Botswana gained independence from the British in 1966 and has a superb record of democratic elections and the lowest corruption ranking in all of Africa. It is home to only 2.3 million people, making it one of the most sparsely populated countries on Earth. The economy is growing fast, being dominated by mining, cattle farming and tourism, and the country’s residents have a relatively high standard of living.
Botswana is roughly the size of France or Texas, and predominantly flat. It is dominated by the Kalahari Desert, which covers up to 70% of its land surface. The Okavango Delta, one of the world’s largest inland deltas, is in the northwest. The Makgadikgadi Pan, a massive salt pan, lies in the northeast. In addition to the delta and desert areas, there are huge tracts of grasslands and savannas, creating a very diverse environment for some spectacular fauna and flora species.
With almost 40% of the country’s surface occupied by national parks and game reserves, it is clear why Botswana is one of Africa’s top safari destinations. The country has a genuine commitment to conservation of the environment, wildlife and cultural heritage, making it a leader in eco-tourism on the continent.
Botswana includes iconic destinations like:
• Chobe National Park, with its huge numbers of African Elephants (80,000 at last count),
• Savuti, with its big carnivore populations, especially Lion and Spotted Hyaena,
• the rugged and unspoilt Mashatu Game Reserve, offering horse-back safaris, cycling safaris and walks in the wild,
• Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the second largest reserve in the world,
• the famous one-of-a-kind Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site,
• the diverse and bird-rich Moremi Game Reserve, also a hotspot for African Wild Dog, and
• the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, a pioneering conservation effort with neighbouring South Africa.
Botswana’s fauna include an incredible 164 mammal, 589 bird and 150 reptile species. Iconic mammal species include Africa’s Big Five (Rhino, Lion, Leopard, Elephant and Buffalo), Cheetah, African Wild Dog, Hippopotamus and 22 species of antelope. Top bird species are Pel’s Fishing Owl, Cape Vulture, African Skimmer, Wattled Crane, Slaty Egret, Rufous-bellied Heron, Coppery-tailed Coucal, White-backed Night Heron and Western Banded Snake Eagle. The country also boasts 2,500 species of plants and 650 species of trees. Truly remarkable diversity!
Whether your thing is old school open vehicle safaris, mokoro(dug-out canoe) rides, birdwatching, wildlife photography, camping (or even glamping), quad biking, fishing, or 4×4 off-road adventures you are sure to enjoy yourself in Botswana. It truly has something for everyone. It is also a place where you can restore your soul; once in the Botswana bush you will appreciate the quiet and peaceful tranquillity, away from our modern distractions, that only this wonderful country can offer.
Just 2 hours away by air from Cape Town or Johannesburg, Botswana is an easy African safari choice for both the discerning traveller and the hard-core adventurer. Furthermore, it is the safest country in Africa to visit according to the worldwide Travel Risk Index. It is also close to a myriad of other southern African attractions, including Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls, Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, Namibia’s Etosha National Park and Caprivi Strip, as well as South Africa’s excellent game reserves and parks.