Okavango Delta — The Okavango River cuts through the centre of the Kalahari Desert, creating a unique inland water system that gives life to a huge variety of birds and mammals. The Okavango is a unique safari destination because you can view much of the wildlife from a traditional canoe, amokoro. Every year the delta floods covering over 16,000 km’s. The best time to view wildlife is during the peak of the flood, in the dry season from May to October. The wildlife is more concentrated on islands at this time, and it’s therefore easier to see therm. as the flooding recedes, new grass springs up and the wildlife scatters to feed. There are numerous lodges dotted around as well as luxury safari camps, many of them offer walking safaris. (Marion Boddy-Evans)
Chobe National Park — Chobe National park lies in Botswana’s Okavango Delta and covers four distinct Eco-systems. The Savuti marsh in particular offers some of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa year round. Chobe boasts around 120,000 elephants, and they are wonderful to watch from the water on a safari cruise, popular at sundown here.
The best time to visit Chobe is between May and September, the dry, cooler winter months. Herds of zebra, eland, buffalo, giraffe and wildebeest congregate this time of year. (Theo Allofs)
Tsodilo Hills — Tsodilo hills is a spiritual outdoor art gallery, showcasing more than 4,000 ancient San Bushmen rock paintings. There are around 400 sites depicting hunting scenes, dances and animals. Some rock art dates back more than 20,000 years and archaeologists have ascertained that people lived in this area as far back as 100,000 years ago. The San Bushmen believe this sacred area is the site of the first creation of man, and a resting place for spirits of the dead. Not surprisingly, this is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors can expect to hike the three main hills, using local people as guides. There is a basic campsite and small but informative museum on site. (Botswana Tourism)
Nxai Pan National Park — The Nxai Pan National Park is just a beautiful destination for a safari. There are wonderful sand dunes, the famous Baines baobabs, and of course the salt pans themselves that when flooded offer tremendous opportunity to view bird and wildlife. The short grasses that have replaced the salt pans of old, attracts vast herds of ungulates. The best time to visit is from December to April. The location in northeastern Botswana makes it easy to combine your visit with Chobe, and the Okavango Delta, which reaches into the park. Lodging here is possible only as part of a mobile camp, but close by Makgadikgadi Pan camps are an excellent option.
Tuli Block — The Tuli block is a wildlife rich area in eastern Botswana that borders South Africa and Zimbabwe at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers. It was once an area of private farms, but a few decades ago it made more economic sense to turn over the land to wildlife. Now the Tuli block encompasses several reserves, including Mashatu Game Reserve and Northern Tuli Game Reserve. It’s a beautiful area with several rivers, riverine forests, savannah, and lots of massive baobab trees. Wildlife sightings are guaranteed year round. There are large herds of elephant, plenty of lion, leopard and even cheetah. Because it’s private land, guided walking safaris and night drives can be enjoyed. There are fine lodges and camps to stay at. (© Mashatu game Reserve)
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park — Salt pans, Kalahari sand dunes, and plenty of wildlife during the rainy season makes this a wonderful park to visit during the months of January – April. But it’s not easy to get to, especially from the Botswana side, you’ll need a 4×4. The Kgalagadi Transfrontier park is huge, covering an area of 38,000 sq km (larger than Holland). It’s a new park, encompassing two previous separate parks: The Kalahari Gemsbok National Park (South Africa) and Gemsbok National Park (Botswana). You won’t see all of the Big Five here, but large migrating herds of wildebeest and other antelope attract the major predators. Rare animals like the pangolin can make this a truly unique safari. Lodging is offered in camps on the South African side. (© Getty Images)
Mokolodi Game Reserve — Mokolodi is a short drive from Botswana’s capital Gaborone and makes for a great day trip. Mokolodi is a private reserve dedicated to conservation education so when you visit, don’t be surprised to see excited school children out on a field trip. Rhino tracking is a highlight at Mokolodi and one of the few places you can see white rhinos. A successful breeding program has helped keep the white rhino from extinction in Botswana. Guided walks, game drives and night drives are all possible at Mokolodi. Simple chalets and camping facilitiesare available if you want to overnight here. (Mokolodi Game Reserve, Botswana)
Moremi Game Reserve — Moremi is a small reserve with a very high density and variety of wildlife. It lies in the eastern Okavango delta, and borders Chobe National Park. It’s bird life is unrivaled, with over 500 species to gaze at through your binoculars. July through October is the best time to visit, and 4×4 safaris combines with water-based mokoro trips offer the best way to see the abundant wildlife. Wild dogs are regularly spotted here, as well as theBig Five with the recent re-introduction of both black and white rhino. There are a few camps within the park, some exclusive to fly-in safaris, and others are very sought after by those on a self-drive safari. Severallodges and camps just outside, the reserve offer wildlife viewing in the park. (© Paul Souders/Getty Images)
Khama Rhino Sanctuary — The Khama Rhino Sanctuary was set up in 1992 to help save the rhino as a highly endangered animal and to re-introduce wildlife to the area in order that the local community could benefit from tourism. The Rhino sanctuary also brings school kids from neighboring communities and Botswana’s second city Francistown, to help educate them about conservation. The Sanctuary is centered around the Serwe Pan – a large grass-covered depression with several natural water holes, in the Kalahari desert. Basic campsites and chalets offer accommodation in the Sanctuary. Activities include game drives and walks to view the many animals (besides rhino) that live in this area. Khama Rhino Sanctuary is an excellent option for a self-drive safari. (Khama Rhino Sanctuary)
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Tours – Gaborone — Alexander McCall-Smith’s popular detective series, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency put Gaborone, Botswana’s capital, on the map. Now you can take a tour and see Precious Ramotswe’s, home town come to life. Tours also include film locations from the popular HBO series based on the books. Short tours (half day) concentrate mostly in and around Gaborone where you get to see her home on Zebra Drive, and her office opposite Speedy Motors. Two day tours take you further afield to Mokolodi (see above) and Machudi her ancestral home. Bush tea will be served along the way.