Not the Usual Safari Holidays
Walking safaris and game drive are the two most widely offered activities in Botswana – location been the only inhibiting factor for these two activities.
In the permanent delta the lodges are on small islands thus making game drives impractical.
Night drives are not offered in the parks and reserves but rather in the private concession areas.
Bicycle safaris are offered in the Mashatu Game Reserve.
Horse safaris and elephant back safaris happen in the Okavango Delta. Quad biking is best enjoyed on the flat Makgadikgadi salt pans.
Safari by boat? Unbeatable!
Botswana is blessed with the Okavango Delta and the Chobe River where water-borne safaris offer spectacular wildlife and general nature experiences. On the Chobe River boat cruises allow for a unique perspective of the multitude of animals that come down to swim or drink at the water’s edge.
The Okavango Delta is renowned for the traditional makoro or dug-out canoe which allows for a unique experience on safari holidays. Cruising through the channels and floodplains of the delta is a peaceful, soul-enriching experience. Used by people of the delta to cross waters and to fish from the makoro has become part of African safari folklore.
What is a Mokoro, You Ask?
A makoro also spelt "mokoro" or "mekoro" depending on who wrote the article - is a dug-out canoe carved from the trunk of an ebony or sausage tree, and used by the indigenous rural people of the Okavango to transport cargo and ferry people across waterways.
Fishermen of the area also use the makoro for their daily fishing operations.
The makoro is controlled by the boat-man standing at the back and using a long wooden pole for punting and driving the craft. Today the makoro is synonymous with a Botswana safari where guests are ‘poled’ through the waterways of the delta.
With the growth in tourism however the old trees of the delta were under threat from the need for more makoros. So in the interests of a vital sustainable ecological solution all makoros are now manufactured from fibre-glass. This will appeal to the eco traveller on safari holidays in Botswana. This has proved to be so successful that the locals are using this modern version.
No trees need to be cut down. No days and days of hewing out and carving and scraping wood. And it does not wear out or rot!
Okavango Safaris are Seasonal
Due to the unique conditions of the Okavango Delta some of the activities are seasonal. Boat and makoro excursions are not available at certain times of the year in the delta due to lack of water.
As the water on the south-western floodplains recedes the lodges in the area rely more on game drives and walking safaris.
Game drives are generally not affected except at some camps where annual rains flood roads and bridges – forcing the use of more water activities.
Be sure to read the Safari Holidays information to be sure that you are not trying to book something that is "out of season"
Also read Okavango Seasons
Home on the Range of the Elephant-back Safari
In the 1980’s an American animal trainer at a zoo in Portland wanted to relocate the three African elephants in his care back to Africa. After much drama they found a home at Abu Camp in the Okavango delta where they were allowed some freedom.
And so elephant back safaris in Botswana were born. Today the herd is relatively large and the safaris are world-renowned.
Recently an elephant experience was set up at Baines Camp. Here the experience is more with interacting with the animals than the actual riding. Read more about Elephant Back Safaris in Botswana
Child policies on safari holidays
Most lodges in Botswana have rules governing children on safari due to the fact that the lodges are in wilderness areas.
Age limits vary from lodge to lodge with some lodges not accepting children younger than 16 and some taking children as young as 6.
When it comes to activities however most lodges that take children under 16 insist on the family having a private vehicle – extra cost is involved. Children under 16 are generally not allowed on walks.