Botswana overview

Botswana is one of Africa’s last great wildernesses. The preservation of ancient migration routes – free from fences and farmland – has created a significant wildlife haven. The sheer quantity of wildlife here increases the chance of spotting once-in-a-lifetime scenes, including lions paddling across rivers or hunting thundering herds of Cape buffalo. But it’s worth tearing yourself away to spend your Botswana holiday discovering its culture. Bushwalks reveal how this forbidding land has served as the San peoples’ pharmacy and pantry for millennia, but also how their traditional, sustainable lifestyle may be withering. Find out more in our Botswana travel guide.

Our top Botswana holidays

Botswana camping safaris

From €1790
14 days ex flights
Botswana's premier game parks, Okavango Moremi Savuti Chobe
Small group2020: 11 Oct, 18 Oct, 1 Nov, 8 Nov, 2021: 3 Jan, 10 Jan, 24 Jan, 31 Jan, 14 Feb, 21 Feb, 28 Feb, 7 Mar, 21 Mar, 28 Mar, 4 Apr, 11 Apr, 18 Apr, 25 Apr, 2 May, 16 May, 23 May, 30 May, 6 Jun, 20 Jun, 27 Jun, 11 Jul, 18 Jul, 25 Jul, 1 Aug, 15 Aug, 29 Aug, 5 Sep, 19 Sep, 26 Sep, 3 Oct, 17 Oct, 24 Oct, 7 Nov, 14 Nov, 21 Nov, 5 Dec, 12 Dec, 19 Dec, 26 Dec

Botswana safari and Victoria Falls

From US $3853
11 days ex flights
An unforgettable wildlife and scenery experience

Best time to go to Botswana

Game season runs from May to October, when dry, sunny days drive wildlife out to the waterholes. Unexpectedly, the Okavango Delta has its highest water levels in dry season, as it takes six months for the rains to filter through to the rivers. The green season arrives in November. It’s hot: up to 33°C in January, and the Kalahari blisters. As water levels sink in the delta the animals scatter further afield – although it’s also the best time to see new-borns and the predators that hunt them. Read more about the best time to go to Botswana.
Botswana temperature and rainfall chart

Map & highlights

Most travellers head for Chobe National Park, where elephants amble in their hundreds of thousands, or to the Okavango Delta to meet the local guides leading bushwalks and mokoro canoe rides. But don’t overlook game reserves like the Makgadikgadi Pans, which is flush with flamingos, or Moremi, the first reserve created by residents. Khama Rhino Sanctuary is busy breeding rhinos and releasing them into the wild. Kasane is more of a gateway than a destination: it’s your route to Victoria Falls.
Chobe National Park

1. Chobe National Park

Chobe is Botswana’s first national park. It has one of the highest densities of wildlife in Africa, and is particularly renowned for its huge elephant herds - total numbers have been estimated up to 100,000. The Chobe River, Linyanti River and the Savuti Marsh comprise the main areas in the 11,700km2 park, and each offers its own unique ecosystem.
Kasane

2. Kasane

Kasane is the access point for Chobe National Park, as well as being the leaping off point for Zambia, Namibia and Victoria Falls. There are many hotels here, which are generally more affordable than the lodges within the park, though this means many more tourists and vehicles, and less of the sense of wilderness that prevails elsewhere in Botswana.
Khama Rhino Sanctuary

3. Khama Rhino Sanctuary

This sanctuary has a successful rhino breeding programme, and to date has relocated 16 rhinos to the wild. There is accommodation for visitors, and activities include game drives, nature walks and rhino tracking; other species here include impala, jackal, ostrich and wildebeest. Khama also runs education programmes for local schoolchildren.
Makgadikgadi Pans Game Reserve

4. Makgadikgadi Pans Game Reserve

Once part of an immense African super lake, Makgadikgadi now consists of many large salt pans – the largest of which reaches 4,900 km2 – which are seasonally covered in water and grass. Wildebeest, zebra and flamingos congregate on the pans, and ancient baobab trees dot the surreal, salt desert.
Moremi Game Reserve

5. Moremi Game Reserve

Moremi was Botswana’s first reserve to be established by local residents, who fought back against uncontrolled hunting and expanding cattle farms. A tapestry of islands, swamps, reeds and channels, Moremi is home to over 400 bird species along with the Big Five. Well-managed tourism means this rich ecosystem remains wonderfully unspoilt, providing a glimpse of the African wilderness at its best.
Okavango Delta

6. Okavango Delta

Africa’s largest inland delta fans out over 15,000km² across the Kalahari, creating an immense oasis for wildlife. Get a hippo’s-eye-view of its fauna and flora in a dugout mokoro canoe, as you float past elephants, giraffes, warthogs, zebra and lions, or take a bushwalk with local community guides for an insider’s perspective.

Must-see safaris

Chobe National Park is an oldie but a goodie. It was the first national park in Botswana, laying out rivers, marshes and deserts that are home to some of the most concentrated pockets of wildlife in Africa, including the largest population of elephants on the planet. Elsewhere, you can see the zebra, giraffes and hippos of the Okavango Delta by mokoro canoe, discover how residents created the Moremi Game Reserve to fight back against hunting and uncontrolled farming, and see how rhino numbers are being boosted at Khama Rhino Sanctuary.

Okavango Delta guide

The Okavango Delta is a wildlife refuge so vast that astronauts can see it from space. It’s the watery landscape that brings animals here; think of it as a giant desert waterhole pieced together by swampland, islands, forests and papyrus-lined rivers. Everything seems to grow to fill out the landscapes, so you’ll find the largest elephant herds in Africa – the giants among over 500 animal species. Safaris in the delta tend to tread gently, following guides on bushwalks and mokoro canoe trips that put you eye-to-eye with the BaTawana communities and wildlife on the ground. Read more in our Okavango Delta travel guide.

Botswana & beyond

Make like a migrating buffalo and forgo country borders to explore a larger swathe of Southern Africa. Namibia, to the west, is a great pairing. You can compare the watery Okavango Delta with the mountainous dunes of the Namib desert, or the seal colonies of Cape Cross with the elephants of the Chobe National Park. Alternatively, plot a course north-east to Zimbabwe, where the Victoria Falls crashes tantalisingly close to the Botswana border and Hwange National Park is a mere extension of Chobe National Park to the 100,000-plus elephants that roam here. Either way, be prepared for long, hot overland drives.

More holiday ideas

Botswana safari and wild camping

From €1740
13 days ex flights
Botswana's premier game parks, Okavango Moremi Savuti Chobe.
Small group2021: 4 Jan, 11 Jan, 25 Jan, 1 Feb, 15 Feb, 22 Feb, 1 Mar, 8 Mar, 22 Mar, 29 Mar, 5 Apr, 12 Apr, 19 Apr, 26 Apr, 3 May, 17 May, 24 May, 31 May, 7 Jun, 21 Jun, 28 Jun, 12 Jul, 19 Jul, 26 Jul, 2 Aug, 16 Aug, 30 Aug, 6 Sep, 20 Sep, 27 Sep, 4 Oct, 18 Oct, 25 Oct, 8 Nov, 15 Nov, 22 Nov, 6 Dec, 13 Dec, 20 Dec, 27 Dec

Botswana safari holiday on a shoestring

From £1195
7 days ex flights
Affordable safari and camping experience through Botswana
Tailor made

Botswana small group lodge safari

From €2740
14 days ex flights
Botswana affordable lodge safari including Okavango
Small group2020: 1 Nov, 8 Nov, 22 Nov, 29 Nov, 6 Dec, 13 Dec, 2021: 3 Jan, 31 Jan, 21 Feb, 28 Feb, 7 Mar, 28 Mar, 4 Apr, 18 Apr, 2 May, 9 May, 16 May, 23 May, 6 Jun, 13 Jun, 27 Jun, 4 Jul, 18 Jul, 1 Aug, 8 Aug, 22 Aug, 29 Aug, 12 Sep, 19 Sep, 3 Oct, 10 Oct, 17 Oct, 24 Oct, 7 Nov, 21 Nov, 28 Nov, 5 Dec, 12 Dec, 19 Dec

Botswana safari holiday

From £2185
15 days ex flights
A semi participation and mobile safari in Botswana
Small group2020: 29 Aug, 12 Sep, 26 Sep, 10 Oct, 24 Oct, 7 Nov, 21 Nov, 12 Dec

Namibia and Botswana camping safari

From €2480
21 days ex flights
Camping safari to Namib desert, Caprivi, Etosha & Okavango
Small group2021: 24 Jan, 21 Mar, 11 Apr, 18 Apr, 16 May, 13 Jun, 4 Jul, 18 Jul, 1 Aug, 15 Aug, 22 Aug, 5 Sep, 12 Sep, 26 Sep, 3 Oct, 17 Oct, 24 Oct, 7 Nov, 12 Dec

Botswana lodge safari

From €2640
13 days ex flights
Botswana affordable lodge safari Okavango, Moremi, Chobe
Small group2020: 2 Nov, 9 Nov, 23 Nov, 30 Nov, 7 Dec, 14 Dec, 21 Dec, 2021: 4 Jan, 1 Feb, 22 Feb, 1 Mar, 8 Mar, 29 Mar, 5 Apr, 19 Apr, 3 May, 10 May, 17 May, 24 May, 7 Jun, 14 Jun, 28 Jun, 5 Jul, 19 Jul, 2 Aug, 9 Aug, 23 Aug, 30 Aug, 13 Sep, 20 Sep, 4 Oct, 11 Oct, 18 Oct, 25 Oct, 8 Nov, 22 Nov, 29 Nov, 6 Dec, 13 Dec, 20 Dec, 27 Dec
Quote. The secret to a great holiday is that it's great for everyone - you, local communities and nature.
Tourist and Masai

More on Botswana

Travelling with kids in Botswana

Family holidays adapt safaris to children's legs and attention spans. The older the child, the more they’ll get out of it. Younger kids will be wowed by the huge elephant herds from the back of a Jeep, sure, but Botswana’s specialities – bushwalking, canoeing and inspiring community initiatives – may well be beyond them. Teenagers are the ideal age, as they’ll know why they need to be quiet on a game drive and can withstand long overland drives minus the tantrums (probably). Lodges in Botswana are well-prepped for families, with extra-large tents and ‘bush schools’ for children.

Real luxury

Traveller and bed numbers are restricted in Botswana, so you don’t have to worry about being just another face in the crowd. Six-tent campsites hide away on private concessions, while luxury lodges live up to demanding environmental principles and blend into the landscape like they’re in full camo. The 47-room Chobe Game Lodge is one of the biggest, complete with electric safari vehicles and above-and-beyond benefits for local staff. These luxury accommodations invest your money where it makes a real, direct difference: you’ll help support communities, protect wildlife and preserve the environment. We reckon that’s money well spent.

Types of holidays

Since you can’t move for wildlife, Botswana holidays are safaris at heart. You’ll stay in lodges and camps that invest deeply in their communities – and pitch up where you can sip a sundowner within roaring distance of the lions’ waterhole. Choose between a tailor made holiday or a small group holiday that places you with a gang of like-minded travellers; it’s often a case of the more eyes the merrier when seeking out wildlife on safari. As well as a set itinerary designed by experts who know and love Botswana, you’ll travel with local guides who can tell a coppery-tailed coucal from an African fish eagle at 100 paces.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Botswana or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Photo credits: [Page banner: 2630ben]
Convert currencies