Botswana is known for its vast wilderness, incredible wildlife, and memorable safaris. The Okavango Delta is home to endless palm-covered islands. While the Nxai Pan and Makgadikgadi regions have moonscape saltpans. It’s the ideal destination for travellers looking for unfenced, pristine surroundings.
Botswana’s dedication to protecting its wildlife heritage is renowned in Africa. The country has a total land area of 581,730 square kilometres. About 40% of that area is dedicated to protecting and conserving wildlife. These areas are home to the world’s largest concentrations of elephants and provide protection for endangered large mammals like the lion, black rhinoceros, African wild dogs and cheetah. Botswana is also a bird lover’s paradise and one of the best places to see the wattled crane, slaty Emu and the Pels Fishing Owl.
The country’s conservation efforts started in 2014 when it outlawed commercial hunting. Former hunting areas were then transformed into safari destinations. Botswana has made the decision to adopt a low-impact, high-quality tourism model. This means that you can enjoy all the luxuries of a safari without having to worry about large crowds at the camp you’re staying at or congested game drives.
If it’s your first time going on safari, you may have questions about the difference between national parks, concessions, and game reserves. We’re here to help you understand the difference between these designated areas, and what it means for your Botswana safari adventure.
National parks are owned and managed by the government, whereas a private game reserve is owned and managed by the lodges within these reserves. Both national parks and game reserves offer special safari experiences. However, national parks may attract more people because of the vast number of accommodation options in these areas. Game reserves, on the other hand, offer more exclusivity and less foot traffic.
Botswana has four national parks, Chobe, Gemsbok, Makgadikgadi Pans and Nxai Pan. These national parks are run by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Linyanti and Moremi, are two of the most popular game reserves in the area.
Botswana is renowned for its exceptional wildlife, attracting nature enthusiasts and safari-goers from around the world. The country’s diverse ecosystems support a wide array of wildlife species, providing remarkable opportunities for wildlife encounters.
Here is an overview of the wildlife in Botswana:
Botswana is home to an impressive variety of mammals, including some of Africa’s most iconic species. The Big Five—elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, and rhinoceros—can be found in different regions of the country.
The elephant population in Botswana is one of the largest on the continent, offering unparalleled opportunities to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Lions thrive in various national parks and reserves, while leopards, although elusive, can be spotted in areas such as the Okavango Delta. Buffalo herds roam the grasslands, and although rhinoceros numbers are lower due to conservation efforts, they can still be seen in protected areas.
In addition to the Big Five, Botswana is home to an impressive array of predators. Cheetahs, known for their incredible speed, can be found in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Makgadikgadi Pans.
Wild dogs, an endangered species, are also present, particularly in areas like the Okavango Delta. Spotted hyenas, jackals, and various species of mongoose are among the other predators that inhabit the country.
Botswana boasts numerous antelope species, both large and small. The majestic sable antelope, with its striking horns and dark coat, can be found in areas such as the Chobe National Park and the Moremi Game Reserve. The graceful gemsbok (oryx), impalas, kudus, waterbucks, and the rare roan antelope can also be spotted in different regions.
Botswana is a haven for bird enthusiasts, with over 590 bird species recorded. The diverse habitats, including wetlands, grasslands, and woodlands, attract a wide range of avian species. The Okavango Delta, in particular, is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with herons, storks, kingfishers, eagles, and numerous other species gracing the skies and waterways.
Botswana is home to various reptiles and amphibians, including Nile crocodiles and hippos, which inhabit the country’s waterways. Snakes such as the African rock python, black mamba, and puff adder can be found in different regions. Several species of frogs and toads are also present, particularly in wetland areas.
Botswana’s commitment to wildlife conservation, including the establishment of national parks and game reserves, has played a crucial role in preserving its diverse ecosystems and supporting thriving wildlife populations. Whether exploring the Okavango Delta, the Chobe National Park, or the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, visitors to Botswana are treated to unforgettable wildlife experiences and the opportunity to witness the wonders of the African wilderness firsthand.
Botswana, located in Southern Africa, experiences a semi-arid climate characterized by hot and dry conditions for most of the year. However, there are some regional variations in climate within the country.
The country has two main seasons: a dry season and a wet season. The dry season generally runs from April to October, while the wet season spans from November to March.
During this period, Botswana experiences minimal rainfall, and the weather is predominantly dry and hot. The temperatures can be quite high, particularly from September to October, which are the hottest months. Daytime temperatures can range from 25°C to 35°C (77°F to 95°F) on average, and occasionally even higher. Nights tend to be cooler, with temperatures dropping to around 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F).
The wet season in Botswana brings an increase in rainfall, although the amount and timing of rainfall can vary from region to region. The northern parts of the country generally receive more precipitation compared to the southern regions. During this season, temperatures remain warm, with daytime averages ranging from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F). Humidity levels also rise, contributing to a more tropical feel. Thunderstorms are common during the wet season.
It’s worth noting that Botswana is influenced by the Kalahari Desert, which covers a significant portion of the country’s land area. As a result, even during the wet season, some areas may still experience relatively low rainfall, and the desert landscape remains relatively dry.
Overall, Botswana’s climate is characterized by hot and dry conditions, with a distinct wet season bringing increased rainfall. When planning a visit to Botswana, it’s advisable to consider these climate patterns and choose the most suitable time based on your preferences and the activities you wish to engage in.
Botswana is a country rich in cultural diversity, with several distinct ethnic groups that contribute to its vibrant cultural tapestry. The Tswana people form the majority, known for their intricate basket weaving, pottery, and traditional music and dance. The San, also known as Basarwa or Bushmen, are indigenous hunter-gatherer communities with deep knowledge of the land and renowned rock art.
The Bakalanga have a strong cultural heritage, including traditional music and dance, while the Bayei are a fishing community in the Okavango Delta with a unique way of life. Additionally, there are other ethnic groups such as the Kalanga, Herero, and Mbukushu, each with their own languages, customs, and traditions. Botswana places great emphasis on preserving and promoting its cultural heritage, allowing visitors to engage with local communities, experience traditional practices, and witness the diverse cultural expressions found throughout the country.
Botswana is a linguistically diverse country with several languages spoken throughout its communities. The official language of Botswana is English, used in government, business, and education. Setswana, also known as Tswana, is the national language and is spoken by the majority of the population. Setswana serves as a unifying language and is used in daily interactions among Batswana.
Additionally, there are numerous other languages spoken by different ethnic groups in Botswana. These include Kalanga, spoken by the Kalanga people in the eastern region, as well as Herero, spoken by the Herero community. The San people, also known as Basarwa or Bushmen, have their own languages, including Naro and Gwi. The diversity of languages in Botswana reflects the rich cultural heritage and traditions of its various ethnic groups, contributing to the country’s cultural tapestry.
You will find Linyanti Bush Camp on the border of the Chobe National Park, in a private concession within the Chobe Enclave. The camp is located on the banks of Linyanti River, which happens to be the only source of water during the dry season. Linyanti Bush Camp offers an intimate Chobe safari experience. The main area offers delicious Pan African cuisines and a refreshing swimming pool. You can enjoy safari activities such as walking safaris, catch and release fishing, and mokoro trips.
The charming Linyanti Ebony Camp is located on the banks of the Linyanti River. This river provides the only permanent water supply for the area’s wildlife, even during dry seasons. This camp is ideal for a family safari and offers guests a unique safari experience in Linyanti’s natural habitat.
Only four luxury tents, including a family tent, are available and each tent has a beautiful en-suite bathroom and stunning views of the surrounding African bush.
Linyanti Ebony’s main area consists of a lounge, dining room with delicious Pan African cuisine and a splash pool. There are two daily game drives, walking safaris and bird-watching. Boat cruises, mokoro excursions, fishing, and boat cruises are all part of the adventure.
Khwai Leadwood is a luxury safari camp found just off the banks of the pristine Khwai River. The camp is located on the north-eastern border of renowned Moremi Game Reserve.
Khwai’s biggest drawcard is undoubtedly the plentiful and extraordinary wildlife – you’ll never be bored here! Adventure and relaxation are on offer as guests live out their ultimate safari experience – from setting off on a morning walking safari to enjoying a gin and tonic overlooking the Khwai River.
Khwai Leadwood is a great place to relax and reflect. The pool is a great place to cool off and read a book, while getting in some rest between the action-packed game drives. The luxury tents offer all the creature comforts, including a daybed that can be used for afternoon naps on the private deck.
Khwai Leadwood is the perfect place to go if you want a safari experience that allows you to connect with nature, but still offers all the luxury and comfort you would expect from a luxurious getaway.
Experience the epitome of luxury tented safaris at Khwai Lediba, a captivating camp nestled along the Khwai River in Botswana’s Khwai Concession. Prepare to be enchanted by the awe-inspiring African safari adventure that awaits you, surrounded by the remarkable wildlife of Moremi National Park, the oldest protected section of the Okavango Delta. Picture yourself encountering magnificent lions, elusive leopards, majestic elephants, and graceful giraffes as they roam freely in their natural habitat, immersing yourself in the untamed beauty of the African wilderness.
Khwai Lediba offers an exceptional range of thrilling activities designed to provide an unforgettable wildlife experience. Embark on exhilarating morning, afternoon, and night game drives, guided by expert trackers and guides who will reveal the secrets of the region’s wildlife. Additionally, depending on water levels, you can engage in walking safaris, allowing you to intimately connect with the extraordinary surroundings on foot.
For a more serene adventure, explore the waterways with tranquil moroko safaris, gliding through the channels and witnessing the wonders of the riverine ecosystem. Khwai Lediba promises an immersive safari experience that will leave you with lifelong memories of Botswana’s remarkable wildlife and natural splendor.
Migration Expeditions Camp, a new camp set up in Nxai Pan National Park, shines a spotlight upon the spectacular zebra migration that occurs around December-March each year.
Migration Expeditions’ eco-sensitive design facilitates a seamless flow between its pristine desert environment and our stylish bush camp. The main area has two canvas-covered hubs: one side housing a dining area with an open kitchen and opposite, a cosy lounge area. Solar-powered charging points are available for those all-important cameras. The fire circle is at the heart of our bush camp offering and is an extension of the shared lounge area. Its magnetic quality beckons, inviting guests to share an authentic, warm African safari experience with us.
These vast herds of zebra travel approximately 1000 km per year from Chobe and the Linyanti/Kwando River systems to the Nxai Pan area around the same time as the arrival of rainfall in Nxai Pan.This is the longest migration among African mammals. The zebra are drawn to greener areas and sweeter grass, where they can give birth in optimal conditions. The herds begin to move back towards the Northern Chobe National Park region in March, although the arrival of rain will determine the exact timing.
The best time for a safari in Botswana typically falls within the dry season, which runs from April to October. During this period, wildlife congregates around water sources, making it easier to spot animals. However, the specific timing may depend on your preferences and the regions you plan to visit.
Botswana is renowned for its diverse wildlife. While the specific sightings can vary, some of the iconic animals you may encounter include elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, hippos, crocodiles, various antelope species, and numerous bird species.
Botswana boasts several world-class national parks and reserves. Some of the most popular ones include the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, Moremi Game Reserve, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and Makgadikgadi Pans National Park.
The Okavango Delta is a unique and stunning ecosystem. To explore the delta, you can go on mokoro (traditional canoe) excursions, boat safaris, or guided walking safaris. There are also options for scenic flights over the delta, providing a bird’s-eye view of the landscape.
Malaria is prevalent in some parts of Botswana, particularly during the rainy season. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a travel clinic for up-to-date information on recommended vaccinations and anti-malarial medications before your trip. Additionally, taking measures to prevent mosquito bites, such as using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing, is essential.
Botswana is generally considered a safe destination for safaris. However, it’s always important to exercise caution and follow the guidance of your safari guides and tour operators. It’s advisable to stay informed about any potential travel advisories or local conditions before your trip.
The recommended duration for a safari in Botswana can vary depending on your interests and budget. Many visitors opt for a minimum of three to five days to fully experience the wildlife and natural beauty of the country. Longer safaris allow for deeper exploration and immersion in different ecosystems.