Describing itself as 'one of the last and best preserved corners of wilderness in the world', the claim is more than justified. From the expansive salt pans of the Makgadikgade to the serpentined, multi-channelled Okavango river, Botswana is a country of isolation, mystique and enthralling beauty - what's more, the country has remained a bastion of peace and stability since independence in 1966.
The inland wetland known as the Okavango Delta is fed by the river of the same name that gradually widens into lakes and swamps before utlimately drying up in the Kalahari Desert. Access is generally by road and air via either Victoria Falls or Maun. Once there, the most traditional method of getting about is by mokoro, a dug-out canoe. Even from the air, game may easily be observed: water buffalo, wildebeest, gemsbok, impala and red lechwe, all splashing from one island to the next. Home to virtually all the major species - it is also a haven for ornithologists, with a host of migratory and resident birds. Many of Botswana’s finest tourist facilities are situated here and one can choose between traditional game lodges and tented safari camps or elephant-back and riding safaris. View Botswana in a larger map
Chobe National Park
The northern border of Chobe National Park is barely more than an hour’s drive from Victoria Falls - road access is also possible through the Caprivi Strip region of north-eastern Namibia. There are several elements that make Chobe a great park. Among them, the high concentration of elephants, the rainy season migration of tens of thousands of zebra (closely followed by a host of predators, especially lion) and great herds of buffalo. The drier months are best for game viewing, as mobility during the summer rainy season can be severely restricted with many roads becoming impassable.
One of the longest unbroken stretches of sand anywhere, the Kalahari Desert reaches across the centre of Botswana and beyond. It is also home to Bushman hunter-gatherers and Tswana herdsmen. Few venture into its arid interior, but those who do will be rewarded with a unique insight into the evolution and origins of the Okavango Delta and Botswana as a whole.