BOTSWANA DESTINATIONSHere is a selection
of places to visit, arranged
geographically. We have included
short descriptions of locations
and highlighted what we
regard as being
In the main tourist season, Maun is one of the busiest airports in southern Africa due to the large number of air charter companies that transfer visitors and cargo into lodges and other parts of the country.
It has all the facilities for travellers and is the home base of Liquid Giraffe.
Maun is also an ideal point from which to take a mobile safari to any of the destinations in the north or central regions. It has a good range of accommodation options – from an upmarket hotel to smaller camps offering tented or chalet accommodation, bar and restaurant facilities.
OKAVANGO DELTAThe Okavango Delta, now designated as a World Heritage site, is a vast swamp-like fertile expanse of floodplain, riverine forest, reed and papyrus bed, lagoons and waterways that embrace more than a thousand wooded islands. In a good year when water levels are high, the Okavango Delta can cover an area of 15,000 square kilometres! The Okavango River, which feeds the Delta, rises in Angola and makes its long journey 1,600 kilometres southeastwards. The islands – giant mounds of sandy earth or larger expanses of dry, forested land – vary in texture and vegetation. The largest of the islands is known as Chief’s Island - 100 kilometres long and 15 kilometres wide – and is flanked by two rivers which eventually meander into the main Thamalakane River that flows through Maun, the gateway town into the Delta. The volume of the rivers and the flood in the Delta are dependent on the rains in Angola and northern Botswana.
The waters usually reach the uppermost part of the Delta in February/March and then – in a good year – will flow through Maun in about June/July. The heated discussions and bets among Maun residents as to when the waters reach ‘town’ are a annual topic!
Apart from the natural beauty of the Delta’s flora, it is a paradise for bird watchers. 500 species of bird life have been recorded in the area. The Delta is also magnificent for game viewing – especially in the winter months when the grasses are yellowing and the islands become home to elephant, lion, leopard, various types of antelope (including red lechwe), hyena, giraffe and many others. Chief’s Island, in particular, is home to a vast array of wildlife as it borders the Moremi Game Reserve.
Lodges and camps are usually reached by light aircraft from Maun as road transport to some is arduous and lengthy or, in some cases, they are not accessible by road at all. There are many small airstrips which serve these lodges and transfers from airstrip to lodge can take minutes in some places and up to an hour in hours. Activities vary at the lodges: some offer water-based activities only as they may be situated with little access to dry land. Others offer game drives (and in some cases night drives, if they are located in private concessions), fishing activities and guided bush walks with trained and experienced guides.
Most offer fully inclusive stays which include transfers, accommodation in either luxury ensuite tents on platforms or wooden chalets, all meals and drinks, activities and laundry. Some offer air-conditioned tents and mini-bars, powered by generators; others offer more intimate bush Delta experiences with paraffin lamps and no generator power. So there is a vast array of choice to suit all tastes. It should be noted that although accommodation, meals and refreshments and the experience is of a luxury or high class standard, these are still primarily bush sites. The surroundings to your accommodation are, in most cases, natural, indigenous bush, shrubs and grasses. Some lodges have a swimming pool for their guests; some have satellite phone facilities. But as a general rule, they are not hotels so you will not encounter manicured lawns, hairdressing salons, hydrotherapy clinics, masseurs, telephone or internet facilities. The prime interest, after all, is to experience a pristine wilderness of charm, beauty and abundant game.
- Abundant wildlife
- Prolific bird life
- Spectacular delta waterways and fascinating flora
- Rest and relaxation
- Excellent horseback safaris at tented and fly camps deep in the Delta
- A get-away holiday experience
- Light aircraft transfers 30-50 minutes depending on destination
- Vast range of luxury to up market lodge accommodation. Typically, fully inclusive of transfers, accommodation in ensuite tented accommodation on raised platforms, all activities as determined by the lodge, laundry and local beverages.
MOREMI GAME RESERVEIn the north eastern part of the Okavango Delta lies Moremi Game Reserve. It is 2,000 square kilometres and named after a tribal chief. Its establishment is remarkable – it was the first wildlife sanctuary in Southern Africa to be formed from tribal lands, by the local community, as a result of diminishing wildlife due to uncontrolled hunting.
Moremi is diverse in its habitats. In the south, it is predominantly dry and wooded; in the north, bound by the Kwai River, it is much greener and in the dry months, it attracts a diverse mix of animal and bird life. Game viewing, depending on the season, is generally good and lion, wild dog, cheetah, elephant, various antelope are often seen. The park is not developed on the scale of the Kruger Park in South Africa; roads are sandy and not regularly maintained so 4 x 4 vehicles are essential.
Inside Moremi Game Reserve, there are currently four designated campsite complexes, which are all privately run and administered. Each area has solar powered hot water and lighting, toilets and the campsite areas are serviced daily. As campsites are run by different companies, Liquid Giraffe provides a seamless booking service for all Moremi campsites leaving you only park fees and vehicle fees to pay on arrival in Maun!
There are also 3 lodges in Moremi Game Reserve in the Xakanaxa area. Each offers both game drives in specially designed open vehicles and boating on the permanent waters near Xakanaxa Lagoon.
The Khwai area outside the northern boundary of Moremi Game Reserve has grown and there are now several permanent tented camps in the area. The advantage of these camps is that you are not constricted by the National park regulations and night drives are often a feature of these lodges’ activity programmes.
- Excellent game viewing and birding
- Diverse natural habitats
- Ideal stop over for travel further north into the Chobe National Park
- Road 2 hours from Maun making it a viable day trip
- Air transfer to lodges in the private concession and Community Trust areas outside the Park boundaries
- Rustic camp sites in the Park
- Community camp site with rustic chalets outside the south gate of the Park
- Fully inclusive lodges in the private concession and Community Trust areas
CHOBE NATIONAL PARKThis enormous National Park, bordering on Moremi Park and stretching northwards to the Namibian border area, is 11,000 square kilometres and is one of the most inviting of all the parks in Botswana. Its vastness encompasses a diversity of terrain – from large floodplains and remote wilderness to the lush banks of the Chobe River in the north. In the dry seasons, the Park is very dry and dusty and water sources for wildlife are precious; in the wet seasons of plenty, the floodplains present a brilliant array of green grasses, trees and shrubs.
Chobe is best known for its vast herds of elephant and it is believed the Park has the largest concentration of elephant to be found in Africa’s national parks. In the central areas of the park, around the Savute channel and the Linyanti swamp area, the game is prolific. This area, once a great lake but dry most of the year, apart from occasional waters seeping out of the Okavango Delta, has a special aura about it. You feel caught in a place that time forgot and that you are in one the last great wilderness areas of Africa.
The central plains witness vast herds of migratory animals (the wildebeest, zebra, elephant, buffalo and giraffe) during the wet season which brings with them the predators: lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena and wild dog. It is probably one of the best places to see this exciting mix of animals.
In the northern part of the park, nearer the Chobe River, and especially in the drier months, there are also many animals to be seen. As this is a more accessible point from the town and lodges around Kasane, there is far more traffic in the Park than in the wilder parts of the central plains. The Chobe River area has a spectacular array of birds and over 460 species have been identified. Apart from the rather basic amenities offered at camp sites by the National Parks in northern Chobe, Savute and Linyanti, there are several luxury lodges – all offering fully inclusive fly-in packages.
For independent travellers, the sandy road from Maun through Moremi to Kasane is a worthwhile safari in itself – and the journey takes a good 10 hours.
Mobile safari companies operate in the Chobe area and trips can easily be arranged for groups wanting to experience the magic and wonder of the Chobe Park.
No visit to Botswana would be complete without at least a day or two on the Chobe River itself in the northern part of the country around the town of Kasane. An evening cruise on the Chobe River, watching elephant and buffalo swimming across the river from or to Namibia, the blue cheeked bee-eaters nesting in the sandy banks of the river and the profusion hippo and crocodiles , is an unforgettable experience. Kasane is also very close to Victoria Falls (80 kilometres) and day trips to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe or Livingstone in Zambia can easily be arranged.
- Excellent game viewing in all areas of the Park
- Excellent bird viewing in the Chobe River area
- River activities on the Chobe River
- Golfing in Kasane
- Interesting and varied terrain
- Spiritual experience in pristine and undeveloped wilderness of Savute
- Proximity to Victoria Falls from Kasane
- Road from Maun (south) or from Kasane (north)
- Air transfers into Savute, Linyanti by private charter or Air Botswana to Kasane from Maun or Johannesburg
- Rustic campsites in Savute and Linyanti (Parks Board) with ablutions and running water
- Luxury tented lodges in Savute, Linyanti and Chobe River areas
- Medium to luxury lodges and hotels in Kasane with varying options from bed and breakfast to fully inclusive packages