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Top 8 Must-See Safari Destinations in Botswana

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Mokoro safari in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

Mokoro safari in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

Botswana embodies an effortless spirit of the wilderness and luxury, with some of the most incredible wildlife destinations on the planet and several must-see destinations. 

The humbling natural beauty presents scenes ranging from stark desert beauty to thickets of acacia trees down to the winding waters of the Okavango Delta. Exclusive safaris, adventurous exploration, and unforgettable wildlife encounters, Botswana is the ideal playground for any safari-seeker. 

The following information will help you understand and create your perfect Botswana safari.

1. Okavango Delta

Aerial view of the Okavango Delta in Botswana

Aerial view of the Okavango Delta in Botswana

The Okavango Delta is the world's greatest oasis and a phenomenal natural wonder sitting in the heart of the Kalahari Desert. Yet, instead of a desolate place, the Okavango Delta paints the Kalahari with blue and green. Filled with rainwater tumbling down from the Angolan Highlands, the river swells and eventually floods, sprawling out in the fingers the delta creates. Marooned amongst the landscape are thousands of islands, some of them larger than cities and others merely wide enough for a lion to keep his paws dry. The majority of the game is found around the fringes, rather than the wet center.

Why You Should Go: The Okavango Delta offers the chance to see wildlife via 4x4 vehicle, on foot in some areas, as well as the unique experience of a Mokoro ride on one of the channels with incredible game viewing throughout.Recommended Length of Stay: Three nights would be ideal, but if you want to combine a land and water lodge, we recommend a minimum five-night stay.

Best Time to Visit:  The drier months of June, July, and August are prime times to be in the Delta, with the channels flooded and perfect for water-based activities right up to October.

2. Moremi Game Reserve

Buffalo chasing wild dogs in Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

Buffalo chasing wild dogs in Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

This famous reserve was named after Chief Moremi III and offers great diversity at every turn. Set within the Okavango Delta, the Moremi covers almost half the area and is noted to be a game reserve rather than a national park, a popular and famous protected area on the Botswana safari circuit. Moremi is unique in that it has large herds and prides of some of the world’s most endangered animals, such as rhinos, cheetah, and the African wild dog. The area is bursting with birdlife, some 500 different species to discover. A rich ecosystem allows for vibrant plant life, and animal sightings here are simply magical.

Why You Should Go: The Moremi is a protected game reserve that offers some of the best game viewings in Botswana. Wild dog sightings are a draw.

Recommended Length of Stay: A three-night stay would be perfect or if you are adding a visit to this reserve onto a longer Botswana itinerary, then enjoy at least two nights in this incredible area.

Best Time to Visit: From May through to September, the winter temperatures are mild and the air dry, perfect for a safari in this region.

3. Savuti National Park

Lion in tree, Savuti National Park, Botswana

Lion in Savuti National Park, Botswana

Nestled between the Delta and the Chobe National Park, the Savuti region is rich in beauty and wildlife. The mysterious Savuti channel runs off the Chobe River, creating a small marsh, inviting predators from far and wide. Great lion prides and clans of hyenas congregate in this rich part of the park.  Birdlife is prolific, with summer migrants often seen lapping up the African sun. The landscape is sandy and dusty, with once-thriving trees standing tall against the elements for a true Botswana safari treasure.

Why You Should Go: Experience the uniqueness of the Savuti, which is great for predator sightings.

Recommended Length of Stay: A two night stay would be ideal, giving you one full day to explore the region.

Best Time to Visit: While it will be chilly at night, the ideal time to spend in this park is during the drier, winter months of May through to August.

4. Linyanti National Park

Blue waxbill in Linyanti National Park, Botswana

Blue waxbill in Linyanti National Park, Botswana

The Linyanti takes up a small area of the famous Chobe National Park. Its swamp creates a tranquil haven for animals, both large and small. Water draws herds of elephants, lions, and buck, with a large gathering imminent in the peak of the dry winter months. Forests and waterways, lagoons, and woodlands create a spectacle like no other. Prime game viewing and the incredible birdlife is one of the main reasons for visiting the area. Game drives, night drives, bird watching, and boating are some of the activities you can experience here.

Why You Should Go: Bird lovers should not miss the chance to visit the Linyanti. The variety of game viewing options appeal with something for every visitor.

Recommended Length of Stay: Enjoy two nights in this area to give you at least one full day to explore the area.

Best Time to Visit: Noted as a year-round destination, the ideal time to witness great general game viewing is from May to October, the drier months. To spot the great zebra migration, visit in the wet months of January and February.

5. Chobe National Park

Elephant herd in Chobe National Park, Botswana

Elephant herd in Chobe National Park, Botswana

The thickly forested Chobe park, home to more elephants than anywhere on the planet, is never quiet. The hippos' deep calls echo off the water, and elephants rustle through the trees in herds while lions laze under a random bush deep in the park. One perk of visiting Chobe is that game viewing can be done by 4x4 vehicle or from a boat as you travel along the Chobe River, watching animals on the banks go about their day. While summer presents the best viewing time for animals, bird lovers will be thrilled with what they encounter in the wetter months of the year.

Why You Should Go: Elephants, as the sheer numbers are astonishing. The option of game viewing from land and water offers two different perspectives of this incredible safari experience.

Recommended Length of Stay: Most lodges are located outside the park, so spending two full days and three nights is perfect to allow for a relaxed experience.

Best Time to Visit: Make the most of the dry months of May to September to witness game viewing at its best. October is still considered a good time, however, it is extremely hot at this time of year.

6. Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans

Kubu island with baobab trees in Makgadikgadi, Botswana

Baobab trees in Makgadikgadi, Botswana

The Makgadikgadi’s landscape is flat, the region vast, and the dusty pans scattered with acacia, mopane, and the intriguing baobab trees. A once thriving lake, the Nxai Pans area sees migratory herds of springbok and gemsbok, zebra and wildebeest, and a bevy of predators frequent the area. During the rainy season, the pans turn into a lake with migrant flamingos, pelicans, storks and more, visiting. The sky is endless, and the silence of the open wild, captivating. The isolated experience is humbling, and the beauty quite different from the other lush regions of the Botswana safari circuit.

Why You Should Go: Dynamic scenery with herds of animals is an amazing sight, and there is prolific birdlife. Quad biking safaris are also available here.

Recommended Length of Stay: A two-night stay is just right and can be added before or after an Okavango Delta safari.

Best Time to Visit: Animals tend to congregate around waterholes during the drier months of May to November. Birding here is at its peak in January and February.

7. Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Meekats in the Kalahari Game Reserve

Meekats in the Kalahari Game Reserve

Few safari destinations are as escapist as the Central Kalahari. Stretching across a considerable part of Botswana, the evocative landscape with big game dotted across the wilderness is an incredible sight. River beds become dusty, and sand dunes rise during the dry season while rain brings a brief, colorful beauty of sprouting flowers, flourishing grass, and flowing rivers. Your safari is about seeking out the shriveling waterholes that sustain life in the desert, hundreds of mammals congregating around the water. The Kalahari Game Reserve is a hypnotic stop on the safari circuit.

Why You Should Go: Meerkats call this region home. Delight in seeing them in the desert while other animals gather in impressively large groups.

Recommended Length of Stay: Spend two nights in this region to get a good sense of the captivating Kalahari.

Best Time to Visit: Unlike most of the other parks and safari regions in Botswana, the best time to witness wildlife migration and animal congregation is during the wet months of December to March.

8. Northern Tuli Game Reserve

Impala covered with flock of red-billed weavers in Northern Tuli Game Reserve, Botswana

Impala in Northern Tuli Game Reserve, Botswana

The Tuli Block comprises a series of private concessions offering a remote safari in a secluded part of southeastern Botswana. It borders South Africa and Zimbabwe and offers a broad mix of wildlife and an inspiring blend of safari activities. You can take a walking safari and nighttime game drives, as well as search for four of the Big Five or an eclectic range of characters like brown hyena and cheetah. With the Limpopo River twinkling beneath a series of rocky outcrops, the landscape transports you into a reverie of prime African landscapes.

Highlights: Great bird watching location, many species of antelope, and large numbers of big game such as elephant, lion, leopard, and cheetah with four of the Big Five at home in this region.

Recommended Length of Stay: Two nights in the area is ideal for taking in the breadth and depth of the region.

Best Time to Visit: The dry season of May to September sees many animals traveling far to drink from the rivers in the region.

How many days is enough for a Botswana Safari?

Leopard in tree at Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana

Leopard in tree at Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana

As a stand-alone destination, six to ten days in Botswana is the perfect amount of time for a safari. You will have enough time to experience more than one national park or game reserve while also discovering the diversity of wildlife within certain ecosystems. If Botswana is an add-on destination to your Southern Africa safari, no less than four days is recommended. Disconnect from the everyday world for an incredible immersive feeling into the African bush.

How to Plan Your Safari

Misty sunrise in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

Misty sunrise in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

Botswana embraces the natural beauty of its diverse landscape and breathtaking wildlife. With accessible luxury and remote exclusivity, Botswana offers you a unique safari experience that embraces the wilderness and wildlife in a variety of ways, from mokoro rides down the Okavango Delta to wandering past baobab trees in the Nxai Pan. Our Botswana Travel Guide has plenty of helpful information for planning your ultimate safari. If you are thinking of planning a trip, you can speak with a Botswana safari specialist by filling out a Trip Request or by calling our team at 1-888-265-9707.

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