Botswana is a country where the superlatives come thick and fast. It boasts an astonishing array of landscapes, from the otherworldly salt pans of Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans National Parks, the sands of Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and the gently flowing waters of the Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta anywhere in the world.
It is a country that lays claim to some of the largest concentrations of wildlife anywhere on the African continent, including the famed Big Five species. But Botswana also holds the status as Africa’s oldest continuous democracy, and a history depicted in the Tsodilo Hills cave paintings that date back 4,500 years.
Of the many unmissable sites, the Okavango Delta is undoubtedly the star of the show. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this pristine watery wilderness offers the opportunity to drift silently through floating vegetation in a traditional mokoro canoe, coming face to face with some of Africa’s iconic species. Alternatively, you could visit the areas of Makgadikgadi and the Kalahari, and join Botswana’s indigenous San people for a bushwalk.
With 70% of Botswana covered by the sands of the Kalahari Desert, the sheer quantities of the countries most iconic animal species surprise many first-time visitors. Black-maned lions stalk Central Kalahari Game Reserve, while up to 80,000 elephants congregate on the riverbanks in Chobe National Park. Elsewhere, large numbers of zebra and wildebeest gather among the baobabs of Nxai, and the salt pans of Makgadikgadi, during their annual wet season migration.