Beautiful Botswana. There is no place like it.
A country that is so large and yet for its size quite sparsely populated, Botswana has time and again been hailed as the one place in Africa that every traveller wanting to experience an epic safari adventure should add to their bucket list.
From the stunning greenery that seems to envelope every part of the country, to the urban areas which have seemingly integrated into the surrounding wilderness, Botswana has a lot to explore and a lot to fall in love with. And along with its plenty of things to see and do, Botswana also has some pretty incredible accommodation, which ranges from the luxury kind, which is often more secluded and with more amenities, to the kind of accommodation which is more rustic, and might even have you sleeping rough, but comfortable, beneath the stars.
What makes Botswana so very different to the rest of the safari destinations on the continent is that the wildlife is given a lot more freedom to move around. Camps are often not even fenced off, forcing guests to camp out on the roof of their vehicle, making for an exciting and unforgettable holiday.
Botswana is one of the last truly wild places to visit and for those who want to have that fully immersive experience, booking a Botswana safari holiday is one of the best things you will ever do. While you can plan your own trip and have the most wonderful holiday, having to navigate the roads and find your own way around the country is not something everyone will enjoy. Luckily with the option of both guided Botswana trips and self-drive holidays, there is something for every kind of holiday maker.
Botswana has a lot to see and to do, and when you are planning your trip, make sure that you are including a couple of fun elements as well as giving extra thought to where you want to stay during your time in the country. To help you make the most of your holiday, we’ve created a quick and easy guide packed full of helpful information.
- Popular Size – As of 2021, Botswana is home to 2.588 million people.
- Official Languages – The official business language of Botswana is English, but the official national language is Setswana.
- Land Size – 581 730 square kilometres. This makes Botswana the 48th largest country in the world.
- Politics – Botswana is a representative democracy. It also has the honour of being Africa’s longest continuous multi-party democracy.
- Currency – Pula
When is the best time to visit Botswana?
It is safe to say that Botswana is blessed with wonderful weather all year round. Not only is the weather comfortable, but for those who want to go on a safari, Botswana offers year-round wildlife sightings, as the weather is never too cold to force animals into hiding.
Because you can easily visit Botswana at any time of the year and have an exceptional holiday, the only thing that is really going to determine when you choose to travel, your budget and, essentially, when you can get away for a bit. But if you want to learn more about travelling according to the months, here’s some information you might find helpful.
When planning your trip, you should think about planning around the holiday season. Winters are always going to attract more people, just because the weather is a lot more comfortable.
May to October are the best times to go wildlife viewing. Much like the rest of the summer rainfall countries of Southern Africa, Botswana does get rather dry in places and the vegetation will die back enough to make it easier to see the wildlife. In June and July, when South Africans generally take a break, Botswana can see quite an uptick in travellers from their Southern neighbour, which is something to keep in mind. The winter months are also well known for being bright, clear skied, warm and absolutely beautiful.
Once the days start to warm up, the tourists start to dwindle. December to about April are considered the low travel season in Botswana and these months are ideal for travellers who have a small travel budget. Along with seeing magnificent wildlife, those who travel during these months can also look forward to seeing all sorts of birds and some of the most spectacular landscapes, covered in lush greenery.
If you travel in January, you can expect to see otherworldly thunderstorms that will take your breath away and which will give you a break from the stifling heat.
Top Attractions and Activities
Botswana is, if nothing else, one of Africa’s greatest safari destinations. Botswana tours are characterised by the time spent looking for wildlife in all of the more popular wildlife reserves, and places like the Okavango are legendary in both the opportunities to see rare and wonderful animals and for the peace and serenity guests have a chance to feel.
When planning your trip, here’s a couple of top attractions and activities that should be added to your list.
- Go to the Okavango
The Okavango is a place of absolute beauty and it is the one place you should not miss out on visiting. The area is characterised by the huge river that runs through it, providing sustenance to wildlife and plants. In many ways the Okavango is the heart of the country and it sums up all that makes this nation the unique and unforgettable place that it is. The Okavango is within the Chobe National Park, which is home to a diverse range of wildlife which roam the area freely in huge populations. Within the park there is a wide range of accommodation options and regardless of the Botswana tour you are planning, you should be able to find an option which includes plenty of time in the Okavango.
- Go to Nxai Pan National Park
Another spectacular place to go for a safari is the Nxai Pan National Park. Although the wildlife is a stunning sight to behold, it is the scenery here that really makes for a memorable time. The landscapes are ever changing and absolutely beautiful, with salt pans, sand dunes and epic baobab trees being just a few of the breath taking sights within the park.
- Go to Gabane
It is a small village close to Gaborone and there is much to explore here, and all can be done on foot. Although it is such a small place, it is home to metal and glass work manufacturers, as well as pottery establishments.
- Go to Francistown
Francistown is the oldest town in Botswana, the second largest town in the country, and was established long before the arrival of the Europeans. Some of the must visit sights in the town include the Supa Ngwao Museum and there is a refuge for wild orphaned animals called Birds and Game Botswana, which is an interesting place to see. The town was built on gold mining and in recent years it has undergone a major revival as gold is once again being mined.
- Go to Tsodilo Hills
The landscapes of Botswana are fascinating, and from one destination to the next they completely change. Nowhere is that more evident than at Tsodilo Hills, which is in the northwest of the Kalahari, in the south of Botswana. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the area is made up of huge rock formations, and is home to some 4000 cave rock paintings. There is evidence that the area was inhabited by early human settlements some 30 000 years ago.
Travelling to Botswana
Whether you want to experience Botswana on your own, on a self-drive trip, or if you are looking for a guided tour through the wilderness wonderland, there are plenty of options to browse through.
And when you are travelling with ATC, booking your Botswana holiday is as easy as clicking on the tour you want to experience. Check out a couple of our tour below:
- Overland Okavango Delta and Chobe
A trip to Botswana simply has to include time in the Okavango Delta and with this tour you can expect to get a real wilderness experience. This tour is an overland one, which means there is a lot of driving involved, and it spans 8 days. The tour starts in Johannesburg and it ends in Zimbabwe, at the Victoria Falls.
- Botswana Photographic Safari
With those incredible landscapes and the sheer diversity of wildlife, Botswana is every photographers dream destination. With a photographic tour, the attention is all on getting that perfect shot which means you can expect to go to see some of the best of what Botswana has to offer. This tour takes place over 7 days and most of the tour takes place in Chobe National Park.
- Cycling the Okavango Delta
If you are a fan of cycling and you want to experience something altogether different, this is the Botswana tour for you. This trip will have you following the same ancient paths that elephants once trampled, and all along the way, you will see wildlife and fascinating landscapes up close.
Planning your Botswana Tour
Botswana is one of the safer and easier places to travel in Africa, and although this destination certainly has its problems, for the most part, for travellers, it is idyllic. A Botswana tour naturally requires quite a bit of planning, and to start with, it helps to find a tour company to book a tour through and to guide you through the rest of the planning that will need to be done. Travel consultants have all of the knowledge that you will need in order to have a wonderful holiday.
When travelling to Botswana, you will need the usual kind of documentation such as a valid passport, an appropriate visa and you should make sure that you are able to bring along any medication that you might require for travelling.
Ready to explore the vast and inviting wilderness of Botswana? At ATC, we welcome you to join us on an exciting once in a lifetime trip.