Botswana Safari Overview

Botswana Safari Overview

Welcome to one of the few unspoiled wilderness areas in Africa, with vast game reserves where some of the largest herds in southern Africa roam free and wild, together with some of the most spectacular and varied bird life. In Botswana you experience a land of nature and endless horizons, little changed by man. The tropical climate greets you with blue skies, sunshine and cooling breezes. Exotic birds and flowers are all around you and herds of elephant, giraffe, buffalo, and antelope roam across the rolling countryside.

As you travel through Botswana, you discover a land of contrasts. It is a land-locked country, about the size of France, in which you can encounter the desert sands of the Kalahari and the verdant Eden of the Okavango Delta, where water takes precedence over land. The Okavango Delta forms the nucleus and heartbeat of this treasure house of wildlife.

Explore the waterways of the Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta in the world; the vast, white salt pans and the grasslands of the Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans; the seemingly endless Kalahari Desert with its orange sand and scant vegetation, and the dense bush and broad floodplains of Chobe National Park, home to the largest concentration of elephants in Africa. All the large mammals can be found in Botswana; elephant, buffalo, red lechwe, lion and cheetah occur in good numbers and Botswana has the largest remaining population of the endangered African wild dog. Over 500 species of birds have been identified along with reptiles and smaller mammals. The people of Botswana will extend a warm welcome to you.


Botswana's Top Picks

Top 10 Animals of Botswana

  • 1. African Elephant: Botswana is home to one of the world's largest populations of African elephants. Nothing beats encountering a herd of these majestic beasts while out on safari. It's an iconic African travel moment to treasure!
  • 2. Cape Vulture: This endangered species is fully protected in Botswana, although the global population has sadly been in decline for years. Playing an important part in the food chain, this imposing bird can be found all throughout Botswana. See them while you can.
  • 3. Chacma Baboon: Botswana's largest primate belongs to the old-world monkey family and can be found in the Okavango Delta region of Botswana. With a distinctive dog-like face and very sharp teeth, they aren't beauty pageant contenders but have a loveable charm of their own.
  • 4. Flamingo: One of the most curiously beautiful birds in Africa, pink flamingos can be found in the salt pans and wetlands of the north. If you're heading to Botswana, try to catch them in all their blush-pink avian glory.
  • 5. Lesser Bush baby: The nocturnal bush baby is a distant relative of the lemur and can be found in the northern parts of Botswana. While they are hard to spot, you can usually hear them crying out from the trees in the night.
  • 6. Lion: Time seems to stand still when a pride of regal lions present themselves. Watch safari-goers and other animals stop in their tracks and collectively hold their breath in respect (and fear) for these beautiful beasts.
  • 7. Kori Bustard: Large populations of the world's heaviest flying bird live in Botswana and are easily spotted due to their large, crested head. Although capable of flight, the kori bustard is usually found on the ground foraging for lizards and insects.
  • 8. Zebra: There's no doubt - the national animal of Botswana is one of the most striking in the world. Zebras can be found in the reserves, parks and bush of Botswana and due to their zany black and white coat, they're not hard to spot.
  • 9. Black Mamba Snake: While we hope there are no close encounters with this highly venomous snake, they're worth a mention as the black mamba is abundant in Botswana and known for being one of the most dangerous snakes in the world. Respect!
  • 10. Rhino: Botswana has many sanctuaries dedicated to the preservation of endangered animals, and the community-based Khama Rhino Sanctuary is an excellent example of how the decline of a species can be put into reverse. See rare black and white rhinos here and marvel at their strength and enormity.

Places to visit


CHOBE & SAVUTI:
North of the Okavango Delta and occupying 4200 square miles is Chobe National Park, the second largest in Botswana. This park has a variety of habitats ranging from the verdant floodplains, grasslands and thickets bordering the Chobe River, to forest, mopane woodland and scrub. The original inhabitants of this area were the San people. They were hunter-gatherers who moved from one area to another in search of water, wild fruits and wild animals.
A major feature of Chobe National Park is its elephant population. The Chobe elephants comprise part of what is probably the largest surviving continuous elephant population in the world, estimated at about 100,000. Chobe is also home to buffalo, hippo, lion, leopard and hyena. Game viewing here is by open four-wheel drive vehicles as well as in small boats on the river. Game viewing is at its best during the dry season (April - October), when the majority of natural pans have dried up.

Savuti is an arid region located in the southern part of Chobe National Park. Bisected by the Savuti Channel, this strange waterway seemingly has a mind of its own. After remaining dry for 100 years, it abruptly flooded again in the 1950's and remained flooded until the early 1980's, when subterranean earth movements caused it to dry up once more. Savuti has open plains which are the permanent home of elephant, lion and spotted hyena. Large herds of Burchell's zebra visit the region in late summer (February - March).


OKAVANGO DELTA:
The Okavango Delta is formed from rains that fall over 600 miles away in northern Angola. This life-giving moisture travels down the Okavango River and spills out onto the Kalahari Desert creating the world's largest inland delta. It has marsh, river, grasslands, and riverine forest of palms, islands, flood plains and lagoons. Here dry meets wetland. A rich tapestry of channels flowing with crystal-clear water, the Okavango Delta stands as an oasis within a surrounding desert landscape. Over 1100 species exist in this beautiful and exceptional wilderness. A visitor can explore the maze of water passages in a mokoro, gliding among palm-fringed islands, watching hippo grunt and splash in the pools. Or one can view the wildlife that live at water's edge in the Moremi Wildlife Reserve from a vehicle or on foot. With the seasons marked by the ebb and flow of water, the Okavango Delta hums to the rhythm of nature, which can be observed in all its glory.


MAUN:
Maun, a transitory town popularly known as the gateway to the Okavango Delta or the hub of the tourism industry is one of the country's busiest centers. It has grown in leaps and bounds with the increase in tourism to the region. Flights from Gaborone, Victoria Falls, South Africa and Windhoek arrive daily into Maun International Airport. In addition, there are many charter services, which take travelers into the Delta. Within a few hours travel from Maun, tourists can find themselves in the Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve, Kalahari Desert or Chobe and these areas are the heart of Botswana's tourism.


MOREMI GAME RESERVE:
Moremi Game Reserve covers an area of approximately 1800 miles and contains within its borders 20% of the Okavango Delta. One of the attractions of Moremi is its diversity of habitats, from riparian woodland, flood plain, reed beds and permanent wetland through mopane forest to dry savannah woodland. Moremi is one of the most beautiful reserves in Africa. Elephants are numerous, particularly during the dry season, as well as a range of other wildlife species from buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, hyena, jackal and the full range of antelope, large and small, including the red lechwe. Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta is haven to a wide variety of bird life and many water dependent animals. For birding enthusiasts, not only does the woodland offer a wide range of species but also the chance to drive to the edges of large lagoons which offer fantastic birding. There are many species of ducks and geese, as well as an amazing variety of heron.


MAKGADIKGADI PANS:
Makgadikgadi National Park offers endless vistas of rolling golden grasslands and its huge saltpans ... with desert palms lining the horizon. This 4500 square mile park is directly south of Chobe National Park. It consists mainly of fossil pans and the famous Baines baobabs. The floor of some of the pans is vegetated with palatable grass species - an important source of grazing to animals such as zebra, springbok and impala. The southern section of the park consists of saltpans and grass plains (which are) believed to be the remains of an ancient lake. The pans, situated in half the south, east and northeastern areas of the park, fill with water during the rains from mid-November and mostly retain their water into April or May. During the rainy season these "thirstlands" are transformed into great sheets of water that attract a spectacular array of water birds and trigger dramatic migrations of wildebeest and zebra. The Makgadikgadi remains a spectacle to visitors both when dry and wet. For a truly unique safari adventure during the dry season, (four-wheel drive) quad bikes are used to venture far into the middle of the Pans to explore remote archaeological sites. In the wet season, the water attracts flamingos, pelicans, ducks, geese and many other migratory water birds in their thousands. Herds of wildebeest and zebra are common during the wet season, but spread out in the grasslands of the Makgadikgadi and move to the Boteti River for water during the dry months.


CENTRAL KALAHARI GAME RESERVE:
This last great true wilderness of Africa is a vast desert region covering some 80% of Botswana. The Deception Valley of the Central Kalahari is one of the remotest areas in the Kalahari. The Game Reserve is the second largest in Africa covering approximately 32,000 square miles of pristine wilderness and is the largest open eco-system remaining in Botswana. To explore the area is to travel back to an Africa of another time. Deception Valley is host to huge herds of gemsbok, springbok, wildebeest and hartebeest attracted to the area by the flush of sweet grasses that flourish in the ancient valley following the rains. There is also a good chance of seeing the Kalahari lion, cheetah, brown hyena and meerkats, made famous by Mark & Delia Owens who undertook an eight-year research program into the desert predator ecology in the valley. As such, their book, the 'Cry of the Kalahari' makes essential reading for anyone undertaking a visit. The best time to visit is March to May, after the rains, when the Kalahari awakens with life. At this time, large concentrations of plains game and large numbers of birds can be seen.


LINYANTI AND SELINDA:
The Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, bordering on the western boundary of Chobe National Park consists of 125,000 hectares of unspoiled wilderness. Open grassland, riverine forest, mixed terminalia woodland and the dry Savuti Channel characterize most of the area. The area is most noted for its very large elephant populations, which can reach enormous densities in the winter months. Impala, lechwe, kudu, zebra, giraffe, sitatunga, sable, roan, waterbuck, buffalo, bushbuck and the smaller antelope are all found here. The major predators, such as lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog and hyena, are resident and regularly sighted. The reed and papyrus swamps are ideal for numerous and diverse species of birds, ranging from the fish eagle to waterfowl, cranes, storks, plovers and herons. Selinda Wildlife Reserve is a private wildlife area located to the northwest of Savuti. This area covers some 800 square miles along the Selinda Spillway, which links the Okavango Delta to the Linyanti Swamps. These papyrus marshes are home to crocodile, hippo, sitatunga and lechwe. The birdlife is prolific and varied, especially in the riverine areas. Game viewing is exceptional with sightings of lion, cheetah, wild dog, leopard, elephant and buffalo, to name a few.


NXAI PANS:
Maun, a transitory town popularly known as the gateway to the Okavango Delta or the hub of the tourism industry is one of the country's busiest centers. It has grown in leaps and bounds with the increase in tourism to the region. Flights from Gaborone, Victoria Falls, South Africa and Windhoek arrive daily into Maun International Airport. In addition, there are many charter services, which take travelers into the Delta. Within a few hours travel from Maun, tourists can find themselves in the Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve, Kalahari Desert or Chobe and these areas are the heart of Botswana's tourism.


Hotels

Chobe Chilwero Lodge


Location:
Chobe

Jack's Camp


Location:
Kalahari

Chief's Camp


Location:
Moremi Wildlife Reserve

Mombo Camps


Location:
Moremi Wildlife Reserve

Xigera Camp


Location:
Moremi Wildlife Reserve

Mashatu Game Reserve


Location:
Northern Province

Selinda & Zibalianja Camp


Location:
Okavango - Linyati

Ker & Downey


Location:
Okavango Delta

Khwai, Savute, Eagle Isla


Location:
Okavango Delta

Sandibe Safari Lodge


Location:
Okavango Delta

Vumbura Camps


Location:
Okavango Delta

 

 

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