Botswana vs South Africa

South Africa and Botswana are neighboring countries that both offer superb wildlife sightings and top class camps and lodges, but there are a number of differences to keep in mind when choosing one over the other. South Africa lacks the rugged remoteness of Botswana, but for those eager to see a maximum amount of wildlife in a short amount of time, private concessions like those in South Africa’s Sabi Sands are a reliable option. Unlike Botswana, South Africa’s game reserves are all fenced. This has the effect of limiting the natural migration of animals within the ecosystem but results in a higher concentration of game, especially big cats.

Wildlife is prolific throughout both South Africa and Botswana

Botswana’s game viewing, while excellent, can be unpredictable at times, as animals migrate according to the seasons. South Africa has a number of private concessions that offer a very exclusive, intimate safari experience on par with Botswana, but these areas are much smaller so guests do not get exposed to the same variety of habitats in Botswana. South Africa has very few unfenced camping areas, making it safer for families camping with children, but disappointing for those seeking a wilder camping experience. South African campsites, such as those in the Kruger National Park tend to be crowded, especially during school holidays. South African game reserves are mostly accessible by car and few require a 4x4 vehicle, while a 4x4 is absolutely necessary to negotiate the thick Kalahari sand tracks in many of Botswana’s wild areas. Because Botswana has a no fences between its national parks and outlying areas, it is completely normal to see elephants, buffalo, lions, giraffes, or even a pack of wild dogs padding along the country’s main highways.

The intrepid leopard botswana wildlife safari

Botswana, with its simpler infrastructure and small remote towns, has a charming ‘real African’ feel while the plentiful shops in South Africa, even within the Kruger National Park, make stocking up on supplies very convenient. A South African safari is generally the cheaper route with more choice when it comes to mid-range accommodation options. Botswana, on the other hand, only offers two options – camp or stay in a luxury lodge, and most luxury lodges are only reachable by light aircraft so it is important to pack light. Booking for a camping safari in Botswana needs to be done at least a year in advance as campsites are limited, whereas you are far more likely to get away with a last minute bookings in South Africa, although booking ahead is always the wiser option.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Best of Botswana and South Africa (11 days)

day 1 to 4

day 5 to 6

Lion Sands Game Reserve

day 7

day 8 to 10

Okavango Delta

day 11

Departure

View Full Itinerary

Popular Botswana Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | Journey through the Highlights of Southern Africa (13 days)

Journey through the Highlights of Southern Africa (13 days)

Exploring these areas of the Southern African continent should on top of your bucket list...

 | Exciting Family Safari in Botswana and Namibia (11 days)

Exciting Family Safari in Botswana and Namibia (11 days)

Enjoy both Botswana's Okavango Delta and Namibia's Caprivi Strip on a safari holiday filled with fun ...

 | Custom-Made Okavango Delta and Victoria Falls Combo Safari (6 days)

Custom-Made Okavango Delta and Victoria Falls Combo Safari (6 days)

Explore two of Africa's most popular World Heritage Sites in under a week...

 | Affordable Okavango Delta, Chobe and Victoria Falls Journey (8 days)

Affordable Okavango Delta, Chobe and Victoria Falls Journey (8 days)

Spent three nights at Chobe safari Lodge, two nights at Rra Dinare, two nights Moremi Crossing, as well as a full day visit to Victoria Falls...

 | Mobile Camping Safari in Botswana (7 days)

Mobile Camping Safari in Botswana (7 days)

One week of wild camping in Botswana's Moremi Game Reserve, arguably one of the most beautiful areas in the Okavango Delta...

Camp fire | Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta and Chobe Safari (7 days)

Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta and Chobe Safari (7 days)

This three-in-one journey will show you the majestic Victoria Falls, the massive elephant bulls of Chobe and the natural wonder that is the Okavango Delta...

 | Botswana Big Five Safari (7 days)

Botswana Big Five Safari (7 days)

Encounter the extraordinary herd of elephants and other species that will make your safari remarkable in the Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve ...

 | Best of Botswana and South Africa (11 days)

Best of Botswana and South Africa (11 days)

Experience the best of two of southern Africa's gems ...

 | Enchanting Moremi Mobile Camping Experience (7 days)

Enchanting Moremi Mobile Camping Experience (7 days)

Moremi Game Reserve in the beautiful Okavango Delta is well-known for self-drive camper vanning. Explore this exciting way of travel with us ...

 | Okavango Delta Tour (4 days)

Okavango Delta Tour (4 days)

Moremi Private Game Reserve is home for 4 days on this safari. Highlights are a helicopter flight to the Delta, boat and foot safari's and en-suite tented accommodation...



You might also like

The Historic Baobabs in Botswana

There are a number of extraordinary baobabs in the Makgadikgadi area but the ones most worth visiting are Chapman’s and Green’s baobabs in Ntwetwe Pan and Baines Baobabs in Nxai Pans National Park. Green’s baobab can be found at Gutsha Pan on the Gweta–Orapa track, 27km south of Gweta village. In the days of early European explorers, a small pan beside this baobab was filled with…

Botswana in May

May is the beginning of Botswana’s dry winter season and there’s usually no rain at all anywhere in the country. Average daytime temperatures range from 25°C to 30°C, and it’s generally slightly warmer in the north and cooler in the south. Evenings in the north are now regularly below 15°C and by the end of the month, nights in the Kalahari can fall close to freezing. May is one…

Flight over the Okavango Delta

There is no better way to grasp the remoteness of the Okavango Delta region than by flying over it in a light aircraft/helicopter. From the air, the wetland landscape is woven together with great intricacy: serpentine channels cut through emerald carpets of marsh, spilling into lagoons with pods of hippos. Winding streams twist and loop, diverging into lazy pools and vast plains scattered…

Botswana vs South Africa

South Africa and Botswana are neighboring countries that both offer superb wildlife sightings and top class camps and lodges, but there are a number of differences to keep in mind when choosing one over the other. South Africa lacks the rugged remoteness of Botswana, but for those eager to see a maximum amount of wildlife in a short amount of time, private concessions like those in South…

Botswana in November

November is the spring shoulder season in Botswana, a time of soaring thunderclouds, returning migrant birds and, once the rains arrive, fields of new-born calves. It’s still very hot, with daily highs of 35°C to 40°C across the country, and it can get even hotter in the north where nights are humid and often well over 20°C. The start of the rainy season is always hard to predict,…

Photographic safari in Botswana

Photographic safaris are very popular in Botswana due to the wildlife density and the relaxed attitude animals have around vehicles and boats. The best way to get the most out photography on safari is to book the experience with a specialised photographic safari operator. These companies have game viewing vehicles kitted out with camera mounts, swivelling seats, and equipment that will…

Shopping and markets in Botswana

Every major town in Botswana has at least one shopping centre or mall, which includes major supermarkets, liquor stores, clothing, furniture, homeware, and electronic shops, in addition to local banks and ATMs. In terms of gift stores and curio shops, some safari lodges stock their own locally made woven baskets, jewellery, wooden carvings and bowls, and these items are usually…

The People and culture of the Okavango

People of the Okavango Another highlight of Botswana is its people. Batswana are a mesh of many different tribes with unique origins and beliefs. The dominant group is Tswana (79%) whose language Setswana (or Tswana) is the spoken by 90 % of Batswana. The Tswana have a deeply entrenched system of chieftainship and a rich cultural heritage rooted in deep traditional values, reflected…

Ready to start your adventure?

+27 (0)21 422 3498
   discover.africa
    info@discoverafrica.com
    Mon - Fri: 8AM - 9PM GMT+2