7 Best Places to Visit in Botswana
If you’re in the mood for thrilling safaris, breathtaking landscapes and unparalleled luxury, allow us to suggest a trip to Botswana. Set in the heart of Southern Africa, this fascinating country is full of unique destinations to explore and activities to experience.
To help you plan the adventure of a lifetime, we’ve put together this list of our favourite places to go in Botswana – plus some ideas for what to do in each.
1. The Outstanding Okavango Delta
The Okavango Delta has a well-deserved reputation as one of the world’s best wildlife habitats. During the dry season, its vast plains are flooded by the Okavango River, transforming it into an irresistible attraction for animals in search of water. This makes it an unbeatable spot for seeing wildlife, from rare birds to iconic megafauna.
It’s worth spending a few days here to really take advantage of every opportunity. One day you can glide slowly through the Delta’s intricate waterways in a traditional mokoro, getting up close and personal with its intriguing ecosystem. The next day, you can take to the skies for a spectacular hot air balloon ride to get a birds-eye view of this incredible landscape.
2. The Gorgeous Moremi Game Reserve
The Moremi Game Reserve is located within the Okavango Delta, but it deserves special mention for the incredible beauty and biodiversity it contains. Set in the central and eastern part of the Delta, it comprises everything from lagoons and waterways to floodplains and forests – not to mention the legendary Chief’s Island.
Moremi is a prime place to see Africa’s most famous predators, with an abundance of lions, leopards, hyenas and other species. It’s also home to a large population of endangered wild dogs and more than 500 types of winged wildlife, making it an excellent spot for birdwatching.
3. The Magnificent Mombo Concession
Often called the ‘predator capital of Africa’, the Mombo Concession is located on the northwest end of Chief’s Island within the Moremi Game Reserve. This is the core of the Okavango Delta, offering the best opportunities to see the Big Five as well as countless other species.
The concession is home to two legendary camps: Mombo Camp and Little Mombo. Both are renowned for their exceptional luxury, impeccable service and exclusive access to the very best experiences that Botswana has to offer. They’re also committed to conservation and sustainability; they rely largely on solar power and run various environmental projects.
4. The Alluring Linyanti
Just above the northern border of the Okavango Delta, you’ll find Linyanti: a land of lagoons, riverine forests and wide-open plains. Often overshadowed by its well-known neighbour, this area provides equally abundant wildlife and natural beauty, with a fraction of the visitors. It’s a truly remote and unspoiled part of Botswana.
The private reserves in this area help to protect its biodiversity and keep habitats intact. Linyanti – and much of the rest of the country – used to be filled with trophy hunters. But today it’s been transformed into a haven of conservation, thanks in large part to the efforts of reserves like these.
You can see this work up close at DumaTau and its sister camp, Little DumaTau. Both camps offer opportunities to explore the surroundings on land or by water, with daily game drives, walking safaris and boat trips. They also provide access to the nearby Savuti Channel.
5. The Fascinating Chobe National Park
Chobe is located right at the northern edge of Botswana, close to the spectacular Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. But it’s got its own claim to fame: the massive herds of elephants and buffalo that congregate on the banks of the Chobe River. If you’re hoping to see these impressive animals up close, this is the place for you.
Chobe National Park is a fairly popular destination, so it’s important to plan your trip carefully. You can stay at a mobile camp that moves along with the animals, or a super remote luxury lodge. Either way, make sure to take a river cruise to observe elephants from a privileged position on the water – preferably at sunset.
6. The Untouched Kalahari Desert
Most people have heard of the Kalahari, but very few have had the privilege of seeing it first-hand. In fact, its sheer inaccessibility is part of what makes it so special. This wild land of rolling plains, grasslands and valleys is populated by a fantastic array of wildlife. Here you can see everything from gemsbok and giraffes to lions and leopards.
In addition to exciting safaris and nature walks, the Kalahari is a perfect place to experience local culture. It’s home to the San, an indigenous group who are descendants of some of Africa’s earliest inhabitants. You can learn about their ancient culture and ways of life by meeting them in person on their ancestral land.
7. The Stark Salt Pans of Makgadikgadi
In the centre of the Kalahari, there’s a place unlike any other in Botswana: Makgadikgadi. This isn’t exactly an ideal destination for game viewing, but its striking landscape more than merits a visit. It consists of vast and empty salt pans, with nothing but scattered rocks and baobab trees to break up the view.
Apart from taking in this eerily peaceful environment, you can also discover the history of the San people at archaeological sites. Hop on a quad bike to speed across the flat terrain, encountering ancient fossil beds and uniquely adapted creatures like meerkats and hyenas along the way. For the full experience, spend a few nights in one of San Camp’s elegant tents.
Our Team's Favourite Trips to Botswana
Where to Stay in Botswana
Wilderness DumaTauWith uninterrupted views over Osprey Lagoon, and a fantastic vantage point from which to watch the areas mega-herds of elephants, Wilderness DumaTau and nearby Wilderness Little DumaTau are perfectly located for making the most of your stay in the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve. Each spacious tented guest suite has been positioned to offer great views whether you’re relaxing on your deck, or cooling off in your plunge pool. You’ll also find the tents include spot-cooling, meaning you can find respite from the hot afternoons indoors. Spend time investigating the ‘curiosity boxes’ you’ll find mounted on the walls in your room and the drawers filled with fascinating artefacts and information. They’re a great way to learn more about the area’s wildlife and rich history. Look out for unique elephant and wild dog art in the rooms and library made from reclaimed snare wire. Wilderness Safaris have constructed both camps to give maximum comfort and offer guests a large array of facilities. In addition to the in-tent cooling systems, you’ll discover that the central Osprey Retreat which sits between the two camps boasts a pool, drink and snack counter and a Safari Boutique area, offering you more space to mingle with your fellow guests if you choose to do so. Large decks, plunge pools and awnings are attached to each of Wilderness Duma Tau’s eight tented suites as well as at the four at Wilderness Little DumaTau. The Wilderness DumaTau team continues to focus on the sustainability of wildlife corridors, as they have done since 1997. They believe that it is more vital than ever to protect large wildlife corridors of wilderness, like those within the vast Linyanti Wildlife Reserve – especially for the African elephant and wild dog that cover extensive ground. Staying at Wilderness DumaTau offers you easy access to the Linyanti floodplain as well as the Savuti Channel, in fact, it’s the only concession from which you can access both. The region has all the habitat diversity to make it a haven for wildlife, and is well-known for its elephant concentrations as they congregate along the waterways and lagoons during the dry winter months. General wildlife viewing is excellent year round including impala, wildebeest, red lechwe, Burchell’s zebra, giraffe, Cape buffalo, chacma baboon, vervet monkey, and warthog. Predator sightings of lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog and spotted hyena are good. As well as day and night game drives, you can explore on nature walks or take to the water on motorboats or the river barge (depending on water levels).
Wilderness Jao CampVery intimately placed in the private Jao Concession area bordering the Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta, Wilderness Jao Camp is a luxurious way to experience this beautiful part of the world. With just nine tented rooms, you will be well looked after and be able to enjoy some incredible service tied in with excellent guiding. Each of the tented rooms are situated a short distance from the main area and are accessed via raised walkways which adds to the charm of the place. All of the tents have their own deck area with great views over the expanse of floodplains before them, you will be nice and comfortable in your luxurious canvas setting. Wilderness Jao Camp also has a great wine cellar where you can enjoy a private dinner and if you really wanted to treat yourself, they have a great spa where you can enjoy some superb treatments. Within the camp itself, you have access to two plunge pools which you might want to dip into in the afternoon heat when you aren’t relaxing inside the beautifully decorated interior with a nice book from the library. Activities here are entirely dependent on the flood levels at the time of year you visit, however as a rule of thumb you can expect about 30% game drives and 70% water activities which give you a brilliant and new perspective of the animals that call this place their home. Mekoro trips are highly recommended! As the camp is within its own concession area, it also has the ability to provide night drives (weather permitting) to spot the elusive nocturnal creatures found here.
Wilderness King's Pool CampThis is one of the most luxurious camps in Botswana, with nine huge canvas ‘tents’ with thatched roofs set on raised wooden platforms. Each comes equipped with a private plunge pool, four poster bed, indoor and outdoor showers. The camp sits overlooking the Linyanti River and the oxbow lake of Wilderness King’s Pool from which it derives its name. Communal areas include a lounge dining area, bar and a shared pool. These all sit on raised decking allowing for excellent armchair game viewing of the river and lake. This part of the Linyanti borders the Chobe National Park, meaning that great numbers of elephant frequent the area during the dry months as they visit the lagoon and river. Other game is abundant too during these months including giraffe, lechwe, zebra and impala, all helping to draw the large predators; lion, leopard, cheetah and wild-dog. As well as game drives the camp offers seasonal barge cruises along the river (dependent on the river level) , basic fishing and walking safaris (on request in advance). The camp also has two wildlife hides, excellent for close up observation of game.
Wilderness Vumbura PlainsBotswana’s mesmerizing Okavango Delta is now brighter than ever with the newly transformed (as of 2022) Vumbura Plains. Nestled in a large private concession of 60,000 hectares in the far north of the Delta, the camp is enveloped in some of the most incredible landscapes, home to some of the best wildlife encounters in the area. The 60 000-hectare Vumbura Plains Private Wilderness Area is leased from five villages, through the Okavango Community Trust (OCT), a partnership that spans 20 successful years of impactful conservation tourism in the region. Inside, the camp celebrates its sense of place and culture, with design elements that pay homage to its wonderful setting with patterns, textures and colours bringing nature inside. Rooms at the lodge are amongst the biggest in the delta, all open plan, with a sunken seating area, private shaded deck and swimming pool outside as well as indoor and outdoor showers. There is an amazing sense of space here, in keeping with the wide-open plains that the rooms face onto. The rooms are open on three sides (with netting) giving a feeling of being closer to the nature and wildlife whilst still remaining is absolute comfort. The local connections continue throughout the camp experience.The menu celebrates seasonal produce sourced directly from local farmers, suppliers and artisans. Activities here are a mixture of game drives and water activities which will vary according to the level of the water and the time of the year. You will find day and night drives, walks and mekoro (dugout canoes) activities, with hot-air ballooning – from April to September each year – as well as scenic helicopter flights, making Vumbura an exclusive destination for the discerning adventure-seeker.