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Holidays in Botswana

Burnt orange sunsets. Desolate salt pans melting into the horizon. Thousands of elephants wading through a vast riverine delta. Botswana is a land packed with natural drama and one that can lay claim to being one of Africa’s last remaining true wildernesses.

Going on safari here is a luxury holiday in all senses, from the top-class camps and lodges pitched in its wild heart to the close-up encounters of one of the densest wildlife populations on Earth. The Okavango Delta is rightfully Botswana’s head-turner, an extraordinary web of watery channels fed by the Angolan highlands that snake past papyrus reeds, forested islands and emerald floodplains. It’s an otherworldly oasis in the arid Kalahari Desert and wildlife rules here; the roars of lions and leopard are a daily soundtrack, hippos yawn and birds soar as you glide past in a mokoro (traditional dug-out canoe) on a river safari and herds of elephants wander the lush plains between here and neighbouring Chobe National Park.

The Kalahari couldn’t be more different. The salt pans of Makgadikgadi National Park look more like the surface of the moon, until the November rains set in and it becomes a sodden paradise for zebra, giraffe and lions – just one of a long list of wildlife-filled memories you’ll capture on your trip to Botswana.

Botswana Highlights

1. Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

Home to the ‘Big Five’, Moremi Game Reserve is nestled in the heart of the Okavango Delta. It offers a rich array of experiences, with safari game drives slicing through mopane woodland and dry savannah where you can glimpse the ‘Big Five’, red lechwe, impala, cheetah and more within just an arm’s length. Hop on a river safari aboard a traditional mokoro (dug-out canoe) for a relaxing wildlife experience; ford the delta’s marshland and lagoons, parting reeds to reveal herds of elephants drinking from lush islands and the eyes of the odd crocodile glinting in the afternoon sun. However you choose to explore Moremi’s landscapes, make sure you look up. Nearly 500 bird species flit the reserve, from a malachite kingfisher perched on a reed to a coppery-tailed coucal swooping overhead.

2. Outer Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta isn’t just about Moremi, though. With wildlife free to roam through the whole delta, spotting opportunities are just as abundant closer to its fringes and arguably more exclusive. Places like the Gomoti Plains in the south-east offer walking safaris (not offered in Moremi), a raw experience in the riverine landscape where it’s just you and your guide on foot tracking down hippos, lions and rhinos, among others. In the north-east, the Khwai River area offers self-driving opportunities for those staying in nearby camps, with it being one of the best places for spying leopards and also African wild dogs, thanks to a number of nearby dens.

3. Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari is a land that’s worlds away from the riverine Okavango Delta. The vast Makgadikgadi Pans seemingly go on forever, the barren milky plains melting into the horizon and only disturbed by the lonely baobab tree. On a first glance, it can be difficult to comprehend that anything can even survive here but small year-round watering holes draw wildlife. Springboks, oryxes and brown hyenas all come here to quench their thirst but the Kalahari lions are the stars of the show and bigger than their peers in the Okavango.

4. Savuti and Selinda game reserves

Located in the far north of the Okavango Delta, this pair of game reserves offer sprawling grassland once fed by a pair of dried-up river channels. While elephants and lions are in healthy numbers here, perhaps the greatest drawcard Savuti and Selinda game reserves hold is the unique way you can experience them: on horseback. Cantering through the African bush truly is exhilarating, even if you aren’t a seasoned rider.

5. Victoria Falls

Yes, we know it’s not in Botswana but this thundering cascade, which straddles the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, is well worth a visit as an epic add-on to any Botswana trip. What’s more, there’s a multitude of ways to experience this UNESCO-listed, mile-long curtain of water, from a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter ride through the spray to simply feeling the cooling mist on your face from a number of viewpoints.

Wambaa-Beach
TURQUOISE ISLAND OF THE MONTH: FUNDU LAGOON, PEMBA ISLAND

This secluded island hideaway is the epitome of a barefoot paradise. Set on a beautiful beach on little known Pemba Island, just a short hop north of Zanzibar, Fundu Lagoon defines twenty-first century Robinson Crusoe shabby-chic! There’s simply nowhere better for an idyllic, laid-back island escape.

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TURQUOISE ISLAND OF THE MONTH: FUNDU LAGOON, PEMBA ISLAND

This secluded island hideaway is the epitome of a barefoot paradise. Set on a beautiful beach on little known Pemba Island, just a short hop north of Zanzibar, Fundu Lagoon defines twenty-first century Robinson Crusoe shabby-chic! There’s simply nowhere better for an idyllic, laid-back island escape.