Lonely Planet has just released their top destination for 2016… Announcing Botswana as a place of extraordinary beauty and a bounty of natural treasures; some of the greatest wildlife displays on earth, rugged and untouched national parks, a thriving and welcoming culture, and ranking it as a leading safari destination!
A journey to this beating heart of the African continent is unforgettable. Slightly larger than Spain but with a population of just 2 million, much of the country is vast wilderness, untouched and untamed by modern infrastructure, making it a destination that requires a little extra time and planning. The rewards however are incredible.
Featuring daily wildlife sightings of great intrigue, including the second largest zebra migration in the world, unspoiled wilderness areas, diverse safari opportunities, unsurpassed peace and tranquility and conserved parklands, it’s no wonder Botswana has leapt into the number one spot!
Check out our top 8 reasons why Botswana should be on your radar for 2016!
1. Rare Wildlife Sightings
Botswana is the ultimate destination for wildlife viewing. With the unique habitats overflowing with elusive, rare species amongst the more popular, well known animals, it offers incredible wildlife viewing opportunities for the wildlife enthusiast. If you’re lucky, there’s the chance to spot rare species such as the black-maned Kalahari lion, red lechwe antelope, sitatunga, wild dog, brown hyena, puku, the African skimmer and aardvark, as well as Africa’s iconic Big 5.
Experience the ultimate safari on the Botswana Leopard Trail & Kalahari
2. The Okavango Delta
The lush wetlands of the Okavango Delta is one of the last remaining unspoiled wilderness areas of Africa. Globally known as having the richest display of birdlife in the world, you can easily spend hours sighting an abundance of birds while being poled along gently in a traditional mokoro dugout canoe through the spectacular tributaries of the Okavango. This laidback approach to wildlife viewing gives you a different perspective of the country, though you can also walk on some of the islands to explore this unique environment by foot, in the company of animal experts.
Best trip to explore the Okavango Delta: Okavango and Namibia Explorer or for a bird’s eye view, the Okavango Delta Fly-in Safari
3. Chobe National Park and it's elephants
Chobe National Park, established in 1968, was the first national park of Botswana and covers an expansive 11,700 square kms. With floodplains, woodland and swamps, as well as the Chobe River which forms the northern boundary, the Chobe National Park is undoubtedly one of Africa’s most stunning areas.
Though its beauty isn’t all it’s known for. Chobe is also home to some of Botswana’s largest herds of elephants, often reaching 100,000 in some areas. You’re guaranteed elephant sightings here, and if you choose your timing right, through May to September, you can often see them converge upon the riverbanks to play, bathe and eat.
The enormous numbers of pachyderms also share the area with buffalo, large pods of hippos that wallow in the shallows of the river, and the ever popular prides of lion which roam the plains of the Savuti Marsh.
Explore the Chobe National Park on the Moremi and Chobe to Vic Falls Safari, or for a unique elephant experience, book on the Botswana Elephant Trail.
4. Diversity of Safaris
You’ll be hard pressed to find a dull moment on safari in Botswana; every game drive offers a completely different experience and an insight into the various picturesque landscapes of the country. Whether you meander through the waterways of the Okavango Delta to take in the colourful abundance of birdlife, to trekking through African bush in the Chobe National Park in search of huge herds of African elephants, or cruising down the Chobe River at sunset gazing at hippos and elephants play in the warm waters by the setting sun, or appreciate the delicate beauty of the local flora and bushman culture of the Kalahari region. There are hundreds of unique opportunities designed to get you deep into the heart of this delightful wilderness. Unlike some of the other safari destinations of Africa, some of the remote locations of the Okavango Delta is only accessible by short flights, making for a secluded and private safari experience.
Join the Botswana Walking Safari
Join the Botswana Explorer
Join the Wild Botswana
5. Peace and Tranquility
Outside the busy towns of Maun and Kasane, the peace and tranquillity of this superb country can fully be appreciated. Long gone are the sounds of rushed and hurried chatter in the busy streets, the ringing of mobile phones and the background noise from televisions, radios and engines interrupting your thoughts. In the wilderness of Botswana, the natural noises of elephants rumbling in the thickets, the chirping of cicadas and the whistle of birds in the trees far above become the norm and a welcomed background sound to your wandering thoughts.
For a truly immersive experience, enjoy an upmarket back to nature camp at Moremi and fall asleep to the sounds of the wild on this waterlocked secluded island.
Enjoy the scenery from the sky on the Okavango Delta Fly-in Safari
6. A genuine commitment to conservation
With over 38% of its land protected for wildlife and natural conservation, Botswana displays a genuine commitment to the wildlife, cultural heritage and environment. Unlike Eastern African countries, Botswana’s prime tourism policy is a low volume, high revenue market, aiming to attract discerning customers willing to pay more for a remote and genuine African experience, rather than attracting a mass market, so offers something quite different. With this in mind, Botswana represents exclusivity in many of its safari parks and an exceptionally high standard of wildlife and conservation.
Experience the best of Botswana on the Botswana in Comfort trip
7. Zebra migration
As far as zebra migrations go, Botswana parades the second largest zebra and wildebeest migrations in the world. Each year, up to 25,000 zebra cross through the Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan National Parks in search of lush grazing grounds and water. Covering over 500 kilometres roundtrip across Namibia and Botswana, this is the longest land migration in the world. Typically occurring at the onset of the rains in November, the migration stirs movement of the large predators which prey on them, and makes for one of the most impressive wildlife spectacles ever seen.
Visit the Makgadikgadi Pans on the Botswana Explorer Trip
8. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve
The iconic Central Kalahari is a fascinating place of vast yet remarkable emptiness that teems with spectacular wildlife all year round. With high, golden grasses stretching endlessly across the horizon, punctuated by dwarfed trees and scrub bushes, the Central Kalahari gives the immediate sensation of unending space and complete isolation. The drawcard for this untouched wilderness is the large herds of springbok and gemsbok, as well as wildebeest, hartebeest, eland and giraffe. Also the homeland of the "bushmen", the oldest inhabitants of Southern Africa, visits to their communities complete this superb area in Central Botswana.
Get a taste of the Kalahari on the Botswana Leopard Trail & Kalahari trip!