When you think of Africa, you think of animals and the big 5, a term coined by hunters in relation to the difficulty of hunting on foot for Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo and Leopard and there is no better place to see these animals than in Botswana.
Landlocked Botswana is an amazing country of contrasts. The Kalahari Desert occupies most of Botswana and within this is the beautiful wetland of the Okavango Delta. The Delta receives its waters from rain that falls in Angola – over a 1000 kilometres away.
The 15,000 square kilometre Delta is a maze of water channels, lagoons and islands that supports a huge diversity of wildlife so you can enjoy excellent game viewing all year round. It is great to see how the wildlife has adapted – Lions have learnt how to swim across the channels to chase their prey – and swimming makes them very powerful – they are wonderful to watch!
And then you have the Red Lechwe – gorgeous antelope with longer back legs so they can spring through the waters. Hippos who stomp a track through the waters creating “highways” that elephants and tourists on makoros can use – this keeps you carefully balanced in your makoro. It is wonderful to fly over the delta as you can see these hippo tracks in the water and of course the chances are high that you will also see huge herds of elephants moving in a long line through the delta.
When it comes to Botswana it is important to get a mix of habitats into your camps – so ideally enjoy a mix of both water and land/water camps. The land/water camps are particularly good for seeing the various cats and plains animals, whilst water camps ensure you get your fill of both the big; elephants and hippos and the small – the beautiful birds. Four nights is the minimum you need on safari in Botswana and ideally we would aim for nine nights in three different environments.
Victoria Falls (Livingstone) is an adventurer’s playground – my favourite is the 15 minute Microlight flight over the spectacular falls – truly stunning! You need 2 nights in Victoria Falls.
When to go – June, July & August are peak times for travel to Botswana which is reflected in the pricing. April/May/Sep/Oct are also great time for wildlife viewing and are certainly less expensive.
What to do? Mobile tented camps – these are great value and you can choose participation or non-participation. Permanent tented camps & lodges are very popular and give you that Out-of-Africa experience. Typically you would fly between camps – this is often only 10 -20 mins (a bit like a bus). You can travel overland but this can be quite slow.
How to get there ? Typically fly to Johannesburg and then fly up to Maun and finish in Victoria Falls and fly home again via Johannesburg. It is very easy to include a stay down in Capetown before or after your Botswana safari.