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Botswana, Southern Africa
 
Truly vast areas of prime wildlife country have been set aside as private reserves some covering hundreds of square miles. The essence of a Botswana safari is that you can enjoy luxury combined with a real wilderness experience in privacy and high comfort. With a tiny population of people, the animals and birds have the lion’s share of the country to themselves.
A quirk of geology causes the great Okavango River to run inland, finishing its course in the centre of the desert creating an enormous green fertile oasis called the Okavango Delta. Swaying palm trees, oceans of rich grassland and abundant pure water create a paradise for millions of animals. You can explore the Okavango Delta from your exclusive camp with expert guides by open vehicle and on short fascinating walks.

On a Botswana safari you can glide silently along breathtakingly beautiful waterways in a mokoro canoe or take a lazy boat cruise as the sun sets and flocks of birds come home. Further north the Savuti Channel, the Selinda Spillway and Linyanti Delta are all drier open savannah plains, semi desert and woodland where mighty herds of elephant roam, gathering in herds hundreds strong in the dry season from August to November.

A Botswana safari gives you an excellent chance to see predators, from dominant lion to wild dog which can be seen racing across the plains in pursuit of antelope. Add to this the full range of buffalo, giraffe, zebra, plains game and dozens of other mammal species, with over 400 species of birds and you have one of Africa’s most alluring destinations. The Botswana authorities pursue an enlightened policy of creating huge private reserves for tiny numbers of tourists. So, you and a dozen others may find yourselves with 600 square miles of big game country all to yourselves, returning from a thrilling day to a tented “palace” and a fabulous dinner after which to be lulled to sleep by the grunting of a hippopotamus.
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Botswana
CALENDAR: JANUARY
 
When the waters of the Okavango Delta are low and the vegetation dry, it’s easier to spot predators as they have fewer places to hide. There is greater flexibility about where vehicles can go, so you can go directly to where the best sightings are. A leopard lounging in the afternoon sun is an awe-inspiring sight, but so too is hearing the roar of a lion echoing across Botswana’s floodplains.
CALENDAR: FEBRUARY
 
At first glance the desert and salt pans of Makgadikgadi might appear empty, but nothing is farther from the truth: the flora and fauna are there, you just have to look for them. When the first rains come, the land erupts with flowering plants, including the most striking desert flowers. Zebra and wildebeest feast after several long, hungry months. February is also a wonderful month for walking safaris in Botswana.
CALENDAR: MARCH AND APRIL
 
A perfect time to explore. It’s not too hot nor not too wet, so every region is accessible. In the deserts spot Kalahari lion, uniquely adapted to this arid ecosystem. The species, physical characteristics and habits are distinct from those in the Delta, making for fascinating comparisons and a really rich learning experience. It’s also the ideal time of year to visit Baines’ Camp and to meet the elephant there.
CALENDER: MAY AND JUNE
 
Botswana is completely transformed with the arrival of the floodwaters from the Angolan highlands. Plants burst into vibrant leaf and flower; dry river beds become lost beneath torrents of water. Exploring these seasonal waterways by canoe you’ll approach the birdlife quietly as they fish, dive, and swim. The herds of zebra, antelope, and wildebeest amass in areas where the first new grasses will appear, creating an unforgettable spectacle.
CALENDAR: JULY
 
Get active in July. Temperatures are cooler, so there are more hours in the day when you can be out exploring. Riding through the Okavango Delta on horseback you’ll have a raised view and see further, but also be able to approach wildlife without the sound of an engine. The Selinda Adventure Trail is a must for birders and if you’re travelling with teens, nothing beats a quad biking.
CALENDER: AUGUST
 
If you’re travelling during the school summer holidays, there’s no better safari destination. The weather is perfect and there’s plenty of game to see. Huge herds of elephant have begun to gather and watching them cross the rivers in a line nose to tail is an experience you’ll never forget. Book early enough in advance to take your pick of extraordinary accommodation options.
CALENDAR: SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER
 
When water is scarce, the elephant and other game venture out into the open where it is easy to spot them. Typically they co
ngregate along certain rivers and watering holes. The big cats stick close to the herds, sure of an easy meal. We love this time of year as although the wildlife is active and visible, it’s not too hot and the lodges tend to be quieter.
CALENDAR: NOVEMBER
 
Arguably the best month of the year to see big herds in the Linyanti. Moving between the floodplains and forest, animals have plenty of space to roam, but often take recognised routes so they’re relatively easy to follow. You’ll spot a wide variety of predators, and if you’re lucky, get a glimpse of the African wild dog, a rare treat for any wildlife lover.
CALENDAR: DECEMBER
 
Escape the cold and rain of home and instead luxuriate in the sunshine of Botswana during the festive season. Water in the Okavango’s channels will be low, but as a result you can get out and about on foot. The herds linger in the floodplains, readily in view, and it’s unlikely you’ll disturb them as they eat.