BOTSWANA TRAVEL INFORMATION

Botswana

Botswana is located in Southern Africa and covers approximately 600 000 square kilometers – Botswana is only slightly larger than Texas! The country is bordered by South Africa in the south, Namibia in the west and north and Zimbabwe and Zambia in the East. 

The dominant economic activity is diamond mining, but with the natural abundance of wildlife, wonderful game reserves and national parks and a proven wildlife conservation department tourism is a growing sector. 

Botswana’s offers something to everyone. From luxury lodges, fine dining and cocktails at sunset, to adventurous camping safaris, the country is defined by its wide open spaces, exceptional wilderness areas and plethora of animals and birds.

There are four main tourist regions in Botswana: The Okavango Delta and Moremi, Chobe, the Makgadikgadi Pans and the Kalahari.  

The whole region is a malaria area, and you will have to take the necessary precautions. 

Zimbabwe lodge safari lions

The Okavango Delta & Moremi

One of the largest Inland water systems in the world, the Okavango Delta covers an approximate area of 16 000 square km of the Kalahari and rates as one of the most spectacular travel destinations in the world.

The Kavango river rises in the Angola’s highlands and flows though Namibia, before flooding onto the soft sands of the Kalahari creating the world’s largest inland delta.

The flood waters of Angola take approximately three months to reach the borders of Botswana, and may only reach the southern end of the Delta in June. This creates a unique source of water in this region during the dry season – as the surrounding game reserves are drying out, the Okavango’s waters are rising and attracting a huge array of wildlife which remains in the area from May to October.

One of the best and ost tranquil experiences in the Delta is to be poled along the reed-lined channels in a mokoro (traditional dug-out canoe). Sit back and relax as the water gurgles under the mokoro and your skilled poler points out the fauna and flora.

The Okavango offers fantastic wildlife and birding opportunities. Red lechwe, wild dog, buffalo, elephant, wattled crane, and kingfishers are also often seen.

Lodges in the Okavango offer a wide range of accommodation and activities. Poling on mokoros, game walks and game drives get you closer to the wildlife.

Botswana’s Moremi Wildlife Reserve lies in the centre of the Okavango Delta.  It consists of permanently swamped areas, seasonally swamped areas and dry land, and covers an area of 3000 square kilometers.

The Reserve encompasses a wide range of habitats – from wetland, floodplain and reed beds to forest and savannah woodland. The animal life inhabiting the park is abundant and equally diverse, ranging from exotic birds, to zebras, buffalo, wildebeest, giraffes, hippos and lions.  The only large African mammals not found here are rhino.

Boats take visitors to various lagoons, such as Xakanaxa, Gcobega and Gcodikwe, to view game and birdlife.

Lodges around Moremi Game Reserve have a variety of activities and facilities. Most of the lodges have game drives, mokoro rides, and game walks. 

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Lion, Zambia

Chobe & Savuti

Chobe National Park offers one of the most concentrated wildlife experiences in Southern Africa.  

Starting out as a proclaimed non-hunting area it was eventually enlarged and gained national park status in 1967. It has slowly increased in size to 10 000 square kilometers, as the farming on the edges gives way to conservation.

The Chobe River forms the border with Namibia, and also forms the northern boundry of the National Park. The river meanders through flood plains, which offer good grazing to the herbivores throughout the year. The herds of impala, letchwe, sable antelope and buffalo that live along the river attract large predators, and you are sure to see lion, leopard and hyena while on safari in Chobe.

Chobe is famous for it’s large herds of elephant. During the dry season, in the late afternoons, herd after herd of elephants emerge from the mopane woodland and make their way to the water to quench their thirst. An afternoon spent watching these magnificent creatures is a wonderful experience.

One of the highlights of any trip to this region is an afternoon spent on one of the game viewing cruises on the Chobe River.  This will get you close to herds of elephant, birdlife, hippos and crocodiles. The colours of river at sunset and the many, many elephants coming down to drink, makes this an amazing photographic opportunity.  

The Linyanti River in the north west is a seldom visited part of the park. The river floods along a fault creating a swamp. During the dry season it also offers exciting, concentrated game viewing.

The Savuti region forms part of the Chobe National Park, and is located on the eastern side of the Okavango Delta and south of the Chobe River. The famous Savuti Channel stretches south from the Chobe River through to the Mababe depression. For long periods of time the channel is dry and the only water in Savuti is from seasonal rainfall.

The concentration of wildlife and birdlife, not to mention the open plains surrounded by the dry camel thorn trees on the Savuti marsh, are a wildlife photographer’s dream. Savuti is famous for its big game and particularly it’s predators. Lion and the spotted hyena live in constant battle for surviva here, and if you are lucky, you may see cheetah or wild dog.

Birdlife includes Abdems Stork, Carmine beeaters, Kori Bustards, and secretary birds.  

Lodges in the area range from opulent to comfortable, family accommodation. Each offers a wide range of activities, including game drives and the spectacular and essential afternoon river cruise.

Alternatively, for the slightly more adventurous, a mobile camping safari or self drive safari through the parks is an experience of a lifetime! Drive your own four wheel drive, or tag along with the security of our professional guides. 

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Chobe Safari Lodge (3)

The Makgadikgadi Pans

A vast flat shimmering salt pans provide the incredible back drop to the Makgadikgadi Pans Game Reserve. These pans provide much needed minerals in the form of salt licks for the herbivores in the area.

In years with good rainfall the pans fill with water from mid-November and can hold the water till the following April. This water attracts flocks of flamingoes and pelicans, and can trigger massive migrations of zebra and wildebeest.  

During the dry season the pans’ hard surface offers a totally different experience. In certain conditions it is possible to drive (a 4×4) on the pans and visit the islands of Baobab trees that grow on the edges of the pan. The endless skies and horizons create a surreal experience, and certainly one unique to this incredible place.

One of the most notable pans is Nxai Pan, and Nxai Pan National Park covers 2500 square kilometers and is situated between Maun and Nata. The Park was proclaimed in 1970 and later extended to its present size, and includes the famous seven enormous baobabs that make up Baines Baobabs.

The Park is one of the few national parks in Botswana where the rainy season adds to the attraction – once the rains start, elephant, zebra and gemsbok migrate to the area. The springbok and zebra drop their young at this time, and this attracts predators.

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The Kalahari

The Central Kalahari covers a massive area of 58 000 square kilometers, about the size of Switzerland and Denmark! Sand dunes and shrubs in the north, and Mopane woodlands in the south, compliment the open grassy plains of the central reserve. Ancient riverbeds cross this harsh and beautiful landscape.

Wildlife in the reserve includes wild dog, brown hyena, lion, cheetah, leopard, blue wildebeest, gemsbok, kudu and red hartebeest. Best game viewing is between December and April, when the game congregates in the pans and valleys.  These is also a wide variety of birdlife, including vultures, raptors, and grassland bird species.

Khutse is a 2500 square kilometer game reserve that lies on the southern boundry of the Central Kalahari. 

There are a system of natural pans in this region that fill during the rainy season, attracting herbivores to graze on the grasslands. These in turn attract the predators – lion, hyena, leopard and cheetah. As the season evolves, the pans dry up leaving behind important mineral deposits and salt licks for the herbivores.

There are an arry of excellent lodges are located in and around the Central Kalahari, and these all offer game drives, game walks and a wide range of luxuries.

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Young male lion in the Okavango Delta