When you think of going on safari in Africa, you probably think of Kenya, South Africa, or maybe Tanzania. You might not think of Botswana – I certainly didn’t! But this south African nation is taking the eco-tourism world by storm, and with good reason.
The country’s diverse landscape plays host to Africa’s most well-known animals (think the Big 5) amidst the region’s most stable economy and reliable government. The country’s entire military force is dedicated solely to anti-poaching patrol.
Looking to take a walk on the wild side? Botswana might be the country for you.
The Okavango Delta, a massive wetlands and riverine complex that stretches from Namibia through Botswana to its border with Zimbabwe, is one of Botswana’s main attractions. Because it remains largely untouched and has been protected from development, the Okavango Delta is teeming with wildlife, including elephants, hippos, giraffes, lions, and more. Tourists can tour the Delta by boat or by air, as many tour companies offer scenic viewing flights from the Maun International Airport. If you want to get a feel for the sheer size and scope of the Delta, a plane ride is the way to go.
If you’re interested in getting up close and personal with the environment and the local people, consider a trip into the Delta itself. There, you can go for a ride in a mokoro, a traditional dug-out canoe used by the local people for transportation in the Okavango Delta for centuries. You’ll be assigned a “poler,” a local person experienced in navigating the mokoro through the reeds and grasses of the Delta.
If you get lucky and are feeling brave, your poler might teach you how to row the mokoro! If you’re up for the challenge, you can even camp in the bush overnight with the locals after boating through the Delta all day. Bring your camera and prepare to see some of the animals that make their home in the Delta.
Chobe National Park
Located in Botswana near the borders with Namibia and Zimbabwe, Chobe National Park will take your breath away. The amount of wildlife in the park, combined with the incredible scenery provided by the Chobe River, makes Chobe National Park a must-do while you’re in Botswana. If you’re looking to take some incredible photographs but don’t have a great camera, consider booking a photo safari. I recommend the afternoon river cruise.
These photo safaris provide a DSLR camera with a telephoto lens and a professional photographer guide who teaches you how to take great wildlife photos. At the end, you get to keep the memory card of photos. The river safari is a great opportunity to see wildlife as the animals come down to drink water as the sun goes down. My photo safari was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
Make sure to do an overland game drive while you’re in Chobe, too. Early morning is the perfect time for this. Who knows, you may just see lionesses hunting buffalo (as I did!), hyenas, elephants, giraffes, and more.
The possibilities are endless and the experience is exciting. With all of the wildlife in the park, you’re almost guaranteed to see something spectacular.
Khama Rhino Santuary
If you’re dying to see a rhinoceros on your visit to Southern Africa, make sure to head to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, located in southern Botswana. This enormous reserve is home to both white and black rhinos, as well as tons of other animals. Because of the huge problem with poaching at national parks in southern Africa, many rhinos are being moved to massive private sanctuaries, like the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, where they can be better protected.
Camping is available at the sanctuary; we woke up to find rhino footprints in our campsite! Make sure to sign up for an early morning game drive, where the experienced rangers at the Sanctuary will take you to some of rhinos’ favorite spots. I saw 10 different rhinos in a few short minutes! While you are more likely to see the white rhinoceros, which prefers to stay out in the open, the sanctuary also has a population of black rhinos that you might be able to see if you get lucky. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see these beautiful giants while you’re visiting Botswana.