Every reserve holds its own allure and each game drive is different. The wild waits for no man, so whether you drive out at sunset, sunrise or walk late morning – the light, the animals and the bush will look different and therein lies its wonder. So if you’re planning to visit Botswana for the first time, you’ll be blown away by its sheer wild beauty, people, seclusion, strong national conservation efforts and diverse landscape. Here in this blog, we’ve narrowed down a few reasons why your next safari should be in Botswana.Find flights to Botswana
1. There isn’t a better place for a digital detox
Do you feel the desperate need to ‘switch-off’ from the world and just escape into nature? Botswana is the perfect place to do just that. Staying in places like Wilderness Safari lodges, where only the staff have access to wifi, means you’ll be free from checking emails, updating social media and uploading photographs. Instead, you’ll spend your time sipping G&T’s beside waterholes, reading in the lounge overlooking wide plains of animals passing by and relaxing in your tented chalet overlooking swamps that explode with sunset hues. With no traffic, deadlines and Wi-Fi, you truly get to immerse yourself in one of the world’s richest ecosystems.
2. The diversity of landscape will blow your mind
You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the different landscapes in Botswana – they really couldn’t be more varied. You can experience mopane plantations and swamps from the fresh rains to open savannah with palm and baobab trees. You can cruise along the Linyanti River in a boat, float through a shallow swamp on a mokoro (canoe) or drive through thick sandy roads only accessible by hardcore 4×4. Your eyes will never get the chance to be bored and animals aside, the sheer richness of vegetation and diversity is something to behold in itself.
3. Botswana is becoming one of the world’s top ecotourism hubs
Botswana is fast becoming one of the world’s top ecotourism destinations, featuring on lists beside other ecotourism hotspots such as Costa Rica, the Amazon and Antartica. Together with the government, ecotourism company Wilderness Safaris conducted Africa’s largest rhino relocation by bringing rhinos across borders to repopulate regions in Botswana where rhinos had previously been poached to extinction. Like a few other lodges in the Delta, they are switching over to solar power, stepping up recycling efforts and leaving an exceptionally light tread on the earth.
Another place worth mentioning is the Chobe Game Lodge, which has switched to solar-powered boats and electrical vehicles for game viewing. They aim to offer guests a total emission and carbon-free game viewing experience in the near future.
4. You’ll get luxury combined with environmental consciousness
One of the continent’s success stories, Botswana has transformed itself from one of the world’s poorest countries to a middle-income country with a high-end, low-volume tourism strategy that’s created a sustainable industry. A country the size of France, 40% of the land mass has been reserved for conservation and tourism, and the industry employs a large percentage of around two million people.
So whilst there are ways to do Botswana on a lower budget, most camps serve high-end markets and provide every luxury a glamper could desire. At Wilderness Safari camps, you can look forward to breakfasts, lunches, high teas, three-course dinners, lodging in a private luxury tented chalets and your own ranger guide to accompany you and your group outdoors. Better still, is that the money spent on the luxury stay are being used to truly uplift the staff members via training, and conserve the environment – as well as the animals that call it home. It’s best to do your research before booking a Botswana stay to ensure your lodging has a sustainable conservation strategy in play.
5. There is no place on earth like the Okavango Delta
Home to some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammal (cheetah, white rhino, black rhino, African wild dog, lion), Okavango is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most unique environments in the world.
Interestingly, it’s driest during the rainy season and wettest during its dry winter season, when the annual floods arrive from the Okavango River (Africa’s third largest river) and the Benguela Plateau rains. With no outlet, the waters drain into the desert sands of the Kalahari Basin. As a result of this unique geography, the delta’s plants and animals have adapted their growth and reproductive cycles to the annual rains and floods.
6. Seclusion and exclusivity
Some of the best ecotourism companies have chosen the most remote areas in Botswana to have camps. As a result, access to the camps are very limited and they are only accessible by a small plane which only adds to the mystery of each area. When going on game drives to Botswana, you might never encounter any other vehicle, tourist or visitor out in the bush like you would usually do in South Africa. This exclusivity and low volume of visitors is not something you can enjoy in every country.
7. There is so much beyond the Okavango Delta
Botswana is a wealth of rich ecosystems and areas like Chobe, Kgalagadi, Kalahari Plains and Makgadikgadi Pans that are all filled with wildlife delights to explore.
8. The people
Despite there only being two million people in Botswana, there are a large variety of cultures and languages in this Southern African country and it is definitely worth trying to learn more about the different groups such as the Babugakwe, known as the river bushmen, the bantu-speaking Hamkubushu, the BaKgalagadi, the BaYei of Ngamilland and the Bakalanga to name a few. Regardless of language or cultural difference, Botswanians are some of the most friendly people in Africa.
9. The abundant and rare wildlife sighting opportunities
With three national parks and seven game reserves, over 2500 plant species and over 650 tree species plus multiple rich ecosystems, game viewing doesn’t really get better than this.
The three national parks are the Chobe National Park, the Nxai Pan and Makgadikgadi National Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The seven-game reserves are the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Gaborone Game Reserve, Khutse Game Reserve, Mannyelanong Game Reserve, Maun Game Reserve and Moremi Game Reserve. During a five-day trip, you could potentially see literally everything – from Red Lechwe, blue wildebeest, kudu, warthog, bat-eared fox, leopard tortoise, leopards, elephants, hippos, zebra, giraffe, Angolan-reed frogs, eagles, baboons, hyena, rhino and much more.
10. Game viewing by car, boat, mokoro, foot and plane
Your game viewing can begin even before you arrive at your chosen safari camp. During flights, you can sometimes make out some of the larger mammals from the air and dotted amongst the water veins making up the delta. You can take a Landrover through shallow rivers, across dry shrub savannah and along deep sandy pathways. You can also cruise along rivers and narrow channels by boat, observing hippos revealing only their eyes, tiny Angolan reed frogs showing off their colourful patterns and red lechwe grazing beside the reeds. One of the best ways to experience the swampy Botswanan landscape is by mekoro (a type of canoe) that’s moved through the swamp with a large pole.
With one of the world’s oldest and most unique ecosystems, wildlife populations and landscapes, Botswana has it all in terms of game viewing, seclusion, locals you really want to get to know and beauty that knows no bounds. So what are you waiting for? Best get booking your flights and hotels with Cheapflights.co.za.