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:
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
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
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
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
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
For those looking for an epic journey, the safari experience from Sabi Sands to the Zambezi in Southern Africa combines lush bush safaris with premium game drives and an opportunity to find out what city life in South Africa is really about. If you’re not convinced yet, allow us to take you on a brief journey of what to expect on your next safari.
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