Africa Safari What to See & Do | botswana tourism boardSample Itinerary | Regions & Attractions | Botswana Safari Experience

What to See & Do

Botswana is world renowned as the premier safari destination in Africa. With nearly 40% of our land reserved as unfenced national parks and game reserves teeming with abundant wildlife and wetlands, it's no surprise that safari activities are at the top of every vacationer's "must-do" list.

But a vacation in Botswana is not complete without making time to visit with local Batswana, explore Botswana's culture and heritage sights, and do a little shopping for that "just right" souvenir to remind you of your perfect Botswana vacation.

Our friends at ©World Travel Guide publish a list of Top Things to Do and Top Things to See in Botswana. We like these lists and want to share them with you.

Top Things to Do

  • Experience a sundowner. Sip a cool drink and enjoy a glorious sunset at the end of a satisfying afternoon game drive.
  • Go on a walking safari - not for the faint-hearted but an exhilarating experience. In the hands of an experienced guide, you'll see nature in close-up, and may, if you're lucky, get thrillingly close to wild animals.
  • Climb on the back of an elephant for a safari trek to remember. As well as learning all about elephants, you may see zebras, giraffes, gazelles and other animals - with no distracting vehicle noise.
  • Float along on a mokoro, a traditional Okavango Delta canoe, expertly poled by a local guide who stands in the stern. Originally made from hollowed-out wood, but now just as likely to be fibreglass, they offer an unforgettable perspective.
  • Fly over the Kalahari Desert in a hot-air balloon, and experience the thrill of landing in an open floodplain.
  • Experience some of the best sport fishing in Botswana, in the Okavango Delta and Chobe river systems. You can also fish near Shashe, Bokaa or Gaborone.
  • Mountain bike through the bush of the Mashatu Game Reserve in the Tuli Block, stopping to watch passing elephants.
  • Take off from Maun by helicopter or light aircraft to get a bird's eye view (and take some amazing photographs) of the Okavango.
  • Experience Botswana's culture in Serowe, a village with historic royal cemetery; in Lobatse with its Livingstone Memorial and the Botswana High Court, and in Gabororne.
  • Roar across the Makgadikgadi Pans on a quad bike, reveling in the wide-open vistas.

Top Things to See

  • Spot antelopes in the Gaborone Game Reserve and the Mokolodi Nature Reserve, and giraffes striding through the Khutse Game Reserve. Be dazzled by flamingoes on the Makgadikgadi Pans.
  • Search for lions and leopards stalking their prey or just lazing around in the shade in the Moremi Game Reserve.
  • Steer clear of charging buffalo in Chobe National Park, and marvel at hippos, while watching out for crocodiles, along the Chobe River.
  • Grimace at rare brown hyenas in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park, a bi-national Peace Park created on ancient animal migration routes between Botswana and South Africa.
  • Admire Botswana's remaining rhinos, carefully protected from poachers, at the Khama Rhino Sanctuary in Serowe.
  • Watch baboons playing in scattered rocky kopjes in the Savute area, the northern shore of the prehistoric lake that once covered most of Botswana.
  • Visit the Tsodilo Hills, considered a sacred site by the Bushmen; known to have been inhabited for at least 100,000 years, these isolated hills are decorated with thousands of rock paintings.
  • Venture into the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Remote and virtually unexplored, it's a refuge both for animals and the country's few remaining Bushmen.
  • Gaze at the pot pourri of rocks, millions of years old, that make up the incredible scenery of the Tuli Block. For a longer gaze, stay at one of the private game ranches in this ruggedly beautiful countryside.
  • See the Okavango Delta, an extremely beautiful region of vast grass flats, low tree-covered ridges and narrow, shallow waterways opening into lagoons which fill with water during the annual flood.

Each of Botswana's geographic regions has its own unique appeal, attractions and activities. Want to learn more? More Highlights of What to See and Do are outlined in this section.

Safari Activities

Game Drives - Botswana's game drives, in open 4WD vehicles, offer superb wild-and-bird life viewing. Many experts claim game drives in Botswana are the best in all of Africa due to the quality of wildlife, the ability to drive off road, exclusivity with few other vehicles, as well as the ability to offer night drives in selct privatee reserves areas throughout the country.

Mokoro - Think gondolas on canals in Venice and you have the right mental picture. Long the local mode of transportation in the Delta, the mokoro is a dugout canoe that is powered by a guide standing up and poling through the wetlands of the Delta. The ultimate in relaxation and serenity while viewing wildlife at water level, a mokoro ride is paramount for a proper Delta experience.

Walking - Guided walking safaris are typically a two to three hour activity in the Delta-Chobe area. This type of safari provides a different, and highly recommended, perspective by moving slowly over the ground,

Interacting with the bushman culture - Genetic studies have shown that the Kalahari bushman are the original humans on earth. Learning their ancient survival skills is a unique and amazing opportunity, and you can experience their tremendous skills in action as they guide visitors to find lions, leopards, and other predators.

Horseback / elephant riding - There are just a few camps that offer horseback or elephant riding in Botswana safari areas, but for the adventurous this is an experience not to be missed.

Quad biking (a.k.a. ATV riding) -This is done at the Makgadikgadi Pans, Racing across the pans on quad bikes is an exhilarating experience. It is possible while quad biking in the pans to find stone age tools made thousands of years ago by ancient bushmen, you Quad biking is a seasonal activity depending on when the pans are dry but typically done between June 1 and the end of October. Once the rains come it is not possible to quad bike because it will damage the pans.

Mountain biking - Active adventure travelers can experience a safari - from a few hours to multiple days, on a guided cycling safari in the Tuli Block.

Hot Air Ballooning - This "uplifting" experience can be enjoyed in the Tuli region or in the Kalahari Desert.

Flora and Fauna

Botswana has an astonishing diversity of flora and fauna details of which can be found on the Botswana Tourism Board global web site. Click the following topics for detailed information.

Mammals
Birds
Reptiles
Plants

Nightlife

In Botswana,"early to bed, early to rise" is a familiar phrase, particularly on safari trips where getting up at sunrise for an early morning safari activity is the norm. Nightlife in the bush camps and lodges revolve around a mellow evening of star-gazing, sharing stories around the fire pit, or relaxing with fellow guests in main lodge salon.

Even in the capital city of Gaborone, nightlife is limited, as most Batswana are early risers. Vacationers can choose from dining and enjoying a drink at local or hotel bars and restaurants, seeng a movie at the cinema, attending a theatrical production at the cultural centre or gambling at one of the two casinos in town. Some bars host live music sessions at weekends.

In the laid-back tourist town of Maun, there are a handful of restaurants, a small cinema and a clutch of places to grab a cold beer with fellow travelers and the friendly locals.

Shopping

Buying friends back home, or maybe for yourself, a "special something" that reminds you of your vacation of a lifetime in Botswana? The Batswana are known for their woodcarvings, handcrafted jewellery, textiles and attractive basketry - all make a memorable souvenir of your trip. The Okavango Delta villages of Etsha and Shorobe are particularly famous for Ngamiland-style baskets. Modern Bushman art and ostrich-eggshell jewelery can be browsed and purchased at D'Kar, 40km (25 miles) north of Ghanzi. There also periodic exhibitions at the National Museum in Gaborone where you can purchase local artists' art and crafts.

 

 

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