40+ Botswana Safari Travel Bucketlist Ideas
Basking in its seclusion, Botswana is Africa’s most luxurious safari destination. The premium is on boutique, low-impact tourism, with the emphasis on seclusion and wildlife encounters. And Botswana safaris can encounter more wildlife than almost anywhere else on the planet. This is a country where elephants rule the highways and nature dominates everything.
It’s where Prince William takes Meghan on a romantic break, a place where celebrities and royalty find solace away from everything else. You can be alone here, with simple luxuries and comforts. Yet you are never absolutely alone. For this is the animal kingdom and you will be immersed in all the sounds, sights and smells.
Botswana is an immersive representation of raw African wilderness. Its national parks and natural features are on a mind-blowing scale, each of them populated with rich wildlife abundance. Botswana is almost exclusively visited for African safari, and the wonderful feeling of delving deep into nature's unscripted environment. It's a country favored by safari aficionados and those seeking a remote getaway. The sheer scale of its destinations mean that the safari is rarely shared and everyone can revel in their own piece of Botswana. Dominated by the Kalahari Desert, it's a country that runs to an ancient natural rhythm and always offers an effortless escape. You can travel hundreds of miles without seeing anything but wild animals roaming in search of water.
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Botswana Safari in the Kalahari and Okavango Delta
The immense desert plains of Botswana create one of Africa's great adventures, a resplendent journey into the wilderness and a landscape where the climate plays god and big cats play king. Botswana is a true safari destination, a place where you can go days without seeing people but hardly an hour without spotting elephants.
National parks and reserves cover the majority of Botswana, each of them on a phenomenal scale. There are three distinct landscapes to explore, each among the absolute highlights of African safari. The country's heart is desert, a place of dusty landscapes and nomadic herds forever searching for water. It's here you'll find the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana's iconic salt pans, and numerous smaller reserves. Within this desert a lush oasis appears from nowhere, the great Okavango Delta offering a liquid haven for millions of mammals. The Okavango Delta National Park is flanked by private game reserves, in particular, world-class Moremi. This central part of the country is usually unmissable on any Botswana safari itinerary.
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Northern Botswana - Elephants Everywhere!
In Botswana's far north you'll find Chobe National Park, an expanse of river and forest that's home to the world's largest elephant population (60,000 – 120,000 dependent on the season). Then between Chobe and the Kalahari you'll find the very best private safari concessions in Africa. Here you can expect remarkable encounters, in the middle of nowhere.
For many decades, Botswana's tourism industry has had a clear focus on mid to high-end travel. It's certainly not a country where you'll find large tour groups or low standards. Services and accommodation are designed to maximize the immersion and intimacy with nature. Expect lots of personal space, an elegant atmosphere, and no interruption from nature's spell. A budget travel industry is conspicuous only in its absence as the country focuses on less tourists that spend more, rather then more tourists than spend less. This can make it unaffordable to some visitors, particularly given that Botswana's safari destinations are also challenging to reach. However, while this is an expensive country to visit, Botswana does offer value for your money, especially with its ability to offer exclusivity.
In general, northern Botswana is exceptional for big cat viewing and intimate encounters with hippos and elephants. It also supports an eclectic range of ungulates although the dry and challenging conditions mean they're not often encountered in huge herds. Different concessions have specialist activities, notably off-road game drives, river safaris and wild horse riding safaris. The core impression is of truly exploring the wilderness and going the whole vacation without spotting a semblance of modern civilization. It's unquestionably raw and rugged, with the vast scale meaning you'll have almost every scene to yourself.
Planning a Botswana Safari
Botswana can't be rushed. This isn't a country for a one-day safari or glimpse at a few animals. Just getting to certain national parks is a real adventure and you'll need a few days to really get the sense of an individual destination. The only exception is Chobe's proximity to Victoria Falls for a quick safari. A classic route 8 – 12 day route incorporates each of Botswana's paradigms; the Central Kalahari, Okavango Delta, and Chobe National Park. With two weeks you can really explore disparate parts of the country and combine a great collection of unique activities and world-class destinations.
Spending so long in the wilderness on safari doesn't appeal to everyone, so some choose to spend just a week or less in Botswana. If that's the case, it's impossible to fit in more than one or two national parks. Trying to do anything more would dilute the appeal. Botswana is then combined with its Southern African neighbors with vacations offering a glimpse of Botswana, plus one or two from Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. These destinations in southern Botswana can be excellent safari add ons, or standalone destinations if you want true safari without forgoing any luxury or comfort.