From delta to desert – with the mighty Chobe River in between – this is the place where wild rules and where the giants of the animal kingdom roam freely in one of the world’s last untouched wildernesses. Famed for luxury, privately owned reserves – Botswana offers an exclusive game viewing and wilderness experience like no other in Africa.
Explore Africa’s most authentic and intimate safari experience
Home to some of the most celebrated and well-managed wildlife conservation programmes on the continent, Botswana retains a strong and commendable stance on the importance of sustainable wildlife tourism with its high-value, light footprint ecotourism model.
Diamonds transformed Botswana’s fortunes to become one of the wealthiest on the continent, bringing stability and education to the population with a literacy rate of 83 percent. As we know, diamonds aren’t forever, which has led the forward-thinking governance of Botswana to turn its attention to its second and more sustainable industry: wildlife.
By embracing this model, Botswana has chosen to invest in its ecosystems for the long term, something that makes both ecological and business sense. A decision which can be supported by the fact that tourism is superseded only by the ever-lucrative diamond trade regarding contribution to Botswana’s GDP.
Rest assured, Botswana’s genuine passion and care for conservation when coupled with its long-term view on investing in tourism, combine to deliver a pure and authentic wildlife experience to visitors in a sustainable manner. In addition to the overarching view regarding conserving Botswana’s wild spaces as a whole, it’s one of the continent’s havens for endangered species like the black rhino and African wild dogs, though it wasn’t always this way.
As recently as 1992 saw a survey confirming the black rhino as locally extinct in Botswana. Since then pioneering efforts by teams such as Rhinos Without Borders and Rhino Conservation Botswana, have gone great lengths to ensure Botswana remains one of the most important sanctuaries for these endangered species.
Quad bike through the largest salt pans in the world in Makgadikgadi,glide through the reed-lined waterways of the Okavango Delta in a mokoro (traditional dugout canoe), and view wildlife while riding through the grasslands by horseback. Botswana, with its progressive tourism policies, ensures you’re well positioned along with future generations, to enjoy these ecosystems in style and comfort for some time to come.
Where to explore
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.
The best time to visit Botswana
The best time to view Botswana’s most popular parks (The Okavango Delta, Moremi and Chobe) is during the dry winter season from May to September – little to no rainfall, clear skies and fewer mosquitoes.