a bird enthusiasts paradise as thousands of exotic birds migrate to this region during the green season.
The Central Kalahari
The Kalahari Desert is the largest unbroken stretch of sand in the world and at its core is the Central Kalahari Game reserve. This area is home to a fascinating spectrum of very different plants and animals that have successfully adapted to living in this harsh environment. Here you will find rhino, black-maned lion, desert-adapted elephants as well as giraffe, cheetahs, hyenas and wild dog. Its diverse wildlife and unique scenery offers an amazing contrast to the rest of the country.
It is home to the San People who are hunter – gatherers and who have adapted to their harsh environment by honing their incredible hunting and survival skills. There are excellent lodges and camps in this area where you can enjoy game drives in open 4×4 vehicles, bird watching and guided bush walks with the San Bushmen.
Chobe National Park
Located in the north-east of Botswana, the Chobe National Park was Botswana’s first national park. It is bordered in the north by the Chobe River and is known for its huge concentration of wildlife.
Chobe has four distinctive areas. The Savuti Channel, Linyati, Serondella and Nogatsaa. Each area known for concentrations of specific game.
Being only 70 km from Victoria Falls, this park makes an excellent add on to a Victoria Falls trip. The Chobe River is more like a vast lake and has a number of excellent lodges on its shores. Here one can enjoy the incredible sunrises and sunsets from your boat while watching the elephant at play on the shore.
The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans
Lying southeast of the Okavango Delta and surrounded by the Kalahari Desert, is a unique area of shimmering white salt pans that stretch endlessly to the horizon. These pans are the relics of Africa’s super-lake that covered the Kalahari several million years ago. The wildlife in this area includes brown hyena, oryx, Kalahari lion and, after dark, aardvark, porcupine, honey badger and bat eared fox. Activities offered by the lodges and camps include quad biking, bushman walks, classic desert game drives, meerkat visits and horse rides.
Best time to travel:
- April and May : Not too hot or cold with clear skies and green landscapes.
- June to August : Night time temperatures can be very cold. The days are warm and clear. Peak season for game viewing.
- September and October : Hot and dry. Good for game viewing. October can be very hot.
- November : Difficult to predict. It can be a continuation of October’s heat or it can be cooled by the first rains.
- December to March : Green season. Hot and wet. An excellent time for bird watchers.
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