Why go to Botswana
Botswana is an untamed wilderness, Africa in her most natural state. Botswana is a southern African landlocked nation, surrounded by Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa and Namibia it is one of Africa’s most popular inland tourist destinations. Despite being quite a large country, Botswana remains to be one of the world’s smallest communities with just over two million people calling themselves citizens. Over seventy percent of Botswana is covered by the Kalahari Desert; the largest desert in Southern Africa and one of Botswana’s largest claims to fame. Botswana’s Okavango Delta is the world’s largest inland delta and is alive with vibrant bird species and wildlife. In comparison to the vast Kalahari Dessert, the delta is lush and green; a true magical world where life is simple and relaxation is unavoidable. A trip to Botswana isn’t complete without a visit to the Makgadikgadi Pan, an incredibly large salt pan where you’ll delight in peace and quiet. There is hardly any life here, as the salt pan makes it hard for nature to flourish, however exploring the pan will show you another wonder unlike any other, a true escape from civilization and a surreal, beautiful place. Botswana is truly a unique country with a landscape and beauty unlike any other; from deserts to delta, bushveld to grasslands, savannas to salt pans, Botswana is a true joy to explore and offers a world of adventure to all tourists.
Where to go in Botswana
Chobe National Park
The Chobe National Park is situated in the north west of Botswana and is undoubtedly the country’s most beautiful and popular nature and game reserve. It has one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in Africa, making it an ideal location for African safaris and its the third largest park in Botswana, after the Central Kalahari game Reserve and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The Chobe National Park can be divided up into four sections, making it a true rarity and an explorer’s paradise. It can be divided up into the Serondela area, Savuti Marsh area, the Linyanti Marsh and the dry hinterland. Wherever you go in the park, you’ll be able to observe a variety of wild animals and bird life, and can even explore an area in search of a specific animals or bird. There is an incredibly large elephant population in the Chobe National Park; tours through the park will show you some of the park’s 120 000 elephants.
The Okavango Delta is Botswana’s most popular tourist destination. Every year, more than 11 cubic kilometres of water flow from the Okavango River into the Delta, irrigating more than 15 000 square kilometres of the Kalahari Desert, making it the largest inland delta in the world. Here, you’ll find yourself exploring a lush paradise home to Africa’s most beautiful wildlife and bird species while submersing yourself in pure tranquility and an African landscape unlike any other. Exploring the Okavango Delta is a must for any tourist visiting Botswana. Here, you’ll have an endless list of activities to participate in, truly making the most of your time in this paradise. Boat trips, canoeing and fly-overs are among the most popular, however you can also go fishing and walking safaris depending on the time of year. As the Okavango is a seasonal delta, you’ll find yourself facing a different environment during the summer and winter months. The rain falls at the beginning of the year.
Moremi and Savuti
Covering approximately a third of the eastern portion of the Okavango Delta, the Moremi Game Reserve combines permanent waterways with drier areas, creating a reserve filled with unexpected contrasts and diverse wildlife. Although it is not one of the country’s largest reserves, its tall mopane woodlands and spreading floodplains fringed with majestic palms make it one of Africa’s most scenic wildlife areas. Dense riverine forests are home to shy leopard and deep lagoons are inhabited by hippo, while the semi-aquatic red lechwe and sitatunga antelope can be seen wading the shallows.Buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena and jackal can all be spotted on the floodplains and among the drier areas. A birdwatcher’s paradise, the rich and diverse habitat of the reserve is home to a surprising diversity of birds, with almost 500 species, from water birds to forest dwellers. However, the reserve is most famous for its African wild dog, boasting a high concentration of these rarely seen animals, with their fascinating social structure. The elusive sable and roan antelope may be spotted venturing out of the mopane scrub to drink at selected watering holes. The beauty of these shy species, with the sable’s sweeping horns, jet black coat and bold white markings, and the roan’s larger stature and grey coat, are guaranteed to make any encounter a memorable one.
Savute, a remote and wild corner of Chobe National Park, stretches from the park’s northern boundaries to the Linyanti River. The area’s main feature is the mysterious Savute Channel, which flows and dries up seemingly unrelated to the rainfall. Dry and arid for almost 30 years, animals in the area were sustained by artificial waterholes. With the Savute Channel flowing again in recent years, the region has undergone a startling transformation, reverting to its natural lush and marshy state. Large numbers of wildlife have been attracted to this rejuvenated wilderness haven.
The salt pans of Botswana (once an old Superlake) provide some of the most dramatic scenery in Botswana. Two of the pans, which are the largest of their kind in the world, provide on earth, a surface as close to the surface of the moon. The pans span 16 000 km² (9 942 square miles) and are the largest salt pans in the world. Remnants of an ancient lake, the pans are interspersed with sandy desert and occasional vegetation. One of Africa’s biggest zebra populations makes this vista of white sand and salt their home. In Winter, when it is dry, the entire surface dances with mirages, while in the summer months, pale green shoots appear and more than 50 000 wildebeest and Zebra migrate here. When rains fall during the wet season, the pans are filled with water and attract large flocks of flamingos, as well as big herds of zebra, springbok and wildebeest, followed closely by predators, making for fantastic game viewing.
When to go to Botswana
The best time to visit Botswana is from April through September. These are the winter months so although it is extremely cold at night and the early mornings, the days will still be pleasant. This also is the dry season so the bush is dry and sparse which is perfect for game viewing. The channels in the delta will be full of water though, perfect for gliding along in your mokoro. Please note this is high season so prices will be higher.
The months from October through to February, prices will be cheaper, but temperatures will soar – you will be looking at day temperatures of 35 degrees Celcius or 95 Fahrenheit. The migratory birds will have returned and many of the animals have dropped their young, so this can also be an absolute highlight.
For updated weather forecasts across Africa, please visit www.africanweather.net