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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.
Botswana
Botswana
 
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.
 
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Exterior of new Jack's Camp at sunset
Horseback safari near hippo in okavango delta
Game drive near large long elephant in Botswana
 
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.
 
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.
 
A perfect time to explore. It’s not too hot nor 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.
 
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.
 
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 quad biking.
 
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.
 
When water is scarce, the elephant and other game venture out into the open where it is easy to spot them. Typically, they congregate 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.
 
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.
 
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.
Exterior of new Jack's Camp at sunset
 
Botswana leads the way in world class lodges and camps. However, it is the elegant tented camps which really stand out. You will feel like an adventurous pioneer, sleeping under canvas miles from anywhere, but you are cosseted in the lap of luxury with scarcely a care in the world. Revel in the sumptuousness of the experience.
 
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Horseback safari near hippo in okavango delta
 
On Botswana’s vast private reserves, you have the freedom to enjoy a wide variety of safari activities. Talk to us at an early stage about the kinds of activities you might enjoy so that we can plan these into your itinerary.
 
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The San Bushmen have walked the sands of the Kalahari for at least 70,000 years. Their rock art and stone tools are amongst the oldest known in the world. And somehow, despite all odds, the San have survived, with many of their traditions intact, to the present day. When you visit Botswana with Africa Exclusive, you have the privileged opportunity to meet and learn from them firsthand.
 
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Game drive near large long elephant in Botswana
 
If you are looking for a private wilderness, rich in wildlife without the crowds, head for Botswana. The country has taken a deliberate decision to pursue a low volume, high value model of tourism, ensuring that it has a minimal adverse impact on the environment and visitors can explore in relative seclusion. Each fabulous camp accommodates just a handful of guests, so you really do feel you are in the wild.
 
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Botswana leads the way in low volume, high value safari tourism, reinvesting profits from tourism in conservation efforts. There’s a huge effort to engage local communities and recognise their value as stakeholders, which is one of the reasons that conservation projects here have been so effective. Whether you want to see elephant or rhino, Botswana’s perfect as numbers are not only stable but actually on the rise!
 
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From the sands of the Kalahari Desert to the watery wilderness which is the Okavango Delta, Botwana’s key attractions are its high concentration of wildlife, magnificent camps and lodges, and superb exclusivity. Combine two or more distinct geographical regions of the country to fully appreciate the natural wonders it has to offer. The incredible, varied vistas will be forever imprinted on your mind. No photograph does them justice.
 
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There are over 100,000 elephants in northern Botswana and from August to December, as the dry season advances, they gather in vast herds near permanent water sources. At this time the Chobe and Linyanti rivers can be besieged with elephants drinking hundreds of gallons of water, cavorting and rolling in the refreshing rivers, hosing themselves down.
 
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