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Botswana is a home to a perennially transforming dusty red desert, immense floodplains, vibrant savannas, majestic big cats, and massive elephant herds. Botswana’s immense landscapes may seem fictional, yet they indelibly become real before your eyes. From hippos to elephant herds, big cats to countless birds, Botswana is a place where you can discover the mother’s nature greatest theater. Explore the national parks and game reserves while spotting the giant antelopes. Kickstart the ultimate Botswana safari customized just for you and the animal kingdom.
Visiting Botswana is a unique experience in itself, an enthralling journey that awakens deep-seated feelings of wonder and belonging. Heighten the senses and explore deeper with some of these incredible experiences:
Lion prides are abundant, elephants roam in their hundreds, and hippos forage along riverbanks – so this isn’t a country for aimless wandering. That said, it is one of Africa’s best walking safari destinations. Skillful guides expertly track wildlife and respond to their behavior, allowing you to get agonizingly close to some of nature’s largest and wildest creatures. And from ground level, they always seem a lot bigger! A buffalo herd may saunter right onto the trail in front of you. They stop and stare. Wait, stay silent, admire the interaction, then walk on – and don’t be surprised to find an elephant waiting around the next corner.
A lake the size of Switzerland once covered northeastern Botswana. It’s long since shriveled and disappeared, leaving behind the remarkable Makgadikgadi Salt Pans – a white wonderland that’s punctuated by ancient baobab trees and shimmers beneath the relentless sun. Few places in Africa are as starkly beautiful, especially when 25,000 zebras are migrating across it en route to the Okavango. Watch a surreal sunset burn onto the horizon, marvel at the shooting stars that silently thunder across the desert sky, and then watch the sun dictate life in Makgadikgadi for another day.
Botswana may be 600 miles across in both directions, but its landlocked position makes it easy to combine with many of Southern Africa’s other natural wonders. Head north from South Africa and zebras surrounds the border post. Come from Zambia or Namibia and elephants wander past the sign that welcomes you to the country. One of the new seven wonders of the world, the majestic Victoria Falls are less than an hour from Chobe National Park, along with the Zambia-Zimbabwe border. Regional airports connect you with small bush airstrips – meaning that within a couple of hours you can enter the country and be deeply immersed in the Botswana experience.
The indigenous San Bushmen have ingeniously survived on Botswana’s wild plains for almost 50,000 years. These semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers practice remarkable age-old bush skills that could soon be lost from the world. They track animals barefoot, nimbly scampering through the bush, proficient eyes spotting every clue and precipitating split-second changes of direction. Taking a walking journey with a laconic tribesman will reveal the intricacies of one of the world’s last great ‘lost cultures’ – one that showcases astonishing survival skills, and invariably arouses deep respect and humility.
Botswana’s immense swamps and wetlands are among the wildest and distinctive ecosystems in the world, as rich in rare animals and birdlife as they are inhospitable to humans. Exploring them is always an adventure, their seasonal nature meaning that trails are annually washed away and boundaries are constantly changing. Thousand-strong grazing herds roam chaotically, big cats lurk along shriveled-up channels, and your lodge will invariably seem like the center of a cacophonous wildlife show. The Savuti Marsh and the Linyanti Swamp, bordering Chobe National Park, boasts record concentrations of zebras and lions, in some of the most pristine and untouched wilderness areas on Earth.
Unlike some of its neighboring countries, Botswana follows a generally predictable climate. Like all desert places, the land is dictated by the cycle of the rains and the phenomenal impact they have on the landscape. This is a year-round destination, although certain months are generally considered better than others.
The long dry winter months are the most pleasant and the sky is almost always clear between May and August. Maximum daily temperatures dip down into the 70s and the mercury plummets at nighttime. In June and July, it’s going to be just 45 degrees, so you’ll need to pack some warm clothes. As the dry season rumbles on, the land becomes baked and parched, and there is less vegetation for the animals to hide behind. Game viewing is at its easiest as thirsty animals congregate around the few surviving waterholes. Water that fell months ago in the Angolan Highlands will finally have reached northern Botswana. So rather bizarrely, the dry season is when the Okavango Delta is at its flooded best. Another advantage of this peak season is that there are very few mosquitoes and an almost non-existent risk of malaria (except in the Okavango Delta).
From September, the temperatures rise dramatically and start exceeding 90 degrees on a daily basis. While you might see an occasional thunderstorm in September or October, the landscape remains dusty and withered. This is probably the best game-viewing time in Botswana, although the stifling heat will be off-putting to some.
Just when the land can’t take any more torment, the rains begin with wild abandon. They normally start sometime in November and continue until March or April. January and February are particularly torrential and probably the worst time for game viewing. However, there are always animals in Botswana and this is the time of year to see migrating elephants and zebras. It’s also probably the most beautiful. The landscape is blissfully transformed; rivers flow once more, the plains turn lush green, and the wildlife disperses as it enjoys nature’s bounty. Daily temperatures hover between 70 and 90 degrees, and rumbling downpours just keep coming. Wildlife viewing is still excellent during the start of the rainy season, while April and May bring a unique combination; everything is still majestically green, but the game will start migrating back to permanent water.
Botswana has a novel approach to tourism. Instead of pursuing numbers and mass markets, it revels in offering exclusivity and attracting the most discerning travelers. The country wants to welcome a handful of high-end guests, not a coachload of budget hunters. It’s an approach that has meant conservation has always stayed at the forefront. All the national parks and reserves have only a few accommodation options, yet they are invariably luxurious and marvelously secluded. This is a country that offers some of the finest accommodation on the continent – including many places that are only accessible via their own airstrips.
Nature brings you to Botswana and every lodge or camp optimizes the show. You’ll have front-row seats, either from hidden hides or private balconies overlooking riverbeds and waterholes. Opulent en-suite facilities are the norm; so too are private dinners beneath the stars, with grazing animals wandering past. Nature’s soundtrack will continue all night, and each spacious bungalow or luxury tent will be well separated from the rest. Expect impeccable service and few other guests. And don’t ever be frightened by the word ‘tent’. These camps are like nothing you have seen before, combining the features of a sumptuous hotel room with an absolute immersion in nature.
Most accommodation works on an all-inclusive basis, incorporating meals, drinks and all safari activities. Most properties offer a daily program of activities, allowing guests to create their own itineraries. These are likely to include game drives, guided walks, boat safaris, canoe trips, and night drives. Spending a few days is recommended as these remote places are best appreciated when you succumb to nature’s natural rhythms.
Before leaving for the Botswana safari, do not forget to fulfill your visa and passport requirements as per the Botswana govt. If you are a citizen of US, Canada, and EU, you are not required to carry a visa to travel to Botswana. You can stay there for up to 90 days.
Botswana is one of the safest countries across the world. With low crime rates and friendly environment, it has been ranked among the top safest safari destinations of the world. This is a country that hasn’t been scarred by civil war, that respects human rights, has minimal crime, and doesn’t suffer from corruption. The only thing that you need to care about is to protect yourself from marauding hippos.
Talking about the northern half of Botswana, it is as stunning as its other half. However, the safari on this part of Botswana may risk you encounter with heavy rains that come seasonally. So, if trekking in the rainy season, do not miss to carry the antimalarial medication. To enjoy a hassle-free Botswana safari, plan your trip in the drier seasons and have a malaria-free safari.
Water in Botswana is clear and safe to drink but it depends on the sensitivity of your stomach. If you are sensitive to such things, stick to bottled water, which is usually available everywhere.
Botswana is a home to friendly and very welcoming people. The locals are generally reserved and peaceful people, well adapted to the quiet rhythms of the rural landscape. So, do not worry about being formal or anything because the people are going to welcome you in your own style. Just pass by their houses and they will show gratitude for visiting their place.
Dealing with cash in safaris is not a piece of a cake and you must be knowing that. So, while planning for the same, make sure you have enough amount in cash to avoid being broke. However, you will find hotels and lodges that accept plastic money in Botswana but they are not universal. Also, if trying to transact a higher amount, you will have to do the transaction in US dollars only, although this varies between places.
Talking about what you can take and leave from and at Botswana, according to the antithesis of zoos, you can only take the photos and leave the footprints to maintain the decorum of the parks. All safari activities have a few rules, whether they’re on foot, in a canoe, or in a Land Cruiser.
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