Destinations > Botswana
‘One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.’
Botswana is an arid environment that depends highly on the rains each year to provide grazing for its wildlife and cattle. Desert animals like the gemsbok and springbok survive well in these dry harsh conditions.
You could time your trip to hit the migration of zebra in the Kalahari region during the rains. At this time of year, November through March, the Makgadikgadi Salt pans turn into salty shallow lakes, reflecting like mirrors the cumulus clouds above, creating surreal landscapes.
Unlike most rivers, the Okavango River, stops its journey to the sea, and creates the unique Okavango Delta. As it fans out over a vast flat area of desert, it creates a rich wildlife oasis unlike any other.
The animals of the Kalahari have evolved to live a good part of the year without water. Even large mammals like the brown hyena, gemsbok and springbok, can live without drinking water for months on end – they draw all their water from moisture in their food. We’ll help you choose the right time of year to find all the wildlife including meerkats, brown hyena, and a great variety of insects and birds.
The main highlites of Botswana are as follows;
The Okavango Delta
The Okavango Delta in Botswana is the world’s largest inland delta. The Okavango River empties into a basin in the Kalahari Desert, most of the water is lost to evaporation and does not reach the ocean. The Delta is produced by seasonal flooding. The flood peaks between June and August, during Botswana’s dry winter months, when the delta swells to three times its normal size, attracting animals from kilometres around and creating one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of wildlife. 60% of the water is consumed through transpiration by plants, 36% by evaportation and results in many of the thousands of islands having barren white patches of built up salts, as the salts are never able to flush given all the water is evaporated or transpired. Approximately 70% of the islands began as termite mounds, where a tree then takes root on the mound of earth and a new island starts its life. The Okavango Delta is the main destination for our clients in Botswana.
Kalahari Game Reserve & Desert
The Kalahari Desert is a large semi-arid desert in Southern Africa covering much of Botswana and parts of Namibia and South Africa, with huge tracts of excellent grazing after good rains. The Kalahari supports more animals and plants than a true desert. There are small amounts of rainfall and the summer temperature is very high. Whether your in South Africa, Botswana or Namibia, the Kalahari offers a great contrast to the rest of each country, where you have the opportunity to view animals and plants adampted to living in these often very harsh conditions. We offer you comfort in the desert. Central Kalahari Game Reserve is a national park in the Kalahari desert of Botswana, it is the second largest game reserve in the world. The park and many other areas of the Kalahari contain giraffe, brown hyena, warthog, cheetah, wild dog, leopard, lion, blue wildebeest, eland, gemsbok, kudu and red hartebeest. The land is quite flat and some areas undulating, covered with some sand dunes, and areas of larger trees. Ancient river valleys like the well known Deception Valley made well known by the work of Mark and Delia Owens, are remote destinations we love to take our guests to experience true desert wilderness, and the unique species that live there. The Bushmen or San people, have inhabited the Kalahari for thousands of years. The Kalahari is a great destination.
Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park can be broken into four areas;
The Serondela area (or Chobe riverfront) features lush floodplains and dense woodland of mahogany, teak and other hardwoods now largely reduced by elephant pressure. Chobe waterfront is the most visited park section, partly because of its proximity to the Victoria Falls. The town of Kasane, situated just downstream, is the most important town of the region and serves as the northern entrance to the park.
The Savuti Marsh area is the western side of the park, and is fed by the Savuti channel and is currently flowing again, this started in 2010 and is the first time water has reached Savuti Marsh since 1982. This region is known for its annual migration of zebra and predators up from the Kalahari desert. Savuti was put on the map when lions were found to be preying on elephants here at one of the main watering holes.
The Linyanti Marsh is known for large concentrations of lion, leopard, wild dog, Roan and Sable antelope, hippopotamuses and large herds of elephants. Red lechwe, sitatunga and crocodile also occur in the area. Birdlife is very rich here. Many camps and lodges have become well known and famous due to these prime game areas.
An area between Linyanti and Savuti Marshes covered by grass and woodland is a great place for spotting eland.
Moremi Wildlife Reserve
Moremi Game Reserve is literally the eastern side of the Okavango Delta and named after Chief Moremi of the BaTawana tribe. Moremi Game Reserve covers much of the eastern side of the Okavango Delta and includes permanent water with land and some islands such as Chiefs Island where several lodges are based. Moremi is known for its great diversity and good game viewing. The Moremi Game Reserve is home to nearly 500 species of bird and a vast array of other species of wildlife, including buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyaena, jackal, impala, and red lechwe. African Wild dog populations are doing well here and ongoing projects are in place helping to monitor their success.
Tsodilo Hills Rock Art
Tsodilo Hills is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in northwestern Botswana. In 2001 this site was desigated as a world heritage site due to its unique religious and spiritual relevance to local people, as well as unique record of human past settlement. Within the 10KM2 area there are around 4,500 rock paintings.
Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
The Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is a large salt pan in the middle of the dry savanna of northeastern Botswana. It is one of the largest salt flats in the world. The pan is the remains of the formerly Lake Makgadikgadi, which dried up several thousand years ago. Makgadikgadi is technically not a single pan but many pans with grassland in between, the other pans include the Nxai Pan National Park for example. In the Makgadikgadi, presence of prehistoric man made stone tools; some dated as earlier than the era of Homo sapiens, create interest from many visitors. The prominent baobab trees found in the area function as local landmarks, one named after James Chapman, served as an unofficial post office for early explorers.
Very little wildlife can exist here during the harsh dry season of strong hot winds and only salt water, but following a rain the pan becomes an important habitat for migrating animals including wildebeest and one of Africa’s biggest zebra populations, and the large predators that prey on them. The wet season also brings migratory birds such as ducks, geese and Great White Pelicans. The pan is home to the only breeding population of Greater Flamingos in southern Africa.
The first indigenous people of southern Africa, whose territory spans most areas of Southern Africa traditionally, are referred to most commonly as Bushmen, the San Khoi o San people. These people were traditionally hunter-gatherers, part of the Khoisan group and are related to the traditionally pastoral Khoikhoi. In the 1950’s to the 1990’s as a result of government programs their lifestyle has changed forever. For people traveling today to Botswana and Namibia, you may choose to have the opportunity to meet and interact with a Bushmen family. Jackson’s African Safaris try our best to ensure this is done in a sensitive and authentic manner.
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