It is in Botswana that some of Africa’s largest populations of wild animals roam freely. With changing landscapes hosting spectacular concentrations of wildlife, Botswana is a top wildlife safari destination.
Chobe National Park
The park’s 70km of riverfront along Botswana’s northern border is one of the most amazing game viewing areas in Africa. Elephants seem to come out of nowhere, with hundreds at a time gathered on the riverbanks drinking, mud-bathing and socialising. In addition to the famous herds of elephants, groups of impala, sable, Roan antelope, buffaloes, zebras, giraffe and kudu also reside on these flood plains and attract appreciable numbers of lions on the hunt. With the possibility of viewing these incredible scenes both on land and by boat, Chobe National Park is an especially dynamic safari destination.
The Okavango Delta is often, and very appropriately, referred to as the ‘jewel of Africa’. Considered to have Africa’s greatest concentration of wildlife, it is the world’s largest inland delta, receiving its waters from Angola, 1200 kilometres to its north. In the Panhandle (the northern region near the Namibian border and along the Caprivi strip), the Okavango is a large river winding southward through long stretches of papyrus. Very rich in birds, the Panhandle is home to colonies of egrets, herons, open-bill storks and darters. All along this section of the river pairs of Fish Eagles have divided its banks into individual fishing territories. As the sun sets, the rare and elusive Pel’s Fishing Owl takes over from the eagles, leaving its perch in the ebony and mangusteen trees to fish in the river below. The Panhandle is also home to some of the largest Nile crocodiles in Africa.
On leaving the Panhandle, the Okavango then splits into three main rivers which go on to form the Delta further south. As one of these rivers, the Boro River, advances south into the Delta, it forms deep lagoons and floodplains where large herds of Red Lechwe feed on the new grasses. This area can be explored in a mokoro dugout canoe with nights spent camping on the tiny islands that dot the river.
Moremi Game Reserve
The only game reserve in the Okavango Delta and certainly one of the prettiest in Africa, the Moremi Game Reserve is only 5000 square kilometres, but it includes some of the most interesting features of the Okavango Delta. While the large lagoons of Xaxanaka, Gadikwe and Gobeka are the only permanent deep waters of the Okavango, Chief’s Island never floods, and as a result it hosts an astonishing quantity of wildlife. It is for this reason that we consider Moremi to be one of the best wildlife safari destinations in the world.
Nxai Pan National Park
A large sea once occupied the centre of Botswana and what remains today are some of the largest salt pans on earth. Providing the salt and minerals essential to their survival, large numbers of mammals are drawn to the pans. Concentrations are especially great September-November when the little water remaining in the area can be found in water holes here. Herds of elephants, oryx, springboks, and giraffe migrate through this area attracting predators along the way and the resulting scenes have made Nxai Pan famous.
Finally, the famous Baine’s Baobabs, depicted in paintings by Thomas Baines in the early 1860’s, are another highlight of the park and provide a magical location for camping on the edge of the Pan.