Southern Africa

Botswana holidays

Okovango Delta
© iStock

Well known for having some of the best wilderness and wildlife areas in Africa; almost 40% of Botswana's total land area is devoted to national parks and reserves, for the most part unfenced allowing the animals to roam free. It is best explored in small chartered aircraft flying from lodge to lodge, experiencing wonderful bird's eyes views as you travel. Discover its superb wildlife by private game drive, on foot and by boat.

The Okavango Delta is an immense, waterlogged oasis alive with wildlife, adrift in the middle of Kalahari sands. During winter in the Kalahari, when the sun has baked the earth bare and the desert is at its driest, water fills the Okavango transforming the floodplains into a Noah’s Ark of African wildlife. The diversity and number of animals and birds found here is staggering; 122 species of mammals, 71 species of fish, 444 species of birds, 64 species of reptiles and 1300 species of flowering plants. The delta’s watery heart is best discovered by mokoro (dugout canoe); these hand-hewn canoes are perfectly suited to the calm waters of the Okavango.

Moremi Game Reserve is a rich and diverse wildlife sanctuary, situated in the Okavango Delta. The reserve is unfenced and its boundaries are defined by natural water systems. The vegetation is varied, with dry land complemented by permanent and seasonal swamplands, resulting in an excellent diversity of both wildlife and birdlife. Game is plentiful and common sightings include elephant, buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard and cheetah. Rare species such as the endangered wild dog, red lechwe and the wattled crane are also frequently seen here.

Chobe National Park is one of Africa's greatest game parks. It is the third largest park in Botswana, covering an area of 10,698 square kilometres. Chobe National Park is home to large herds of elephant, buffalo and Burchell's zebra and high densities of predators such as lion, leopard, spotted hyena and cheetah. The park is also notable for the presence of more unusual antelope species such as roan, sable and the rare Chobe bushbuck.

The Chobe Riverfront is a remarkable wildlife area due to the permanent water source of the Chobe River, home to the largest density of African elephants in the world, which in the winter months can be seen in their hundreds. The spectacle of so many huge animals coming to drink and frolic at the water's edge is impressive to behold.

A boat cruise on the Chobe River offers exceptional opportunities to come face to face with aquatic species such as hippos and crocodiles, as well as allowing for unique photographic perspectives when animals come down to the river to quench their thirst. The birdlife is prolific year-round with an exceptional variety along the river, including birds of prey.

The Linyanti Wildlife Reserve consists of 1,250 square kilometres of pristine wildlife area, bordered by the Linyanti River in the north and Chobe National Park in the east. The Selinda spillway links the area to the Okavango Delta. The region is one of the most remote and pristine pockets of Botswana, shared by a very small number of camps running on private concessions, ensuring that guests are able to view the abundant wildlife exclusively. Just one of the Linyanti’s concessions alone is twenty times the size of Manhattan, yet only forty people can stay during any night of the year.

The Linyanti area is renowned for its predators, in particular wild dog, and this is one of the best areas in Botswana to view them. Other predators such as leopards, cheetah, hyenas and lions can be found here too. The area’s wonderful diversity of habitat includes open grasslands, riverine forest and mopane woodland which provide a haven for wildlife. The waters of the Linyanti weave their way east towards Chobe, forming a myriad of pools and lagoons favored by hippos, crocodiles and birdlife. These pools also attract game from the drylands to the east and hold the first permanent waters in the rainy season.

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