Truly a wonder of the natural world, the Okavango Delta is the main drawcard of this fascinating country. With their policy of “low volume, high price” the Okavango can still be classified as an off-the-beaten-track experience. When you stay at most lodges, you will see no one from any other lodge. It is just you and the fantastic water wilderness. The Okavango is one of my top three destinations in Africa and my “soul place”.
It is the unusual topography, or lack thereof, that makes Botswana so unique. Because Botswana is essentially flat, the flood waters of the Okavango River move so slowly through the Okavango River and its channels, that it takes about 5 months to make its way to its journey’s end in the Kalahari Desert. The time of the year when the water levels in the Okavango are the highest, coincides with the driest time of the year. These waters offer a haven for the wild animals creating a wonderland of water, animals and scenery.
The Linyanti region in northern Botswana is very similar, but has a more permanent water channel in the Linyanti/Chobe River. The Chobe National Park stretches along the Chobe River and during certain times of the year attract large herds of buffalo and elephant. Elephant can be seen swimming through the Chobe River, trucks used as snorkels, between Botswana and Namibia. This part of the Chobe can easily be combined with the Victoria Falls. The interior of the Chobe National Park, which includes the famous Savute, is a wildlife mecca.
The largest salt pans in the world, the Makgadikgadi, and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve are truly off-the-beaten-track options. The second largest zebra migration occurs in the Makgadik and at times when the waters of the Okavango reach this thirstland, flamingos colour the pans pink. The huge black-maned lions of the Central Kalahari will not soon be forgotten.
Lesser known, more remote safari options include the Mashatu Game Reserve, the Kgalagadi and the Okavango Panhandle.
Botswana is easy to travel in and its tourist infrastructure very well-developed. It offers the traveller options from basic camping to glamping options, simple self-catering huts to some of the world’s most luxurious lodges.