Botswana is home to Africa’s most richly populated wildlife areas, with an unsurpassed variety of animals. The country offers the best concentrated safari experiences, and due to its largely roadless wilderness areas lends itself to the fly-in safari. About the same size as France, the country’s highlights are definitely in the remote wilderness areas including the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, Savute and the Kalahari. World Journeys offers fully serviced mobile camping safaris, walking safaris and luxury fly-in safaris staying in our favourite lodges. Botswana and Namibia are a perfect combination to create a Journey in Africa.
Linyanti National Park
The Linyanti and upper Savuti areas are among the most beautiful in Botswana with exceptional game viewing with large herds of buffalo, zebra and elephant. Because this area is a private game reserve, the vehicle concentrations are very low and the wilderness experience is one of the best in Africa.
Chobe National Park
Chobe is the second largest national park in Botswana, where some 80,000 elephants roam – the highest concentration of anywhere in Africa…so if you love elephants you will not be disappointed! Chobe can be enjoyed by houseboat cruise or staying at one of the few lodges located within the National Park.
Okavango Delta Covering between 6,000 and 15,000 sq km of the Kalahari Desert in northern Botswana, the Okavango Delta is unlike other famous deltas such as the Mississippi as it is a vast inland river delta that is affected by seasonal flooding drawing in lions, leopards, hyenas and more. A true pristine wilderness experience and the jewel of Botswana!
Kalahari Desert A large basin like plain of the interior plateau of Southern Africa which occupies almost all of Botswana, the third eastern of Namibia and the northernmost part of the Northern Cape province in South Africa. Arid-adapted game includes springbok, oryx, wildebeest, kudu and steenboks, as well as desert specialties such as meerkat, bat-eared foxes, cape fox and brown hyena. One of the more unexpected Kalahari Desert facts is that all three African big cats can be found here – cheetah, leopard and the famous black-maned Kalahari lions.
Makgadikgadi Pans The reserve is a salt pan with an area of 3,900 sq km and one of the largest salt flats in the world. The pans itself is only accessible during the dry season – from March to October when the glaring white surface spreads so far that you can see the curvature of the earth and this the winter season with sunny days however extremely cold nights. August to November is when wildebeest and zebra migrate slowly towards the Boteti River in anticipation of the rains.
The very best time for wildlife viewing in Botswana is between June and October, when the water levels are lower and birds, mammals and big game congregate around the water holes and channels to drink.
Outside of this season, there are many good reasons to visit including the calving season of newborn animals during November and December, and for “twitchers” between January and March when the Okavango Delta comes alive with over 400 species of birds.
Just thinking about this beautiful country makes me smile. From its wonderful people to its serene environments and sheer beauty, it is a safari lover’s dream.
Our Botswana journey started in Chobe National Park, home to one of the largest concentrations of elephants in Africa. Our accommodation was true ‘glamping’ style complete with a comfortable double bed, flush toilet, and hot bucket shower…oh, and did I mention a butler! Safaris in Chobe are done by land and boat with the wildlife viewing certainly living up to expectations as over 200 elephants congregated in one area to play in the water.
From Chobe we took a light aircraft down to the Okavango Delta – one of the most pristine and remote safari destinations one could ever hope for. With a focus on high quality, low volume tourism, you will not see masses of people, with the camps and lodges accommodating only around 30 guests. Travelling in December was not only great value but also a good time to see incredible birdlife and plenty of young animals. Think cute fluffy cheetah cubs, baby elephants and baby hyenas – simply adorable!
Our days in the Okavango Delta were spent doing morning and afternoon safaris, with downtime spent relaxing at the camps, enjoying a swim in the pool while wildlife wandered past. Quite the way to relax! The meals were simply superb and hearty with the staff taking note of what foods and drinks we particularly enjoyed. I was quite blown away upon arriving at the second camp to be greeted with “welcome Mrs Bennetto, your pink gin is waiting for you in your room”!
As we flew back to Maun in our light aircraft it was an incredible sight to see zebras and elephants from the air – almost as if they were farewelling us from their little slice of paradise.
Davina Bennetto, Sales Executive
Currency Botswanan Pula (BWP)
Language Setswana is the national language of Botswana, while English is the official language.
Why we love it Botswana has a fantastic contrast of arid to semi-arid desert covering much of the country – the Kalahari, and the incredible watery lagoons and labyrinths of the Okavango Delta which is in itself one of, if not the top highlight of any visit to Africa. The Kalahari and its salt pans including Makgadikgadi and Nxai, offers visitors game viewing (including specific desert species such as the meerkat), endless vistas and starry skies, opportunities to learn about the San culture and activities such as quad biking. In the Delta on the other hand, you can be taken on mokoro trips (dug out local canoe) with your guides, and enjoy game viewing by vehicle, boat and on foot. There is so much to explore in this watery paradise and it is well known for its numbers of predators and its high numbers of bird species. Travel around Botswana is most often by light aircraft and this in itself affords the most incredible views over the channels of the Delta. Chobe National Park is also situated in Botswana and is the home of the largest concentration of elephants in Africa. Botswana also combines very well with a visit to Victoria Falls and other game viewing in Zambia.
Weather Summer is from November to the end of March and is also the rainy season. The winter season begins in May and ends in August. This is also the dry season when virtually no rainfall occurs. Winter days are invariably sunny and cool to warm. The best time to visit the Okavango Delta is from June – October but travelling in the in-between periods of April/May or November is often recommended as it is outside of the “high” and more expensive season.
Social customs & quirks Botswana was originally a protectorate of the British crown, known as Bechuanaland, and became independent in 1966 after which diamonds were discovered. The majority of peoples in Botswana are either of Khoisan or Bantu descent, which include other tribes within these. The San or “Bushmen” people for example, under the Khoisan group, are well documented and believed to be the race to which any person can trace their genetic heritage. While on safari you will find many of the staff at camp are local Botswanan and extremely proud to be sharing your experience of their country with you.
Festivals & events For nine days each April the Matisong Festival takes place in many venues around Botswana’s capital city, Gaborone. There’s theatre, traditional music and dance, marimba bands, choirs and a range of more western-influenced styles of dance and music.
Health* Please contact your General Practitioner for advice regarding the recommended vaccination programme for travellers to this region. The only compulsory health requirement is a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate if coming from, or travelling through, an infected area.
Notes *Please be aware that Health information is subject to change at any time and you should always double check these requirements at the time of booking and before travel.
We travelled last year to Madagascar and then to Botswana. At all times WJ made our travels effortless, with no trouble being spared when we lost all our documentation at the Airport at Madagascar on arrival! Not a good start but WJ were fantastic and our trip was in no way spoiled.
The Botswana experience was epic, with twice-daily game drives, a local driver and a tracker on our own vehicle, and amazing close up encounters with every animal we wanted to see.
Their local guides and companies were friendly and professional, with nothing too much effort, good English skills and a vast amount of local knowledge.
I would say our Botswana trip was the trip of a lifetime!
Can't thank you enough for recommending &Beyond - we have had the most memorable week of our lives in Botswana. Sent you an email as we ate lunch at Xudum watching lions eat their kill but the email did not send so trying again now minus the lions.
The 3 camps we went to were so fantastic, the guides and staff awesome, the food wonderful, the game drives out of this world. Chobe was packed full of animals, the other two not so much but beautiful in other ways. It was hot, hot, hot but thank goodness for the plunge pool at Xudum. Thanks so much again
I think the overall trip was just about as good as it gets - well organised, very stress-free, the best of accommodation, wonderful people, fantastic food, a very comprehensive view of Africa, and lots of animals. Got some amazing photos and videos of animals - elephants, buffalo, lion, rhino, leopard, plus the migration in Serengeti, wild dogs in Savute, lots at Okavango Delta, lots at Ngorongoro Crater. Camps and Lodges - They were all top-flight places - outstanding places to stay and beautifully presented. All places had great people. At all we were met by a welcoming committee comprising most, if not all, the management and staff. Food - What can I say? It was fantastic wherever we went. Excellent quality and lots of it. n addition to the animals we saw more of Africa than expected and that was a highlight. This tour was was practically seamless, as we were always met by someone, transferred to our destination, picked up and delivered back. The company performed faultlessly. I don't think we have ever been able to say that before. To illustrate the point. At Nairobi we were met on the tarmac, ushered to a private minivan, taken to a side entrance, helped to fill in our visa applications and to proceed through customs, then taken to the street where another van picked us up to take us to the second airport to catch an onward flight. This exceeded our wildest expectations.
I have been back now from Africa for a month and have been meaning to email to thank you re the amazing time we had in Victoria Falls and Muchenje Lodge in Botswana. Illala Lodge in Vic Falls was amazing - staff were awesome and so was the family of warthogs that were on the front lawn in the first hour we were there!! The Lookout Cafe was amazing and glad we booked a table as we had the best views on the deck
Muchenje Lodge â€“ I cannot say enough about this place â€“ the staff were amazing, the accommodation and views were awesome and game drives awesome. All of the group loved the trip (and glad I stuck to my guns and paid a bit more to be at Muchenje).
We cannot speak highly enough of the experience we had at the hands of World Journeys and their agents. All 5 safari park experiences were different, and well exceeded our expectations. The all-inclusive package was really great. Wine at all venues was very free-flowing, and it was good not to be paying for items as we went. All travel went without a hitch, and at all times we felt very safe in Africa. The itinerary was put together by others and we wouldn't have changed it. So many fantastic memories.
We would like to thank you for organising the most amazing trip. We absolutely loved Africa and would like to return. Everything went like clockwork, certainly took the stress from us having meet and greets and drivers already arranged. We enjoyed all safaris, (are now hooked). However the Masai Mara was the highlight. We were fortunate enough to see the end of the great migration!
Outstanding. Mara Bushtops was a wonderful experience, with close encounters with the wildlife outside our room!
Pam and I got home from our sensational 'Best of Southern Africa' journey on Saturday morning. We can only applaud World Journeys on the itinerary and presentation of the Tour, and we feel rather 'hollow' on returning home, both commenting on how we wish we were still in Africa! Having been fortunate to have toured many countries in recent years, we rate our southern African experience up there with the very best!
I see that World Journeys has changed the 'Best of Southern Africa' Tour next year, and may I say the itinerary looks very good! Although it appears an expensive tour to begin with, in hindsight it includes almost everything and costs very little in the way of other essential spending once commenced - unlike many other tours where endless expenses keep mounting as the tour progresses.