Anyone arriving from northern Namibia and the Caprivi Strip will enter Botswana at Shakawe, the most northerly settlement on the western side of Botswana and the Okavango Delta. From this small yet burgeoning riverside village you'll get your first glimpse of the Okavango River.
By Ian Michler
Explore ancient rock art in Tsodilo Hills
If you're short of time you can head straight for Maun, almost four hours from here, but if you're on a more leisurely schedule, set aside a good few days to navigate the Panhandle by houseboat and venture into the Tsodilo Hills. Campers and those with a tight budget will find Drotsky's Cabins a short distance south of Shakawe and right on the banks of the Okavango, a great base.
Discover more about Rock Art in Tsodilo Hills
They offer full or half-day trips on the river
. Another 30 kilometres further south, you'll find the tranquillity of Nxamaseri Lodge (your accommodation must be booked and no campers are allowed. Ideal if you want a more exclusive stay away from the bustle of the main road and the busier sections of river.
Both places offer fantastic fishing, and Nxamaseri Lodge is one of the very best birding destinations in the Okavango Delta
. Botswana's most memorable rural experiences are to be had on this route.
Make it part of your journey and stop off anywhere between Shakawe and the oddly-named Etsha 6 to bargain for baskets or just observe village life - the people will welcome you warmly. Fuel is available at Shakawe, Etsha 6 and Gumare.
Houseboat Safari on the Chobe
Get aboard the Kabbo out of Shakawe. Two or three nights on this vessel heading up toward the Okavango Panhandle adds some quite solitude to a Botswana self-drive safari. Do not miss out.
Roads to Other Botswana Places