WATCH: Namibia vs Botswana

discoverafrica 21 August 2018
Part of the Namibia Safari Collection
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It doesn’t have to be either/or but take a look at the differences between Namibia and Botswana that may just change your mind about your dream safari in Africa.

The huge variety of places to stay in Namibia – from excellent campsites to five-star lodges – appeals to broader range of travellers, while Botswana caters largely for the high-end market.

Of the two countries, Namibia has a wider diversity of more startling landscapes, from a deep canyon in the south to rugged mountains in the north, the cracked salt pans of Etosha and the towering dunes of Sossusvlei and the dramatic Skeleton Coast.

Namibia’s close proximity to Botswana makes it an excellent destination for an extended Southern Africa safari. In fact, the Caprivi Strip borders Botswana and offers a very different landscape to the rest of the country. Take a look: 

Namibia Botswana
  • Only four of the Big Five (no buffalo)
  • Highest concentration of Black rhino in Africa
  • 350 bird species and more
  • Game-viewing slightly more challenging, but Etosha National Park is excellent for wildlife enthusiasts
  • Marine Big Five; Southern right whale, dolphins, Cape fur seal, African penguins, Great white shark
  • All of the Big Five as well as many endangered species like the African wild dog, red lechwe and Slaty egret (bird)
  • Zebra migration is a wildlife highlight
  • The bizarre and often surreal landscapes of Namibia attract photographers from all over the world
  • Etosha National Park is a great place for wildlife photography
  • Botswana’s pristine, well-maintained national parks and reserves are brilliant for photography. Best time to go for photography is between June and October
Type of traveller
  • Romantics who want to experience something different on a couple safari
  • Groups who love road trips
  • Budget-conscious travellers
  • Family travel
  • Adventure-seekers
  • Wildlife-based travellers
  • Photographers
  • Family travel
  • Group travellers
  • Active travellers
  • Secluded, intimate accommodation
  • Variety of cost-effective camps and lodges
  • Camping on a self-drive safari is very popular due to well-maintained facilities and safety
  • Premium, high-end accommodation is readily available
  • Expect superb service and knowledgeable guides and trackers
Language, culture & history
  • Rather small percentage of English speakers
  • Colonial-German and African dialects are the most widely spoken languages
  • Almost everyone speaks English
  • Stable political history and economy
  • Self-drive safaris are the most popular experience in Namibia
  • Culture and history-based tours are great in Namibia
  • Camping
  • Stargazing is exceptional in Namibia
  • Sandboarding, quad biking, skydiving, fishing
  • Water and land-based game viewing
  • Fishing on the Zambezi and Chobe rivers
  • Horseback safaris in the Makgadigadi National Park and Selinda Game Reserve
  • ‘Glamping’ and mobile camping
  • Walking safaris
Best time to travel
  • Travel is possible all year round, but the summer months can be unbearably hot
  • June to October for game-viewing
  • June to October is the best time for game-viewing
  • Most locations are remote so this destination is more suited to self-drive as fly-in transport is pricey
  • National roads are well maintained but off-road driving requires a certain level of skill
  • Fly-in transfers are popular due to the vast expanses of wilderness
  • Self-drive in Botswana is not as popular as in Namibia due to the difficulties in navigating across the watery landscape in Northern Botswana
Malaria risk
  • Most regions in the south are malaria-free, including Etosha National Park and areas along the coast
  • Medium to high risk of malaria in most parts of the country

Time to choose:


Having trouble deciding? Contact us for travel advice about how to create an itinerary that will take you to both destinations.

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