Two of the greatest safari destinations in Africa are the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, and the Okavango Delta in Botswana. They are both iconic in their own right, but if you are planning a bucket list trip to Africa, the question of which one to go to is often top of the list. Both offer an exceptional safari experience, so how do you make the decision? Here is a short guide which may help answer that very question.
1. What safari experience are you looking for?
An African safari is so varied. One of the main differences is the type of game viewing you can do. In the Okavango Delta, you can do both land and water-based activities. This includes game drives, walking safaris, boat safaris, and mokoro (local boat) rides through the Delta channels. The Serengeti National Park is more limited with safari activities, with game drives and walking safaris (in certain areas) on offer. In both cases, the quality of the safari guides will be exceptional.
What budget do you have?
Both options – the Serengeti National Park and the Okavango Delta – can vary in price depending on which safari camps and lodges you stay in. Both destinations offer a variety of accommodation options. In both Tanzania and Botswana, tented safari camps can start anywhere from around $500 per person per night. This includes all of our park fees, safari activities, and all meals. More luxurious safari camps and lodges can go up from here, with some of the most luxurious properties around the $1,400 per person per night mark. Some of these camps include Nomad Lamai, Sayari Camp and Namiri Plains in the Serengeti. In the Okavango, these luxury lodges include Mombo Camp, Xigera, and Sandibe Lodge.
3. What wildlife do you want to see?
Of course there is no guarantee of what you will see on safari, as all of the animals are wild and in their natural habitat. That said, each destination has its own resident wildlife and experiences. Among others, the most common sightings in the Delta include lions, buffalos, leopards, wild dogs, hippos, and countless herds of elephants. Compared to the Serengeti, there is a much greater chance of seeing African wild dogs in the Okavango Delta. In fact, it’s one of the best places to see them in Africa. On the other hand, the Serengeti National Park is home to the great migration – which is on so many safari enthusiasts’ bucket list. Over 1.5 million wildebeest and zebra make an annual pilgrimage across East Africa’s game reserves – the Serengeti and the Masai Mara. Although there are resident wildebeest in the Okavango, it is nowhere near the same numbers and volume as the Serengeti.
4. What else do you want to include on your itinerary?
While the Serengeti and the Okavango Delta are incredible destinations in their own right, a lot of travelers combine national parks and reserves during their safari itinerary. In northern Tanzania, the Ngorongoro Crater is often combined with a safari in the Serengeti, and rightly so. The Ngorongoro Crater is the largest caldera in the world, and with a diameter of around 20km, it’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime safari experience. In Botswana, you can combine other conservation areas like Chobe National Park, Moremi Game Reserve, or even the mighty Victoria Falls. While you can safari throughout the year in Botswana, the best time to visit is the May to October window.
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