Zambia vs Botswana

So, should you go to Zambia or Botswana? The choice depends entirely on the type of holiday you prefer. Both countries are extremely safe and have excellent wildlife and national parks, but each is suited to a slightly different type of traveller.

Elephant frolic in Botswana

Botswana is perhaps the best self-drive safari destination in Southern Africa, with good connecting roads, abundant wildlife, plenty of affordable campsites and an efficient bureaucracy that – with a bit of practice – makes camp and national park bookings relatively easy. It can also be one of Africa’s most luxurious places to safari, with a number of first-rate luxury lodges, most notably in and around the Okavango Delta.

Leopard abound in Botswana, although still the most elusive of the Big Cats, credit: BBC One

While Botswana caters for confident, self-drive 4x4 adventurers and well-heeled safari-goers alike, quality mid-range and more affordable luxury accommodation can be harder to find. Zambia has much more to offer in this area, with exceptional luxury experiences sometimes half the price of similar lodges in Botswana and private, exclusive-use houses and smaller eco-lodges that offer great value, especially for families and larger groups.

Safari-goers observe a juvenile lion, credit: Chiawa Camp

Zambia’s poorer-quality roads and harder-to-access wilderness areas make it far more challenging for self-drive visitors. Those who embrace the conditions are rewarded with some of Africa’s best wildlife and wilderness experiences, but on the whole, self-drive visitor numbers are low. It’s this low-density exclusivity that makes a Zambian safari so special – the perfect place for a quality safari experience that won’t break the bank.


Popular Zambia Safaris

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

Victoria Falls | Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

Combine water and wildlife in a journey that takes you from the Victoria Falls to Kafue and South Luangwa national parks – Zambia at its best...

Boat at sunset | Luxury Zambian Odyssey (7 days)

Luxury Zambian Odyssey (7 days)

One week safari to three Zambian national parks, including the flagship South Luangwa, and end in style with a visit to the remarkable Victoria Falls...

 | Best of Zambia Wilderness Safari (10 days)

Best of Zambia Wilderness Safari (10 days)

With some of the wildest and most remote game areas on the continent, and a remarkably low population in a massive country, Zambia has an aura of mystery waiting to be uncovered....

 | City and Safari in Southern Africa (14 days)

City and Safari in Southern Africa (14 days)

Majestic wildlife and the riches of Africa. ...

 | Jewels of Zimbabwe and Zambia Safari (9 days)

Jewels of Zimbabwe and Zambia Safari (9 days)

Fall under the spell of three prime attractions in Zimbabwe and Zambia – Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and the Mana Pools ...

 | Luxurious South Africa and Zambia Honeymoon Safari (10 days)

South Africa and Zambia honeymoon

Explore the romantic Atlantic Ocean with it's multi-cultural heritage and a Big Five safari in the Sabi Sands, finally ending off at Victoria Falls from the Zambian side...

 | Wilderness safari in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe (10 days)

Wilderness safari in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe (10 days)

Why not visit more than one exciting African destination? See the Great Migration, Victoria Falls and wildlife-rich Hwange National Park...

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...

Romantic view | Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)

Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)

Combine three of Southern Africa's most loved destinations into one romantic getaway and you'll share the memories forever...

Boating on the Chobe River | Quick Victoria Falls and Chobe Experience (5 days)

Quick Victoria Falls and Chobe Experience (5 days)

Visit Livingstone, Zambia, to marvel at the Victoria Falls – or 'the smoke that thunders' – before going on safari and a river cruise in Botswana's Chobe National Park...

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