Botswana, a beautiful gem in the heart of southern Africa, is a landlocked, varied nation famed for its Kalahari Desert expanses, lush Okavango Delta and the rich wildlife that calls this African country home. It is easily one of Africa’s top travel destinations and thus, a gorgeous country well worth exploring!
In this post, we look at four of the best things to do in Botswana, a nation touted (and rightly so!) as one of the best safari offerings in Africa.
1) Disappear into the Verdant Okavango Delta
Arguably one of the most unmissable attractions and unique places in Botswana is the Okavango Delta.
This vast inland river delta, which lies in northern Botswana, is one of the most popular tourism drawcards and natural wonders in southern Africa.
Known for its expansive grasslands that teem with wildlife and flow with water (especially after seasonal floods), the Okavango Delta is a truly glorious part of Botswana.
This wetland region is home to a wonderful array of birdlife and animals. This means that the Delta is hugely protected, while still being richly savoured by both locals and travellers alike.
Not only is the Okavango Delta a great place to witness incredible birds and wildlife in their peaceful natural habitat but it also offers unforgettable travel experiences for all. Including things like motorised boat- and iconic mokoro-cruises, walking safaris, wildlife spotting, horse riding safaris, helicopter- and balloon-flights and more.
Add to this, stunning accommodation offerings, guided tour experiences and an impressive glimpse into Botswana’s pulsing natural heart and the Okavango Delta is a destination that should be on everyone’s African bucket list!
2) Explore the Incredible Central Kalahari Game Reserve
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is not only the largest game reserve in Botswana (covering some 52 000+ square kilometres) but this amazing game reserve is also one of the most famous in Africa.
Although this game reserve, found in central Botswana, is an incredible African jewel, it is one that is perhaps best explored with experts.
A sound knowledge of the reserve and ample travel preparedness is vital to safely exploring this, at times, overwhelmingly vast reserve. You need to have everything from ample fuel to water- and food-supplies readily on-hand for the duration of your trip.
As such, travellers are discouraged from exploring this reserve by themselves. However, with so many excellent tour operators and dedicated professional guides to be found, exploring CKGR (as the local tour guides refer to it) can be a great adventure!
When planning an authentic, if not more adventurous African safari, a visit to the CKGR should be top of your list.
Not only does this vast, remote reserve offer unique, rich natural beauty after its own fashion but it is also famed for its breathtaking bird- and animal-sightings.
With herds of plain-roaming game, like gemsbok or springbok, hartbeest, giraffe, cheetahs, eland, wildebeest, Oryx, ground squirrels and even the mighty, black-maned lion calling it home, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is a haven for wildlife and safari experiences.
Birdlovers can also enjoy amazing birdwatching, with everything from Secretary birds to raptors found here.
Better still, in the drier months, the landscape changes further, offering up desolate pans (and thus, great photo ops) by day and amazing stargazing by night.
Some of the CKGR’s most famous attractions include the Sunday- and Leopard Pans, Piper’s Pan, Deception Valley and Passage Valley to name a few.
With this and the chance to also learn about the San people’s historic, natural way of life, two lodges (within the reserve) and more lodges and campsites beyond it, the CKGR offers an absolutely wonderful travel experience for wanderlust-seekers to savour.
3) Discover the Amazing Chobe National Park
Our next unmissable local destination is Botswana’s iconic Chobe National Park.
Hailed as one of the best parks in southern Africa and a true wildlife haven, Chobe National Park offers visitors the chance to enjoy both beautiful, lush vegetation and amazing wildlife in one.
Thanks to its many waterways and the Chobe River, which runs through the park, birds and animals are drawn in their droves to these
bodies of water during the dry season. This, in turn, leads to imcredible wildlife sightings and rich birdwatching.
Chobe’s gateway is a small town on the borders of Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia called Kasane. Here, despite the town’s somewhat diminutive size, travellers can unearth a treasure trove of excellent hotels, luxury lodges and tented camps.
Guests can either stay in Kasane itself or choose to transfer to the park accommodation, which, in turn, offers everything from unfenced campsites and luxury- and eco-lodges to noteworthy tented camps.
Boat cruises and riverside game drives provide rare sightings, incredible photo opportunities and of course, the unique chance to explore Chobe National Park in the safest, most memorable ways possible.
4) Admire the Louvre of the Desert: Tsodilo Hills
Last but by no means least, we have the fascinating Tsodilo Hills.
Tosodilo, which has sometimes been dubbed the ‘Louvre of the Desert’, is a rich archaelogical area that is home to some 4 500 historic, and indeed sacred, rock paintings.
Tsodilo Hills is a most impressive quartzite outcrop that rises up from the otherwise flat sandveld like an otherwordly rock fortress.
Home to some 400 rock art sites, at Tsodilo, visitors can enjoy marvelling at over 4 000 different, individual rock paintings. The paintings depict everything from humans and domestic animals to wildlife and even geometric shapes. As such, the rock art is a sight to behold and a truly historic natural attraction to boot!
Local communities consider this unique place – found roughly 53 kilometres south-west of the village of Shakawe, in Botswana’s southern corner – a spiritual home, where ancestral spirits still dwell.
Yet it is not just the cultural beauty and rich heritage that make Tsodilo so uniquely unforgettable, for the natural surroundings also make this national monument and UNESCO World Heritage Site a truly special place to discover for yourself.
Aside from the rock art, travellers can also enjoy climbing the hills and exploring the nearby trails, as they experience the area’s natural surroundings from the ground up.
The closest accommodation is found at Shakawe. Alternatively, as there are no official campsites near the Hills, you can also apparently camp nearby.
As one of Africa’s most iconic bushman rock art sites, Tsodilo Hills is a worthy stop-over destination. Having said this, don’t just pass on through; dedicate at least a day (or more) to exploring this unique, revered area.
These are just four of the most incredible things to discover in beautiful Botswana. Which sounds most interesting to you?