Botswana

Botswana is one of Africa’s most consummately diverse nations, with expansive salt pans, arid grasslands, meandering waterways and striking deserts. From the Okavango Delta to the Kalahari Desert, wildlife is abundant, though greatly changeable throughout the year. While many will spend just a few short days in Botswana, its varied landscapes and spectacular fauna offer more than enough attraction for a prolonged stay.

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activities & experiences

Quite simply, Botswana is Africa. With the flood plains of the Chobe River and Okavango Delta, the grasslands of Moremi Game Reserve and many others, and the barren expanses of the Kalahari interior and Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, it offers every environment for which Africa is so well known, and myriad ways to experience them.

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If you are searching for the quintessential African immersion, Botswana is one of few countries that will provide you with almost every experience you could wish for. From trekking the Kalahari and spending a night under the stars with the San Bushmen to game drives incorporating the Big Five of African wildlife and the inimitable experience of the Okavango – on horseback, canoe or by helicopter – Botswana has it all, and so much more.

  • Canoe the Okavango Delta for a spectacular immersion in nature
  • Spend the night under the stars on the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans
  • Wildfowl, game & remarkable landscapes are a photographer’s dream
  • Horseback safaris entice the equestrians
  • Experience the Big Five: lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and Cape buffalo
  • Helicopter trips and fly camps give you a unique perspective of the Delta
  • Grasslands inspire hikers & walking safari enthusiasts
Activities
Zebra, Okavango Delta, ©Mary Lundin

destinations

For many, Botswana is the Okavango Delta. Indeed, this fascinating estuarine region offers more than enough stunning scenery and copious nature to justify its status as Botswana’s primary drawcard. There is, however, so much more to this remarkable country, with vast salt pans, expansive grasslands, the Kalahari Desert and remarkable local cultures.

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  • Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. Towards the end of the rainy season, when pools have filled and foliage is rich, the salt pans of Makgadikgadi National Park are abundant with life. Wildebeest, pelicans, kudu, giraffe, springbok and one of Africa’s largest zebra populations fill the region, and of course, the predators that continually shadow them in their migrations. Best experienced on a fly camp, a night on the plains in the barren dry season is like camping on a different planet. The pans are also home to majestic baobab trees, their rotund trunks swollen with water that can sustain them through even the harshest of droughts.
  • The San Bushlands. The fascinating San peoples are among the oldest cultures in the world, likely descendants of the first inhabitants of Botswana, with artefacts discovered dating back some 45,000 years. The egalitarian hunter-gatherer culture has afforded the San an exceptional knowledge of their somewhat inhospitable homeland, wisdom frequently shared with guests and visitors. The Tsodilo Hills offer a glimpse back in time, the site of numerous archeological finds and impeccable, ancient cave art.
  • Chobe National Park. Chobe encapsulates the iconic safari experience. Numerous luxury camps are dispersed throughout the park, with the Chobe River on its northern border attracting vast herds of herbivore, wildfowl and larger game. Chobe entertains some of the most accessible elephant colonies in Africa, and is one of the best destinations to witness the Big Five;  lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo.
  • Moremi Game Reserve. Covering one third of the Okavango Delta, Moremi also contains wide expanses of scrub and grasslands. Home to a populous array of wildlife, one of the reserve’s primary attractions is the elusive rhino, recently reintroduced into this carefully protected region to support and increase numbers of this threatened species.
  • Manyelanong Game Reserve. Less than two hours south of Botswana’s capital of Gaborone, Maynelanong is another polarity in Botswana’s diversity. One of the only places in the world to view Cape Griffon Vultures in the wild, the name literally means ‘where vultures defecate’ on account of the white-capped sandstone cliffs upon which they roost.
  • Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Best visited shortly after the rainy season, the expansive grasslands are one of the finest exhibitions of the circle of life. Newborn herbivores are corralled by their protective herds, prowling carnivores or on constant vigil, ready to pounce upon unattentive stragglers and the abundance of nature is simply staggering.

accommodations

Botswana is renowned for creating camps and lodges of exceptional quality. Whether you are searching for a camp under canvas or the convenience of an established family lodge, there is a wealth of choice for you.

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Several camps offer the rustic excitement of a tented camp with the comfort of modern luxuries, bridging the gap between luxury lodge and classical canvas, their thatch and fabric tents giving you early colonial nuances with all the creature comforts.

For a family stay, several of the larger camps and numerous lodges provide plenty of space for everyone, with expert guides escorting you on game drives for all ages. This allows larger groups the ideal base camp for further explorations of the Okavango and beyond.

Honeymooners or those celebrating their relationship will fall in love all over again at some of Botswana’s smaller, more intimate camps. Embraced by nature and delightfully secluded, Botswana also offers the exquisite opportunity for a night or two in open-aire treehouses, the safe and tranquil settings feeling like a complete escape from the world.

For the more adventurous, you can even spend a night on the open salt pans of the Makgadikgadi. Botswana truly has something to offer for everyone.

Contact your travel designer to discuss the perfect venue for your vacation.

Accommodations

BOTSWANA ESSENTIALS

001 Calendar 01

BEST TIME: 
Apr-Nov is drier, but Botswana has plenty to offer all year round

003 Thermometer 01

CLIMATE: 
LOW: 44-73ºF (6-25ºC) June – July
HIGH: 64-95ºF (18-35ºC) Oct – Nov

002 Blood 01

SEASONS: 
DRY: Apr – Nov / WET: Dec-Mar

004 Group 01

BEST FOR: 
Photographers, Equestrians, true safari seekers

With such diversity under your safari boots, it is well worth discussing a complete itinerary with your travel designer. Fly camps, light aircraft transfers and a range of accommodations combine to make the very best of Botswana.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

HOW LONG SHOULD I SPEND IN BOTSWANA?

We advise spending at least four days in Botswana, even if you are only wishing to highlight one or two specific experiences. You could very easily spend two weeks or more in Botswana alone, and with its wealth of life, it is, in many regards, a ‘complete’ African experience.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT?

Botswana enjoys good wildlife viewing throughout the year despite varied weather. Dry season temperatures can be extreme in both directions, ranging from 40°F (10-12°C) in the mornings and evenings to 90°F (mid-30s°C) during the daytime.

Peak season is between July and February, with the plains rich in life and the delta in flood. While in many ways this time provides the ‘best’ of Botswana, it is also the busiest time of year, so if you are searching for seclusion, it might be better avoided. Discuss the right time to visit Botswana with your travel designer.

Botswana has two seasons: rainy or ‘green’ and dry. From November to April the rains fill the Okavango, both with water and migratory wildfowl. While spectacular, and numerous regions of Botswana providing numerous unique experiences, the morning and evening rains require you to be a little prepared and pack accordingly. From May to October the rains abate, giving way to lush grasslands that become progressively parched as the dry season continues. Early mornings and evenings can still be a little chilly, so warmer jackets are required, though the heat of the day will also require a good supply of lighter clothing.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM ACCOMMODATION IN BOTSWANA?

Accommodation is as varied as the nation’s landscapes. Luxurious lodges and remote canvas-roofed camps are scattered across Botswana, taking the greatest advantage of the country’s most iconic offerings. Chobe River even boasts the luxury Zambezi Queen, a deluxe riverboat with 14 plush cabins. Wherever you go and wherever you may stay, you will find exquisite venues with service second to none.

Like everything else in Botswana, you will find excellent international cuisine from the chefs throughout your safari. As always, for specific dietary requirements, please inform your travel designer who will ensure that your needs are expertly catered for.

Guiding is of a very high standard in Botswana and you always be in experienced hands, informatively guiding you to the perfect destination to witness nature at its finest.

OTHER DETAILS:

Visas are not required for most visitors, but inoculations may be recommended. We suggest you contact your travel designer or a travel medicine specialist for advice.

Tswana is the official language of Botswana, but you will find English widely spoken throughout the country.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Wow, wow, wow!! We are back in LA now, recovering from jet lag and still in shock and awe regarding our experience. From the moment we landed in South Africa to the moment we touched down in LA, our experience was seamless and amazing. 

- Amy Lundberg

We were thrilled with the trip. It was as good as or better than described at every turn. The prep, attention to detail, willingness to make changes and ensure we were ready and prepared was outstanding. Our Travel Designer was awesome! 

- Betsy Robertson

Choosing a safari expert is never easy given the choice and lists upon lists of "top suppliers"....but we made the BEST choice for us....why....because above all, Rothschild listened ....really listened to what we wanted to experience.

- Dawn Jacobs

It was a well organized trip. It was easy to get around since we were guided through all of our itinerary. Everyone was pleasant and very helpful. This is an excellent way to travel. Rothschild Safari did very well and brought a fantastic African experience to us.

- George Kowalski

My trip was beyond AMAZING! I truly enjoyed every moment. The itinerary allowed me to experience a variety of different activities all of which I enjoyed! When I originally thought of going to Africa I was just thinking of safaris. This trip opened my eyes (and my family/friend's) to so much more Africa has to offer.

- Jackie Smith

Trip was PERFECT!! Every single detail was planned out and the accommodations and people were wonderful. This trip exceeded all of our wildest expectations. Every place we stayed was just lovely and each each camp had a different vibe, which was really neat. Everyone we worked with was outstanding. 

Jamie Scarlett

On behalf of the Moravec’s and the Stone’s……thank you for arranging a trip of a lifetime. Every detail was accounted for and all the recommendations were perfect. It honestly could not have gone any better.

Joe Moravec

Meggan Woody and Kim Killick were extraordinary at crafting THE PERFECT safari for our family of 8. They both listened (actually 'read' my email) to EXACTLY what we wanted, within the budget that we needed, and miraculously pulled off miracles in obtaining the properties that we wanted! 

Kim Mather

Every aspect of my trip went according to plan and the plan Rothschild's help me to orchestrate was magnificent! I loved every lodge that I was blessed to be in! They were all very different yet all high end and very accommodating.

Lisa Anderson

It was the most exciting, scenic, inspiring trip we've ever taken. To say it was a trip of a lifetime doesn't begin to capture our experience. Pam Langhoff and the Rothschild team did an outstanding job of helping us plan this trip.

Mary & Rob Johannigman (& family)