Botswana’s primary attraction is its vast wilderness. From the endless palm-covered islands of the Okavango Delta, to the moonscape saltpans of the Makgadikgadi region, it’s the perfect destination for anyone seeking pristine, unfenced surroundings.
Botswana’s commitment to safeguarding its wildlife heritage is unparalleled in Africa. The country covers a total area of 581,730 sq km, and approximately 40% of this land falls within a wildlife-protected area. These areas are a sanctuary for the world’s largest concentration of elephant, and a stronghold for other endangered large mammals such as the black rhinoceros, African wild dog, cheetah and lion. For avian enthusiasts, there exists no better place in the world to view the Slaty Egret and Wattled Crane, and seeing the illusive Pels Fishing Owl for the first time has been known to bring bird-watchers to tears! In 2014, Botswana consolidated its position as a conservation leader by banning commercial hunting, paving the way for former hunting areas to be transformed into photographic safari destinations. The government’s decision to opt for a high-quality, low-impact tourism model means that safari-goers can generally avoid congested game drives, especially when staying in one of the many privately operated concessions, which commonly have their visitor density limited to around one guest per 50 sq km. These concessions, licensed out to top safari companies, boast some of the most luxurious yet eco-conscious lodges and camps in Africa. In order to lease the land, lodge owners must show commitment to uplifting local communities by providing jobs for people in close proximity to concession boundaries. Today wildlife and tourism employs around 45% of adults in Botswana, making it the country’s’ second largest income earner after diamonds.
Travellers can feel secure in the knowledge that Botswana is one of Africa’s most stable and peaceful nations, with the continent’s longest continuous multi-party democracy and a steady economy.
Botswana is a safari destination that boasts outstanding wildlife density and variety, and it is wild and organic without fences and developed tourist facilities. In this sense, it attracts adventurous travellers who are passionate about nature and wildlife experiences and who are not nervous in the presence of wild animals. Keen photographers would benefit greatly from a Botswana holiday at different times of the year, as varying locations offer unique and interesting natural scenery, not to mention superb wildlife activity to capture.
The terrain in Botswana is rough with plenty of dust, thick sand, and seasonal flooding, so exploring the country by road – which includes long morning game drives in areas like Savuti – means packing an adventurous spirit and tolerance for the natural elements. On the other hand, Botswana has some impeccable luxury options, with exclusive airstrips, seamless service, world-class food, and supreme comfort, which bring extreme comfort to visitors willing to pay. Botswana is easily sewn into an itinerary including Victoria Falls and the Kruger National Park, Zimbabwe’s Hwange and Mana Pools, Zambia’s South Luangwa, and Namibia’s Caprivi Strip; so travellers planning a southern Africa trip should consider including Botswana.