Desert To Delta – Jewel Of Africa Safaris’ Most Recommended Destinations In Botswana
Beautiful Botswana. It is a unique and special place. Its array of cultures and vast range of unspoilt natural wildlife sanctuaries are diverse and inviting for both local and international tourists.
Botswana plays host to amazing and unique safari destinations. Places so unspoilt and vast, with such an array of beautiful wildlife, that these special destinations can really take your breath away. A visit to Africa is simply not complete without including Botswana in your African safari itinerary.
In this article we take a closer look at a few of these unique safari destinations when visiting Botswana.
The Kalahari Desert
Deserts may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but apart from the beautifully sculptured wind shaped terracotta dunes, as a wildlife enthusiast, you can see an array of desert creatures, designed to live in these harsh and hot conditions.
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve
One of the world’s largest, is just one park where you can see 320 species of mammals and birds alone. These include the black-maned Kalahari Lions, Cheetahs, Leopards, Giraffe, Hyenas and Wild dogs, to name just a few of the larger predators and the smaller game include the famous Meerkats, Honey badgers, Porcupines and Aardvarks.
The Makgadikgadi Pans
Staying with vast open spaces and those who love to cruise for miles with 4 x 4 vehicles, these amazing salt pans seem to go on forever with an indeterminable horizon separating only flat earth and sky.
The renowned Pans are the dried up remains of a great lake in North-Eastern Botswana, but safari lovers will enjoy sightings of Zebra, Wildebeest and their predators. This is the place to stay where you’ll feel as far away from civilization as you’ll ever be!
The Okavango Delta
A maze of sparkling lagoons, meandering channels and overgrown islands teeming with wildlife, Botswana’s Okavango Delta lies like a sparkling jewel at the heart of the Kalahari Desert. Known as “the river that never finds the sea”, crystal clear channels spread over the thirst lands of the Kalahari with their papyrus-fringed banks and fertile floating islands. Adapted for a life in and out of water, the elegant red lechwe and shy sitatunga antelope are found in this watery wilderness. Lion, cheetah, leopard and African wild dog share the floodplains with large herds of elephant and buffalo.
This is one of Botswana’s premier safari destinations and certainly its most well-known. Safari lovers prefer to visit in the dry season when the wildlife is spectacular and bountiful. Apart from Rhino, who have been introduced to the area, but not always seen, the remainder of Africa’s Big Five, the Lion, Leopard, Elephant and Buffalo, are all easily spotted.
One of the world’s largest deltas, the Okavango invites you to partake in a unique safari tour spotting wildlife from the safety of a traditional canoe (better known as a ‘mokoro’) and then camp overnight. This is a special experience and simply can’t be missed when visiting Botswana on Safari.
Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park, one of the largest Parks in Botswana is situated in north-east Botswana on the banks of the Chobe River.
Due to Chobe National Park’s location close to some of the Africa’s most visited natural attractions, this is an ideal safari destination. The Park is biologically diverse and boasts with the highest concentration of elephants in the world. The wildlife and scenery can be enjoyed during game drives, bush walks and boat cruises which are on offer at all lodges and hotels.
Originally home to the San Bushmen, with sections of marshland, flood plains, savannah, grassland, woodland and two rivers, the Chobe National Park is incredibly diverse and makes up some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. In 1957, Chobe became the first National Park in Botswana and driving tours and boat excursions along the river are both great ways to see the myriad of indigenous game that inhabit this park.
Here the Sans people have dwelled for over for over 30,000 years and their 4,500 cave paintings created thousands of years ago date back as far as 500 AD. These hills have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site due to this fascinating history and have, tongue in cheek, been named the ‘Louvre of the desert!’
Moremi Game Reserve
This special reserve, considered one of the most beautiful in Africa, is part of the Okavango Delta and consists of a network of waterways surrounding two large islands.
Moremi Game Reserve can be found in the eastern section of the Okavango Delta and is an excellent safari destination. The Reserve is one of the most spectacular wildlife conservancies in Botswana, where an abundance of wildlife moves around freely. The unique landscape features a unique mix of dry ecosystems as well as wetlands. Among the roamers of the bush are the Big Five, but this is also a hotspot for a profusion of unique bird species.
It is a pristine wilderness area, where birdlife is prolific and varied, with over 500 species ranging from water birds to forest dwellers. Elephants too are numerous, as well as buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, hyena, jackal and the full range of antelope.
Savuti Region – Chobe
The Savuti is an area in Chobe National Park which borders the Okavango Delta to the west and Chobe National Park to the east and is one of Africa’s best known big game areas.
Famous for its mysterious Savuti Channel which flows and subsides seemingly with no relation to rainfall, Savuti National Park is wild, remote and full of exceptional wildlife spotting. It’s here you can see one of Africa’s incredible migrations as thousands of zebras make the journey to the Savuti for the lush grass during November and December and the dry season is a great time to spot prides of lions hunting prey collecting around the shrinking waterholes.
Savuti is famous for its predators, especially its resident lion and spotted hyena populations.
The game-viewing can be exceptional, and the wide variety of activities make this an area not be missed. Savuti’s almost desert-like landscape with a scorching sun, loose, hot sand, animals escaping the heat by clumping together in the limited available shade, and elephants lining up to get to the water supply, offer a wildlife experience you won’t easily forget.
Off the Beaten Track
These three places that are not that renowned, but exactly the kind of place one should visit because they are so unique and special – and uncrowded and far away from hordes of tourists.
The Nxai Pan National Park
Similar to Makgadikgadi Pans, Nxai Pan National Park is part of the Kalahari ecosystem, yet completely different. Here you’ll find stretches of grassy plains dotted with fossil beds and smaller pans that attract an array of wildlife. Perhaps the focal point of Nxai Pan is the waterhole, situated only two kilometres from the entrance gate, in the midst of verdant plain dotted with a scattering of thorn trees.
Tucked away in this corner and within the mopane woodland, its permanent residents are lion, giraffe, kudu, impala, ostrich, fascinating birdlife and large numbers of springbok, together with a good population of jackal, bat-eared fox and numerous smaller creatures.
Once the rains start, gemsbok, elephant and zebra migrate to the area. At this time, zebra are present in thousands and drop their young at Nxai Pan, rivalling the spectacle of the multitude of young springbok, to further enhance game-viewing opportunities.
To the south of the reserve lies the Baines Baobabs area, overlooking the Kudiakam Pans: impressive 1,000 years old baobab trees, which have been celebrated by Victorian explorer and painter Thomas Baines in 1862.
Also in the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park you will find Kubu Island, an extraordinarily beautiful dry granite rock island engulfed by a white sea of salt!
This is an isolated granite outcrop, some 10m high and a kilometre long. It forms the shape of a crescent, and its slopes are terraced with fossil beaches of wave-rounded pebbles, providing startling evidence of the prehistoric lake’s former water levels. Crowned with an array of ancient, gnarled baobabs and surrounded on three sides by a vast grey emptiness, Kubu has a unique atmospheric beauty.
Now protected as a National monument, even this seemingly barren, but unique place of stunning beauty, has an animal population worth seeing.
Linyanti Wildlife Reserve
Very exclusive and known for its massive Elephant and Lion population, Linyanti is a lesser known peaceful private reserve that covers some 308,000 acres and can be found in the North East of the country, within the Savuti region.
Always keen to introduce our clients to places off the beaten track and ensure they also experience the ‘best of the best,’ Jewel of Africa Safaris have both pre-packaged and tailor made excursions to Botswana and adjacent favoured destinations.
Visit the destinations page of our website or contact us to learn more and find out why we are favoured luxury Safari and guided tour operators to the Southern African region. Botswana and many other great destinations await you!