Why we love safaris to Botswana
Explore one of Africa’s top safari destinations
Botswana is renowned for its incredible wildlife and breathtaking landscapes. It’s Africa’s safari capital, and for good reason..
Animals. Everywhere. Not just a few of them, but in huge concentrations, the likes of which you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in Africa. When it comes to wildlife diversity and density, Botswana is the reigning safari champion.
Add to this unique eco-systems and pristine wildernesses, some of the best-loved safari camps and lodges on the continent and warm and welcoming people, and you begin to understand what it is that sets Botswana apart from its competitors.
Botswana’s safari destinations are as varied as they are contrasting… From the vast salt pans of the Magkadikgadi and the lush wetlands of the Okavango Delta to the sweeping floodplains of Chobe and the Linyanti and arid panoramas of the Central Kalahari, the country offers incredible and distinctly different safari experiences within its borders.
These safari experiences are critically important to the country’s growth and development, as tourism is a major contributor to Botswana’s economy and drives conservation initiatives.
Safari for people and planet
One of the reasons we rate Botswana so highly is that the country’s distinctive brand of safari style is based on sound conservation models which put the wellbeing of its pristine wildernesses and wild fauna and flora first.
Botswana developed a low-impact, high-end approach to tourism, underpinned by small, sustainable safari operations that benefit both people and planet. This ensures that travellers to the country have a positive impact on local economies and leave an enduring legacy that helps to conserve and protect Botswana’s natural heritage for future generations.
Camps and lodges are kept deliberately small, intimate and as off-grid as possible, keeping environmental impact to a minimum. They employ local people, investing heavily in their training and skills development, creating careers for life in the process.
This speaks directly to our ethos at Stanley Safaris and our mission to share only the best, most authentic and immersive small safari camps and lodges across Africa.
Wildlife havens beyond compare
Blessed with unique geology that has created one of the wonders of the natural world – the Okavango Delta – as well as a rich system of perennial rivers, swamps and marshes that attract wildlife all year-round, Botswana is truly an African Eden that’s packed with some of the most iconic species on the planet. Huge herds of elephants and buffalo can be found in the Delta and along the Chobe River, along with some of the highest densities of carnivores in Africa.
Lion, leopard, cheetah, serval, caracal, African wild cat, black-footed cat… Botswana is the place to see Africa’s cats both big and small in action. With its legendary packs of painted wolves (African wild dogs), jackals and the Cape and bat-eared fox also to be seen, the canines are also well represented.
Add to this mix the unique, desert-adapted wildlife that’s found in the challenging environments of the Magkadikgadi Pans, Nxai Pan National Park and Central Kalahari Game Reserve. From the distinctive and beautiful gemsbok to the inquisitive and endearing meerkat, Botswana’s arid heartlands are filled with life.
The best birding in Africa?
It’s a bit of a loaded question, but we think Botswana is Africa’s leading (if not the top) destination for avid birders. Without including the incredible influx of summer breeding migrant species, the country’s bird-list is packed with “lifers” like Pel’s fishing owl, the narina trogon and African emerald cuckoo and rarities like the long-toed lapwing, great snipe and Schalow’s turaco.
Add to this spectacular bee-eaters, kingfishers and stunning raptors like the African fish eagle, African marsh harrier, martial eagle and red-footed falcon and a host of seed-eaters, weavers, warblers and other amazing bird species and you’ll begin to understand our enthusiasm!
The emerald season starts with the first rains, usually around November, and lasts until the end of March when the summer migrants usually return home and the grasses begin to die back. This may be the hottest time of year but it’s by far the best when it comes to birding.
You’ll find incredible rookeries and breeding colonies of stork species in both the Okavango Delta and along the Chobe River, as well as in the north of the country along the Okavango River. During the wet season you’ll also find flamingoes and great white pelicans in the shallow waters that flood the Magkadigkadi and Nxai Pans.
Safari experiences par excellence
You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to things to do and ways in which to explore Botswana’s beautiful wildernesses.
For an uber-exclusive safari experience, opt for one of the country’s vast private concessions. The Selinda Reserve in the north of the country offers 130,000ha of pure wilderness for a maximum of 32 guests! That’s 4,064ha per guest! At Duba Plains in the Okavango Delta you have 33,000ha for just 24 guests and the beautiful Kwando concession is a whopping 404,685ha offering only 70 beds, working out at 5665ha per guest.
Apart from the obvious bonus of exclusivity and space, you can also drive off-road in the private concessions to track and approach high profile animals.
Most camps and lodges offer the usual morning and afternoon/evening game activities, but add to this a selection of unique exeperiences you won’t find anywhere else… Being poled on a mokoro (a dug-out canoe) through the shallow channels of the Okavango, quad-biking across the shimmering salt pans of the Makgadikgadi, having habituated meerkats use your head as a look-out post, learning the art of tracking and desert survival with the San Bushmen…
Try a sleep-out under the stars, walk along the edges of the Selinda Spillway, take a slow boat cruise long the banks of the Chobe River watching the sun set over one of the river’s many islands… Watch elephants play in the clear waters of the Okavango’s many channels, fish for tiger fish and tilapia, follow painted wolves on the hunt, see leopards in broad daylight, witness the struggle for survival between the “eternal enemies” – lion and buffalo…
All of these things, and more, are possible during your stay in Botswana!
Talk to us today about arranging a safari to Botswana for you.