Botswana stands as a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, boasting the most densely populated wildlife regions in Africa and an unmatched array of animals. This country provides some of the most concentrated and immersive safari experiences on the continent. Due to its vast expanses of roadless wilderness, Botswana is perfectly suited for fly-in safaris. Botswana's premier attractions are tucked away in remote wilderness areas, including the iconic Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, Savute, and the Kalahari Desert.
Chobe National Park: If you have a fondness for elephants, Chobe National Park is the ultimate destination, home to approximately 80,000 of these majestic creatures – one of the largest elephant populations in Africa. You can relish Chobe through a tranquil houseboat cruise on the Chobe River or by staying at one of the select lodges located within the National Park itself.
Linyanti National Park: Linyanti and the upper Savuti regions are undoubtedly among Botswana's most stunning areas, offering an exceptional game viewing experience. Here, you can encounter large herds of buffalo, zebra, and elephants. Since this area is a private game reserve, vehicle numbers are limited, providing one of the finest and most pristine wilderness experiences in all of Africa.
Kalahari Desert: This expansive basin-like plain is the habitat of springbok, oryx, wildebeest, kudu, and steenboks, along with desert specialists like meerkats, bat-eared foxes, and cape foxes. The Kalahari Desert is home to all three of Africa's iconic big cats: cheetahs, leopards, and the renowned black-maned Kalahari lions.
Makgadikgadi Pans: One of the largest salt flats globally, the Makgadikgadi Pans are accessible only during the dry season from March to October when the glistening white expanse stretches so far that you can perceive the curvature of the Earth. From August to November, witness the migration of wildebeests and zebras as they slowly make their way toward the Boteti River in anticipation of the rains, creating a spectacular natural phenomenon.
Okavango Delta: Encompassing an area ranging from 6,000 to 15,000 square kilometers within the Kalahari Desert in northern Botswana, the Okavango Delta is a sprawling inland river delta affected by seasonal flooding. This phenomenon attracts a rich diversity of wildlife, including lions, leopards, hyenas, and much more. It offers an unspoiled wilderness experience and is unquestionably the crown jewel of Botswana's natural wonders.
When to go / useful information
When to go
The prime time for wildlife viewing in Botswana falls between June and October, characterized by lower water levels. During this period, birds, mammals, and magnificent big game gather around water holes and channels to quench their thirst, providing exceptional wildlife encounters.
However, there are several compelling reasons to visit outside of this peak season:
Calving Season: November and December herald the calving season, when you can witness the heartwarming sight of newborn animals, a remarkable natural spectacle.
Birdwatching: For bird enthusiasts, the months between January and March are a birdwatcher's paradise, as the Okavango Delta comes to life with the presence of over 400 bird species.
Shoulder Seasons: The transitional periods of April/May or November are often recommended. During these times, you can enjoy the beauty of Botswana without the crowds and at more affordable rates, as they fall outside the peak season.
Ultimately, Botswana offers captivating wildlife experiences year-round, so the best time to visit depends on your specific interests and preferences.
Currency: The official currency of Botswana is the Botswanan Pula (BWP).
Language: Setswana is the national language of Botswana, while English serves as the official language.
What makes it special: Botswana's allure lies in its remarkable contrast between arid to semi-arid deserts, dominated by the Kalahari, and the extraordinary watery lagoons and intricate mazes of the Okavango Delta. The Okavango Delta itself ranks as one of Africa's foremost highlights. With its commitment to high-quality, low-volume tourism, Botswana is a truly pristine safari destination that pairs wonderfully with visits to Victoria Falls, Zambia, Namibia, or South Africa.
Weather: Botswana experiences its summer season from November through the end of March, which coincides with the rainy season. The dry winter season commences in May and concludes in August, during which rainfall is minimal. Winter days are consistently sunny and range from cool to warm.
Social Customs: Botswana was originally a British protectorate known as Bechuanaland and achieved independence in 1966, following the discovery of diamonds. The majority of Botswana's population traces their heritage to either Khoisan or Bantu descent, which includes various tribes within these groups. The San, or "Bushmen," people, belonging to the Khoisan group, are well-documented and believed to represent the ancestral roots of many individuals. While on safari in Botswana, you'll encounter many local Botswanans who are immensely proud to share their country with visitors, with the staff at camps playing an integral role in enhancing the safari experience.