This was written for TenFour Media.
Botswana, commonly dubbed “Africa’s last Eden”, is the crown jewel of wildest southern Africa. A rich abundance of wildlife, boasting many endemic species, and an exclusive selection of experiences make it one of the most highly-sought safari destinations in the world. Here are our top five reasons to visit:
Botswana is home to one of the last remaining untouched wilderness areas in the world, the Okavango Delta. It comprises around 10,000 square miles of wetland fed by the floodwaters of central Africa, translating into a host of channels, tributaries, and lagoons teeming with life.
After the Angolan rains, the Delta opens up into an expansive network of shallow canals only accessible by boat or mokoro, a traditional, dug-out canoe. Boat peacefully through lily-filled channels and have close encounters with a variety of animals, including hippo, crocodile, and red lechwe.
If predators are what you seek, Botswana is the place to be. In particular, Moremi Game Reserve has been named “predator capital of Africa”. It’s one of the last places on the planet that offers you chances of seeing leopard devouring a carcass in a tree-top hideaway, lion napping in the shade of jackalberry trees, and cheetah making a high-speed kill. The Khwai concession also hosts some of the largest, and last remaining, wild dog populations in the world.
Walk with giants
Botswana’s Chobe and Savute regions boast the highest concentration of elephants on the planet, making these regions ideal for sighting-abundant game drives. While you won’t be able to walk alongside wild elephants in this region, you can do so with rescues at Abu Camp in the Okavango Delta and at Sanctuary Baines Camp in Moremi.
Count yourself as one of the lucky few to see elephant interact, forage, and mud-wallow in their natural environment while learning everything there is to know about the importance of these creatures.
Take the wheel
Unleash your inner Mad Max on a quad-bike safari that takes you across expanses of glinting desert. This unique activity sees you explore the world’s largest salt pan, the Makgadikgadi. You’ll also visit the mystical Kubu Island, a mound of parched earth dotted with ancient Baobabs, to spend the night fly-camp style beneath a canopy of undiluted stars.
The most animals you’ll ever see in one place
Botswana’s zebra migration comes in at a close second behind the famed Great Migration of the Serengeti and is just as incredible a sight. This migration sees animals cover a distance longer than any other known African mammal, spanning over 300 miles between Botswana and Kenya.
The start of rainy season, around November, sees approximately 25,000 zebra begin their journey through the Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan National Parks in search of fruitful grazing plains and reliable water sources. As this migration is lesser-known, you can enjoy uninterrupted viewing without having to vy for a spot between hoards of other tourist-filled 4x4s.
Another epic migration not to be missed is the migration of greater and lesser flamingos. Journeying from as far off as the Great Rift Valley in East Africa, the birds travel to the recently-flooded Makgadikgadi Pan to feast on the birth of millions of tiny shrimp and other crustaceans that were laying dormant in the previously-dry salt crust of the pan. A scenic helicopter flip over the mass of pink is something you won’t soon forget.