The landscape and wildlife of Botswana has long delighted and inspired visitors. Mark and Delia Owens describe its varied wildlife in great detail in their 1992 best-selling book ‘Cry of the Kalahari’ and there are few other African countries better for safari. Tourism plays a key part in the country’s economy and Botswana now has hotels and facilities to match its breathtaking natural surroundings and wildlife. Some of the county’s key safari locations are explored below.
The Okavango Delta is the world’s largest inland delta. The delta’s waterways have created a vast number of palm islands and lush grasslands with vegetation and with no outlet to the sea they also irrigate the Kalahari Desert each year. Large numbers of mammals such as elephants, giraffe and buffalo, as well as an impressive variety of birds, can be seen on the delta’s banks and this draws large numbers of tourists to the area. However, a unique selling point of Botswana is that it is less crowded with tourists than some other African countries like Kenya, and you are unlikely to see other vehicles when on safari.
This reserve can be found on the middle of the Okavango Delta and was named after Chief Moremi of the BaTawana tribe. It is widely thought to be one of the most beautiful wildlife reserves in Africa. In the park visitors can see a variety of animals including elephants, giraffe, buffalo and zebras, as well as a variety of predatory animals including lions, leopards and cheetahs.
In the heart of Moremi lies the Xakanaxa Lagoon, which boasts an incredible amount of antelope, leopard and wild dog. Several private camps and lodges have been setup along the edge of the lagoon and this is one of the best places to stay in the reserve. ‘Camp Moremi’ and ‘Chiefs Safari Camp’ are two of the most luxurious lodges in this area where the camp has been so skilfully integrated into the landscape that guests can often view game without even having to leave the camp.
Botswana has fascinating and intense deserts, which are best visited when the seasonal animal migrations take place, from March to May. The best way to get around the desert is to hire a 4×4 vehicle and camp out under the starts, but be warned you will need proper supplies and a guide to lead you.
Bushmen guides can show you round specific parts of the desert. Animals that live in the desert include hyenas, lions, jackals, antelope, as well as many unusual species of birds and reptiles.