In the latest edition of our Botswana Safari Guide, we will tell you a bit more about the safari destinations in Botswana.
Under each destination, you will find a month by month colour coded guide to the best time to view the game in that particular area. Game movements can vary year on year, depending on rainfall and other natural phenomena. An area may be other attractions such as outstanding birdlife, landscapes or chances for
Botswana delivers on wildlife year
Northern Botswana is where most of the safari-goers head to in Botswana. Many visitors fly into the small international airports at Maun and Kasane. Alternatively, they cross the border from neighbouring Zambia, Zimbabwe, both which offer good connections with flights via Johannesburg, Cape Town and Nairobi.
The Okavango Delta is without a doubt is the wilderness jewel in Botswana’s crown. Shaped like a fan, its winding waterways are fed by flood waters of the summer rains that travel down the Okavango River from the Angolan Highlands. Ironically the Okavango Delta is at its driest when Botswana is at its greenest and the floodwater start their 1300 kilometre journey in April and May with waters at their highest during the dry winter months.
The diversity of the fauna and fauna is staggering with 122 species of mammals, 71 species of fish, 444 species of birds, 64 species of reptiles and 1,300 species of flowering plants recorded with this special area.
Different areas of the Delta can offer different safari experiences:
- The Pan Handle offers permanent water year round and for keen
anglers thereis the barbel run in August/September/October each year and it is the place to hook up a tiger fish. With the permanent water, it is not the place to find predators but it offers easy access to the Tsodilo Hills and the cultural experiences with the local SedelaBushmen.
- Delta Private Concessions are located in the core of the Okavango Delta. Lodges located in these areas are typically high-end and exclusive. Limits on the number of people allowed within the concession mean that it isn’t economically viable to support budget lodging. Access is only by light aircraft and in high-season lodges can be charging up to US$3000 per person per night. Private concession lodges are not limited by the same rules as National Parks and can often offer experiences such as private bush dinners and night safaris.
- Moremi Game Reserve. We cover this in more detail below but part of the Okavango Delta is located in Moremi Game Reserve.
Moremi Game Reserve
Moremi Game Reserve which includes the Moremi Tongue and Chief’s Island in the Eastern Okavango is one of the richest and diverse
The highest concentration of predators can be found here and it is also home to more than 300 of the approximately 5000 African Wild Dog still living in the wild. White and Black Rhino have also been recently reintroduced.
A number of Lodges are dotted along the edge of the reserve and depending on their location can easily access to the ‘mainland’ areas and/or the islands and waterways in the Okavango Delta. Mobile Camping (from budget-friendly to glamping) options are available that utilising operator only wild campsites.
Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park covers a significant area of northern Botswana and not surprisingly is made up of a diverse number of eco-systems. For many people visiting Chobe means the Chobe Riverfront. This is the most famous and accessible game viewing area in Botswana. In particular, people come to see the huge herds of Elephants that congregate on banks and islands of Chobe River over the Winter months. A wildlife cruise on the river is one of the most productive game viewing experiences and gives you a completely different viewpoint. The riverfront is also a massive drawcard for birders.
Savute also spelt Savuti is the interior section of Chobe National Park. Savute means unpredictable/mysterious and it certainly lives up to its name – when the waters of the Savute channel will flow again is
Linyanti / Selinda / Kwando
This is the area to the extreme north of Botswana, Namibia’s Caprivi strip is just on the other side. This is the wildest and most secluded areas of Botswana covering an area of 4500km but only accommodates a maximum of 180 guests in 10 small camps across the four sub-areas of Linyanti Kwando, Linyanti East, Linyanti Selinda and Linyanti Chobe Enclave. It is one of the most costly safari areas but it a favourite for serious wildlife enthusiasts with week-long stays not uncommon. From May to October
The hills are most easily accessed from lodges in the Pan Handle area of the Okavango Delta. They are not a game viewing area but Archaeological Research suggests that this area has been inhabited for the last 100, 000 years and the main attraction is the rock painting as they are best viewed with a local San guide from one of the villages.
The San believe that it was from the backs of these hills that people first came to earth and for them
The semi-arid Kgalagadi terrain covers 84% of the land area of Botswana. It is where you have to have your eyes open to see the magic as the volume and diversity of the animal and plant life is not seen at first glance. More many, the great attraction though are the sensations of isolation and unending space.
There are four National Parks/Game Reserves that have been set aside. Each is remote and has its own attractions.
Makagadikgadi Pans National Park
Part of the Kalahari Basin the Makgadikgadi is one of the largest series of salt pans in the world covering an area that is larger than Switzerland.
Vast and desolate the pans are dry for most of the year but during and following good years of rain the Sowa and Ntwetwe Pans fill with water attracting the herbivores such as zebra to feast on grasses that spring to life.
A highlight are the flamingos that can flock to waters at Sowa Pan and the Nata Sanctuary in their tens of thousands. A gloriously beautiful spectacle.
Other activities in this area include encounters with habituated Meerkats and quad biking or camping out on the pans.
Nxai Pan National Park
The pans of Nxai were once ancient salt lakes and the larger pans are now grassed and scattered with “islands”. It is this area that visually most resembles the Serengeti and the game viewing dynamic is very similar to Etosha during the July to October season as desperately thirsty animals risk their lives come to drink at the
From around November, as soon as the rains start to arrive gemsbok, elephant and zebra migrate to this region. The zebra migration (approx. March-April) is magnificent as they arrive in their thousands to drop their young at Naxi Pan. Extraordinarily large herds of
Central Kalahari Game Reserve
The CKGR is the largest and most remote game reserve in Southern Africa and the second largest in the world. If the summer rains have been good the flat grasslands are over-run with large herds of springbok, gemsbok (oryx), wildebeest, hartebeest, eland and giraffe. All are hunted by t
At other times the game is more spread. The attraction is the vast open spaces, some surprising smaller animals adapted living in this harsh climate and depending on the area you visit, the chance to meet and interact with the local San Bushmen.
Khama Rhino Sanctuary
Khama Rhino Sanctuary is a community run project that is managed and staffed by locals. It is also a conservation success story and home to both Black and White Rhino and numerous other animals (no predators).
The Sanctuary is fully fenced and no Rhino have been poached here since it was established in 1994. Rhinos have successfully bred and 16 have been reintroduced into the wild. The Sanctuary can be visited when travelling overland into Botswana from South Africa.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
It is an immense 37,000 square kilometre wilderness where all fences have been removed to allow game to move freely along their ancient migration routes. This unimpeded movement is critical to wildlife surviving in this harsh desert climate.
The Park is famous for its population of Black-maned Lion.