Botswana Guide for the Informed Traveller

© Life's like this at Eagle Island Lodge
More than 3-quarters of Botswana is Kalahari Desert, so the huge emerald waterworld full of African animals known as the Okavango Delta, is a wonderful surprise.

Almost every safari experience you have ever dreamed about can come true in Botswana. You can fly, drive, walk with Bushmen, glide past Hippos in a dug-out canoe, horse ride or wade through the delta on the back of an Elephant. You can even swim in it (if you dare!).

Privacy and wilderness are synonymous with a Botswana safari as most lodges only accommodate 8 to 20 guests. If you choose your camp carefully, you may see very few other tourists and plenty of game. Arriving by light aircraft at your lodge adds to the exclusivity and excitement of your Botswana's safari.

Commitment To Conservation

Botswana's growth has been carefully managed and its tourism industry has cultivated a reputation for quality not quantity. Its official 'low impact, high cost' policy ensures conservation of its natural habitat and high standards of accommodation and services.

Botswana has set aside nearly 40% of its total land surface for conservation in national parks, game reserves and management areas known as private reserves or concessions. This is an amazing commitment and is rewarded by visitors from all over the world coming to experience the 'best all-round safari destination in the world'.

Main Safari Regions of Botswana:

Okavango Delta

Botswana's jewel is the Okavango Delta - an oasis of winding channels, open flood plains, lily-pad lagoons, small islands and rich pastures. This all literally floats on a saturated sea of sand with water levels that rise and fall with the seasons.

As channels fill up, they carve out new routes which means the landscape is always changing.

Maps therefore have to use safari lodges as permanent landmarks. There is so much game here in the Okavango Delta, that there will always be something to witness like Lion feeding on a kill, a Leopard up a tree and plenty of Elephant, Antelope and birds of prey.

Cruise The Chobe River

In the far north-eastern corner of Botswana the Chobe River cuts a green swathe through the land and provides the best boat-based animal watching in Africa.

There are literally hundreds of Elephant, Hippo and Crocodile and plenty of Lion and other predators, all of which can be seen from the comfort of a cruising riverboat.

Giant Fish Eagle remain perched on a branch as you drift by and one metre long monitor Lizards waddle along the bank. Everywhere you look there is something to see and photograph. This really is the most astonishing animal-filled safari experience.

Read a Chobe Travel Review

Makgadikgadi Pans

In complete contrast to Chobe are the dry cracked salt pans of Makgadikgadi, which are transformed into a birder's paradise after the rains.

The real adventurer will love the remoteness and silence of this flat expanse.

Several camps including Jack's Camp and Makgadikgadi Camp are situated here amongst swaying palm trees and guests head off to explore the glistening salt pans on quad bikes.

Read a Travel Journal

Kalahari Desert

During a Botswana vacation, try and include a visit to the Kalahari Desert for a fascinating contrast to the watery bush safari of the Okavango and Chobe. The Kalahari should not really be called a desert as it receives more rainfall than a 'real' desert and supports lots of game.

The only people who really know how to survive in the Kalahari are the Bushmen(San people). There are very few pure Bushmen around and fewer still living a traditional hunter gatherer life, but lodges like Deception Valley Lodge and Intu Afrika (on the Namibian side of the Kalahari), create opportunities for visitors to interact with Bushmen communities.

An Insiders Guide to Botswana

Botswana is one of Africa's great success stories. The country is about the size of Texas and is landlocked between South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The nearest coast is more than 600km (375 miles) away to the east in Mozambique.

Botswana is probably the safest and most peaceful of all African countries, and has a thriving modern democracy.

Discover Botswana with the Botswana Insiders Guide

Best Time to Be Here

Any month is good. Botswana is a year-round safari destination.

Peak season in Botswana is between July and October April to October is the dry season. November to March is the wet season.

Although the rainy season is generally from October to April, there is great variation in the time of its arrival and departure, in the quantity of rain that falls and in its distribution. The amount of rainfall decreases from the north-east of the country to the south-west, and as it does so its variability increases.

Read a more in-depth article on Botswana's Seasons

Getting to Botswana Made Easy

There are good roads to Botswana from South Africa (via Gabarone), Namibia and Zimbabwe (via Kasane). The capital, Gaborone, and the towns of Maun (the Okavango and Moremi gateway), and Kasane (gateway to the Chobe National Park), are well served by air.

Getting to Botswana

Botswana' s Sustainable Tourism Efforts

Game Reserves and National Parks were originally set up to preserve areas considered to be of national and international conservation value. Nowadays vast tracts of Africa comprising the areas of several European countries are given over to wildlife and nature conservation. Botswana boasts one of the highest percentages of land area given over to conservation, at 17% of the total.

Read more on Sustainable Tourism in Botswana.

Botswana's History in Brief

The semi-nomadic San people were Botswana's earliest inhabitants. Bantu-speaking tribes from the north moved into the area before the first millennium, and European missionaries arrived in the mid-19th century.

In 1885, to counter Boer expansion from South Africa and Ndebele incursions led by Mzilikazi from the north, Bechuanaland came under British protection. By 1895, Rhodes' British South Africa Company hoped to annex Bechuanaland, prompting 3 Batswana chiefs to persuade Queen Victoria to keep their land under British control.

Read a more detailed account of Botswana's History from 2000 BC to the present day.

Botswana Travel Guide

Botswana is unique when it comes to African safaris, with fascinating landscapes unlike anywhere else on the continent and beautiful ecosyst...more
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