Elewana Collection’s Zarafa Camp in Botswana
Botswana is known for its superb luxury camps and its policy of low impact tourism: the country limits the number of people staying in conservation areas, which means that a safari in the country tends to be relatively expensive. On the other hand, Namibia is more tourist-friendly and with its well-maintained roads, is a far easier country to visit on a self-driving trip (and many of Namibia’s most famous attractions can be explored in a 2WD vehicle).
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.
Botswana has one of the largest elephant populations in Africa
In terms of wildlife, Botswana has Africa’s largest elephant herds and huge numbers of buffalo, lion and leopard, which makes for rewarding game viewing in its excellent parks. However, the game viewing in Namibia’s Etosha National Park during the dry winter months, when animals congregate around waterholes, is hard to beat. Even if you’re a first-time safari goer driving yourself around Etosha, you’ll be able to have spectacular sightings of hundreds of animals in one go if you park next to waterholes. Namibia also scores for its unique desert-adapted animals, its free-ranging population of black rhino (the last in the world) and desert elephants, and the largest population of cheetah in Africa.