Are you an adventurous traveller seeking a unique safari experience?
Look no further than Botswana.
This Southern African gem is home to some of the world’s most awe-inspiring wildlife, including elephants, lions, and cheetahs. But Botswana offers much more than just a typical safari experience.
From the Okavango Delta to the Kalahari Desert, Botswana boasts a diverse range of landscapes that have remained virtually untouched by human intervention. Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline-fueled outdoor adventure or a peaceful retreat in the heart of nature, Botswana has something to offer.
In this guide, we’ll take you through the ultimate Botswana tour experience, highlighting the must-see destinations and activities for any traveler looking to discover the untouched beauty of this incredible country. So pack your bags and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime as we take you on a journey through the wilds of Botswana.
Why Botswana is a must-visit destination
– Botswana is home to the world’s largest delta
Botswana is a country that is often overlooked by travellers, yet it is one of the most spectacular destinations in Africa. It is home to the world’s largest inland delta, the Okavango Delta, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The delta is a maze of lagoons, channels, and islands that attract a vast array of wildlife, including elephants, lions, cheetahs, and hippos. Botswana is also home to the Kalahari Desert, one of the world’s largest deserts, which covers over 70% of the country. The desert is home to a unique ecosystem of plants and animals, including the famous black-maned Kalahari lions.
– Botswana is committed to conservation
Another reason why Botswana is a must-visit destination is its commitment to conservation. The country has a low human population density, which has helped to preserve its natural habitats and wildlife. Botswana’s government has also implemented strict conservation policies, such as banning hunting and promoting sustainable tourism. This has helped to protect its endangered species and maintain the delicate balance of its ecosystems.
– The friendly people and rich heritage
Botswana is also known for its friendly people and rich cultural heritage. The country has a diverse population, with over 20 different ethnic groups, each with its unique traditions and customs. The San people, also known as the Bushmen, are one of the oldest indigenous groups in Africa, and their way of life has remained unchanged for thousands of years. Visitors can learn about the San people’s culture and history by visiting their villages and participating in cultural activities.
When is the best time to visit Botswana?
The best time to visit Botswana depends on what you want to see and do. The country has two distinct seasons: the dry season and the wet season.
The dry season runs from April to October and is the best time for wildlife viewing, as the animals tend to congregate around water sources.
The wet season runs from November to March and is the best time for bird watching and lush landscapes. However, some areas may be inaccessible during the wet season due to flooding.
If you want to witness the famous wildlife migration, you should visit Botswana between June and August. This is when the zebra and wildebeest migrate from the Chobe River to the Savuti Marsh. The migration also attracts predators such as lions and hyenas, making it an exciting time for wildlife enthusiasts.
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12 Factors to Consider when Decided on a Trip to Botswana
- Research and plan ahead Start by gathering information about Botswana’s popular tourist destinations, national parks, wildlife reserves, and cultural attractions. Determine what interests you the most and create a rough itinerary.
- Choose a reputable tour operator Look for tour operators that specialize in Botswana tours and have a good reputation. Read reviews, check their track record, and ensure they are licensed and experienced in organizing tours in the country. Thankfully our team of professional consultants does this work for you!
- Consider the tour duration Decide how long you want your tour to be. Botswana offers a wide range of options, from short safaris to multi-week expeditions. Consider the time you have available, your budget, and the places you want to visit.
- Wildlife viewing opportunities Botswana is renowned for its diverse wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, and many more. Ensure that the tour you choose provides ample opportunities for wildlife viewing, either in national parks or private reserves.
- Accommodation options Check the accommodation provided during the tour. Botswana offers a range of lodging options, from luxury lodges to tented camps. Choose a tour that matches your preferences and budget.
- Modes of transportation Find out how you will travel between destinations during the tour. Some tours use 4×4 vehicles, while others may include flights or boat trips. Consider your comfort level, the distances involved, and the type of experience you seek.
- Local guides and experts Botswana’s local guides can greatly enhance your tour experience. Ensure that the tour operator employs knowledgeable guides who are familiar with the country’s wildlife, culture, and history.
- Group size Consider whether you prefer a small group Botswana tour or a larger group experience. Smaller groups often allow for a more personalized experience and better interaction with guides.
- Flexibility and customization Check if the tour allows for flexibility and customization. Some tours offer pre-designed itineraries, while others can be tailored to your specific interests and preferences.
- Budget and value for money Determine your budget for the tour and compare prices and inclusions across different operators. Remember that the cheapest option may not always provide the best experience. Look for value for money, considering the quality of accommodation, transportation, meals, and overall experience.
- Safety and security Ensure that the tour operator prioritizes safety and has measures in place to ensure a secure experience for travelers. Check travel advisories and consult with the tour operator regarding any safety concerns.
- Environmental responsibility If sustainable and responsible tourism is important to you, consider tour operators that follow eco-friendly practices and contribute to local conservation efforts.
Tour Length 21 days Group Size Max 12 Starts & Ends Starts: Livingstone Ends: Livingstone Countries Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Overview The accommodation on tour is a mixture of guest houses, chalets, lodges or permanent tented camps. The accommodation we use is graded 2 to 3 star and is comfortable, clean and on a twin share bases (en-suites with occasional shared bathrooms). All linen and bedding is provided. Most meals are provided by the guides around the fire or on the roadside during travel days (the truck has a fully kitted kitchen). Should you be a single traveller you will be roomed up with another same gender traveller unless you prefer a single supplement (limited to 2 travellers). Limited Participation: An essential part of your safari is participation. Your tour leaders will do all the meal preparation but we do ask travellers to help (on rotation) with the washing up. There are some long travel days which require early morning starts, to gain the most of our day in Africa.
Tour Length 18 days Group Size Max 20 Starts & Ends Starts: Johannesburg Ends: Johannesburg Countries South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Overview This is an accommodated overland expedition visiting the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls and the Kruger National Park. This is a wonderful opportunity to see the breathtaking Victoria Falls and partake in the many optional adventure activities based around the mighty Zambezi River.
Tour Length 16 days Group Size Max 16 Starts & Ends Starts: Johannesburg Ends: Johannesburg Countries South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe Overview Pinch yourself; this is the African overland tour you’ve been dreaming about. We’ve put together an action-packed itinerary that hits all the highlights, tracking elephants across the Chobe, and hitching a ride in a mokoro to exploring the Okavango Delta. Top it off white water rafting, an aircraft flip over the thundering Vic Falls, or bungee jumping to complete your experience of a lifetime.
- The tour requires participation from all group members. This entails assisting with the food preparation, washing of dishes and keeping the truck clean. Please keep in mind that flexibility and an open mind is needed on the trip. Your guide is registered with the Field Guide Association of Southern Africa (FGASA). This tour also provides great value as all highlights are included in the price so no hidden surprises.
Popular attractions in Botswana
Botswana is home to many popular attractions, each with its unique charm and beauty. Here are some of the top attractions that you should include in your Botswana tour itinerary:
1. The Okavango Delta
The Okavango Delta is one of the world’s largest inland deltas and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The delta is a maze of lagoons, channels, and islands that attract a vast array of wildlife. Visitors can explore the delta by taking a mokoro (traditional dugout canoe) ride or a motorized boat safari. The delta is also a popular destination for bird watching, with over 500 species of birds recorded in the area.
2. Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park is Botswana’s first national park and one of the largest game reserves in Africa. The park is home to a vast array of wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, and buffalos. Visitors can take a game drive or a boat safari along the Chobe River to witness the park’s abundant wildlife. The park is also a popular destination for bird watching, with over 450 species of birds recorded in the area.
3. Moremi Game Reserve
Moremi Game Reserve is a protected area in the Okavango Delta and one of the most beautiful game reserves in Africa. The reserve is known for its diverse wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, and wild dogs. Visitors can take a game drive or a boat safari to explore the reserve’s vast landscapes and wildlife.
4. Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is a protected area in the Kalahari Desert and one of the most unique landscapes in Botswana. The park is home to the largest salt pans in the world, which are surrounded by grasslands and savannas. Visitors can witness the park’s unique landscapes by taking a guided tour or a self-drive safari. The park is also a popular destination for stargazing, with some of the clearest skies in the world.
Tour Length 13 days Group Size Max 20 Starts & Ends Starts: Windhoek Ends: Johannesburg Countries Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa Overview Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta and Kruger Adventure starts from Windhoek and ends in Johannesburg, covering a vast array of wildlife and adventure activities.
Tour Length 12 days Group Size Min 4 Max 16 Starts & Ends Starts: Victoria Falls Ends: Victoria Falls Countries Zimbabwe, Botswana Overview A complete immersion into the untouched natural beauty and wildlife of Botswana, with game viewing in open 4x4 safari vehicles in the Moremi Game Reserve. The tour will start with game viewing along the famous Chobe River, followed by the spectacular sunsets of Magadikgadi Pans. The Okavango Delta is explored in boats, on foot and in the traditional dug-out canoes, called mokoros. The tour ends with Victoria Falls, The Smoke that Thunders, one of the natural wonders of the world.
Tour Length 10 days Group Size Min 1 Max 13 Starts & Ends Starts: Windhoek Ends: Victoria Falls Countries Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia OverviewA thrilling Botswana Overland Adventure complete with magical highlights of wildlife and landscapes throughout. Travel on this 10 day whirlwind tour from Namibia onward to Botswana's contrasting natural beauty. Enjoy game drives on land in 4x4's and peaceful water based safaris in mokoros or cruise along Chobe river at sunset. This nature-lover's dream adventure ends in Victoria Falls leaving you breathless and in awe.
Unique experiences to have in Botswana
Botswana offers many unique experiences that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Here are some of the top experiences that you should add to your Botswana tour:
A walking safari is a unique experience that allows you to explore Botswana’s wilderness on foot. Walking safaris are led by experienced guides who will take you through the bushveld and teach you about the flora and fauna of the area. Walking safaris are a great way to get up close and personal with the wildlife and experience the African bush in a new way.
Cultural Village Visit
Botswana is home to many different ethnic groups, each with its unique culture and traditions. Visiting a cultural village is a great way to learn about the local culture and history. Visitors can participate in cultural activities such as traditional dancing, singing, and food preparation. Cultural village visits also provide an opportunity to support local communities and learn about sustainable tourism practices.
Hot Air Balloon Safari
A hot air balloon safari is a unique way to witness Botswana’s vast landscapes and wildlife. Hot air balloon rides usually take place early in the morning, allowing you to witness the sunrise over the African bush. You’ll float over the delta or the desert, witnessing the wildlife from a unique perspective.
Guided game drives in open vehicles, usually conducted during early morning and late afternoon when wildlife activity is at its peak.
Traditional canoe trips through the tranquil water channels of the Okavango Delta, offering a chance to spot aquatic wildlife and explore the delta’s intricate ecosystem.
River cruises or motorized boat trips along the Chobe River or other waterways, offering a different perspective to view wildlife and enjoy the scenic surroundings.
In certain areas, night drives may be available, allowing you to spot nocturnal species and observe the behavior of animals after dark.
Botswana’s diverse landscapes, abundant wildlife, and stunning sunsets provide excellent opportunities for wildlife and landscape photography.
Tour Length 14 days Group Size Min 2 Max 12 Starts & Ends Starts: Pretoria Ends: Pretoria Countries Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe Overview When it comes to great safari destinations, this Southern Africa tour is packing heat: Kruger, Chobe, Matobo, the Okavango Delta, and the Khama Rhino Sanctuary. While exploring these wildlife havens, you’ll be up close and personal with such a huge number of elephants, lions, leopards, hyenas, rhinos, buffaloes, and a myriad other species that you'll fill your camera memory card in a matter of days. This is the Africa you've seen in all those incredible travel photos, but in the flesh (or fur).
Tour Length 14 days Group Size Max 17 Starts & Ends Starts: Johannesburg Ends: Victoria Falls Countries South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe Overview This 14 Day Botswana Overland Tour takes us through the vast Kalahari plains and we will meet local Bushmen, one of the oldest groups of people in Africa. In the north, we travel through the magnificent Okavango Delta , the largest inland delta in the world, which carries water from far-off mountains in Angola into the expansive Makgadikgadi plains, creating a unique wildlife sanctuary. A fully equipped, open 4x4 vehicle is used to explore the world's renowned National Parks, which are mapped in accordance with age-old game migration tracks depending on the season. Finally, we visit "The Smoke that Thunders" - Victoria Falls, and enjoy a game viewing boat cruise along the Chobe River, within Chobe National Park.
Planning your Botswana tour
When planning your Botswana tour, there are several things to consider, such as the best time to visit, your budget, and your preferred activities. Here are some tips to help you plan your Botswana tour:
Choose a reputable tour company
Botswana has many tour companies that offer a wide range of safari packages. It’s essential to choose a reputable company that is committed to sustainable tourism practices and has experience in the area. Look for companies that are members of sustainable tourism organizations such as Ecotourism Botswana.
Decide on your preferred activities
Botswana offers a wide range of activities, from game drives to walking safaris to cultural village visits. Decide on your preferred activities and choose a tour package that includes them.
Budget for your tripOK
Botswana is known for its high-end safari lodges and camps, which can be expensive. However, there are also budget-friendly options available, such as camping and self-drive safaris. Determine your budget and choose a tour package that fits your budget.
Budgeting for your Botswana tour
Botswana is known for its high-end safari lodges and camps, which can be expensive. However, there are also budget-friendly options available, such as camping and self-drive safaris. Here are some tips to help you budget for your Botswana tour:
Choose a budget-friendly tour package
There are many tour companies that offer budget-friendly safari packages, such as camping and self-drive safaris. These packages are a great way to experience Botswana’s wildlife and landscapes without breaking the bank.
Travel during the shoulder season
Traveling during the shoulder season (April to May and September to October) can save you money on accommodation and safari packages. The weather is still good during this time, and there are fewer tourists.
Book in advance
Booking your accommodation and safari packages in advance can save you money. Many lodges and camps offer early bird discounts, so book as early as possible to take advantage of these discounts.
Accommodation options in Botswana
Botswana is known for its high-end safari lodges and camps, which offer a luxurious and comfortable safari experience. However, there are also budget-friendly options available, such as camping and self-drive safaris. Here are some of the accommodation options available in Botswana:
Luxury Lodges and Camps
Botswana is home to many luxury lodges and camps, which offer a high-end safari experience. These lodges and camps are often located in prime wildlife viewing areas and offer luxurious accommodations, gourmet meals, and guided safari activities.
Budget-Friendly Lodges and Camps
There are also budget-friendly lodges and camps available in Botswana, which offer a more affordable safari experience. These lodges and camps are often located outside of the prime wildlife viewing areas but still offer comfortable accommodations and guided safari activities.
Camping and Self-Drive Safaris
Camping and self-drive safaris are a great way to experience Botswana’s wildlife and landscapes on a budget. There are many campsites and national parks that offer camping facilities, and self-drive safaris allow you to explore Botswana at your own pace.
Safety and travel tips for Botswana
Botswana is a relatively safe country for travelers, with a low crime rate and a stable political climate. However, there are some safety and travel tips that you should keep in mind when visiting Botswana:
Make sure that you are up to date on all your vaccinations before traveling to Botswana. Consult with your doctor or a travel health clinic to determine which vaccinations you need.
Make sure that you have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and evacuation. Medical facilities in Botswana are limited, and serious medical emergencies may require evacuation to South Africa.
Always follow the instructions of your safari guide when viewing wildlife. Keep a safe distance from the animals and never approach them on foot.
Botswana is a must-visit destination for any traveler seeking a unique safari experience. From the Okavango Delta to the Kalahari Desert, Botswana offers a diverse range of landscapes and wildlife that have remained virtually untouched by human intervention. Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline-fueled outdoor adventure or a peaceful retreat in the heart of nature, Botswana has something to offer. By following our guide to the ultimate Botswana tour experience, you’ll be able to discover the untouched beauty of this incredible country and create memories that will last a lifetime.