Where to go in Botswana
Botswana has a huge range of landscapes and habitats. The north of the country is dominated by game reserves and very few people live in this area. Most of the population, around 2 million people, live in the south-east of the country.
In the North West of the country the landscape is dominated by the Okavango River emptying water into the Kalahari Desert. This water supply creates the famous Okavango Delta and it brings life to the area and is an essential source of water in the dry season. In the heart of the Delta is the Moremi Game Reserve, its islands and peninsula are home to many predators including the big cats. Next to the Delta is the Chobe National Park, dominated by the Chobe River. In the dry season huge herds of elephants congregate to drink and play in the river.
The vast inland river delta known as the Okavango Delta is a beautiful wilderness area in northern Botswana is known for its grassy plains that flood during the wet season (December through April), transforming it into a lush habitat for wildlife, a time when it offers prime opportunities for birdwatching. June through August is high water season, which is the best time to come for canoe and boating safaris, with many animals migrating to the delta. Dugout canoes are used for navigating past crocodiles, elephants and hippos, while wildlife on land includes giraffes, leopards, lions, and rhinos.
Moremi Game Reserve
The Moremi Game Reserve stretches from Botswana’s north-east region into the west of the Okavango Delta, while Chobe National Park borders it to the north. It boasts one of the most diverse and richest ecosystems in all of Africa, spread over 2,423 square miles, including some of the best wildlife viewing in the southern part of the continent. It’s inhabited by over 400 species of birds, with both black and white rhino re-introduced making it a Big Five destination. In the dry season (May through November), there are large herds of elephant, zebra, buffalo, and wildebeest which come in search of food and water.
Chobe National Park
Located in the far north of Botswana, Chobe National Park gets its name from the Chobe River which flows along its northern boundary. The river serves as the heartbeat of the region, providing an important source of water throughout the year for a wide range of wildlife that call it home. It’s a birdwatcher’s paradise with more than 450 recorded species, but it may best be known for its elephants with an estimated 120,000 living within its boundaries. It’s also home to a healthy population of lion, tens of thousands of buffalo along with cheetah, leopard, and the endangered African wild dog.
This vast area of Botswana that includes the private reserves of the Chobe Enclave, Selinda, Linyanti, Kwando, and Selinda, each of which offer something unique due to the diverse array of habitats. It’s in part a watery wonderland with rivers, old riparian forest, occasional grasslands and small tree islands. All of that water means abundant wildlife, from large concentrations of buffalo and elephant to all sorts of plains game. Giraffe, Wildebeest, and Zebra take advantage of the open grasslands while roan antelope and eland tend to hang out in the drier forests. These animals in turn attract predators, most notably, Wild Dog.
Khwai Reserve (Private Concession)
A rich private concession in the east of the Okavango, Khwai Private Reserve is tucked between Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve covering 200,000 hectares. It benefits from the Khwai River, a magnet for game, as well as from the many wildlife that flow through, traveling to/from the parks. Most animal encounters are concentrated in the south of the reserve close to the river which includes hippos and crocodiles that frequent the waterway, wild dog, impala, kudu, big cats, and large numbers of elephants. Many different birds can be seen, like the magnificent and colorful lilac-breasted roller, marabou and saddle-billed storks.
Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
This national park is a salt pan spread over 2,423 miles in the middle of the dry savanna in north-eastern Botswana. One of the world’s largest salt flats, it’s home to rich, nutritional grasslands that attract thousands of animals. While there is little rainfall and the Boteti River rare flows to capacity, it often includes pools that draw hippos, bushbuck, and waterbuck. In April and May there will usually be pools in the pans that make for great birding and game watching. From August through November, zebra and wildebeest will be migrating slowly towards the Boteti River anticipating rain.
Central Kalahari Game Reserve
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is a habitat for the Kalahari’s famous black-maned lions along with wildebeest, cheetah, giraffe, hyena, wild dog, ostrich, gemsbok, and springbok. It’s the world’s second largest wildlife game reserve, a place where silence during the night is broken only by the distant roars of a lion. The sprawling terrain is dominated by grasslands with a number of fossilized river valleys. It’s by far the most remote reserve in southern Africa, a place of far horizons and wide skies, with most of it filled with vegetation, although sand dunes characterize its southern reaches.
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