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An African safari experience is simply not complete without a visit to this African gem! In Botswana, the human imprint is small and animals wander at will across vast tracts of land. Nearly 40% of Botswana’s land has been set aside for wildlife, with an emphasis on profitable, but low volumes of visitors. Due to this emphasis on the sustainable use of its amazing wildlife resources, Botswana remains one of Africa’s leading wildlife destinations.
It is here that one can experience small, intimate safari camps built on large wildlife concessions that encompass the magnificent, fragile and unique waters of the Okavango Delta, the game-rich Linyanti and Chobe National Park, the endless horizons of the Central Kalahari where small communities of the ancient San peoples still live today, as well as the Makgadikgadi Pans. Big game can be found in almost all of these areas - elephant, buffalo, the predators including packs of endangered wild dogs, giraffe, a wide variety of antelope and even rhino – providing close up encounters from open safari vehicles, on foot, or by silent mokoro on the waterways of the Delta, with highly professional trained guides to protect and share their amazing knowledge of the wilderness they love. The smaller wildlife, from the curious dwarf mongoose to the delicately painted Okavango frogs, will amuse and fascinate you, and the magnificent birds will threaten to turn all who see them into serious birdwatchers. From the endless skies to authentic camps and unparalleled wildlife encounters, Botswana is a must-visit destination that will delight a variety of travelers.
Dry season in Botswana occurs from May – October, and is generally considered the best time for safari. June, July, and August are winter in the southern hemisphere, bringing colder temperatures and dry weather, and excellent game viewing. During this time, thirsty wildlife gather in greater density in the Okavango Delta and Linyanti. Predators can be more easily sighted due to the low vegetation, and the June – August denning season for wild dog provides opportunities to see these endangered species as well. The receding water levels concentrate the fish species, bringing waterbirds hunting for food. This prime wildlife viewing season also means high season rates, but for those travelling on a budget or for those who have travelled to Africa before, the shoulder seasons and summer green season offers very attractive rates along with unusual sightings.
In the Makgadikgadi in July, August, and September, safaris are mostly focused on resident game and Bushman interaction, palaeontology explorations, quad biking over the pans, resident game-viewing and meerkat visits.
The green season from December – March can be an excellent time for quality wildlife viewing at very favourable rates, and often with fewer visitors. Beautiful sunrises, afternoon thundershowers, and bright green foliage make this season an ideal time for photographers. Birders as well will find an abundance of species displaying their breeding plumage, and migratory species also visit the Okavango and Linyanti. In the Kalahari, the rains bring new grasses which attract large concentrations of gemsbok, springbok and red hartebeest, their newborn calves and lambs. Predators such as lion and cheetah inevitably will follow, often seen with their cubs.
The Makgadikgadi will be turning green and the game will be migrating through, with Bushman interaction possible, although quad biking is unlikely.
April to May (and November) brings the shoulder season. During April/May, the Delta begins to fill up as the rains from the Angolan highlands much further north flow down into the Delta. This means that land-based camps can begin to offer a mix of land and water activities. Game drives on islands may happen less often, owing to higher water levels, but there are still many activities in the private concessions. Boating is exceptional over this time, exploring the channels on motorized boats or the silent mokoros (dugout canoes) poled by local Okavango-born polers – a unique experience in this pristine wilderness.
November is an excellent time for birding, as the waters begin to recede, and summer migrants begin to appear. In the Linyanti, the vegetation is at its driest, making for great wildlife sighting along the Chobe River and Selinda Spillway.