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Botswana is undoubtedly one of the most incredible wilderness areas on Earth. The south and east consist of the jaw-dropping Kalahari Desert and lunar-like pans at Nxai and Makgadikgadi. The north and west, on the other hand, comprise the dazzling water worlds of the Okavango Delta and Chobe River ecosystem.

This diversity in terrain lends itself to an array of activities to suit virtually anyone with an interest in the outdoors. Whether it’s your first trip to Botswana or your 10th, there is always something exciting to experience in one of Africa’s friendliest countries.

Deciding what to see and do in Botswana is no easy task – safari happens almost everywhere you look in this country! But we’ve been travelling the length and breadth of Africa and tailor-making Botswana safaris for thousands of travellers since 1998. To help you decide, we’ve nailed down our favourite things to do in Botswana:

Meet the San

1. Meet the San Bushmen

Synonymous with the Kalahari, the San are indigenous hunter-gatherer groups that are the first nations of Southern Africa. They conquered this challenging terrain about 20,000 years ago, honing their survival skills over generations. Today you can learn about everything from medicinal plants to folklore about how the eland got its long horns or how the world came into being.

Join the San on guided walking adventures while you learn about their unique culture, their incredible tracking and hunting skills, as well as their extraordinary knowledge of medicinal and poisonous plants. If you’re keen to learn about the life of one of the oldest cultures on Earth, then here is what to do in Botswana.

Best Suited For…

  • Cultural tourists
  • Active and adventurous travellers

Where to Go:

Botswana, Botswana
Deception Valley Game drive Deception Valley Evening Game Drive Deception Valley San Bushmen Deception Valley Lounge Area Deception Valley kalahari Deception Valley Boma Fire Deception Valley Lodge Living Area

Deception Valley Lodge

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Cultural visits Full-day safaris Game drives
Kalahari, Botswana
Its vintage-style safari tents, San Camp provides a complete desert experience on the edge of the legendary Makgadikgadi Pans. Your suite provides views of the surrounds with its endless vistas of golden, rolling grasslands that run endlessly into the horizon. The tents offer enormous four-posters, draped in crisp cotton and feather-soft blankets, raised high above Persian rugs. Personifying African elegance at its best, San Camp is located in a private concession bordering the Makgadikgadi Pans and offers a complete Kalahari Desert experience. Savour the tastes of Africa, San Camp has a reputation for delicious and innovative cuisine – think fresh tomato tartlets, three-layer banana and caramel cake, and the best beef Wellington you’ve ever tried. The gorgeous tea tent, from which guests may enjoy sweet delicacies while overlooking the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. Absorb the compelling energy of your surroundings, this is the perfect spot to relax, unwind and rejuvenate.

San Camp

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Game drives Guided walks High tea on offer
Kalahari, Botswana
KalahariPlainsCamp-Exterior-ArialView KalahariPlainsCamp-UpperLevelBedroom-ArialView KalahariPlainsCamp-Interior-Lounge KalahariPlainsCamp-Dining-Sunset KalahariPlainsCamp-UpperLevelBedroom-LuxuryRoom KalahariPlainsCamp-Bathroom-StandardRoom KalahariPlainsCamp-Interior-Twinbed

Kalahari Plains Camp

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Full-day safaris Game drives Guided walking safaris
Game Drives

2. Guided Game Drives

As Africa Safari Experts, we go on a LOT of game drives and Botswana never fails to enthral. The guides are passionate and the animals are in abundance. This is a wildlife paradise and going on a guided game drive is one of the most exciting things to do in Botswana. It’s almost as easy as throwing a dart at the map of the country and heading there. On a more serious note, if you want to experience Botswana in all its game-viewing glory, head to Chobe to see our planet’s biggest elephant herds and Moremi Game Reserve for a predator spectacle.

Best Suited For…

  • First-time safari travellers
  • Wildlife enthusiasts

Where to Go:

Aquatic Safaris

3. Aquatic Safaris in the Delta

Sanctuary_Baines_Morkoro

Historically the way to paddle around the Okavango Delta, traditional mekoro (canoes) were made from hollowed-out sausage tree trunks. Nowadays, lighter, faster and more environmentally friendly fibreglass canoes are used at almost all lodges. A ride in a mokoro is one of the most serene experiences you will ever have: you are poled along quietly, and your guide will point out beautiful lilies, tiny painted reed frogs and goliath herons. Don’t worry about hippos: the poler taps the side of the mokoro gently to warn them that humans are on the way! It’s the Okavango Delta’s quintessential game viewing ‘vehicle’ and allows you to get closer to animals in ‘the Venice of safari’.

The Okavango Delta is the world’s biggest inland delta and the hundreds of channels through its dense reeds make for excellent power boating. Your guide will cut the engines when approaching water-adapted wildlife like sitatunga antelope, hippo, crocodiles and elephants, but power boating allows you to go further away from your lodge and see more remote areas of the Delta.

Best Suited For…

  • First-time safari travellers
  • Adventurous travellers
Stay at Top Lodges

4. Take in the Views from Top Lodges & Camps

Whether it’s the Savuti marsh, the Chobe floodplain or the Okavango Delta, Botswana delivers views in spades. Fairly flat through most of the country, the sky seems higher and bluer here, the clouds more intense and the sunshine more life-giving. Bring your wide-angle lens to make the most of Botswana’s amazing vistas.

Best Suited For…

  • Honeymooners
  • Discerning travellers
  • Photographers
Birdwatching

5. Go Birding

Before going on a Botswana safari, many clients claim they’re ‘not into birds’. But then they experience the fun challenge of spotting the Pel’s fishing owl in that distant tree or trying to get the perfect shot of a fish eagle’s take-off. After one safari to Botswana with its 550 species, they’re singing a different tune, becoming instant twitchers.

Go in summer (November to March) to experience Botswana’s best birdwatching months. This is when the migrants come in and join the residents for a place that’s chockful of ‘ticks’: pied kingfishers, oxpeckers, black egrets (who hunt fish by luring them into the darkness made by covering the water with their feathers), African fish eagles, giant eagle owls (often found, oddly, sitting on the ground), beautiful carmine bee-eaters; ground hornbills (the inspiration for Zazou from The Lion King), jewel-like malachite kingfishers, and the hardest to photograph of all, flighty lilac-breasted rollers.

Best Suited For…

  • Birdwatchers
  • Wildlife enthusiasts
  • Photographers
Search for Predators

6. Enjoy the Best Predator Sightings

Lots of grass means lots of antelope. And where there are buck, zebra and other creatures coming to drink, you will find some of Africa’s biggest crocodiles. Able to lay still for hours at a time, they lull their prey into a false sense of security before attacking with lightning speed. A tip for photographers: crocs give no indication when they’re about to move and have an uncanny knack for doing something exciting at the exact moment you’re changing a lens or having a sip of water. They’ll keep you on your toes. Head for Chobe, the deep water and lush riverbanks are prime croc territory.

It’s not only the size of the predators in Botswana that’s impressive, but the groups they move in too. The lions of the famous Marsh Pride in Chobe’s Savuti region are among the biggest in Africa. Years of strenuous hunting in deep water and thick marshland has built them into exceptionally powerful hunters known to take down elephants. But even when they’re not hunting (which happens late at night when you’re likely tucked up in bed), lions are still interesting.

The big cat action continues in Moremi Game Reserve, which is renowned for its frequent leopard sightings. This, remarkably, is the only officially protected part of the Okavango Delta, which is a World Heritage Site.

Of course, if you’re really lucky you might even spot lion cubs and leopards learning to take on the big world. Lions are the most social of all the cats and it’s easy to lose yourself in their playful interaction.

Best Suited For…

  • First-time safari travellers
  • Wildlife enthusiasts
  • Photographers

Where to Go:

Okavango Delta, Botswana
MomboCamp-Exterior-ArealView MomboCamp-Exterior-DeckPatio MomboCamp-Entrance-MainEntrance MomboCamp-Dining-BomaCampFire MomboCamp-Exterior-BomaCampFire MomboCamp-Interior-CommunalArea MomboCamp-UpperLevelBedroom-Bathroom

Mombo Camp

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Game drives Photographic safaris Private game-drives
Chobe National Park, Botswana
SavuteSafariLodge-Entrance-MainEntrance SavuteSafariLodge-Exterior-ArealView SavuteSafariLodge-Dining-Elephant SavuteSafariLodge-Dining-Lunch SavuteSafariLodge-Exterior-BomaCampFire SavuteSafariLodge-Interior-GuestArea SavuteSafariLodge-Interior-Lounge

Savute Safari Lodge

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
4x4 Drives Game drives Game viewing
Okavango Delta, Botswana
CampMoremi-Activity-CanoeBoat CampMoremi-Interior-GuestArea CampMoremi-UpperLevelBedroom-BalconyVerandah CampMoremi-UpperLevelBedroom-Lounge CampMoremi-Bathroom-LuxuryRoom CampMoremi-Dining-BomaCampFire CampMoremi-Exterior-BomaCampFire

Camp Moremi

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Boat excursions Game drives
Track the Big 5

7. Track the Big 5 in the Okavango Delta

The Big 5 – rhino, elephant, lion, leopard and buffalo – tops the list of what to see in Botswana for every first-time safari-goer. There’s a very good chance you’ll see all of them in Botswana, especially in Moremi and the Okavango Delta. Rhino, sadly, are under great threat, but innovative conservation programmes are helping these magnificent creatures, who’ve survived for millennia, to live another day.

Best Suited For…

  • First-time safari travellers
  • Wildlife enthusiasts
Meet Meerkats

8. Hang Out With Meerkats

Although they’re cute and cuddly, meerkats are fearless suricates with an amazing social structure and lookout system. Because they’re so fearless, they very soon become habituated to humans and, in fact, begin using us as convenient lookout posts! Head to the Kalahari – meerkats like drier, sandy conditions for burrowing – for one of the best family-friendly things to do in Botswana.

Best Suited For…

  • Families with children
  • First-time safari travellers

Where to Go:

Kalahari, Botswana
Its vintage-style safari tents, San Camp provides a complete desert experience on the edge of the legendary Makgadikgadi Pans. Your suite provides views of the surrounds with its endless vistas of golden, rolling grasslands that run endlessly into the horizon. The tents offer enormous four-posters, draped in crisp cotton and feather-soft blankets, raised high above Persian rugs. Personifying African elegance at its best, San Camp is located in a private concession bordering the Makgadikgadi Pans and offers a complete Kalahari Desert experience. Savour the tastes of Africa, San Camp has a reputation for delicious and innovative cuisine – think fresh tomato tartlets, three-layer banana and caramel cake, and the best beef Wellington you’ve ever tried. The gorgeous tea tent, from which guests may enjoy sweet delicacies while overlooking the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. Absorb the compelling energy of your surroundings, this is the perfect spot to relax, unwind and rejuvenate.

San Camp

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Game drives Guided walks High tea on offer
Kalahari, Botswana
CampKalahari-SwimmingPool-Afternoon CampKalahari-Exterior-FamilyRoom CampKalahari-Exterior-DeckPatio CampKalahari-Interior-Twinbed CampKalahari-Dining-Lunch CampKalahari-Interior-StandardRoom CampKalahari-Interior-CommunalArea

Camp Kalahari

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Cultural visits Game drives Guided walks
Makgadikgadi, Botswana
Jacks Camp, Botswana Jacks Camp, Botswana Jacks Camp, Botswana Jacks Camp, Botswana Jacks Camp, Botswana Jacks Camp, Botswana Jacks Camp, Botswana

Jack's Camp

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Fly camping Game drives Guided walking safaris
Spot Rare Animals

9. Spot Rare & Unusual Wildlife

The Big 5 deserve their reputation as Africa’s heavyweights but smaller, more elusive game should also be on your list of what to see in Botswana. Thanks to successful conservation initiatives, wild dogs are back from the brink of extinction and the Moremi Game Reserve has several breeding packs of these remarkable canids.

Heading to Chobe National Park, look out for large groups of shaggy waterbuck. Very pretty antelope, they have large white rings on their rumps – it’s considered impolite to make wisecracks comparing them to toilet seats! A fairly rare antelope is the beautiful sable; the male’s half-moon horns and glossy blackish coat being the giveaway. Sables are often confused with roan antelope, which are also elusive and have white muzzles but much straighter horns.

The Delta is the best place to see two rare antelope species: the leaping red lechwe and the very shy sitatunga. Spotting a sitatunga is actually harder than finding a leopard!

Another hard-to-find and shy species is the African wild cat. Bigger than domesticated cats but with the same unmissable features, African wild cats are fast runners. They like open grassland – you may get lucky in Savuti or Linyanti.

One of the most stylish looking of Africa’s antelopes, oryx are more suited to semi-desert areas like the Kalahari. The more ‘rings’ a male’s horns have, the older he is. While in the Kalahari, keep your eyes peeled for other desert-adapted animals like brown hyena, aardvark, honey badgers and bat-eared foxes.

Best Suited For…

  • Wildlife enthusiasts
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Saddle Up

10. Game Viewing on Horseback

Horse riding safaris are among the most exclusive things to do in Botswana and are recommended for experienced riders only. Your horse will be habituated to game and you can enjoy cantering through pristine floodplains searching for sitatunga, lechwe and the horse’s equine cousin, zebra. Less experienced riders needn’t despair: many lodges offer gentle outrides for beginners.

Best Suited For…

  • Riders of all levels
  • Active and adventurous travellers

Where to Go:

Kalahari, Botswana
Meno-A-KwenaTentedCamp-Dining-BomaCampFire Meno-A-KwenaTentedCamp-Exterior-ArealView Meno-A-KwenaTentedCamp-Dining-Supper Meno-A-KwenaTentedCamp-Entrance-CommunalArea Meno-A-KwenaTentedCamp-Exterior-Lounge Meno-A-KwenaTentedCamp-Interior-FamilyRoom Meno-A-KwenaTentedCamp-Bathroom-LuxuryRoom

Meno-A-Kwena Tented Camp

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Boat excursions Cultural visits Guided walking safaris Scenic flights
Makgadikgadi, Botswana
Jacks Camp, Botswana Jacks Camp, Botswana Jacks Camp, Botswana Jacks Camp, Botswana Jacks Camp, Botswana Jacks Camp, Botswana Jacks Camp, Botswana

Jack's Camp

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Fly camping Game drives Guided walking safaris
Kalahari, Botswana
Its vintage-style safari tents, San Camp provides a complete desert experience on the edge of the legendary Makgadikgadi Pans. Your suite provides views of the surrounds with its endless vistas of golden, rolling grasslands that run endlessly into the horizon. The tents offer enormous four-posters, draped in crisp cotton and feather-soft blankets, raised high above Persian rugs. Personifying African elegance at its best, San Camp is located in a private concession bordering the Makgadikgadi Pans and offers a complete Kalahari Desert experience. Savour the tastes of Africa, San Camp has a reputation for delicious and innovative cuisine – think fresh tomato tartlets, three-layer banana and caramel cake, and the best beef Wellington you’ve ever tried. The gorgeous tea tent, from which guests may enjoy sweet delicacies while overlooking the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. Absorb the compelling energy of your surroundings, this is the perfect spot to relax, unwind and rejuvenate.

San Camp

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Game drives Guided walks High tea on offer