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Botswana Country Guide

Here's the scoop

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to describe the entire country of Botswana as a national park. Even the spaces between designated parks are wild and free, and you’ll find warthog trotting through the towns, big old bull elephant wandering across the highways and even wild dog between farms. So, with all this open space and wildlife, where is the best place to go to see it all? Our Botswana country guide will help you find the answer.

Generally speaking, Botswana has three main areas; the wet and wild regions of northern Botswana along the Chobe River and Okavango Delta, the vast Central Kalahari and Makgadikgadi Pans, and the southern Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park that spills over into South Africa. All these areas are beautiful in their own way, and provide something a little different; so let’s get into what makes each space special…

The North

Northern Botswana is the wet region of the country, crisscrossed by swamps and rivers and wetlands. The Chobe and the Zambezi rivers intersect in the north-east corner at the famous Kazungula border—the meeting point between four countries; Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Up here, the main safari areas are Chobe National Park, the infamous Okavango Delta (including the Moremi Game Reserve) and Linyanti, all of which combine excellently with Victoria Falls in either Zimbabwe or Zambia.

How do I do it?

The springboard to safaris in the north are the towns of Kasane and Maun. Kasane is perfectly situated to combine jumps between Victoria Falls and the Chobe National Park. You can spend a few days marvelling at wildlife along the winding Chobe River, with its large, super-herds of elephants, and then hop over the border to see the famous Victoria Falls in all its magic. It is also possible to take trips overland into the Savuti, or down into the Linyanti swamps. The only way into the heart of Okavango Delta is by small plane, and the springboard into the Delta is the town of Maun. From Maun, it’s a short flight into one of the many isolated camps within the wetland. If you are in the mood for driving yourself, then you can head into the Moremi Game Reserve from Maun, and skirt round the eastern fringe of the delta, camping or lodging as you wish.

Where do I start?

If you want to combine pretty much everything we’ve mentioned above then look no further than our A classic journey through Botswana. This journey will lead you through the Okavango Delta, Linyanti, Chobe and finish with the spectacular Victoria Falls. Expect magnificent game viewing and a fortitude of water-based activities in Botswana and at the falls you’ll discover a neat blend of beautiful lodges, jaw-dropping scenery and daredevil adventure activities, something for everyone!

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Central Botswana

A true Botswana country guide isn’t complete without a mention of Central Botswana. Just south of the Okavango Delta lies the Makgadikgadi Pan, a giant salt flat that was once an ancient lake. The 12,000 square kilometre pan seems empty all the way to its milky horizons, but there’s a wealth of wildlife wandering the fringes and feeding on the salty licks. Head further south and you’ll reach the vast nothingness of the Central Kalahari. While much of the Central Kalahari is tough to reach, Deception Valley is a must-see with its large prides of lion and sprinting cheetah.

How do I do it?

The town of Maun is the best starting point to head into both Makgadikgadi Pans and Deception Valley in the Central Kalahari. Light aircraft charter flights transport guests to airstrips in the Makgadikgadi, or you could 4×4 in for greater exploration on a self-drive safari. Deception Valley is also reachable via aircraft or vehicle from Maun.

Where do I start?

Take time to understand the culture and history of the area with our Follow the paths of the San Bushmen in Botswana trip. This adventure will lead you through the Central Kalahari Desert and the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans with the indigenous San Bushmen as you learn how they’ve survived on the land for over 20,000 years. For a mix of culture and wildlife, end your trip with a pitstop in the ever-famous Okavango Delta.

Makgadikgadi
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The South

The south-western corner of Botswana is home to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, a magical corner of wilderness that is shared between Botswana and South Africa. This park consists of about 38,000km² of the Kalahari wilderness. At first glance it may seem barren, but stay awhile and you’ll see multitudes of game, from lion, to cheetah, and incredible plains game. Night drives bring out some of the best sightings of desert creatures too.

Tucked away in the south-eastern corner of the country is the Tuli, another beautiful and pristine wedge of the Kalahari desert. With giant baobabs, beautiful kopjes, and pristine bush, the Tuli is one of the lesser known safari gems in Botswana. Southern Botswana is off the main safari circuit, and gets far fewer visitors compared to the better-known north of Botswana. And this is exactly its charm!

How do I do it?

Access is easiest by flying from Cape Town or Johannesburg to Upington, where you can then hire a car. Alternatively, you can visit as part of a fly-drive trip between Cape Town and Windhoek. Now that the border post between Namibia and South Africa at Mata Mata is open, it’s also possible to drive a great circular route beginning in Windhoek, and including Sossusvlei and the Kgalagadi.

Where do I start?

If you’re thinking of combining Botswana with somewhere else in Southern Africa and you’re after a little city and beach time too, then our South Africa, Botswana & the beach is the trip for you! Take in the culture of Cape Town before heading to Botswana’s Okavango Delta and then finish by jetting across to Mozambique’s Quirimbas archipelago.

Tuli
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