Botswana is a queen bedecked with an African jewel – the Okavango Delta. The delta is one of the most precious natural resources in the world, enriched with a stunning diversity of bird and animal species. The natural treasures do not stop here – the endless plains of the Central Kalahari, the salt pans, and the riverine environment of Chobe National Park are equally blessed.
The country has experienced peace and stability since its independence from British rule in 1966. Botswana is the largest exporter of diamonds in the world, and channels a large portion of this income into wildlife conservation and the development of tourism. In an effort to practice low-impact tourism, the authorities have attempted to restrict the numbers of people passing through the national parks, a practice which enhances the wilderness experience of visitors.
As the capital city, Gaborone is the most convenient point of entry, by road, rail or through the international airport. The city provides luxury accommodation and a casino, as well as a modern communications system and banking facilities.
In and around Gaborone are museums, craft centers and nature reserves. Botswana is famous for craft work, particularly basketry and weaving, and there are numerous places to purchase these items.
The Delta is the largest inland wetland in the world, and all that remains of an extensive lake system which once covered most of Botswana. It is fed by the Okavango river, which gradually widens into lakes and swamps before drying up in the thirstlands of the Kalahari.
Access to this paradise is provided by the town of Maun and the Moremi Game Reserve. The best way to get around is in a light aircraft or traditional dug-out canoe, known as a mokoro. Some of Botswana’s finest tourist facilities are situated in the delta, and one can choose anything from traditional game lodges and tented safari camps to elephant-back safaris.
This area is home to all the major game species, except for rhino, which were killed off by disease and hunting. It is also a wonderland for bird-watchers and fishermen, with a host of migratory and resident bird species and 70 varieties of fish.
North-west of the delta, lie the Tsodilo Hills, where San Bushmen gathered in the past, leaving over 3 500 rock-paintings depicting 30 000 years of San history.
This is a semi-arid region with very low rainfall, and enough dry grassland to support a staggering diversity of wildlife. There are a number of game reserves worth visiting in this area. The Central Kalahari is about as away-from-it-all as you are likely to get - a vast tract of wilderness, best explored in a 4x4. Around 300 San people still live here, more or less isolated from the ravages the modern world has inflicted on the traditional way of life of other San groups.
Other reserves of the Kalahari are the Khama Rhino Sanctuary where black and white rhino are bred and protected, The Khutse Game reserve not far from Gaborone, and the Gemsbok National Park - a huge, untouched conservation area which forms a trans-frontier Peace Park with South Africa’s Kalahari Gemsbok National Park.
CHOBE NATIONAL PARK
The Chobe National Park encompasses the northernmost part of the country and borders on Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is accessible by road or air charter, has excellent tourist facilities and guided game drives.
Winter is the perfect time to view the reserve’s famous elephants, attracted by the waters of the Chobe river. The vegetation here is more tropical than elsewhere in Botswana. The river provides an ample supply of water, and the game population is rich and varied. This area witnesses an annual migration of zebra which is closely attended by a host of predators, especially lion.
The great lake which once covered a vast area of Botswana dried up, leaving behind huge salt pans like Makgadikgadi and Nxai. The pans are an awesome sight – miles of desolation broken only by occasional rock formations that were once islands in the ancient lake, and miraculous, water-storing baobab trees.
Occasionally, after heavy rains, the pans regain a fleeting glimpse of what they once were, filling up with life-giving water and attracting thousands upon thousands of flamingo.
The pans are a metaphor for Botswana itself – a miracle of wilderness and water, and a testament to the tenacity of living things.
Points of Access: Scheduled flights from
- Windhoek – Namibia
- Victoria Falls - Zimbabwe
- Johannesburg – South Africa
And charters from any game lodge / air strip / airport within Southern Africa
Points of entry:
Major attraction areas:
- Makgadikgadi Pans
- Central Kalahari
- Chobe Area
- Savuti / Linyanti Area
- Okavango Delta incorporating Moremi Game Reserve
Type of camps: