Botswana offers travelers an unforgettable experience that only a few other places in Africa can match. If Africa was to introduce a Representative to showcase the best of this continent, the perfect candidate would be Botswana. This country is the full package of what Africa has to offer which is the reason why you need to visit Botswana at least once in your lifetime and if you haven’t already added Botswana to your travel bucket list, have your list handy after reading this post about ’12 reasons why you should visit Botswana’, you will definitely need to update your bucket list.
1- Visit Gaborone, the Capital
Gaborone, the capital of Botswana is located in the South Eastern side of the country. Gaborone is only 25 km (15 miles) away from the border of Botswana with South Africa. Gaborone is one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa, one of the most developed cities in Africa, as well as being one of the cleanest cities in Africa.
This city started booming in the 1970s when they discovered diamonds in the country. Gaborone is a cool city with all the amenities a modern city would have. The good weather and welcoming people have made visiting Gaborone in your Botswana journey, a must.
Gaborone is minutes away from some of the most fantastic protected national parks that make for a convenient safari trip. You can easily explore the pure wilderness and get back to your comfortable hotel room in Gaborone if you’re not a camping person.
You can also drive to Pretoria or Johannesburg in South Africa that is only about 3.5 hours drive away from Gaborone. What would be more interesting than visiting both Botswana and South Africa in one trip?! It’s like having the bests of both worlds.
You can find the best hotel deals in Gaborone, here.
2- Nature is at your doorstep
The great thing about a safari in Botswana is that most of the camps embrace their natural surroundings without fences, allowing the wildlife to roam free in their natural habitat. Elevated walkways at our new camp, Rra Dinare, link the rooms to the main lodge, except for the last two units on the northern end where the path drops down to the ground level allowing the passing game to stroll through. The resident Buffalo dagga boys are a common sight around camp, hence the name Rra Dinare which means Father Buffalo in the native language.
Motswana camps (the word used to call someone/something from Botswana) aren’t fenced at all which enables the visitors to see the lions, buffaloes, and other animals from the balcony of their residence.
Kadizora Camp in Okavango Delta is one of the best options to experience the luxury and wilderness at the same time. You can sip on your afternoon drink on your private balcony while looking at elephants and giraffes passing by.
3- Bird-watching Paradise
Almost 600 species have been recorded in Botswana’s wide range of habitats, making Botswana a paradise for any avid birdwatcher. Bird-watching in the open floodplains is generally easier and better than in rain-forest regions where thick vegetation and high forest canopies seriously limit sightings.
It is better to pursue watching these cute colorful creatures in the open floodplains than the rain-forest regions since the eyesight could be annoyingly limited in the forests due to the thick vegetation.
The best time for bird watching in Botswana is from November to March, during the ‘green season’ since the birds congregate in high numbers at various birding hotspots across the country. Thunderstorms gather in the afternoons providing relief from the summer heat and help create mesmerizing sunsets.
Best Places for Bird-watching in Botswana
- Okavango Delta is the best place to spot the Wattled Cranes and small, dark Slaty Egrets.
- Chobe riverfront is the best place to see the African Skimmer (under extinction threat) and the African Fish Eagle, especially during summertime.
- Nata Bird Sanctuary, near Francistown, is the perfect place to visit the world-famous Pink-backed pelicans as well as other water birds such as the Cape Teal.
- Kalahari is for the professional birdwatchers who like to make the most out of their bird-watching plan in Botswana. This gorgeous desert is an amazing place to spot Ostrich, Gabar, Pale Chanting Goshawks, Black-breasted Snake Eagle, Greater Kestrel, Northern Black Korhaan, Caspian Plover, Double-banded Courser, and the colorful Swallow-tailed Bee-eater.
4- Elephants in Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park, covering about 11,700 sq. km, is Botswana’s first national park, established in 1968. Encompassing floodplains, swamps, and woodland. The Chobe River forms its northern boundary and is definitely one of Africa’s most beautiful rivers.
This accessible and frequently visited national park is known for its giant residents, the elephants. The best time to spot these gorgeous elephants in Chobe National Park is during the dry months of May to September when enormous numbers of these pachyderms converge upon the river to drink, bathe and play. With a population of 100,000, it’s almost impossible to fail at seeing elephants with your own eyes.
Chobe National Park is not all about elephants though. Other exciting animals like buffalo and lions also reside there. Throughout the years, lions have had to learn how to haunt the buffaloes. There are also numerous antelope and other plains game as well as vast pods of hippos wallowing in the shallows of the River Chobe. And as mentioned earlier, birdlife is also fascinating which means you should have your binoculars with you.
5- Magical Sunsets
The most magical scene in the whole Africa is the sunsets in Botswana. The view is so beautiful that one cannot explain it, it’s something to experience first-hand. Almost every day at dusk time, the golden hour starts where the sky seems to be on fire, each flame having its own shade of orange, red, or yellow. It even gets better if you have a traditional sundowner drink in your hand while looking at this unique routine of Botswana’s sky.
6- Sunny weather year-round
The weather in Botswana is mostly sunny throughout the year with colder nights during the Winter months and occasional afternoon showers during the Summer months.
Botswana enjoys sunny weather throughout the year. Winter nights could get chilly though and there are some occasional afternoon showers during the summertime. But in general, Botswana’s climate is an enjoyable one year-round.
7- Zebra Migration
Botswana is where the largest Zebra migration in the world happens. About 25,000 zebras migrate more than 300 miles across Namibia and Botswana—farther than any other known African mammal. The population of zebras surprised biologists by making a more than 300-mile beeline across parts of Namibia and Botswana—the longest big-mammal migration ever documented in Africa. The annual zebra migration takes place around November every year, and it is a spectacular sight. Zebras start their migration through the Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan National Parks in search of water and lush grazing grounds.
8- Luxury House Boats
Chobe River is a stunning African river in south-central Africa flowing through Angola and Namibia’s Caprivi Strip and into the Linyanti Swamp on the northern border of Botswana.
A Chobe River safari would be one of the laziest and most memorable safaris of your life. You can relax on your bed in your private room in a luxury houseboat and watch hippos and crocodiles trying to find a spot for themselves in the riverside, and look at elephants stepping inside the river and using their trunk as a snorkel to breathe while cooling off in the water. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Fish eagles, herons, and pied kingfishers are only a few birds to name that live around the Chobe River. What could be better than chilling on your bed while sipping on your delicious African wine and enjoying a view that no other bedroom window in the world can offer?
Staying on a houseboat enables you to experience nature’s wonderland in the Chobe River. Being on a houseboat means that you’re permanently on safari. If you’re a photographer, a houseboat like Pangolin Voyager Houseboat is your best bet, as the staff understands your photography needs and they even have chairs with a built-in camera stand that lets you take those amazing animal and bird shots you always wanted and let the crew take care of the rest of your needs.
The Chobe River supports a diversity and concentration of wildlife unparalleled anywhere else in the country, so why not see it from your own floating lodge?
9- Canoeing on Selinda Spillway
The formerly dry Selinda Spillway has been recently filled with the water being pushed from the Okavango River thanks to subtle tectonic plate movements. You can go Canoeing on Selinda Spillway and experience being all along, surrounded by the true wilderness (if you don’t count your canoe rider). This is experience is one of a kind and knowing that very few other people have done it in the world makes this experience even more special.
10- Botswana’s commitment to Environment Conservation
With over 38% of the land is protected for wildlife and nature conservation, Botswana is a world leader in Eco-tourism. This amazing attitude of the country ensures a clear vision and stable future for Botswana and its human and animal residents.
Tourism is booming in Botswana and the government is managing it perfectly, not by putting pressure on nature, but thru coexisting with the environment and encouraging everyone to practice tourism-based activities as green as possible. Having this commitment leads even more visitors to Botswana since most tourists would love to spend their money somewhere that not only doesn’t destroy nature but also helps the conservation programs.