The unimaginable vast wildlife reserves of Botswana are among the most isolated and untouched in the whole of Africa. Thanks to a rigid conservation policy which encourages tourism that has a minimal impact on the environment, one region that can promise to deliver authentic animal experiences beyond expectations of nature lovers is this African country, full of spirited people who are fiercely proud of their natural resources.
To learn how to get to grips with this extraordinary travel destination, here are some things to tick off, on your next Botswana nature vacation which includes more than just your typical Botswana safari holidays.
Explore Okavango on horseback
Considered to be the hotspot of wildlife in the whole of Africa, the Okavango Delta is one unique place on the wilderness map where animal encounters can occur almost anytime. Riding on horseback through the wetlands of this ‘Jewel of the Kalahari’ has to be as close to a natural experience as one can ever get. With the excitement of getting close to big game and other incredible wildlife, then enjoying fabulous bush cuisine, this has to be the most sought after wilderness activity in the world.
Cruise along the Chobe at sunset
Cruising along the river Chobe with a limited number of people, a fresh cocktail in hand, watching the sunset feels like you are on your private houseboat enjoying a 360 degree view of the Botswana bush.
If the hospitality doesn’t take things off your mind, the incredible wildlife views certainly will. The Chobe river safari is a completely different experience since the animals feel more at ease, than when you go on a game drive. With no tight schedules and no noisy engines, sailing along the Chobe river provides an ideal platform to see the abundant bird and animal life of Chobe National Park.
Roam with rhinos at Khama
The Khama Rhino Sanctuary, about 25 km from the town of Serowe, is nestled in a large depression on the Serwe Pan. The reserve was created to conserve the diminishing numbers of the rhinos in Botswana and today holds a sizable population of white as well as the highly endangered black rhinos, due to the intensive reintroduction and breeding program.
This is undoubtedly the only good place to see both these rhino species on scheduled game drives each day. Guided night safaris are also organised to give the nature enthusiast a chance to see nocturnally active animals such as Aardvark and Leopards.
Add a new dimension to your safari
Game viewing is one of the main reasons why naturalists flock to Botswana, but in a country where the laws of the jungle are a bit out of sync with other countries of Africa, viewing these marvels of nature from far above could be very intriguing as well.
Flights over the wilderness in Botswana are a safari activity in themselves. Apart from getting glimpses of animals from the air, the experience of soaring over the vast waterways of the Okavango delta, rising and falling with season, provides great views of the dramatic patterns when seen from above.
Interact with the gentle giants
Home to the largest concentrations of pachyderms on earth, Botswana’s Chobe National Park has provided herds of up to 500 elephants on a single game drive. This premier safari destination has plenty of good camps, spread across magical locations and combined with a high dose of excellent guiding and impeccable service. The ability to go off roads, in certain areas, creates unending opportunities to get up close to these gentle giants. Apart from elephants, one can likely see around 35 other mammal species, along with a spectacular variety of bird life.
Go on a 4×4 off road safari
People dream of traveling to Botswana, but few get the opportunity to explore the legendary wilderness by road If there is any country which is perfect for a 4×4 self-drive safari then it has to be just Botswana. Driving off the beaten path and getting to stay in unfenced camps in the wilderness is what a naturalist’s dreams are made of. Traveling in your own vehicle, you can easily visit all the top National Parks, as well as the Khama Rhino Sanctuary to spot the rare black rhino. If it is the real Africa you are after, then a real 4×4 destination is just waiting to be discovered.
Spot exotic birds at Lake Ngami
This shallow lake lies at the southwest corner of the Okavango delta in Botswana and has over the years disappeared and then recovered completely to become a haven for water birds like pelicans, flamingos, kingfishers and a host of other exotic species. The scenic environment attracts many migratory birds and one can easily spot over a hundred different species within a week, making this place s top birding spot of Africa. Even when without water, this is an important area for birders and nature lovers, as it harbors such endangered and threatened species like the Kalahari Robin and Burchell’s Sandgrouse among others.
Enjoy mountain biking at Mashatu
If adventure safaris are your forte, then the Mashatu Game Reserve is just the place to have a mountain biking safari. Imagine wild elephants passing by as you see the wildlife of the bush in an entirely different perspective. You will traverse ancient migratory routes, in the company of knowledgeable rangers, for that awesome once in a lifetime experience of viewing big game.The aim is to cover around 40km a day in five hours. This phenomenal tour is perfect for all fitness levels.
Sleep under the stars at Linyanti Wetlands.
Between the months of July and October, when the season is at its driest, the plains of the Linyanti Wetlands come alive with large herds of elephants. Located in a corner of Chobe National Park, this 900 square kilometres of secluded swamp, is an ideal place to camp for a few nights. While access to Linyanti is difficult and restricted to 4×4 vehicles, wildlife viewing and birding is absolutely exceptional all year round. Due to its remoteness, this unspoilt area of lagoons and waterways is a region where game viewing is superlative and birding out of the ordinary
Wildlife adventures in Botswana are of an entirely different level. This landlocked nation is full of tribal culture and diverse landscapes ranging from open desert to beautiful woodlands set amidst thousands of miles of well protected national parks. This wild land of contrasts, is nothing short of a paradise for nature lovers. After all, here, in the wilds of Africa, it is you who are the intruder and your presence is just sheer privilege.