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Botswana safari


... is some of the very best in Africa, this is the place to come if you want a very clean and high quality wildlife viewing experience.

Botswana is a sparsely populated country which is dominated by the vast Kalahari Desert, but brought to life by the flood-waters of rivers which rise in the distant highlands of Angola. It offers the purest and arguably the highest quality safari in Africa.

Almost the entire north of the country is given over to safari, making it one of the largest protected wildlife areas in Africa.

For decades the government has pioneered a visionary concept of high value low volume safari tourism, in which vast virginal swathes of the country have been parceled up into huge private concessions and licensed out to top safari companies.

These pristine concession areas commonly have their visitor density limited to around one guest per 50 square kilometres, which has enabled them to remain wonderfully wild and remote.

Botswana now has a remarkable collection of extremely high quality safari camps and lodges, the majority of which are seamlessly connected one to the next by light aircraft.

The relatively few areas which remain open to the public are left to soak up all the lower cost and self-drive safari traffic, meaning that they can get extremely busy and offer a very poor quality safari experience. It is ironic that the lower cost lodges in this area are the ones which probably represent the lower value for money.

Botswana safari

When to visit ...

The best time for safari in Botswana is generally considered to be during the May/Nov dry season, when the wildlife clusters around the permanent waters of the Okavango Delta and Linyanti Waterfront.

The converse Dec/Apr green season can still offer some great quality safari in these areas, whilst the desert areas such as Central Kalahari and Makgadikgadi are at their very best and prices are often very much reduced. There is never a great deal of rain here in the Kalahari, so weather is not usually too much of an issue. The wildlife does disperse, but there is still plenty of resident wildlife in many areas, the bush looks beautiful and there are lots of baby animals around.

Read more about when to visit this country ...

Best areas ...

Okavango Delta ... is by far the most popular location, a vast and miraculous wetland area which thumps with wildlife, especially during the flood season May/Oct. The camps here offer a very wide range of both wet and dry safari activities.

Linyanti Waterfront ... just to the north is another fabulous safari area, one of our absolute favourites in fact, where dry wildlife viewing is also prodigious May/Oct.

Makgadikgadi ... is the most popular of the three Kalahari Desert areas, a fascinating place year round with vast empty salt pans, Bushmen, meerkats, and, during the Nov/Apr green season, considerable migratory wildlife.

Central Kalahari ... is perhaps the most iconic desert area, a vast and remarkable emptiness which has a sparse but fascinating animal population year round, but which can produce some remarkable wildlife spectacles during that Nov/Apr green season.

Nxai Pan ... is another smaller desert area which also experiences an influx of wildlife during the Nov/Apr green season.

Chobe ... is a very substantial and well known national park, although its core areas around the Northern Waterfront and Savute Marshes often suffer from serious traffic issues, making it a much lower quality safari area.

Maun ... is a modest and relatively remote town, the main hub for safari in the Okavango Delta, although very few visitors to the higher quality areas find themselves needing to overnight here.

... is a modest frontier town on the southern bank of the Chobe River, the gateway into northern Botswana from the Victoria Falls, but where most the accommodation options are suited to to lower quality or lower cost safaris, although there are exceptions.

safaris in Botswana

Resources ...

Here are a few tips on issues relating to travel in Botswana ...

1. Passports and visas
2. Health
3. Money
4. Security
5. Electricity
6. Good books

How we like to include Botswana safaris in trips ...

Botswana is a fabulous location for safari, there is nowhere that can match it for purity of experience. But all this loveliness comes at a price, safari here can be a shockingly expensive business, which is why many visitors tend to stay for only 5 to 8 nights, split across two or three camps. If you have the budget then it is great to split 9 to 14 nights across three, four or even five camps. Experienced safari travellers may also consider longer stays at fewer camps.

These safaris are often combined with time spent in other surrounding countries, most commonly at the Victoria Falls, Kruger, Cape Town, the deserts of Namibia and the tropical beaches of Mozambique, although these latter connections can be relatively arduous.

If you are not comfortable with paying these elevated prices, then we may be able to help you find better value in countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa, each of which has its own set of strengths.

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Jay Hanson
Jay Hanson, Senior Safari Consultant
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