Home to some of the most remarkable landscapes on earth, Botswana ranges from lush delta to arid desert and everything in between. An iconic safari destination for almost 100 years, it’s home to plush camps, remote lodges accessible only by plane and stylish small ships that will take you on a one of a kind river safari. A Botswana safari is truly unique, diverse and unforgettable!
There’s nowhere on earth quite like the Okavango Delta, a Botswana Safari icon. Its swamps and floodplains double in size during the wet season, creating an immense network of interconnecting rivers and lakes that support tens of thousands of animals and birds. Endangered species like cheetah, white rhino, and African wild dog roam freely here, having adapted to life in a complex wetland. No two days in the Okavango need be the same, with safaris on foot, on horseback or in a traditional mokoro dugout canoe.
Duba Plains sits on a private 77,000-acre concession in the middle of the Okavango Delta, surrounded by vast open plains known for dramatic encounters between buffalo and lion. The camp has only just reopened after an extensive refurbishment with five tents and a stylish two-bedroom suite. It’s a relaxed and intimate camp, where each group of guests has their own private guide and butler, and the wine cellar is one of the best in the country.
Split across two satellite camps in the vast Kwedi Concession, Vumbura offers a unique program of both land-and water-based safari experiences. Making use of the delta’s extensive system of waterways, guests can go wildlife spotting from a small boat or traditional mokoro dugout canoe. This mix of habitats means that just about every animal to be found in the Okavango Delta can be seen close to the camp. Each camp has seven rooms (with private plunge pools) set around a central raised lounge and dining area overlooking the ever-changing floodplains.
Beyond Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge
Xudum Lodge sits on the edge of a seasonal lagoon that is home to a resident family of hippo each rainy season. All nine luxurious suites here have a private hideout on the roof, perfect for watching them wallow without being seen. The whole lodge has a relaxed, playful feel with plenty of oversized couches, a tractor tire swing in the trees and an open kitchen where guests can see the chefs at work.
Botswana is a land of contrasts and from the lush wetlands of the Okavango Delta, it changes pace to the vast, arid, stark saltpans of Makgadikadi. Covering some 30,000 square kilometers in the northeast of the Kalahari Reserve and was once one of the world’s largest inland seas. Though it looks desolate, in the wet season it comes alive and you’ll spot zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, lion, cheetah, wild dogs, hyena and tens of thousands of flamingoes. The area has been inhabited for thousands of years, with evidence of Stone Age settlement and fossils at a number of archaeological sites.
In the 1960s, Jack Bousfield stumbled upon a very special spot in the Makgadikadi Plains and was so enraptured that he immediately set up camp. Jack loved this region his entire life and in 2003 his son built Jack’s Camp as an homage to his vision. Ten lavish 1940s-style tents are furnished with Persian rugs and four-poster beds, and the camp is centered around a large canvas pavilion that houses its own natural history museum. Guests can join local Zu/’hoasi Bushmen on guided walks and learn how they eke out a living from this harsh environment.
LINYANTI GAME RESERVE
In the far north along the border of Namibia, Linyanti is something of a forgotten paradise, a largely untouched Botswana safari location. Its landscapes range from lush wetlands and papyrus-lined lagoons to thick forest and open grasslands. The park is one of the best places in Africa to see the rare African wild dog. These handsomely painted pups with huge bat-like ears have been driven to the brink of extinction, yet remain a permanent fixture in the relative remoteness of Linyanti.
Kings Pool Camp
Guests will find it hard to choose their favorite spot at Kings Pool. The curved outdoor lounge and firepit overlooking the watering hole? Or the private plunge pool and gazebo on the deck of their tent? The camp sits in the middle of the region with Africa’s highest density of elephants and they will be regular visitors – there’s even a sunken animal hide to put guests right at elephant-eye level. The nine thatched-roof tents have high ceilings, four-poster beds, outdoor showers and private plunge pools. This camp epitomises the essence of a Botswana safari.
CHOBE NATIONAL PARK
The Chobe River is the beating heart of this huge national park, home to one of the highest concentrations of game to be found anywhere on the continent. Chobe is most famous for its elephants and you’ll find enormous herds of them wandering amongst rare roan and oribi antelope (among many others). It’s one of Africa’s quintessential safari experiences, promising animals galore, a sky filled with birds, luxurious safari lodges and camps, and unique river cruises within its borders.
Think of the Zambezi Queen as a private traveling camp, albeit one set on water. This small ship holds just 28 passengers and has been specifically designed for safari cruising with an extremely shallow draft that lets it get right up to the riverbank. Guests can wake up to elephants splashing in the shallows right outside their floor to ceiling window, completely undisturbed. It’s an entirely different experienced to a land-based safari and something guests won’t soon forget.
Almost one million square kilometers of desert rolls out across Botswana, Namibia Safari, and South Africa, creating one of the most arresting landscapes on earth. Though the name comes from the San word for ‘place without water’, the Kalahari is by no means a dry and empty wasteland. It’s an ever-changing palette of rich red sands, deep dark canyons, and startlingly lush watering holes. It’s a place where the skies are endless and the sunsets unforgettable.
Kalahari Plains Camp
Welcome to the middle of nowhere. The ultra-remote Kalahari Plains Camp sits in the center of the Kalahari Desert on the edge of an enormous saltpan, so far from civilization that it’s best reached via a small plane. Solar powers run the lights and heat the water for the eight plush tents, each with an open-air sleepout above where guests can spend the night under the stars. This Botswana safari game drives search out the rare black-maned Kalahari lion and local San bushmen lead interpretive walks.