The Southern African country of Botswana is currently enjoying a golden period of tourism and is probably the African safari destination of the moment. With a friendly population, good infrastructure, unbelievable wildlife and a wide range of accommodation options, it has become the darling of the African continent. But just what makes Botswana so special? We look at 12 reasons that Botswana is on everyone’s lips below.
1. The Okavango Delta
The gem in Botswana’s crown, the Okavango Delta is undoubtedly the country’s most popular destination. With a rich variety of plant, animal and bird life, the game viewing here is truly exceptional. Take a traditional mokoro ride through the channels and explore this beautiful oasis the traditional way with an experienced guide – it will make you feel like the first explorer in Africa!
2. An Authentic Safari Experience
Botswana is an incredibly vast country, with the majority of it being completely natural undeveloped. This makes for an authentic safari experience as you explore the beauty of untouched Africa. Gaze upon a sky filled with stars and hear the sounds of the animals as you lie in bed at night, just as nature intended. Botswana prides itself on its model of sustainable tourism so most of the lodges are built with locally sourced, sustainable materials and have minimum environmental impact. The remoteness of the camps also means that you’ll enjoy an unrivalled sense of privacy and solitude with no other tourists for miles (and miles) around.
3. Three Vastly Different Ecosystems
From the wetlands of the Okavango Delta, to the sparse, dry environment of the Makgadigadi Salt Pants and The Kalahari Desert, to the grasslands of the Savuti, Botswana is blessed with an enviable ecological diversity. A trip to the country should ideally encompass all three, as each ecosystem brings with it a uniquely beautiful set of characteristics. The Kalahari Desert is famous for the phenomenal zebra migration, where thousands and thousands of Burchell’s zebras traverse the harsh environment in search of greener pastures in what is truly an unforgettable safari experience; while Chobe National Park and Savuti are internationally renowned for having some of the highest concentrations of elephant on the continent.
4. Variety of Safari Activities
Botswana offers visitors the chance to experience the magnificent fauna and flora in a variety of ways. The country has some incredible fishing spots (with all fish being protected by the compulsory catch and release system) suitable for both novices and professionals alike. With a trained fisherman guide at your side – and waters rich in tilapia, catfish and African pike – you’re almost guaranteed a big catch, made all the more enjoyable by the pristine natural surroundings you’ll find yourself in. As mentioned above, the mokoro makes for an exciting, authentic way to view game in the Okavango Delta for those with a taste for adrenaline, as do the expertly guided bush walks. Botswana has some of the best rangers and guides in Africa, so a game drive in the country is always richly rewarding and informative.
5. Cultural Interactions with the San People
Botswana is one of the last remaining strongholds of the ancient San people – thought to be among the very first inhabitants of the continent. With an understanding and love for the land and its creatures that is second to none, a cultural visit to a San village is a must. Extremely welcoming, the San love sharing their culture with visitors and offer fascinating insight into the lives of one of the world’s last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes.
6. A wide range of Accommodation Options
Botswana has camps and lodges to suit all tastes and budgets. From the rustic and minimalistic to the opulent and luxurious, there is an accommodation option for everyone. All the camps are expertly managed, with highly trained staff and incredible food. Our expert safari consultants have visited them all and will offer fantastic advice as to which would best complement your Botswana experience. If it’s romance you’re after, we listed our absolute favorite romantic spots to stay.
7. Good Infrastructure
Botswana is a stable and (relatively) wealthy democratic country with little to no political upheaval. Access is easy with regular flights between Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone (Botswana’s capital) and Johannesburg. Most of the camps have airstrips, so getting around is a breeze. The majority of camps in Botswana accept international credit cards, as well as US Dollars, so one needn’t worry about paying for that beautiful stone carving you just cannot resist.
The climate in Botswana is semi-arid which means that the country has a short rainy season and enjoys warm weather for most of the year. Temperatures in summer can be very high, so it’s best to consult with the ASC experts to find a travel time that’s most comfortable for you.