Botswana, a country the size of France, sits centrally in Southern Africa. A roughly almost round territory, it is bounded by Namibia to the west, the Caprivi Strip (Zambezi region), and Zambia to the north, and Zimbabwe and South Africa to the south. Oddly enough, the borders of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are supposed to meet in the middle of the Zambezi river, although this exact point has never been precisely determined. One of the reasons for this is that Namibia and Zimbabwe don’t actually border each other, Botswana and Zambia border between the two and it is the shortest border in the world, only about 700 m.
Before its independence in 1966, Botswana was a British protectorate known as Bechuanaland. The country is now named after its dominant ethnic group, the Tswana. Since its independence, the Republic of Botswana has gained international stature as a peaceful and increasingly prosperous democratic state. It is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the African Union (AU), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The unspoilt heart of Africa
There are few places on Earth that can offer the variety and pristine splendour of Botswana. This land-locked country is home to an abundance of game that includes great herds of buffalo and the big five. Interestingly enough, the Kalahari Desert covers about 70% of Botswana, making it sparsely populated and unspoilt.
If you’re looking for a safari that will show you the authentic heart of Africa and a host of wild animals, and you want to go big on travel that promises incredible viewing opportunities, then Botswana offers you the best all-round choice of adventure and riveting engagement within an astonishing environment.
- At counterpoint to the red Kalahari desert is the Okavango Delta, a World Heritage Site – truly one of Africa’s last remaining Gardens of Eden. It’s the world’s biggest inland delta, featuring a meandering composition of wetlands and woodlands, and is home to some of the best bird watching you’ll find on the African continent.
- The best vantage viewpoints on the Chobe river which will provide sightings of elephants and buffalo along the banks are from a boat. From a boat, you’ll have the added opportunity to spot plenty of hippos and crocodiles.
- Botswana also sports good numbers of big cats such as lions, leopards and cheetahs, along with hyenas. Because the delta’s floodplains are packed with antelope there are also excellent opportunities for catching sight of the endangered wild dog, which remains a highly prized sighting.
- Some regions of Botswana are at their best in the dry season; others during the green summer months. If you’re planning a Botswana safari, you’ll need to find out where to go for the kind of experience you want.
This extraordinary contrast to the Kalahari presents an astonishing oasis in the vast red sands of the desert. An emerald-green paradise, it forms the centrepiece of most Botswana wildlife experiences. It’s the one place – the one-stop shop – you need to visit if you want to experience lush woodlands teeming with nearly all the animals found in Botswana.
Chobe National Park
For real engagement, you will have to include Botswana’s big game reserve, Chobe National Park, literally the place of elephants. The best time to visit is between June and October when enormous herds congregate on the Chobe river. Further south is Chobe’s Savuti region, the legendary setting for interactions between lions and hyenas.
Caprivi Strip (Zambezi region)
Then there are the wild wetlands that border the Caprivi Strip, offering a peaceful and utterly unforgettable Botswana experience. Expect superb game viewing – especially in the June to October dry season.
Partake of a night drive
The topography around the western reaches of the Limpopo river boasts dramatic rocky landscapes, huge baobab trees and plenty of elephant sightings, all of which offer a unique and varied safari experience. For real excitement consider a night drive in search of nocturnal residents – among them the elusive leopard, aardvark and caracal.
The Heuningland promise
With extensive experience as a field guide and tour leader for the last 25 years, Douwe Vlok from Heuningland Tours can tailor an itinerary for any individual or group. We can take you anywhere in Southern Africa on a specialised photographic, stargazing, birding safari or scenic tour.
Heuningland: African & Karoo tours to stir the heart and lift the soul
We are proudly South African and have a fervent love of the Great Karoo, its people and its unique vegetation and animals. We are passionate conservationists of nature and would like to share our knowledge acquired through years of travel and touring experience. We are therefore able to offer custom-designed and distinctively different tour options:
- Hiking/camping trails or guided self-driving tours through the ancient landscape of the Karoo.
- Tailormade safaris to any destination in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, and Botswana.
Find out more at: www.heuningland.com