Botswana safaris offers an amazing array of landscapes and wildlife, making it one of Africa's premier travel destinations. At Rhino Africa, we have several Travel Experts who have first-hand knowledge of Botswana's many destinations, including Chobe National Park, Okavango Delta and the starkly beautiful Makgadikgadi Pans. We'll give you the best advice on where to go and which luxury accommodation to choose for your stay.
The permanent lagoons and deep channels of the Okavango Delta offer perennial water activities. The highlight of any visit is a trip on a Mokoro (it's a kind of dugout canoe, think African gondola), meandering through spectacular landscapes abundant with big game. Further west, the expansive Kalahari Desert scrubland offers endless horizons and glittering night skies while the cracked, desolate splendour of the neighbouring Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans promise peaceful isolation.
Chobe is best known for its massive herds of elephant and the vast array of wildlife that can be viewed by land or by water. The more remote areas of Linyanti and Savuti are considerably quieter and offer spectacular game viewing experiences. Most lodges in the park emphasise informality, simplicity, and soaking up the unique wilderness experience. You can access many of these lodges by light aircraft transfers. The terrain of the Tuli Block, its surrounding areas rich in San rock art and the remnants of ancient civilisations will bring life to historical textbooks.
A Botswana safari is a truly remarkable experience that will create lasting memories and awaken a deep passion for Africa. We hope you're ready!
We've taken the liberty to answer everything you may need to know about visiting Botswana
Botswana is a year-round destination, with each season offering unique wildlife opportunities and activities. However, one of the best times to visit Botswana is the dry season, from June to October, when the Okavango Delta is in full flood, and you can experience water-based activities like mokoro excursions. However, some lodges have a permanent water source at or near the lodge, offering water-based game viewing all year round.
Botswana has three distinct seasons: bone dry, sodden and somewhere in between. Each has their own attractions; each has their caveats; each one offers a slightly different Botswna safari experience.
- Green or Low Season: November to March
- Shoulder or Mid Season: April to May
- Dry or Peak Season: June to October
January to February – Green Season (Low Season)
Summer in Botswana means rain. A time of plenty when every living thing from beetle to baobab has a spring in its step. Hot, humid days yield spectacular thunderstorms from anvil-shaped clouds that pelt the ground and soak the very air. Ironically, despite this daily deluge, the Okavango Delta shrivels to a third its size and, with abundant surface water and grazing in every direction, the wildlife disappears into thick vegetation that blankets this ancient inland seabed.
Wildlife sightings may be unpredictable, but the green season is, however, the best time for birding with migrants and breeders turning the place upside down. And with many safari lodges in Botswana positioned alongside permanent water channels you can still enjoy the trademark Botswana water safari. Without the crowds, the pace is altogether gentler (if that even seems possible). So if you’re somewhat fatalistic about your game viewing and more interested in the experience, you’ll appreciate our excellent low season rates and specials for Botswana.
March – Green Season (Low)
Game viewing improves from March as the rains ease and wildlife returns to more accessible dry season areas. Vegetation is still thick and the days hot and humid, although not as bad as earlier in the year. Bridging the transition from low- to mid-season rates, March is an excellent time to nab that last-minute special.
April to May – Shoulder season (Mid)
Autumn ushers in the end of the rainy season. April and May are excellent months to visit Botswana when rates are lower and visitors fewer than peak season while the game viewing experience is good with a bit of hit-and-miss thrown in.
The floodwaters reach the panhandle of the Okavango Delta hitting full flow by the end of May. The days are warm, evenings are cool and the rain has all but disappeared. The bush is still green and dense but the watering holes start to dry up, sending wildlife towards more permanent sources such as Moremi, Okavango and Chobe. Green season specials are not available anymore, but rates are still lower than during high season from June to October.
June to August – High Season (Peak)
The Okavango River is in full flood by June and winter is in full swing. Expect warm, dry days and cold Kalahari nights. The animals won’t see another drop of rain for the next six months and the vegetation thins out till we’re in game-viewing prime time. Another bonus: it’s too cold for mosquitoes so you’ll hardly see any.
With water at a premium and the bush thinned out, your game viewing is at its best. Expect frequent sightings of elephant, buffalo and antelope crowding around what water sources remain and where competition is fierce. Land-only camps and those in Okavango Delta, Moremi and adjoining private reserves offer excellent game drives and many are located adjacent to some sort of permanent water source.
September to October – High Season
The best time to visit Botswana for a Big 5 safari is right at the end of the country’s parched winter. September and October are the hottest, driest months of the year and, at the end of a long, dry winter, food and water are dangerously scarce forcing wildlife into even greater concentrations around whatever feeding and watering places they can find. This is also the best time to visit Chobe, where you'll see massive elephant herds along the river. It's also the best time to go to the Linyanti, Kwando and Selinda reserves.
November – Start of Green Season (Low)
This is an unpredictable month that could be wet or dry, depending on the timing of the rain. However, it will still be exceptionally hot. November is dry, making it great for game viewing at the watering holes as the animals congregate. Game viewing is still good. However, there might be fewer animals gathered in one area. Green season specials start.
December – Green Season (Low)
Summertime and the rainy season officially arrives in spectacular fashion with crackling thunderstorms unleashing their pent up winter fury. Botswana's landscape turns from all shades of brown to all shades of green and its lambing season, so you’ll see baby versions of everything knocking about mommy’s legs. December is also the best month for bird watching. A joyous time of new beginnings and sylvan bounty, December may not offer the best game viewing, but you do get the lowest rates, fewer visitors and jelly-legged springboks learning the pronk.
Your Botswana safari cost ranges from about $400 to $4,000 per day. And that’s why you need us, Africa’s leading safari company, to help you get the best Botswana safari experience out of your time and budget. As with all of our tailor-made itineraries, several major factors affect your total Botswana safari cost:
- Time of year with great variance between low and high season accommodation prices.
- Type of accommodation.
- Duration of stay with excellent deals to be had by adding a few extra nights to your itinerary.
- Where you go with the cost going up proportionally to the remoteness of your destination. A world-class safari lodge in the Okavango Delta will tap the coffers more readily than a world-class safari lodge on Chobe River.
- Your choice of safari activities, which can range from included-in-the-price game drives to raid-the-college-fund balloon safaris.
Safaris in Botswana are special for so many reasons it’s impossible to list them all. With three radically different game reserves each adjacent to the other for easy access and all three among the largest and most wildlife-packed in the world, Botswana consistently ranks among aficionados as Africa’s best safari destination.
Chobe National Park
With the grand Chobe River marking its northern boundary and vast woodland savannah to the south, Chobe National Park has the highest concentration of elephants anywhere in the world and is our go-to destination for the classic Botswana safari. Vast herds of antelope, zebra and large herbivores attract the attention of Africa’s famous predators including lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena. To make sure you see all the wildlife you want to see, your safari in Botswana should invariably include several nights in the Chobe area.
Enveloping one of the largest national parks in the world, the Kalahari features endless acacia-dotted grasslands, shimmering salt pans and some serious wildlife action. This is classic Botswana scenery – and classic Africa scenery for that matter – with enormous skies and deep silence being reason enough to visit this semi-arid landscape.
The pride of Botswana is the world’s largest in-land delta. An infinite network of picturesque channels rises and falls with the annual rains and supports the full spectrum of Botswana’s incredible wildlife in large numbers and great concentrations. A Botswana safari is simply incomplete without a visit to the Okavango Delta.
While you can certainly hire a car and drive around Botswana, this is not the best option. Distances are vast and many safari lodges are so remote they’re only accessible by air, boat or specialised 4x4 safari vehicles.
It is far easier, quicker and better value to get to Botswana by air from Johannesburg or Cape Town in South Africa, landing either in Maun for the Okavango Delta or Kasane for access to Chobe National Park. And for when you’re in Botswana, the safari lodges all have access to landing strips and light aircrafts are pretty much the standard mode of inter-lodge transfer.
Another popular and highly recommended option to get to Botswana is via Victoria Falls, just a short road transfer or flight to Chobe. Victoria Falls is equally well-served from South Africa with direct flights from Joburg and Cape Town.
The Okavango Delta is located in a malaria area. However, it is entirely possible to have a safe, worry-free holiday in Botswana with the variety of preventative malarial meds available. You can further safeguard your holiday by following this simple tips:
Tip 1 - Repel the Mosquitoes
The female mosquito responsible for transmitting malaria is a silent flyer and, while she feeds any time of day, she is most active at dusk and dawn. Apply repellent to your exposed skin and wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and long trousers in the evenings and mornings. All of our Botswana safari lodges have screened windows and doors and mosquito nets to guarantee a peaceful night.
Tip 2 - Take Your Anti-Malaria Medicine
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself against malaria is prophylactics. Please note that you have to speak to your doctor before taking the medicine to ensure that you take the right type and dosage for your body.
Tip 3 - Keep an Eye Out for Symptoms and Finish Your Meds
If you notice any flu-like symptoms (and have ruled out COVID-19) you must demand a malaria test to be safe and catch it early because malaria reacts well to early treatment. Also, don't stop taking your meds until the course is complete.
Please note well: we are neither doctors nor experts on infectious diseases; always speak to your doctor about malaria prevention several weeks before travelling to a malaria area.
Botswana’s history in modern times is a fascinating study of good fortune being put to good use. The country has benefited from a rich natural resource base, efficient government, and an extremely low population density in a rare post-colonial African success story. In contrast to some of its regional neighbours, Botswana enjoys more than five decades of uninterrupted peace, sustained economic growth and progressive environmental conservation.
Botswana is one of the world's largest diamond producers, with annual revenue streams in the tens of billions of dollars. Mining has facilitated a modern infrastructure, including a paved highway across the vast swathe of The Kalahari. Tourism and agriculture add their fair share to the GDP ensuring one of the highest standards of living in the entire continent.
Wherever you go in Botswana, it's the limitless space that makes the strongest impression. With a population density of approximately three people per square kilometre, Botswana is defined by natural spectacles. Along the legendary riverfront of Chobe National Park, some of Africa's largest elephant herds roam unhindered alongside rare species of antelope.