The Ultimate Botswana Safari Self-Drive
Simply put, there’s just nowhere like it anywhere in the world.
Its deserts, salt pans, and deltas with their abundance of wildlife and bird species, really make Botswana one of the most beautiful places to explore. Escape the hustle of everyday life and experience the feeling of freedom nature brings with her, at your own pace.
And whether you’re a romantic at heart or not, you’ll fall in love with the breathtaking sunsets.
Best Time to Visit
I’d recommend visiting during the dry season which is from May to October when the animals migrate to the waters and make for beautiful game viewing and excellent photo opportunities. Don’t be fooled by the use of the word dry that is normally associated with spiking warm temperatures though. The temperatures are mostly pleasant during the day but can become very cool at night especially from June to August so please do pack enough warm clothes.
Being a “rough it” and outdoorsy type of person I would recommend a 4x4 for literally any journey, but for Botswana, it’s a must as most places are only reachable by 4x4. Personally, I prefer a Toyota Landcruiser for its robustness and reliability, and let’s be honest it makes you look and feel like a true 4x4 self-drive expert! You’ll find plenty of river crossings and this is a great vehicle for this type of terrain. A little tip from my side: Always adhere to the rules and regulations of the various parks and walk each river crossing first to make sure it’s not deeper than the wading depth of the vehicle. Companies like Drive South Africa offer a range of 4x4 vehicles and I’ve seen the Toyota Landcruiser there for under R1500 per day.
Places to Visit
The Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland river delta in the Northern parts of Botswana, is one of Africa’s few remaining wildlife habitats. Think of it as a beautiful lush oasis occupied by the most diverse variety of animals you can think of everything from elephants, hippos, zebras, lions to antelopes, and even hyenas and so many om interesting bird species.
Chobe National Park, situated near the Okavanga delta boasts large herds of elephants, giraffe, and Buffalo along the river in the dry months. For the birding enthusiasts, Chobe is said to boast more than 450 species of birds so get your binoculars out for some once in a lifetime finds.
Then you have Makgadikgadi salt pan, well technically it’s made up of many salt pans, surrounded by the Kalahari Desert. Its beauty is in its simplicity.
– Take a Mokoro trip in the Okavango Delta. You’ll find yourself in the most peaceful and relaxing place, drifting between the reeds, gentle rippling sounds of the flowing water surrounding you while watching the animals happily munching away by the water’s edge.
– Book a walking Safari and end the day off around a crackling fire, surrounded by nature, sharing stories from your day, paraffin lanterns flickering away in the night, the smell of freshly baked bread, and meat grilling over the hot coals. They are known for their quality meat so do yourself a favour and take advantage of this while you’re there and don’t be surprised if the prices seem like they haven’t been updated since the ’90s.
– Walk with the meerkats at Jacks Camp in the Makgadikgadi Pans. Yes, these adorable creatures will entertain everyone young and old.
– Book a helicopter flight over the Okavango Delta to experience the vastness and true beauty from above
– Take the family on a fun quadbike exploration of the Makgadikgadi Pans.
These are really just the highlights for me and I’m sure on your safari you’ll find plenty of other places that will become a favourite to you. Botswana is a photographer’s dream, so do take photo’s to capture those unforgettable memories, but also don’t forget to just enjoy the trip and be in the moment.