Botswana: 5 Amazing Destinations
We take a look at one of the world’s most interesting countries to visit and suss out what it has in store.
The year has just begun and already, there are numerous lists of places to visit and things to do before 2016 draws to a close. There are only 10 months left so… Joining the list of things to see and do is none other than Botswana. Located in southern Africa, it has been named the must-visit country by Lonely Planet, ahead of Japan and USA. The travel guidebook has even taken the liberty of selecting just a few things to look forward to in Botswana, some of which are more famous than the country itself.
The Kalahari Desert
Situated between Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, the 900,000 square meter desert is one you certainly can’t miss. Expect temperatures to soar to 42°C (108F) in July and August. The extreme heat, doesn’t stop vegetation from calling the harsh plains home, alongside springboks, lions, hyenas, meerkats and antelopes.
While you will be one with nature, you never have to skimp on creature comforts out in the desert. Our recommendation, is Jacks Camp on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Pans. Spacious and elegant canvas tents with ensuite bathrooms and outdoor showers are available. The safari provided by the camp, will even allow you to walk through the Kalahari amongst wild meerkats and spot the elusive brown hyena.
The Okavango Delta
This breath-taking natural landscape is the world’s second largest inland delta and is home to a bevy of wildlife. Stretching over 18,000 square meters in the north of Botswana, the UNESCO World Heritage site is a result of the Okavango River finding outlets in the Kalahari Desert; the river famously never makes it to the ocean. The islands formed over time from this natural process, are now home to wading birds, elephants, wild beasts and hippopotamuses.
It is recommended that you join an organized safari to visit the area. Our personal favorite is the Camp Okavango. Having been recently rebuilt, the camp boasts 11 guest suites and one family suite. The accommodations are built around local vegetation and are connected by a walkway through the trees. For a truly magical vantage point of the expansive Okavango Delta, try the elevated suites.
The Thamalakane River and Maun
Head to the Southern end of the Okavango Delta, to enjoy a romantic sunset at the Thamalakane River. While you’re there, make a trip to the nearby town of Maun a mere 19 km away and let it serve as a base for the trip to Moremi Game Reserve, also located within the Okavango Delta.
Chobe National Park
One of Botswana’s key tourist destinations, the national park is the third largest reserve in Botswana. With 40,000 elephants living in the park located near Kasane, they are a huge attraction, literally. Spotting other species within the park, is certainly not difficult with more than 250 calling it home.
Our choice in accommodation, is the Chobe Safari Lodge, with several different styles of rooms available. From the Safari Rooms, each with its own private patio, to the Riverside Rooms with a riverside garden frequented by the resident monkeys and mongooses, the lodge caters for those looking to enjoy Botswana in style. The lodge also has accommodation that is closer to nature with Rondavels and campsites that are scattered around the Chobe River.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Temperatures can be even higher here than the Kalahari (42°C in the shade,70°C out in the open) but that doesn’t stop this 38,000 sq km park from being the ideal location for Africa’s impressive birds of prey. The star however, is the gemsbok or Oryx gazella. Aptly named, the “place of thirst” allows visitors to follow a route along two dried up rivers which are said to flow only once a century.
This story was written in-house, based on a destination report from the AFP. All images are from the AFP