Botswana is arguably the world's best safari destination. Here you will find some of Africa's largest and wildest game reserves with landscapes ranging from semi-desert to forest and dry savannas to watery swamps – all teeming with wildlife. There are hundreds of safari lodges in Botswana, most situated in prime safari areas and priced in US Dollars.

Highlights
  • Wild, remote places
  • Safaris in beautiful, unspoilt wilderness areas
  • Big game (excluding rhino in most areas)
  • Excellent game viewing
  • Friendly, welcoming people

Botswana is famous for its huge herds of game, especially elephants, which congregate at the main water sources in the dry season. The top safari destinations in Botswana include:

It's a very popular safari destination and with good reason. It's not cheap – most lodges charge in US Dollars – but the game viewing and safari experience in Botswana are hard to beat.

Seasonal Destination

The dry and wet season cycles have a big impact, so it's worth researching the seasons before you visit. The Okavango Delta is most affected by the annual ebb and rise of water levels which rely on distant rainfall levels in Angola. In other areas, local rainfall dictates conditions. During the dry season, smaller pans and waterholes dry up and large numbers of animals congregate at the remaining water sources and rivers, like the Boteti River, the Savute channel, the Kwando River, Linyanti River and the Chobe River.

In the rainy season water and grazing is abundant and the wildlilfe spreads out over large areas, making game viewing more difficult. It's also one of the most beautiful seasons: young animals abound, the bush is lush and green and the migratory birds arrive in numbers. Many plants are in bloom and there are dramatic cloud formations and thunderstorms.

Lodge Location an Important Factor

Many lodges are situated in the national parks and official reserves, where off-road driving is not allowed and no bush walks and night drives are offered. Other lodges are built on private land and in concession areas which offer off-road driving, bush walks and night drives with spotlights.

Land- and Water-based Game Viewing

Botswana, particularly its northern rivers, offers the best boat-based game viewing in the world. It's a unique and fascinating experience to quietly drift close to a herd of elephants drinking along the river bank, where you get an unhindered view of these magnificent animals as they drink, splash and spray, only meters away.

Another unique experience is floating down a palm-lined channel in the Okavango Delta in a mokoro with your own poler and getting close to hippos, herons and kingfishers in the nearby reeds. The Okavango Delta has to be one of the top birding spots in Africa.

The top two safari destinations within Botswana are the Okavango Delta (including Moremi) and the Chobe River area of the Chobe National Park.

Getting There

You can reach Botswana by road from Victoria Falls, or by air from Maun, Kasane or Victoria Falls. Some lodges can only be reached by air, and charter flights will get you from one lodge to the next.

Best Times to Visit

Please have a look at Botswana's safari calendar for more information on its climate and what to expect during different times of the year.

Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Botswana
Game cruise in Botswana

Botswana is arguably the world's best safari destination. Here you will find some of Africa's largest and wildest game reserves with landscapes ranging from semi-desert to forest and dry savannas to watery swamps – all teeming with wildlife. There are hundreds of safari lodges in Botswana, most situated in prime safari areas and priced in US Dollars.

Okavango Delta
Game Drive Moremi

There are few wild places on Earth that offer the same unique combination of spectacular wildlife, beautiful scenery, palm-fringed waterways, remote islands and vast unspoilt wilderness than Botswana's Okavango Delta. The Okavango swamps are formed by the annual flooding of the Okavango River, which opens into a vast life-giving oasis in Botswana's desert. The delta attracts huge numbers of wildlife due to the permanent water available here.

Maun - Gateway to the Okavango Delta
Kasane town - gateway to Chobe
Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park, Botswana

The Chobe National Park is one of the most popular game reserves in Botswana. Situated in the far north of Botswana, Chobe includes the Savute and Linyanti regions which are known for high concentrations of lion and elephant. However Chobe is best known for the Chobe River floodplain, where herds upon herds of animals gather in the dry season between June and October. The game reserve is most easily accessed from Kasane, a town just to the east of the park on the banks of the Chobe River, close to the border with Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls.

Savute Channel
Linyanti Region
Elephants cross the river in the Kwando-Linyanti Area, Botswana

This vast, unspoiled wilderness area in Botswana's northern region comprises the extensive Kwando/Linyanti River system. Game rich and scenic, this area is more remote than some of the other game reserves in Botswana. It offers private, informal safaris without any of the restrictions of national parks. Expect night game drives, bush walks, off-road game drives, canoe and mokoro game viewing and even horse-back safaris.

Moremi Game Reserve
Wildlife Safari

The Moremi Game Reserve is one of Botswana's best wildlife destinations. The lodges in the Moremi Game Reserve typically offer a combination of 4x4 game drives and boat trips on the waterways of the Okavango Delta. Moremi is a Big Five reserve, although currently only Chief's Island, deep in the delta, has rhino following a successful rhino reintroduction programme. In other parts of Moremi, you can expect to see elephant, buffalo, lion and possibly leopard and wild dog as well. Cheetah are rare but they do occur here. General game includes giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, kudu, lechwe, puku, hartebeest, sable antelope, impala, waterbuck, baboon and monkey, warthog, hippo and crocodile.

Nxai Pan National Park
Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park along with the nearby Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve is a fantastic, semi-arid safari destination. The Kalahari desert teems with wildlife and boasts dramatic scenery.

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It is easy to combine Botswana with Victoria Falls. This trip idea combines four of Botswana’s top safari destinations with two nights at Victoria Falls. The duration is flexible and you can spend an extra night at any of the destinations on this trip. Botswana has many excellent lodges, but we always recommend using lodges in the same group or family so you can benefit from long-stay specials. This trip idea is based on Desert & Delta Lodges, which are reasonably priced and lie mainly in the national parks.

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Fly in by light aircraft and spend six nights in some of Botswana's most productive game-viewing areas, combining Kwando's best camps: Splash, Lebala and Lagoon. Spend either two nights at each camp, or three nights at Splash and three nights at Lagoon or Lebala. All three camps are in huge private concessions and offer a variety of game-viewing activities. Kwando is known for its commitment to a quality, traditional safari experience where the focus is on a true bush encounter and enjoying the best possible wildlife sightings.

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