Highlights of Botswana safari

African safari animals
Lions and buffaloes at Duba Plains in Botswana. PHOTO/FILE
Located just north of South Africa, Botswana boasts numerous safari attractions: wildlife, wilderness, natural wonders and a culture that offers a real African experience.

The landlocked country that measures 602,957 square kilometre consists of a vast and nearly level sand-filled basin characterized by scrub-covered savannah.

Botswana is home to some of the region’s top safaris and tours attractions including the Kalahari Desert, Okavango Delta, Khama Rhino Sanctuary and Gemsbok National Park.

The famous Kalahari, a semi-arid expanse of sandy valleys, covers more than three quarters of the country. It is characterized by heavy sands to the golden-sand dunes, with shrubs, acacia, savannah and horizon less landscapes. It is home to the San people, a semi-nomadic people who are expert hunters and gathers.

In the northern region of the country, the Okavango River flows in from Namibia, and soaks into the sands to form the Okavango Delta – a key safari attraction.

Okavango is believed to be the largest inland delta in the world and it offers scenic beauty while sustaining a huge population of wildlife.

The meeting of dry land and wet land gives that breath-taking contrast, popularly known as the ‘Jewel of the Kalahari’.

With forests of palms, grasslands, islands, flood plains and lagoons to be seen, visitors seeking the pleasure of adventure are guaranteed one of the best safari experiences of their life.

Because the Okavango Delta and the Chobe River provide a year-round water supply, almost all southern African mammal species are present in the Chobe National Park and Moremi Wildlife Reserve.

The 4,300-hectare Khama Rhino Sanctuary is home to some of the few remaining rhinos in Botswana. While on your Botswana holidays or safaris, the Sanctuary will offer you rewarding game viewing opportunities.

In the south-eastern part of Botswana is the Gemsbok National Park, one of the top game safari destinations in the region. The park is home to a big number of cheetahs, lions, eland, gemsbok, springboks, hartebeests and other animal species.

Though the park is situated in Botswana, entry is available from the South African as well as the Botswana side, through the new Trans Kalahari Highway.

When To Go
The best time to visit Botswana is during the winter season (late May through August) when days are clear, warm and sunny, and nights are cool. During the season animals do not move far from water sources, so sightings are more predictable than in the wetter summer season.  In summer (October to April), animals are harder to spot and rains can render dirt roads impassable.

Getting There
Most international flights to Botswana are served by Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, the country’s main airport located 15km north of the capital Gaborone.

Though the airport is well served with flights from Johannesburg (South Africa) and Harare (Zimbabwe), it is rarely used by tourists as an entry point into Botswana.