Must-see places to visit in Botswana.
Set on the banks of the beautiful Thamalakane River in northern Botswana, Maun is the third largest town in this spectacularly scenic southern African country.
Maun is the starting point for most expeditions into the Okavango Delta and as a result, has developed into a bustling metropolis that is considered Botswana’s tourism capital.
Area attractions include a renowned riverboat that offers cruises up and down the Thamalakane River; the forest groves of the Maun Game Reserve; and the Moremi Game Reserve, home to hippos, lions and rhinos. Maun also serves as the jumping-off point for many safaris and air charters as well as offers 4x4 rentals. Don’t miss the Nhabe Museum exhibiting the local history, art and culture of the Ngamiland region.
Situated 300 kilometres southwest of Maun and just north of the Trans-Kalahari highway, which runs from Lobatse in Botswana to Walvis Bay in Namibia, the small town of Ghanzi is sometimes referred to as the 'Capital of the Kalahari'.
It serves as the administrative centre of the Ghanzi district, which covers a vast area of cattle ranches and farmland in the west of Botswana.
The Ghazni area has a number of lodges which focus on cultural tourism as well as wildlife viewing - here you can experience the fascinating world of the San Bushmen as they explain to you how they forage, hunt and find water in this harsh environment.
Situated 180 kilometres north of Francistown, the small village of Nata is a popular stopover between Maun and Kasane along a road known as the ‘game drive route’ as there is often a chance to catch a glimpse of wildlife along the way. The unique landscape that surrounds the area around Nata features white sand, tall termite mounds and the Mokolwane palm trees.
Nata is a convenient stop for tourists to fill up at numerous filling stations. Nata serves as an excellent base from which to explore the eastern section of the spectacular Makgadikgadi Pans. The Nata Sanctuary is a popular stop and a highlight for avid bird watchers, where lucky visitors can be rewarded with large flocks of Flamingos and Pelicans, which breed here each year.
Situated in the north-western corner of Botswana, the Okavango Delta is a World Heritage Site as it is the largest inland delta in the world.
The magnificent Okavango River sprawls out over the dry sands of the Kalahari Desert, forming this flourishing waterlogged oasis featuring countless meandering waterways and crystal clear lagoons studded with water lilies, as well as fertile floodplains and reedbed islands inhabited with abundant wildlife. The Okavango Delta stretches over 15000 square kilometres.
Visitors can enjoy a number of wonderful activities such as game viewing, fishing, bird watching or taking an authentic guided Mokoro excursion through this wetland paradise in a traditional dugout canoe. Commonly spotted animals include lions, rhinos, leopards, giraffes, hippos, elephants, crocodiles and countless species of birds.
Chobe National Park
Renowned for its impressive, shifting migratory population of more than 50 000 elephants, Chobe National Park is situated in the far northeast of Botswana, bordered to the north by the mighty Chobe River.
It is the second largest national park in Botswana, featuring four distinct ecosystems: the Savuti Channel in the west, the Linyanti Swamps in the northwest, the arid hinterland in between and Serondela in the extreme northeast with fertile plains and thick forests. This diversity of habitats provides a sanctuary to an astonishing array of African wildlife.
In addition to spotting Chobe's great pachyderm herds, you are likely to spot lions, leopards, hyenas, wild dogs, impalas, waterbuck, kudu, zebra, wildebeest giraffe, and warthog. The park is also famous for its wonderful riverboat safaris, making Chobe an essential destination for any avid safari enthusiast.
Makgadikgadi Salt Pans
Set in the heart of the dry savanna of northeastern Botswana, the Makgadikgadi Pan is the world’s largest network of salt pans stretching over 3900 square kilometres and formed on the bed of the ancient Makgadikgadi Lake that began evaporating aeons ago.
Visiting Makgadikgadi is a unique salt desert experience: in the dry season, this vast expanse of sun-baked salt glistens in the light and when the rains come, the pan is home to a cornucopia of flamingos and other waterbirds, as well as one of Africa's biggest zebra populations, whose annual migration is a wonder to behold. Visitors can immerse themselves in the stark beauty of this incredible landscape, spot a host of wildlife and enjoy a number of activities, including horse riding safaris, game drives, and excellent birdwatching. Other highlights include quad biking across the vast expanse of dry salt pans or jumping in a helicopter and viewing countless flamingo flocks creating a magnificent pink spectacle dotting the landscape.
Moremi Game Reserve
Situated in the east of the Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve ranks as one of the most beautiful reserves in Africa.
It covers more than 4871 square kilometres of pristine wilderness, and the varied terrain includes savannah, winding waterways, and dense forest. This diverse ecosystem supports an incredibly wide spectrum of wildlife, ranging from large herds of buffalo, wildebeest and zebra to the rare sitatunga and lechwe antelope, lion, cheetah and packs of wild dog in the open grasslands. The birdlife is prolific and includes most of the 550 bird species recorded on Botswana’s national bird list. A range of luxury lodges in the reserve offers visitors the perfect base to experience this corner of paradise.