Situated in the southern reaches of Africa, Botswana is renowned for its pristine wilderness areas characterised by deep lagoons, wetlands, lush palms, rugged hills and desert plains scattered with scrubland. Here is a quick look at all that Botswana has to offer and the Regions that are tourist attractions and World renowned, truley remarkable places to visit.
Renowned for its impressive, shifting migratory population of more than 50 000 elephants, Chobe National Park is situated in the far northeast of Botswana, bordered to the north by the mighty Chobe River. It is the second largest national park in Botswana featuring four distinct ecosystems: the Savuti Channel in the west; the Linyanti Swamps in the northwest; the arid hinterland in between and Serondela in the extreme northeast with fertile plains and thick forests. This diversity of habitats provides a sanctuary to an astonishing array of African wildlife. In addition to spotting Chobe’s great pachyderm herds, you are likely to spot lion, leopard, hyena, wild dog, impala, waterbuck, kudu, zebra, wildebeest giraffe, and warthog. The park is also famous for its wonderful riverboat safaris, making Chobe an essential destination for any avid safari enthusiast.
The Chobe River forms the northern boundary of the Chobe National Park, renowned for its diverse and abundant game viewing opportunities. This section of the park is best known for its dense concentration of wildlife including elephant and hippo populations, but the waters attract all manner of game including large herds of buffalo and the lions that prey on them. A visit to this area guarantees close encounters with an array of African wildlife. Visitors can look forward to some exciting activities such as: driving along the game-dotted riverbanks in a 4WD; cruising along the river in a motorboat, spotting rare birdlife and for a unique, luxury safari experience, hire a houseboat.
Situated in the east of the Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve ranks as one of the most beautiful reserves in Africa. It covers more than 4871 square kilometres of pristine wilderness, and the varied terrain includes savannah, winding waterways, and dense forest. This diverse ecosystem supports an incredibly wide spectrum of wildlife, ranging from large herds of buffalo, wildebeest and zebra, to the rare sitatunga and lechwe antelope, lion, cheetah and packs of wild dog in the open grasslands. The birdlife is prolific and includes most of the 550 bird species recorded on Botswana’s national bird list. A range of luxury lodges in the reserve offers visitors the perfect base to experience this corner of paradise.
Situated on the banks of the Khwai River near the famous Okavango swamp, the village of Khwai is set in the North-West District of Botswana. The village fringes the magnificent Moremi Game Reserve which is known for its incredible array of wildlife. It serves as a gateway to the reserve as it is set just outside the North Gate. of Moremi. Khwai provides an excellent base from which to explore the spectacularly scenic surrounding area. It is to be home to some of Botswana’s most beautiful landscapes which feature vast grass plains, a patchwork of lagoons, shallow pans and lush woodland forests. Visitor can look forward to spotting a fantastic variety of wildlife, learning about the San community and enjoying a wide selection of ecotourism activities.
Situated in the north-western corner of Botswana, the Okavango Delta is a World Heritage Site as it is the largest inland delta in the world. The magnificent Okavango River sprawls out over the dry sands of the Kalahari Desert forming this flourishing waterlogged oasis featuring countless meandering waterways and crystal-clear lagoons studded with water lilies, as well as fertile floodplains and reeded islands inhabited with abundant wildlife. The Okavango Delta stretches over 15000 square kilometres. Visitors can enjoy a number of wonderful activities such as game viewing, fishing, bird watching or taking an authentic guided Mokoro excursion through this wetland paradise in a traditional dugout canoe. Commonly spotted animals include: lion, rhino, leopard, giraffe, hippos, elephants, crocodiles and countless species of bird.
Situated in the north-western area of the Okavango Delta, the Panhandle is a stretch of the Okavango River that follows a more-or-less straight course for approximately 70 kilometres before entering the wetlands. This deep channel serves as the main water source feeding the delta and offers excellent tiger and bream fishing, while the surrounding woodlands and the river’s shallow waters teem with a myriad of birds. The Okavango Panhandle is dotted with several villages and serves as a gateway to the scenic Tsodilo Hills, some 40 kilometres west, with their various tribal cave paintings, some dating back as far as 20 000 years. There are also a number of well-established riverside camps that provide comfortable tourist accommodation. Visitors can enjoy excellent fishing, first-class birding, boating on the Okavango river and game viewing in the Mahangu National Park.
Situated in north-eastern Botswana, the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park covers an impressive 3900 square kilometer area and is brimming with natural wonders including the largest tree in Africa, a world famous 5300-year-old Baobab. Game viewing is at its best during the wet season when the plains teem with an extraordinary diversity of wildlife. The rains transform the salt pans into a magnificent lake attracting an abundance of wildlife and, most spectacularly, large flocks of gloriously pink flamingos. The area is renowned for its massive herds of wildebeest and zebra which migrate to the park en masse followed by a variety of predators including lion, cheetah and hyena. Popular activities include game drives, bird watching, exploring the salt pans on 4WD or quad bikes, tours of Gweta Village, and fascinating bush walks to historic sites guided by experienced Bushmen trackers.
On the western boundary of the renowned Makgadikgadi Pans National Park lies the Boteti River. Owing to the arid nature of the park, the river and the nutrient-rich western grasslands supply the essential water and sustenance for the wildlife that inhabit the region. The Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is home to the second largest zebra migration in the world, where thousands of zebra migrate to the Boteti River in the dry winter months (May to Oct) from their summer grazing ground further inside the park. The fascinating contrast between the Boteti River and arid national park makes it a fascinating region to include in any Botswana safari.
Set in the heart of the dry savanna of north-eastern Botswana, the Makgadikgadi Pan is the world’s largest network of salt pans stretching over 3900 square kilometres and formed on the bed of the ancient Makgadikgadi Lake that began evaporating aeons ago. Visiting Makgadikgadi is a unique salt desert experience: in the dry season, this vast expanse of sun-baked salt glistens in the light and when the rains come, the pan is home to a cornucopia of flamingos and other waterbirds, as well as one of Africa’s biggest zebra populations, whose annual migration is a wonder to behold. Visitors can immerse themselves in the stark beauty of this incredible landscape, spot a host of wildlife and enjoy a number of activities including horse riding safaris, game drives, and excellent birdwatching. Other highlights include: quad biking across the vast expanse of dry salt pans or jumping in a helicopter and viewing countless flamingo flocks creating a magnificent pink spectacle dotting the landscape.
Adjoining the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park on its northern border, Nxai Pans were once ancient salt lakes and today, they are oceans of grass dotted with islands of trees and small pans that fill in the rainy season creating a verdant lush Garden of Eden. Visitors can look forward to impressive natural scenery and fun activities such as: the famous Baines Baobabs, first drawn by the renowned explorer in the 1860s; excellent game viewing at sunset or sunrise on a 4WD safari and first-class bird watching opportunities. Commonly spotted animals include: lion, giraffe, kudu, springbok, impala, ostrich, jackal, bat-eared fox and the elusive nocturnal porcupine.
Adventurous travellers seeking a truly remote African safari will be thrilled to discover it in central Botswana. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is the second largest game reserve in the world and one of the least visited, nothing can prepare you for the sheer wonder of exploring this vast reserve with its wild, untouched beauty. The landscape is dominated by sand veld, acacias, and Kalahari apple-leaf, interspersed with grasslands and dotted with occasional sand dunes, pans and fossil river valleys. While the reserve is home to an impressive variety of wildlife, there is one animal that is rather obviously absent, the human being. It is this lack of human traffic, combined with the park’s lack of infrastructure, that makes for a challenging and marvellously authentic African experience. Visitors need to be entirely self-sufficient but those willing to make the effort will be richly rewarded.
Set on the banks of the beautiful Thamalakane River in northern Botswana, Maun is the third largest town in this spectacularly scenic southern African country. Maun is the starting point for most expeditions into the Okavango Delta and as a result, has developed into a bustling metropolis that is considered Botswana’s tourism capital. Area attractions include a renowned riverboat that offers cruises up and down the Thamalakane River; the forest groves of the Maun Game Reserve; and Moremi Game Reserve, home to hippos, lions and rhinos. Maun also serves as the jumping off point for many safaris and air charters as well as offers 4×4 rentals.
Situated 180 kilometres north of Francistown, the small village of Nata is a popular stopover between Maun and Kasane along a road known as the ‘game drive route’ as there is often a chance to catch a glimpse of wildlife along the way. The unique landscape that surrounds the area around Nata features white sand, tall termite mounds and the Mokolwane palm trees. Nata is a convenient stop for tourists to fill up. Nata serves as an excellent base from which to explore the eastern section of the spectacular Makgadikgadi Pans. The Nata Sanctuary is a popular stop and a highlight for avid bird watchers, where lucky visitors can be rewarded with large flocks of Flamingos and Pelicans, which breed here each year.
Tucked away in the north-eastern corner of Botswana, on the banks of the famous Chobe River, the scenic little town of Kasane rests on the doorstep of the spectacular Chobe National Park. There are no boundary fences separating the village from the park and game such as elephant and hippo are often spotted roaming around the town. If on the lookout for elusive game, pay a visit to the Sedudu Valley Road, where large dead trees provide temporary homes for leopards. Within Kasane, an ancient baobab tree stands on display, once serving as a local prison. Visitors can look forward to a multitude of activities including: enjoying a game drive through the park, taking a sunset cruise down the Chobe River, visiting a local village or jumping on a day trip to the breath taking Victoria Falls.
Situated in the Kalahari Desert region of Botswana and South Africa, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is an expansive wildlife preserve. One of the world’s last unspoilt ecosystems, the arid landscape is characterized by vast grasslands dotted with thorn trees, shifting red dunes and dry riverbeds. Visitors can look forward to viewing an abundance of wildlife including gemsbok, black-maned Kalahari lions, blue wildebeest, and migrating herds of wildebeest and springbok. Known as one of the best places in the world to spot big cats, visitors can look forward to catching a glimpse of the ever-illusive cheetah. Highlights include: game-viewing drives, 4×4 trails, and photographic safaris. Bird enthusiasts can look forward to spotting an array of bird species. Don’t miss the incredible African sunsets over the quintessentially African landscape.
Stretching over 40 square kilometres in the Kalahari Sandveld in Botswana, the Khama Rhino Sanctuary is a community-based wildlife project. It provides an important habitat for black and white rhino as well as over 30 other animal species and over 230 species of birds. Visitors can look forward to a variety of wonderful conservation-based activities including enjoying a game viewing safari, jumping on guided game drives, tracking rhinos and discovering several scenic nature walks. Aside from rhino, other commonly spotted wildlife include: wildebeest, brown hyenas, impalas, ostriches, and leopards. Don’t miss the Serwe Pan – a large grass-covered expanse dotted with a collection of natural water holes which make it the perfect spot to catch a glimpse of an array of game.
Encompassing the Gemsbok National Park and later forming part of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the Mabuasehube Game Reserve is set in the scenic southern region of Botswana. This remote and wonderfully wild reserve is a 4×4 self-drive trail mecca, where adventurers can tackle the sandy Mabuasehube Wilderness Trail, the Kaa Trail and the Polentswa Trail, which travels through vast grasslands, pans and gently undulating dunes. Visitors can enjoy camping in the pristine, untouched wilderness after a day of negotiating the roads less travelled, experiencing close encounters with lions creeping through your campsite at sunrise and spotting abundant wildlife dotting the landscape in the wake of the rains. Look forward to languid evenings next to warm fires and view spectacular starry skies in the magnificent Mabuasehube Game Reserve.