How to do Botswana

June 9th 2020  |   Botswana  |  by   Jess Hills
How to do Botswana

One of Africa’s top safari destinations, Botswana fully deserves its place on the wildlife enthusiast’s bucket list with its stunning wetland scenery and wealth of wildlife. Venture away from the Okavango Delta and you’ll find fascinating desert adapted species, epic spring flower displays, vast salt pans, endless deserts, one of Africa’s largest land animal migrations, Kalahari Bushmen, habituated meerkats and remote, luxurious camps. And that’s before you even get to the world class wildlife viewing.

Waterfront setting at Jao Camp © Martin Kays

THE CLASSIC SAFARI
The classic Botswana itinerary typically focuses on the world famous, wildlife rich Okavango Delta. A safari here will usually combine a ‘wet’ camp like Pelo Camp, where the activities are predominantly on the water, and a ‘dry’ camp such as Chitabe, which offers land based wildlife viewing. Other camps such as Tubu Tree, Gomoti Plains and Kwara Camp offer both land and water activities, depending on the flood levels which vary throughout the year. Combine these Delta camps with one further north in the private concessions bordering the Linyanti and Kwando Rivers and you have the chance to explore different landscapes and wildlife whilst extending your safari. Linyanti Bush Camp, Duma Tau and Lagoon Camp are all good choices here.

Botswana Gomoti Tented Camp lion and lioness mid-air fighting © Dana Allen

Lion interaction close to Gomoti Camp © Dana Allen

Other possibilities include multi-camp Okavango Delta itineraries or adding time in the Makgadikgadi Pans or Central Kalahari.

THE KALAHARI SAFARI
Less visited than the Delta, the Makgadikgadi Pans are where you will find Botswana’s heart. It’s a mystical land of palm islands shimmering in the heat haze, where San Bushmen still pursue their ancient way of life, and where desert adapted species wander the vast plains on the edge of the Kalahari. Expect to see ostrich, bat eared fox, jackal, red hartebeest, zebra, oryx, brown hyena and meerkats. It’s a wonderful place to explore on foot, by vehicle or on horseback. The annual zebra migration (one of Africa’s largest) is a highlight as are nature walks with the Bushmen and meeting families of utterly captivating habituated meerkats. Our suggestions here include Nxai Pan and and San Camp.

Desert views from a tent at San Camp

Other possibilities include Tau Pan in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and Meno a Kwena in Makgadikgadi National Park.

THE SAFARI AND BEACH
Although Botswana is landlocked, it’s fairly easy to reach the beach via an overnight in Johannesburg. Head to Mozambique where breath-taking spots include Santorini, andBeyond Benguerra Island and Azura Marlin Beach, all of which combine beautifully with a safari at the likes of Mombo and Jao Camps in the Okavango Delta. Mauritius works well too, providing luxury and relaxation to balance adrenalin buzz of safari.

andBeyond Benguerra Island, a perfect spot to relax after a safari

Other possibilities include Lake Malawi.

THE RETURNING TRAVELLER
If you’ve seen the highlights of northern Botswana; the Delta, the pans, and the Kalahari, take yourself further south and explore the Tuli Block and Mashatu Game Reserve. This is Botswana with a difference – hills! You’ll find exceptional populations of cheetah, black jackal, African wild cat, porcupine, brown hyena, and honey badger alongside spring flower displays, majestic views and huge dry riverbeds. With meagre annual rainfall, it’s a year round destination with safari activities including vehicle drives, cycling, walking, riding, photography (several wonderful ground level hides offer particularly good close ups), drone lessons and videography. Mashatu Euphorbia is the luxury option while riders should look at Horizon Horseback Mashatu.

The ground level hide at Mashatu Euphorbia Lodge

Other possibilities include combining Mashatu with Cape Town or the Makuleke region of Kruger National Park.

What next?

If this has inspired you to dream about future safaris, please do get in touch – we would be delighted to chat, no matter how early in the decision making process you might be. Email is probably the best way to contact us right now and we’ll respond as quickly as we can – usually on the same day.  We very much look forward to talking to you.

2 responses to “How to do Botswana”

  1. Sue Wyld says:

    I am a single traveller. Can you explain what extra costs there are. Safaris are already fairly expensive so any extra costs are important to know

    • Richard Smith says:

      Hi Sue, we spend a lot of time travelling solo ourselves so are well placed to advise on this style of safari. There are some excellent small group trips in Botswana and Tanzania, where single travellers are made very welcome and where single supplements don’t typically apply. Equally, on a tailored holiday basis, the inclusive atmosphere at small safari camps means Africa is a great destination for single travellers. We are able to offer many of these camps without a single supplement. We’d be delighted to chat with you and help find a suitable holiday at a great value price.

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