Renowned for being the gem of Africa’s game viewing and conservation crown, Botswana’s 4×4 routes, safaris and tours offer a unique wildlife experience.
The extreme and varying landscapes from the lush vanishing waters of the Okavango Delta, the parched expanses of the Makgadigadi Pans and the desert wilderness of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park are the ideal setting for Botswana safari’s rich in Big 5, game and bird viewing opportunities. Here are Drive South Africa’s top 5 Botswana 4×4 safari hotspots and Game Parks to visit when on a Botswana self-drive tour.
The Okavango Delta
[Photo By Lawrence Murray]
The largest inland delta in the world, the Okavango Delta is an oasis of untouched wilderness crammed with Botswana’s animal life. The park spans 15 000 km² of lush lily-covered lagoons, lakes and hidden channels and is home to some of the largest herds of Botswana Elephants and Hippos.
Canoe trips in local Mokoro’s (hollowed out sausage trees)provide a unique and exciting way to get within an arm’s reach of the wildlife as well as being a heck of a lot of fun to learn to steer.
Guided walks through the plains and thigh-high treks through the waterways are another great opportunities to get up-close-and-personal to Africa’s Big 5 without the division of fences.
The ideal time to visit is in Botswana’s dry season, between May and December, when the game are attracted to the cool oasis of the waterways.
The Makgadigadi and Nxai Pans National Park
The starkly beautiful and surreal glistening white plains of the Makgadigadi Salt Pans stretch out in a never-ending expanse and are a stunning setting in which to enjoy a Botswana safari.
The wildlife refuge spans 230 km ² over some of the harshest desert and salt pan terrain in Botswana and is home to an incredible collection of Botswana bird life and game including the Big 5 of Africa.
Huge herds of wildebeest, zebra, buffalo and other grazers fill the glistening mirage of the pans attracting cheetah, jackal, hyena and prides of lions in their wake.
The main Sau, Ntwetwe and Nxai pans are the only remnants of an enormous inland lake which dried up less than 1 000 years ago.
Apart from its incredible wildlife and birdlife, the Makgadigadi and Nxai Pans National Park is also home to the famous Chapman’s Baobab. Africa’s largest tree is 80 ft in circumference and over 3 000 years old.
Chobe National Park
[Photo by Roy Costello]
The countries second largest game reserve, the Chobe National Park is renowned for the largest herd of elephants in Botswana. 4×4 tours and safaris through the richest Big 5 game viewing areas on the continent will offer up a non-top thrill of natural splendor and wonder.
Sunset river safari cruises along Botswana’s Chobe River allow you to get close to the trumpeting elephant herds lining the river banks and let you snap some amazing photo’s of clashing male hippo bulls in the shallows all whilst enjoying Africa’s most picturesque sundowners whilst listening to the sounds of the Botswana bush life.
Moremi Game Reserve
[Photo by Andrew Coyle]
Africa’s most beautiful wildlife reserve, the Moremi Game Reserve stretches over 4, 871 km ² of mopane woodland, acacia forests, floodplains and lagoons filled to the brim with Botswana’s rich natural wildlife.
The sandy river banks, grass plains and magical waterways of the park are home to everything from lion, elephant, rhino and leopard and hyena to the endangered African wild dog species which is still spotted quite frequently on 4×4 safari Botswana tours throughout the park.
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park
Located in the Kgalagadi District, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park is Africa’s first formally declared trans-border conservation region connecting the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa to the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana. Your 4×4 safari Botswana couldn’t get better than this.
Kgalagadi means “Land of Thirst” and the characteristic Kalahari desert landscape stretches out in picturesque seas of sand dunes and sparse vegetation. The 3,6 million km ² of the park are Botswana’s best 4×4 territory and are home to herds of well-adapted Gemsbok and the famous black-maned Kalahari Lions.
When traveling through Botswana, 4×4’s are not essential as roads are in good condition but they are preferable your car should at least have good clearance to avoid you missing out on any of the wildlife that may be hiding in the tall grass.
Planning a 4×4 trip and need to hire a 4×4 vehicle locally, you might want to have a look at 4×4 hire to find the best vehicle for your adventure.