Botswana > Activities & Special Interest

Botswana

  • Dear Rob, I am writing to say thank-you for organising a wonderful safari, it lived up to our expectations and we all had a lovely time. All the accommodation was very comfortable, excellent and very tasty food. We all enjoyed the true wilderness experience and diversity of the landscape and appreciate that you did ensure we saw different areas so thank-you. The smells and sounds of Africa are of course one of the best bits and I loved the bee eaters which I have never seen before. We do feel we have had a very special holiday so thank-you for all your organisation.

    Adrian and Sally travelled to Zimbabwe and Botswana
Professional guided private walking safari, Botswana

Botswana

Activities & Special Interest

Special interest & Safari activities in Botswana

Big-game viewing

Game Drive, Botswana DA

Most big-game viewing in Botswana occurs on game drives in open 4×4 vehicles, though mobile operators often use closed vehicles with open sides and roof hatches. The best regions for seeing big game are the Chobe National Park, Linyanti Region, Moremi Game Reserve and Okavango Delta, Nxai Pan National Park and the Mashatu Game Reserve in the Tuli Block. The central Kalahari Game Reserve and Makgadikgadi Pans National Park are also good for game-viewing. Please view our regions page for more information on these areas.
Back to top »

Water-based Safaris

Chobe River boat cruise, Botswana

Botswana offers incredible water-based safaris. The Okavango Delta is made up of a number of deep water channels and lagoons which hold water and are navigable by boat all year round. The Delta floods seasonally from around April to September, and creates huge areas of shallow floodplain. At this time of year, boat safaris are often able to leave the main channels and explore the plains. Mekoro safaris (local dug out canoes) are a peaceful way to explore the shallow areas of the Okavango, and many camps offer this as an activity all year round.

Away from the Okavango, there are other regions which offer water-based activities. The Chobe River is well known for offering amazing river cruises, with fantastic game-viewing along the banks in the dry season. In the Linyanti region, both the Kwando and Linyanti rivers are used for boat cruises.

In the past few years, heavy rains and seasonal flooding has resulted in areas such as the Selinda Spillway and Savute Channel flowing again. Canoeing safaris are now available on the Selinda Spillway. There are also a number of houseboats in operation on the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers (registered in Namibia, but accessed from Kasane in Botswana), and in the Okavango Delta.
Back to top »

Walking Safaris

Walking safari in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

Walking is widely available in Botswana. Outside of official national parks and game reserves, most safari properties offer nature walks as an individual activity. However, there are more dedicated walking trails available in the Okavango Delta and Linyanti regions, either based from a static camp (and walking each day from there – a favourite is Footsteps Camp in the Okavango Delta, by Ker and Downey) or by linking a number of mobile/ seasonal tented camps. All walks are professionally guided, and a full back up crew undertakes all camp chores. In the Kalahari regions, walking safaris are often guided by the San bushman where it is possible to learn more about their lifestyle, the land and survival techniques.
Back to top »

Horse-riding (or Riding) Safaris

Riding safari in Mashatu, Botswana

Horse-riding is available in Botswana with three of Africa’s best riding operations based here. Two of these companies, Okavango Horse Safaris and African Horse-Back Safaris are located in the Okavango Delta, and the third, Limpopo Valley Horse Safaris is located in the Mashatu Game Reserve in the Tuli Block. Although casual riding, and that for beginners, is not well catered for, Botswana is one of the very best African countries to consider for serious riders. T he specialist companies do, however, cater for non-riders accompanying riders by offering a range of alternative activities whilst the main party is out riding.
Back to top »

Elephant-back Safaris

Abu Camp elephant-back safari, Okavango Delta

Botswana is home to arguably the best and most in depth elephant back safari operation in Africa. Abu’s Camp in the Okavango Delta has long been known as an exclusive and upmarket operation where you are able to enjoy a number of days riding elephants through the Delta. In addition to riding the elephants, you are able to get to know them individually and learn about them as a species. Other activities such as mekoro excursions, walks and drives are also included.
Back to top »

Birding

Pels Fishing Owl, Okavango Delta, Botswana WS

With around 590 species recorded, Botswana is an excellent birding destination. We do not specifically arrange birding group tours, but many of our customers are keen birders and putting together an individually designed itinerary is very easy. Specialist guides are available for the more serious birder.

Some of the key areas to include are the riverine habitat, flood plains and woodland of Chobe National Park, the riverine woodland, papyrus-fringed waterways, open grassland and flood plains of the Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve, the mixed woodland and grassland plains of the Linyanti region and Nxai Pan, and the scrub bush, sand dunes and arid grassland of the Kalahari Desert. In particular, the Okavango Delta is one of the best places in Africa to see Pels fishing owl and to experience large heronries, whilst during the wet season flamingos breed in vast numbers on the Makgadikgadi Pans. From October to March, the intra-African and European migrants are resident.

Back to top »

Species specific interests

Meerkat viewing in the Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana

Botswana offers a very wide range of wildlife viewing, but some of the key species that can be specifically focused on include meerkat, wild dog and elephant.

Meerkats are found in the drier Kalahari regions, and in particular have been habituated at Jacks Camp on the Makgadikgadi. If you are keen on seeing meerkats, this is one of the best experiences available in Africa.

The Linyanti and Okavango regions have excellent wild dog populations and are probably the most consistent areas in Africa to see them.

The Chobe and Linyanti regions are home to a vast number of elephants which congregate in large herds during the dry season. Boat cruises on the Chobe River are especially rewarding for elephant viewing. For anyone really keen on elephants, the elephant experience ‘Grey Matters’ is available from Stanleys Camp in the Okavango Delta, where you are able to learn about and spend the morning at very close quarters with a group of semi-habituated elephants (these elephants cannot be ridden).

Other species of particular interest can include the semi-aquatic and rare sitatunga antelope, found in the wetland reaches of the Linyanti Swamp and Okavango Delta, the majestic sable antelope and the beautiful desert-adapted oryx antelope. Brown hyaena, aardvark, aardwolf and a variety of other interesting nocturnal creatures are particular widespread in the Kalahari regions.
Back to top »

Cultural Experiences

Central Kalahari Bushman, Botswana

Botswana is a country that offers wildlife, wilderness and exclusivity, rather than a wide variety of cultural experiences. The guides and camp staff will be able to tell you about their lives and where they live, and will often perform impromptu dances or songs (which they love to do), but it is rare to be able to visit local villages and really see how the local people live.

The best cultural experiences are found in the Kalahari regions where the San bushman communities live and often lead bush walks. Some will dress traditionally, and although only a scattered few speak English, the experience is very interesting. Some lodges offer San ‘performances’ which depict various aspects of their culture and may even include a dance around the camp fire – all very atmospheric, but of course a ‘show’. For the dedicated cultural enthusiast, a couple of companies offer more in depth bushman safaris.
Back to top »

Photographic Safaris

 

Hwange Elephant-head 202Most people who head out on safari plan to take a few photographs. However, in depth photographic safaris are growing in popularity, whether in the form of small group trips (please see the ‘Groups’ section off our home page for links to specialist photographic tours) or individually tailored holidays.

We are probably best equipped to arrange individually tailored photographic holidays. The flexibility and service we offer allows you to carefully plan your safari to meet your exact requirements, whilst our specialist knowledge is crucial, not just in terms of knowing where to photograph particular species, but also in terms of being able to provide suitable vehicles and guides. Your itinerary in Botswana will depend on your interests and priorities, however some of the possible highlights would be elephants along the Chobe River, wild dogs, cheetah and general big game in the Linyanti region and some parts of the Okavango Delta, birds and specialist wildlife in the Okavango region, meerkats, brown hyaena and other desert wildlife in the Kalahari regions, and landscape photography with the uniqueness of the Okavango Delta and Makgadikgadi Pans.
Back to top »

Night Drives

 

Serval on a Botswana night drive
Night drives are not possible in National Parks and Game Reserves, but are widely available within the private concessions of the Okavango Delta, Makgadikgadi Pans, Tuli Block, Central Kalahari and Linyanti regions. Botswana is one of the best countries to enjoy night drives.
Back to top »

Fishing

 

Fishing in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

Fishing is widely available where there are boating activities, mostly on a casual basis, though more serious fishermen will want to head to the Okavango Pan-handle, Chobe and Zambezi rivers to fish for tiger fish (crossing into Namibia from Kasane to access the Zambezi River is common).
Back to top »

Other activities

Mountain Biking in Mashatu, Botswana

Other activities available on a limited basis include quad-biking, mountain biking and helicopter safaris. We can also cater for very specific interests such as dendrology, Lepidoptera, archaeology etc.
Back to top »