With some of the best wildlife areas and lodges in the world, and being one of the most successful and stable African countries, Botswana is understandably a highly sought after safari destination. The government is dedicated to conservation and around 30% of Botswana’s area is protected, making it home to some of the largest pristine wilderness preserves on the continent.
A large country (similar in size to France or the State of Texas) but with a population of only around 2 million Botswana is not lacking for vast open spaces. Two thirds of this area is the Kalahari Desert, which is amazingly transformed in the northwest by the Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland delta. Aptly named ‘Sea of Land, Land of Water’ (by authors Peter Johnson and Anthony Bannister), the Okavango is a labyrinth of waterways, islands and channels formed by the Okavango River flowing into a flat landscape, its floodwaters sustaining an incredibly diverse and prolific array of animals
North of the Delta is a vast and pristine wilderness area made up of the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve and the adjacent private concession areas of Kwando and Selinda. Central to the area is the Linyanti Swamp, fed by the Kwando River and linked to the Okavango Delta by the Selinda spillway. The great concentration of wildlife here and overwhelming lack of people make for some of the best wildlife experiences in the world.
The Savute Channel leads east from the Linyanti Swamp to the Savute Marsh, a fantastic wildlife area that attracts thousands of zebra that migrate to this part of the Chobe National Park to feed on the lush grasses in the wet summer months. The Savute channel flows rather intermittently and after being dry since 1981 began flowing again, seemingly miraculously, in 2008. The northern section of the Chobe National Park, along the banks of the Chobe River, is famous for its hippos and massive herds of elephant and buffalo during the dry months, and a bird list of over 400 species.
Other great areas in Botswana include the Central Kalahari and Nxai Pan National Parks. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is one of Africa’s largest, wildest and least visited parks and provides phenomenal green season game viewing with huge numbers of grazers migrating onto the plains with the summer rains (January to April).