Exclusive, remote and gorgeous, the Botswanan wilderness has something to inspire every traveller, between the stunningly verdant waterways of the Okavango Delta, the isolated expanse of the massive and breath-taking Makgadikgadi Pans and the vast, semi-arid grasslands and sands of the Kalahari Desert.
In the northwest, the Okavango Delta transforms the otherwise dry basin of the Kalahari Desert into exceptionally beautiful wetlands. The marshes support a variety of wildlife, including elegant cheetahs, regal lions, endangered black and white rhinos and hundreds of other species. Known as the Jewel of the Kalahari, the lush grasslands and crystal-clear waters of the Okavango form the world’s largest inland delta.
At the heart of the delta, the Batawana people established the Moremi Game Reserve, the first reserve in Africa to be founded by locals determined to protect their ancestral lands. Wildlife, including the “big five” game animals, flourish on the protected, picturesque floodplains. At the southern tip of Moremi, the Living with Elephants Foundation provides a home for orphaned elephants and offers close encounters with the intelligent, gentle giants.
Visits to Moremi are often paired with trips further north to Chobe National Park. The waterways of the delta flowing through the park attract the highest concentration of elephants in all of Africa. The Chobe River, which forms the northern boundary of the park, also attracts lion prides, graceful leopards, stout hippos and plenty of other animals. The calls and cries of the hundreds of bird species that call Chobe National Park home create the perfect soundtrack for a safari adventure.
The Okavango once fed an enormous lake to the east and further south, but the lake has long since evaporated, leaving behind the otherworldly Makgadikgadi Pans. Remote salt flats the size of Portugal, the pans are home to one of only two breeding colonies of greater flamingos in southern Africa. Perched at the edge of Makgadikgadi, San Camp has 360-degree views of the bleached flats and offers the opportunity to meet a curious and human-friendly family of wild meerkats. The camp is also near the route zebra and wildebeest herds regularly take while migrating between Makgadikgadi and Chobe National Park.
The pans are surrounded by the semi-arid Kalahari Desert, which stretches over most of Botswana and past its borders into Namibia and South Africa. A portion of it larger than Denmark at the centre of Botswana, called the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, is home to the semi-nomadic San people and several striking game species. The wet season brings renewed life to the reserve, attracting large antelope herds, sounders of warthogs and legendary black-maned lions, among other species. The reserve’s mosaic of clay pans, fossil river valleys, sand dunes and woodlands provide plenty of opportunities to explore.
The climate can vary over Botswana, which covers roughly the same amount of land as France. The year can generally be divided into two distinctive seasons, one wet and one dry.
The wet season begins in November and runs through March, turning parts of the country green with fresh vegetation. During the dry season, which runs from April to October, animals are drawn to the few water sources available, offering more reliable opportunities for game watching.
Summer (October – April): Temperatures range from 25°C (77°F) to 40°C (104°F)
Winter (May – September): Temperatures range from 5ºC (42ºF) to 33ºC (91ºF)
April – May
June – August
September - October
November – December
January – March
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage Site deemed an "exceptional and rare beauty," the Okavango Delta is a pristine oasis covering more than 15,500 square kilometres (about 6,000 square miles) of the Kalahari Desert.
Track animals through the wild during a guided nature walk
Experience the beauty of the Okavango Delta from the perspective of those who call it home. Guided by experts with knowledge of native plants, local traditions and wildlife tracking, nature walks offer the chance to explore on a more intimate, personal level. Birding enthusiasts will want to keep their eyes peeled for any of the more than 400 bird species that make themselves home on the delta, including brightly coloured kingfishers, powerful martial eagles and endangered cape vultures.
Board a helicopter for unparalleled views of the delta
Get an incomparable view of the delta’s raw and spectacular landscape during a scenic helicopter flight. See the patchwork of islands, lagoons and plains that support the Okavango Delta’s diverse wildlife populations. Flights can be taken without doors, giving photographers unmatched opportunities to capture the astounding beauty of the wild.
Set off on a personalised, exclusive safari game drive
Embark on a rugged and classic safari game drive on a secluded, private reserve in the Okavango Delta. By day, search for graceful giraffes and playful zebras amid the floodplains. By night, watch for hippos in the waters or search for nocturnal honey badgers, porcupines and white-tailed mongooses.
Go with the flow on a mokoro trip
Follow routes laid out centuries ago by local San and Bayei people while exploring on a traditional mokoro boat. Expert oarsmen known as polers guide the boats past reed-covered marshlands, dotted with colourful frogs, and sandy islands topped with the bursting fronds of phoenix palms. Watch herds of frolicking elephants and grazing antelopes as you glide along the crystal-clear waters, allowing for amazing views of the native wildlife.
Go even further on a motorised boat cruise
Cover even more of the Okavango Delta’s serene landscape and see more of its iconic visitors. Pods of stout hippos bask in the papyrus-fringed waters, which also attract crocodiles and a mind-boggling array of water birds. Frogs appear as colourful lumps on the reeds, their calls creating peaceful background music to enjoy as you explore the Delta’s watery heart.
Distinguished as the only officially protected land in the Okavango Delta, the Moremi Game Reserve spreads out over more than a third of the delta, boasting of one of the most rich and diverse ecosystems on the entire continent. The astonishing landscape houses all the “big five” game animals, including near threatened white rhinos and critically endangered black rhinos. Explorers may find shy leopards lounging in the dense, riverine forests that spread out over the reserve or look out for endangered African wild dogs. Hundreds of species of birds are seen each year at the Moremi Game Reserve, their calls providing a natural and soothing soundtrack for visitors.
Embark on a safari game drive for a custom-made adventure
Explore the untouched beauty of the open bush with a safari game drive in the Moremi Game Reserve. Set off in the morning to meet herds of grazing buffalo and antelope as they themselves stir to greet the day. Look out for predatory lions and graceful leopards as taciturn hippos and playful elephants enjoy the waters of the Okavango Delta. Learn about local animal habits and behaviours from expert guides during afternoon drives that stretch past nightfall. Expect to watch stars blanket the sky overhead, heralding the appearance of the Delta’s nocturnal denizens, including shy aardwolfs, sleek servals and agile genets.
Glide across the untouched Delta on a mokoro canoe
In the tradition of the local San and Bayei people, board a cosy mokoro and glide across the clear waters of the Okavango Delta. Expert oarsmen use poles whittled from the branches of terminalia tress to navigate the Delta’s maze of channels, islands and lagoons, guiding the mokoros past high reeds, unruly phoenix palms and unsuspecting wildlife. Enjoy unmatched opportunities to see nature at its most wild and its most raw while traveling the tranquil waters. Spy crocodiles as they stalk prey on the water’s edge, spot grazing herds of swamp-dwelling sitatunga and watch water birds’ nest along the islets. Enjoy the peace to be found amid the twisting, pristine waterways.
Across a gorgeous and remote expanse of Chobe National Park, the mysterious Savuti Channel flows and dries outside the pattern dictated by rainfall. After nearly 30 years without water, the channel abruptly began to fill once more in 2008, continuing a little understood natural pattern that’s endured for centuries. The waters feed the Savuti Marsh, a lush wilderness haven that attracts portly warthogs, mighty herds of elephants and hundreds of bird species.
Glimpse into the past during a guided nature walk
Join a nature walk to the Gubatsa Hills for the chance to see rock paintings left long ago by the semi-nomadic San people. Unlike most rock paintings, those found in the Gubatsa Hills are out in the open. The artwork, estimated to be more than 1,500 years old, depicts the area’s wildlife in brilliant colour from what archaeologists believe was a mixture of snake venom, blood and plant juice. Nearby, a cluster of iconic, centuries-old baobab trees tower over the bush. The silent giants create a soulful, introspective and peaceful environment. The distinctive, thin branches of the trees spread up and out in all directions, high above impressive trunks more than 7 metres (23 feet) around.
See more with a safari game drive tailored to your interests
Explore true African big game country with a safari game drive through Savuti. Between Chobe National Park’s northern boundary and the Linyati River, the wild lands boast of particularly large populations of predator species, including watchful lions, swift cheetahs and cackling hyenas. During the dry winter months, females prepare to den, allowing for more sightings of endangered African wild dogs. The dry spring season draws birds to the artificial watering holes in the area. Once the rains of summer drench the region, mighty herds of elephants begin majestic parades across the land while zebras numbering in the thousands feast on the bountiful, fresh grasses.
See the hundreds of bird species native to the Okavango Delta
Hundreds of bird species flit over Savuti each year, giving keen birdwatchers ample opportunities to enjoy the sights. Birding is best during the wet months of summer, from November to March, when countless migratory birds soar overhead. Among the species to be found in Savuti are the kori bustard, arguably Africa’s largest flying bird, the endangered ground hornbill and several species of raptors.
Formed from the remnants of what is believed to have been one of the largest inland lakes in the world, the vast and desolate Makgadikgadi Salt Pans manage to support an astonishing diversity of wildlife.
Discover surprising wildlife during a safari game drive
The salt flats may appear barren at first glance, but even during the dry months they support a surprising amount of life – including migrating herds of wildebeest and one of Africa’s largest zebra populations. During the night, search for rare, shaggy brown hyenas and secretive aardvarks as countless stars crowd the sky overhead.
Meet a chatty colony of curious meerkats
At the edge of the Kalahari Desert, visit a colony of inquisitive and energetic meerkats. Get close and personal with the cheeky animals, who are no strangers to humans and who have sometimes been known to pull visitors into their antics. Watch the meerkats as they survey the desert, their noses held firmly in the air, and enjoy their playful encounters as they forage for food.
Indulge in a horseback safari
Venture across the flat, remote heart of the Makgadikgadi Pans during an exciting, three-night safari by horseback. Explore the otherworldly landscape at the heart of the massive, ancient lakebed and travel to the fringe of the pans to meet a human-friendly meerkat colony. Between rides past illusive ostriches and herds of zebras, enjoy comfort like something out of a movie in vintage-inspired canvas tents, complete with ensuite bathrooms and other accommodations.
Race across the stark landscape on a quad bike
Mount a quad bike during the dry season and experience the exhilaration of crossing one of the world’s largest salt pans at full tilt. Enjoy the solitude and peace of the salt flats, which can seem mystical and ethereal with nothing but the purr of a quad bike engine to break the enduring silence. The pans expand endlessly on the horizon from their centres, giving off the impression that you’ve been transported onto the surface of the moon itself.
Step back in time during a bushmen-led nature walk
Get a glimpse back in time and learn the ancient human history of the Makgadikgadi Pans during a nature walk guided by Zu/’hoasi Bushmen. Learn about the uses of native plants and game common to the area from people whose ancestors have inhabited the desert plains for centuries. Visit an authentic Zu/’hoasi Bushmen settlement and see the unique skills cultivated through history to allows these people to endure in the arid desert.
The Okavango Delta: The world’s largest inland delta and UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Okavango Delta offers you wildlife sightings and experiences you won’t see anywhere else.
Visit Africa’s Oldest Democracy: Botswana is a democratic, peaceful country with warm, welcoming people.
Immerse Yourself in a Mobile Safari: Connect more deeply with the pulse of the African bush during a classic mobile safari.
Explore on a Mokoro: See the sights and investigate the waterways of the gorgeous Okavango Delta on a traditional canoe.
Watch Elephants at Chobe National Park: Massive herds gather on the Chobe riverfront, which has the highest concentration of elephants in all of Africa.
See the Louvre of the Desert: Tsodilo Hills in northwest Botswana has thousands of remarkable rock paintings dating back as far as the Stone Age.
Enjoy as a Family: Some lodges and mobile safari operators organize exciting activities geared toward children as young as 6, making Botswana ideal for a family safari.
From 425 USD per person per night
From 275 USD per person per walk
From 1,150 USD per person per night
From 1,140 USD per person per night
From 1,480 USD per person per night
We work with private campsites, small camps and exclusives lodges to give you the best and most authentic experience of Africa. With this in mind, the earlier we start planning your trip, the better. The ideal time to start organizing your safari is six to eight months before your planned departure date – especially if you want to travel during peak seasons, including around school holidays.