The “Wow Factor” of Botswana!
The “wow factor” of Botswana lies in its extraordinary natural beauty, diverse wildlife, and commitment to preserving its pristine ecosystems. Botswana is well known for having some of the best wilderness and wildlife areas on the African continent. In total, 38% of its total land area are devoted to national parks, reserves and wildlife management areas. Here are some specific elements that contribute to the wow factor of Botswana:
- Okavango Delta: The Okavango Delta is a true marvel of nature. It’s an immense oasis in the heart of the Kalahari Desert, where the Okavango River fans out to create a network of channels, lagoons, and islands. The sight of this vast, water-filled wilderness teeming with wildlife is awe-inspiring.
- Wildlife Abundance: Botswana is home to a remarkable array of wildlife, including large populations of elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, and many more species. The concentration of wildlife in certain areas, such as Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve, is astounding and provides exceptional opportunities for up-close wildlife encounters.
- Migration of Animals: Botswana is part of the great migration routes of various animal species. Witnessing thousands of zebras or other herbivores moving in unison across the savannah is a breathtaking experience that showcases the raw power and beauty of nature.
- Remote Wilderness: Botswana is renowned for its vast expanses of untouched wilderness. Many areas are devoid of human development, providing a sense of isolation and immersion in nature that is increasingly rare in today’s world. The feeling of being surrounded by pristine landscapes and the absence of crowds contribute to the wow factor of the country.
- Cultural Richness: Botswana’s cultural diversity and the resilience of its indigenous communities, such as the San people, add a unique dimension to the country’s wow factor. Learning about their ancient traditions, survival skills, and spiritual connection to the land can be a profound and enlightening experience.
- Night Skies: Botswana’s remote locations and low light pollution make it an ideal destination for stargazing. The night skies in Botswana are often crystal clear, offering a mesmerizing display of stars, constellations, and the Milky Way. The sheer brilliance and immensity of the universe above can leave you in awe.
- Sustainable Tourism Practices: Botswana has a strong commitment to sustainable tourism and conservation. Many camps and lodges operate in harmony with the environment, employing eco-friendly practices and supporting local communities. Knowing that your visit contributes to the preservation of Botswana’s natural heritage adds an additional wow factor to your experience.
- Serenity and Exclusivity: Botswana’s low population density and commitment to sustainable tourism mean that many of its wildlife reserves and national parks offer a sense of tranquility and exclusivity. You can enjoy the beauty of the wilderness without large crowds, enhancing your overall experience.
- Luxury Accommodations: Botswana boasts a selection of luxurious lodges and camps that blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings while offering exceptional comfort and service. These accommodations provide a combination of exclusivity, fine dining, and opportunities to unwind after a day of exploration.
Where to go in Botswana?
Botswana is renowned for its diverse wildlife parks and reserves, each offering unique experiences and ecosystems. Here are some of the notable wildlife parks in Botswana:
- Chobe National Park: Located in northern Botswana, Chobe National Park is known for its large elephant herds. It’s home to one of Africa’s largest concentrations of elephants, as well as a rich variety of other wildlife, including lions, buffalo, giraffes, zebras, and numerous bird species. The park is famous for its boat safaris along the Chobe River, providing excellent opportunities for close encounters with wildlife.
- Okavango Delta: The Okavango Delta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s largest inland deltas. This unique ecosystem comprises vast floodplains, channels, and islands, attracting an incredible array of wildlife. The delta is known for its seasonal flooding, which transforms the landscape and supports a rich diversity of animals, including elephants, hippos, crocodiles, lions, leopards, and an abundance of birdlife. Mokoro (traditional canoe) safaris and game drives offer unforgettable wildlife encounters.
- Moremi Game Reserve: Situated within the Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve is known for its stunning landscapes and excellent game viewing opportunities. It offers a mix of wetlands, grassy plains, and mopane forests, attracting a wide range of wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, wild dogs, antelopes, and numerous bird species. Moremi provides both land-based and water-based safari experiences
- Central Kalahari Game Reserve: The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is the largest game reserve in Botswana, covering vast expanses of the Kalahari Desert. It is a remote and pristine wilderness, characterized by vast grasslands, rolling sand dunes, and unique desert-adapted wildlife. Visitors to the reserve may encounter lions, cheetahs, leopards, giraffes, hyenas, and meerkats, among other species. The reserve offers a chance to experience the stark beauty of the desert and the remarkable wildlife that thrives in this harsh environment.
- Makgadikgadi Pans National Park: Located in northeastern Botswana, Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is famous for its otherworldly landscapes and the annual migration of zebras and wildebeests. The park encompasses vast salt pans, grasslands, and baobab trees. During the wet season, the pans transform into a lush haven for wildlife, attracting large herds of animals and an array of birdlife. Visitors can witness the surreal beauty of the expansive salt flats and engage in activities such as quad biking and guided walks.
When planning your advenure to Botswana EyeseeAfrica usually include a combination of different areas to provide a well-rounded experience and to make the most of your time in Botswana.
When to go to Botswana?
Botswana is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences and the activities you plan to engage in during your trip. Here’s a breakdown of the different seasons in Botswana:
- Dry Season (May to October): This is considered the peak tourist season in Botswana. The weather is mostly dry, and wildlife concentrates around water sources, making it easier to spot animals during game drives. The days are sunny, and the temperatures are mild to warm, although nights and early mornings can be cold. This period is ideal for safari enthusiasts and wildlife photography.The arrival of water in the Okavango Delta is a natural phenomenon that depends on the annual rainfall in the region and the subsequent flow of water from the Angolan highlands. The water reaches the delta after traveling hundreds of kilometers from the highlands through the Okavango River.Typically, the water starts to arrive in the Okavango Delta around May or June, following the rainy season in Angola, which usually occurs from November to April. However, the exact timing can vary from year to year depending on the rainfall patterns and the rate at which the water flows down the river.It’s important to note that the water levels in the delta are not immediate and can take some time to rise. The peak water levels in the Okavango Delta are usually reached around July or August, resulting in a spectacular floodplain filled with water channels, lagoons, and islands. This period offers unique opportunities for boating safaris and mokoro (traditional canoe) excursions to explore the delta’s diverse ecosystem.To witness the full splendor of the water-filled Okavango Delta, it is generally recommended to plan your visit between June and September when the water levels are at their highest.
- Wet Season (November to April): This season is characterized by rainfall, which transforms the landscapes into lush greenery. The wet season is the birthing period for many animals, so you can witness newborn wildlife. Birdwatching is excellent during this time, as migratory bird species arrive in Botswana. However, some dirt roads might become inaccessible due to heavy rains, and mosquitoes are more prevalent. The wet season can be a good time to visit if you’re interested in lower rates, fewer tourists, and a unique perspective of the country.
Considering the factors mentioned above, the best time to visit Botswana for most travelers is during the dry season, between May and October. However, if you have a specific interest in birdwatching or observing the lush landscapes, you might enjoy visiting during the wet season from November to April.
Botswana is known for offering high-quality safari experiences, but it can be relatively expensive compared to some other African countries. Consider your budget and the cost of accommodations, activities, park fees, and transportation when planning your trip. Eyeseeafrica will advise on the best lodges, high-end luxury lodges or more affordable options that is within your budget. Our itineraries also combine different areas to make sure that you experience a variety of landscapes & wildlife sightings. HERE is more information on Botswana to assist in planning your safari to this incredible wildlife paradise in Africa.