Botswana continues to be a favourite amongst wildlife documentary makers and enthusiasts alike, and for good reason too. Ranking as one of the worlds most sparsely populated countries, it is predominantly made up of the Kalahari desert, savannah, wetlands and salt pans, making it a true wilderness experience.
Home to the worlds’ largest inland delta, the Okavango provides an ebb and flow of life for abundant wildlife, in one of Africa’s greatest spectacles. It is here and in neighbouring reserves such as the Linyanti and Selinda, that you experience an amazing semi-aquatic safari, drifting through gin-clear waterways. Huge herds of elephant and buffalo, packs of wild dog, cats, abundant birdlife and of course some of the water-orientated game such as Lechwe and Sitatunga abound.
In stark contrast to the lush bush and game filled plains of the main safari areas, the salt pans of the Makgadikgadi provide the complete antithesis. The size of Switzerland, these vast salt pans offer an overwhelming sense of solitude and space. An unique cleansing experience after a safari.
Throw in the cultural interaction with the San bushmen, and you have all the ingredients for a wonderfully varied time away. Due to the remoteness of many of the camps, light aircraft is the common mode of transport, adding a further element to your game experience, and the chance to see this unique ecosystem from the air.
There is a range of superb camps and lodges, varying in luxury depending on your interests, from the comfortable to the downright opulent, with private plunge pools and bathrooms with fabulous views. Some come with the added luxury of being on a private concession allowing for that added element of exclusivity, whilst others are in the wonderful national parks.
Time difference + 2 hrs GMT
No visas are required for British or North American passport holders.
You are advised to take anti-malaria pills for your trip. No specific shots are required to enter. But we do recommend you visit a travel health clinic prior to departure to make sure your standard travel vaccinations are up to date.
The locals speak Setswana. But English is widely spoken everywhere
How to get around
Due to the remoteness of many of the camps, most travellers fly in private or shared small charter planes, giving you a great opportunity to see game from the air. If doing a mobile safari, then you will often be driven from area to area by your guide. We do not recommend self driving.
How to get there
You will most likely fly into Johannesburg (one of Africa’s major hubs) and then onto Maun, Botswana. There are regular direct international flights to South Africa from London Heathrow and some of the major US hubs, such as Atlanta and New York.
Who does it suit?
Botswana is for those that are after a pure safari experience. It is ideal for honeymooners, older families, adventure types, horse riders.
When to go
Botswana can be a year round destination and has its advantages/disadvantages depending on how you look at it. The best months for safari are generally between April - October, when it is cooler and less chance of rain. The wildlife viewing gets increasingly better the later you go, as the bush continues to dry up forcing much of the game around the water sources. But be warned, October can be very hot. The months from November - March can be hot and steamy, broken up with occasional heavy afternoon thunderstorm. The bush is very lush and green, excellent for birders and lots of animals dropping their young. It is often a more affordable time of year to visit.
The central Kalahari area is at its best from February - May.
Good to combine with
Botswana is a great destination on its own. Alternatively, if you want to extend your safari experience, then it combines well with Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe - particularly for those that would like to incorporate the Victoria Falls. In addition, there are now direct flights from Botswana to Cape Town. For those looking to add some R&R at the end, then it combines well with Mozambique, Mauritius, Madagascar and Lake Malawi with flights going via Johannesburg.