Botswana Safaris Overview
We consider Botswana the premiere safari destination. The government has adopted a high revenue/low-density tourism tourism model, which has protected huge wilderness areas and makes for an experience that is different from most other safari areas. What is phenomenal here is the exclusivity where land is divided into private concession areas that are quite large and typically have just one or two luxury camps for the entire concession. This means over a large tract of land there will usually be no more than 3 vehicles out in the area meaning you have a real wilderness feel of being the only people on safari and have most sightings to your vehicle only and never more than 3 vehicles. In most of these areas you are allowed to drive off road allowing you to approach very closely to the animals and in most areas you can do night drives allowing you a chance to see additional animals that are rarely if ever seen during the day. Because of the low-density approach camps are in spectacularly remote locations and most safaris usually involve short flights on small airplanes to travel from camp to camp (typically a 15 to 45 minute flight). This means transfers from place to place are quick and during the middle of the day so you do not miss any game drives or other activities and you do not get worn out with long drives from place to place. Camps tend to be very small with only 3 to 10 tents or chalets that are usually canvas walls but with hardwood floors, beds, furniture, flush toilets, showers, etc.
- Botswana Safari Regions
- Botswana Safari Lodges and Camps
- Botswana Safari Related Activities
- Botswana Seasons for Safari
- Cost of Botswana Safaris
- Additional Botswana Safari Information
Botswana Safari Regions
The most well known area is the Okavango Delta, which is one of the largest wetland areas in the world and considered to be one of the real crowned jewels of all Africa. This area is a lush landscape and supports a huge diversity of mammals and birds, including all the major predators and massive numbers of elephants and buffalo. A mixture of wet areas and dry areas adjacent to the Delta provides a varied experience full of great animal sightings within wonderfully scenic settings. East of the Delta is the Kwando/Linyanti area, which tends to have more dry and open areas contrasting nicely with Delta area camps. This area has some of the best dry season concentrations of elephants as well as outstanding year round predator sightings.
Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park does not have the same exclusivity of the private concession areas but it is a terrific park best known for having tens of thousands of elephants, as well as dramatic viewing by boat on the Chobe River.
Kalahari Desert / Makgadikgadi Pans
The Kalahari desert and the Makgadikgadi Pans are enormous desert habitat areas that can add a complimentary contrast to the more traditional safari area. This allows for some different species and landscapes to be seen and also allows for some additional activities, including the best cultural experience in Botswana.
Botswana Safari Lodges and Camps
We have provided in depth profiles of various Botswana camps and lodges below. To see the game viewing, activities, and cultural experiences these camps offer, click below:
- Deception Valley Lodge (Kalahari Region)
- Delta Camp (Okavango Delta)
- Duba Plains (Okavango Delta)
- Grassland Bushman Lodge (Kalahari Region)
- Kwando Kwara Camp (Okavango Delta)
- Kwando Lagoon Camp (Kwando Concession)
- Kwando Lebala Camp (Kwando Concession)
- Mapula Lodge (Okavango Delta)
- Mombo Camp and Little Mombo Camp (Okavango Delta)
- Nxai Pan Camp (Nxai Pan National Park)
- Sankuyo Bush Camp (Okavango Delta)
- Sankuyo Plains Camp (Okavango Delta)
- Selinda Camp (Okavango Delta)
- Tau Pan Camp (Kalahari Region)
Botswana Safari Activities
Selinda Canoe Trail
A 3 day adventure canoeing along the Selinda Spillway in Northern Botswana.
The focus is game drives for wildlife viewing and due to the quality of wildlife, the ability to drive off road, exclusivity with few other vehicles, as well as drive after dark in most locations Botswana in our opinion is the best all around safari area for game drives in all of Africa.
The local mode of transportation in the Delta has long been the mokoro, a dugout canoe that is powered by a guide standing up and poling like a gondola in Venice. This gives an amazing perspective of the Delta as you literally sit right at the water level and explore. Having a mokoro ride is paramount for a proper Delta experience.
Walking is typically a two to three hour activity in the Delta-Chobe area providing a different perspective by moving slowly over the ground, which is highly recommended to gain a new point of view. We do have arrangements for amazing, authentic multi-day walking safaris that are amongst the best on offer in Africa. One is a walking safari where you will be lead by an outstanding armed guide while a crew moves your mobile camp to it’s new location each day. Another for those with a high adventure quotient is to travel with guides with no weapon and camp on an island in one of Botswana’s premier wildlife areas.
Interacting with the bushman culture
Genetic studies have shown that the Kalahari bushman are the original humans on earth and learning their ancient survival skills is one of the most amazing opportunities you can ever have. Additionally they are tremendous trackers and you can see their skills in action as they help guide us to find lions, leopards, etc.
There are just a few camps that offer horseback riding in Botswana safari areas but it is possible to arrange anything from short one-hour rides for novices to multi-day camping trips for skilled riders.
Quad biking (a.k.a. ATV riding)
This is done at the Makgadikgadi Pans, which are enormous salt pans that are often likened to a moonscape. Racing across them on quad bikes is an exhilarating experience. It is also possible to find stone age tools made thousands of years ago by ancient bushmen. This is a seasonal activity depending on when the pans are dry but typically done between June 1 and the end of October. Once the rains come it is not possible to quad bike because it will damage the pans.
Botswana Seasons for Safari
Botswana offers great safaris year round as long as the locations are carefully selected. July through October would be the prime time with the best wildlife viewing but the rest of the year is still excellent. The green season from December through March is beautiful with lush green vegetation, the best time to see the full array of birds and pricing can be outstanding with deals 50 to 60% less than high season providing terrific values.
Cost for a Safari in Botswana
As you might expect the premiere location kept wild with low densities also means lodging supplies are low and demand high and thus prices are amongst the highest of any safari areas. Also, the need to fly between locations adds some costs. Significant savings are available by traveling in the green season but even in the high season we have identified some outstanding camps that offer the best price values in Botswana.
Additional Botswana Safari Information
Because international flights come through Johannesburg it is easy to combine Botswana with time in South Africa, Namibia, Zambia or Victoria Falls as well as the beaches of Mozambique.