The Makgadikgadi Pans
It’s here, among some of the largest salt pans in the world, where hundreds and thousands of zebras migrate in search of rich grasslands and where the highest concentration of greater flamingos come to nest. Standing in this otherworldly landscape with a horizon that seems to go on forever reminds you of how magnificent this earth is (remember to keep an eye out for the rare and endearing Meerkat).
Located in the north-west of Botswana, this UNESCO World Heritage site is an extraordinary paradise of islands and waterways. Water from the Delta’s main catchment area of Angola’s highlands flow south and owing to tectonic changes in the landscape, its previous journey to the coast ends here at the Kalahari desert. In doing so, the ensuing backflood creates one of wild Africa’s most wonderful and enduring geographical features.
During the arrival of the in May, the Delta attracts vast quantities of iconic wildlife species. As the flood waters increase in scale, these species are forced into decreasing land masses throughout the delta. These “islands” – critical to the ecosystem in this part of Botswana – become highly condensed game viewing areas. The largest such island, Chief’s Island, is regarded by many as one of the finest places anywhere in Africa from which to view big cats, and with good reason.
Moremi Game Reserve
Covering one-third of the Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve is a key area in terms of conserving the wider Okavango Delta and its ecosystem. Following the success of the aforementioned environmental projects, the reserve is now home to the Big Five with the commencement and ongoing success of rhino reintroduction programmes.
Notably, the Reserve’s ecosystem of marshes, grasslands, acacia tree woodlands and dense Mopane Woodlands makes it a haven for the endangered African wild dog and the red lechwe, among a huge range of other species.
If desolate landscapes, star-studded skies, and the few sounds being the call of distant lion prides are appealing (and why would it not?), then Central Kalahari is undoubtedly an area to consider. While indeed famed for the presence of the stunning black-maned lion, one may also come across leopard, cheetah, gemsbok and honey badger.
Let’s be clear, the wildlife viewing here is not as prolific as you may find in areas such as Chobe, Linyanti or Okavango. Game viewing is best here – paradoxically to rest of Botswana – from January through to May when the rainfall is most prevalent.
However, wildlife should not be the prime reason for your visit to the Central Kalahari.t’s in the more desolate landscapes where one finds value, space, time and very little else – something this area will offer you in abundance.
Here, you will find three of Africa’s finest private reserves (Linyanti, Selinda and Kwando) protecting high concentrations of wildlife and providing an exclusive luxury safari with high-quality guiding. Each reserve is located on its eponymous feature of Kwando River, Selinda Spillway and Linyanti Swamp, comprising simply some of the finest camps and lodges Botswana has to offer. In many ways, for those looking to take a wider perspective when understanding Botswana’s ecosystem, then gaining an appreciation for this region is key as it demonstrates the effects of the live giving flood waters as well as anywhere else. Walking, off-road driving and night drives are permitted, allowing guests to experience their surroundings from beyond their usual game drive perspective, something that we are always keen to encourage. This is one of the only places where there are no fences, have a little patience and we can assure seeing wildlife roam freely in their natural environment is worth the wait.