From the herds of hundreds of elephant in the Linyanti, to the pristine waterways of the Okavango Delta, there is something special about Botswana that is unique to any other destination. It is one of Africa’s most incredible wildlife and wilderness sanctuaries. The wildlife reserves are still pristine due to the government’s policy of high cost / low volume tourism. There are, however, a few ways to travel in Botswana that won’t cost the earth. I choose a mobile camping, where you will still enjoy your comforts without the frills. No matter your budget, if you want to get away from the crowds and enjoy a phenomenal wildlife experience, Botswana is the place to do this.
Things to do
- Game viewing boat cruise on the Chobe River
- Mokoro safari in the Okavango Delta
- Stay on Chiefs island, arguably the most game rich area of the Moremi game reserve and the only place that you can see the big 5 in Botswana
- Interact with habituated meercats in the Makgadikgadi – watch them come out of their burrows in the morning and then have them climb and play around you
For me there is nothing better than sitting on the deck of a boat ambling along the Chobe River with a gin and tonic in hand watching elephant and other animals come down to drink at the waters’ edge. And at the same time as hippos frolick in the water, and fish eagles soar up above. The Chobe River is the main feature of the park, activities within the park focusing on boat cruises along the river and game drives close to the waters’ edge. Game is especially abundant bear the river in the dry season when all other water sources in the northern area of the park have dried up.
Savuti & Linyanti
The harsh environment of the Savute and Linyanti regions does not take away your experience of visiting the area. During the winter months I have witnessed hundreds of elephant, buffalo and other wildlife passing through the Linyanti region on annual migrations between Botswana’s dry interior and the rivers of the north and west. At the heart of the Savuti region is the Savuti channel, which began flooding a few years ago after more than 20 years attracting plenty of game. It is once more a deep, clear waterway harbouring hippo and aquatic life with a myriad of waterbirds.
The Okavango Delta is known for it’s the spectacular scenery, from the narrow waterways filled with water lilies to the lush palm islands surrounded by beautiful lagoons and waterways – a photographer’s paradise. Leisurely walking safaris are conducted by qualified guides on the palm islands where you have the opportunity to learn about the smaller animals, the plant and bird life, how to read the tracks and signs left by animals, and all about the Delta’s fascinating ecosystem. A highlight for me of visiting the Okavango Delta is a ‘mokoro’ (dug-out canoe) safari along these waterways with the chance of encountering hippopotamus and crocodile close-up, and the opportunity to track the elusive sitatunga (antelope).
The Moremi reserve covers thousands of square kilometers of pristine wilderness. The varied terrain includes savannah, winding waterways, and thick forest. This diversity supports an incredibly wide spectrum of wildlife, ranging from large herds of buffalo, wildebeest and zebra, to the rare sitatunga and lechwe antelope, and lion, cheetah and packs of wild dog in the open grasslands. The birdlife is also prolific. It was in the Moremi reserve that I had my first close-up sighting of wild dog chasing their prey, and since then I have had many more encounters!
Central Kalahari and Makgadikgadi Pans
The Central Kalahari and Makgadikgadi Pans are in absolute contrast to Delta, Moremi and Chobe areas in the north. Nothing prepares you for the immensity of the Central Kalahari reserve, nor its wild, mysterious beauty, unending space, and having the entire reserve to yourself. At night the stars utterly dominate the land. During and shortly after summer rains, the grasslands of the reserve teem with wildlife, including large herds of springbok and gemsbok, wildebeest, hartebeest, eland and giraffe.
Just to the north east of the Central Kalahari reserve is the Makgadikgadi Pan, the world’s largest salt pan. In the dry season, this vast expanse of sun-baked salt glistens in the light. And when the rains come, the pan is home to an abundance of flamingos and other waterbirds, as well as one of Africa’s great annual migrations, the zebra migration.
Best of Botswana – 2 nights Okavango Delta, 2 nights Moremi, 2 nights Savuti and 2 nights Chobe
Please note that this is a suggested itinerary only…..if this does not suit your needs exactly, then we can tailor an itinerary that does
On arrival in Maun, you will transfer by light aircraft to the Okavango Delta to one of our recommended camps. Spend 2 nights in the heart of the Okavango Delta enjoying activities such as game viewing by mokoro (dugout canoe), boating, and fishing and guided walks.
Transfer by light aircraft to the Moremi Game Reserve where you will spend 2 nights at one of our recommended camps. Spend your two days here enjoying activities such as guided 4×4 morning and afternoon game drives in open safari vehicles, as well as motor boating on the waterways (water levels permitting).
Transfer by light aircraft to the Savuti Region, where you will be transferred to one of our recommended camps. The Savuti region is well known for its high concentration of lion and elephant and, after more than 25 years, the Savuti channel is flowing again attracting abundant game to the area. Activities include morning and afternoon game drives to spot predators and other game in the area.
Transfer by light aircraft to Kasane airport and onward by road to the Chobe National Park where you will spend 2 nights at one of our recommended camps. The park is famous for its huge elephant populations that congregate along the Chobe River. Enjoy activities such as open 4×4 morning game drives, and afternoon game viewing boat cruises on the Chobe River.
Depart Chobe and transfer by road and boat to Livingstone, Zambia or by road to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Spend 1 night in Livingstone or Victoria Falls where you will get the chance to view the mighty Victoria Falls, as well as enjoy other activities including Zambezi river cruises, fishing, scenic helicopter flights, micro-lighting, canoeing, white water rafting, cultural excursions and elephant back safaris.
Transfer to Livingstone or Victoria Falls Airport and bid farewell to the adventure.
Janine says: I got the chance to get up close to a variety of wildlife from elephant to wild dog, Rhino to hippo!’