Botswana Safari Reviews From Local Experts & Travelers

Botswana Safari Reviews: From Acclaimed The Bespoke African Safari Co. Experts and Original reviews written by our most recent Botswana travellers.

​Expert Reviews – Botswana

Emma Gregg – UK. Visited: Multiple times
Emma is an award-winning travel writer for Rough Guides, National Geographic Traveller, Travel Africa magazine and The Independent.

“Low-impact safaris at their best”
Rating: TripAdvisor ratings by The Bespoke African Safari Co.

Due to my fervor for sustainable, responsible wilderness experiences amidst breathtaking natural environments, I find Botswana exceedingly difficult to criticize. It is the epitome of safari travel, with a multitude of lodges, tour operators, and individuals who are deeply committed to wildlife conservation and environmental stewardship. There is an unparalleled diversity of pristine habitats in no other African nation, ranging from russet-colored dunes to shimmering seasonal wetlands. The semi-arid Kalahari Desert encompasses more than eighty percent of the landmass. However, enormous numbers of animals, including the iconic Big Five (lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, and rhinos) and rare species like red lechwes, pukus, sitatungas, and wild dogs, overwhelm the sandy basins and salt pans during distant rainfall.

Northern Botswana, which receives considerably more water than southern Botswana, is home to the country’s most popular safari destinations. While Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta are widely regarded as must-see destinations, the more tranquil private reserves situated intermediate to them also offer exceptional experiences.
Although independent exploration is feasible, the majority of visitors choose to participate in an organized safari. Almost every variation is accessible, such as elephant-back, camping, trekking, self-driving, and horseback riding. As a result of a national policy that prioritizes high-spending, low-impact tourism over mass-market alternatives, prices tend to be high, but so are standards; in my opinion, Botswana’s finest lodges, camps, and guides are among the highest in all of Africa.

Stephen Cunliffe – ZA. Visited: Multiple times
Stephen is a travel writer and avid conservationist whose work appears in prestigious magazines such as Africa Geographic and Travel Africa.

“Desert to Delta and Everything In Between”
TripAdvisor ratings by The Bespoke African Safari Co.

Botswana is extraordinarily magnificent and diverse. An area characterized by low population density and arid conditions, which is host to the internationally acclaimed Okavango Delta, an inland delta teeming with fauna that was created when the Kavango River discharged its vital waters into this desolate domain. The Okavango Delta and its Moremi Game Reserve are considered to be in competition with the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem in East Africa for the designation of “Africa’s preeminent wildlife safari destination.” It is exceedingly difficult to adequately summarize the Okavango safari experience in a few sentences; however, I can state with certainty that this teeming wildlife region is among my top three safari destinations in Africa. Nevertheless, Botswana has much more to offer discerning safari enthusiasts than the Okavango…

Chobe is the elephant heartland of Africa, and these pachyderms are in astounding concentrations nowhere else on the continent but in the northern Botswana region of Chobe. The Savute channel, which is in close proximity, is equally renowned for its lion population as Makgadikgadi and Naxi Pans are for their enthralling saltpans.

In the southern region, the Kalahari Desert is the predominant terrain. Off-the-beaten-path safari options are available in the rolling dunes of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the expansive sands of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and the diminutive Khutse. These areas cater to individuals who appreciate expansive horizons, arid, unexplored landscapes, and the remarkable survival of wildlife in these arid, desolate lands. The reviving sensation that permeates the vast expanses of this secluded desert wilderness more than offsets the extreme temperatures and logistical complexities of the Kalahari, in my opinion.

Botswana has deliberately determined that the emphasis of its safari industry should be on excellence rather than sheer volume. Employment and revenue are generated by a limited number of high-paying visitors, who do not tamper with or pollute the environment. As a result of this foresighted approach to the development of wildlife tourism, the nation currently possesses everything: breathtaking scenic beauty, unparalleled wildlife observation opportunities, and an enchanting wilderness atmosphere.

James Bainbridge – UK Visited: September
James is a travel writer and author of many Lonely Planet guides, including senior author of the guide to South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.

“Southern Africa’s Safari King”
TripAdvisor ratings by The Bespoke African Safari Co.

Botswana is suitably recognized as one of the preeminent safari destinations in Africa. The tranquil, stable nation encompasses Chobe National Park, the Makgadikgadi salt pans, the Okavango Delta, and the Kalahari , all of which provide an abundance of settings for wildlife photography. Over the course of two weeks, I witnessed an abundance of unforgettable sights: lions prowling through the dazzling white moonscape of Nxai Pan National Park, wild dogs hunting, a leopard perched in a tree with a newly caught impala, elephants traversing the Chobe River…

Botswana is, in my opinion, the most magnificent safari destination in southern Africa. Moremi Reserve and other Botswanan reserves lead visitors deeper into the forest, allowing them to spend more time in the animals’ territory and observe a greater variety of their interactions, in contrast to many parks in neighboring South Africa. Whether you are participating in an inexpensive expedition or a high-end safari, you abandon the tarred roads far behind and immerse yourself in the African wilderness.

One limitation is that a Botswana safari is not inexpensive. In fact, the government’s conservation strategy stipulates that Botswana’s parks and reserves remain relatively exclusive, thereby restricting the number of visitors. Self-driving safaris are feasible if one possesses a four-wheel drive vehicle equipped with the necessary equipment and the necessary expertise to traverse the wilderness. However, for the majority of individuals, an organized safari represents the most convenient option. Group “mobile safaris,” during which campers travel to various locations, are one option; expeditions originating from five-star lodges are another.

During my visit, I rented a vehicle in Maun and traveled to Planet Baobab to explore the salt pans. I then returned to Maun for a one-week Bush Ways Safaris excursion through Moremi and Chobe. The itinerary effectively incorporated elements of both self-guided and guided travel.

Botswanan excursions should be reserved in advance. Safaris differ from most vacations not only in their level of popularity but also in the manner in which they require preparation: accommodation, flights, and transfers must be arranged in conjunction with the safari reservation (the majority of safari operators can assist with all of these details).

Despite this, the cost and effort are well worth it. In terms of unforgettable animal encounters, authentic African landscapes, and bushlife immersion, Botswana is comparable to the Serengeti.

Gemma Pitcher – AU Visited: Multiple times
Gemma authored several Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guides to Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa.

“The first class airline cabin in of the safari scene”
TripAdvisor ratings by The Bespoke African Safari Co.

Botswana is the airline cabin of first class in the African safari landscape. Generally costly, exclusive, and well worth the investment. One of the most magnificent wilderness regions globally, the Okavango Delta is a must-visit for any safari enthusiast. While the majority of the camps and lodges in this area are exceptional, it is also worthwhile to consider a mobile safari (which offers the opportunity to truly immerse oneself in the wilderness and is available in a variety of luxury levels). Botswana safaris rely heavily on mokoro (traditional dugout canoe) travel; however, to avoid developing numbness in the soles of your feet, I recommend limiting your mokoro excursions to a few hours and opting for more comfortable motorboats for extended stretches. Alighting amidst the Delta offers an unforgettable vantage point of this expansive natural region, should one be able to afford the expense.

Although the Delta dominates most visitors’ itineraries to Botswana, I also fell in love with the nation’s salt pans—vast, unsettling white expanses interspersed with alarming rock formations. If you have additional time on your schedule, I strongly suggest venturing onto this iridescent inland sea via quad cycle; the experience will be unforgettable.

Heather Richardson – ZA Visited: Multiple times
Heather is a British travel / conservation journalist, and has written for publications and broadcasters such as the BBC, Departures, the Telegraph and the Sunday Times.

“Delta safaris and silence on the salt flats”
TripAdvisor ratings by The Bespoke African Safari Co.

The sole drawback associated with Botswana as a safari destination is its exorbitant cost. This is in accordance with the nation’s high-priced, low-visitor-count tourism strategy, which prioritizes upscale sites in order to maintain the solitude of parks and reserves.

The Okavango Delta is frequently regarded as the safari industry’s most desirable location, and I’ve had the good fortune to witness the following on the majority of my visits there: lions climbing trees (unusual in this region) and killing buffalo; multiple packs of wild dogs; relaxed leopards; elephants, giraffes, honey badgers, and hyenas. The water attracts an abundance of fauna and creates a picturesque landscape.

Although the delta is the most well-known region of Botswana, the Makgadikgadi salt pan, located just south of the delta, is one of my favorite landscapes in the entire country and my favorite portion of the delta. A jumble of modest settlements are scattered about, followed by an immense expanse of lake Makgadikgadi, an extant body of water comparable in size to Switzerland. Observing the sun set while seated on the crusty salt pan with the cacophony of silence in my ears was an experience I will never forget. In addition to robust lions, large male elephants, brown hyenas, meerkats, and bat-eared foxes, this area is teeming with large herds of wildebeest and zebras.