Arguably one of Africa’s most authentic safari experiences, Botswana’s wide-open, uncrowded spaces are home to some of the continent’s most diverse landscapes: from arid desert to lush, verdant woods; and vast salt pans to the world’s largest inland delta.
"Is this the ultimate safari destination? Many think so. There’s certainly no shortage of adventure. Its dramatic landscape – nearly three-quarters of it covered by the Kalahari – encompasses vast salt pans, diamond-rich deserts and fertile flood plains teeming with game."
It’s a country that looks after its wildlife too, with almost 40 percent of land in reserves and parks. The Makgadikgadi National Park, for example, is an extraordinary other-worldly place. The light, silence, solitude and sheer vastness of the salt pan – once the bed of a lake the size of Lake Victoria – are just breathtaking. Then, when the rains come, it transforms into a sea of pink flamingos, closely followed by herds of wildebeest, zebra and other mammals in search of precious water.
In the north is Chobe National Park, home to some of Botswana’s most varied wildlife, and to Africa’s highest concentration of elephants. Herds are sometimes 400 strong, especially along the riverfront strip in the north.
But the jewel in Botswana’s crown has to be the Okavango Delta. This unique ecosystem the size of Switzerland, where the Okavango River drains into the desert (it’s been called the world’s largest oasis), has long been a magnet for wildlife.
And on the eastern side of the Delta is the Moremi Wildlife Reserve: home to some of the most scenic landscapes you can imagine; legions of elephants, zebras, buffalos, giraffes and hippos; and almost 600 species of birds. It’s a truly astonishing place.