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Introduction to Botswana

introduction and general information

For travellers that love the wild, a holiday in Botswana is hard to match and offers some of Africa's best safari experiences. The majority of the country's wildlife resides around the waterways of the Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta in the world covering about 15 000 km2, where a network of private concessions and national parks offer prolific and varied wildlife viewing. Bordering the Chobe River that separates Botswana from Angola, Chobe National Park is one of the largest in Botswana, famed not only for the highest concentration of elephants found anywhere in Africa but also for having the densest population of game on the continent. To the east of the country, Moremi Game Reserve showcases incredible wildlife and scenery with most of Africa's animal species represented. Visitors can participate in morning and afternoon land-based safari excursions in 4x4 vehicles; however, strict park rules forbid night drives, off-road travels and walking safaris. Private concessions, although at a premium, are more flexible and exclusive with fewer visitors and more safari choices, offering evening safaris and water-based adventures in addition to traditional game viewing. The extreme north-lying Linyati swamp area also provides splendid and secluded wildlife viewing with picturesque channels, lagoons, and papyrus beds. Gaborone is the capital city of Botswana where most visitors enter the country while most of the game viewing areas are accessed by a further plane charter. There is a vast difference between the wet and dry areas of the country and we advise visitors to include both in order to appreciate Botswana's spectacular wildlife in its entirety. Accommodation options range from temporary tented camp sites to luxury lodges right on the water and almost all the lodges provide meals and activities in their price. We can assist you with a tailored itinerary to suit your needs.

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Chobe National Park

Located in the north of Botswana, the Chobe National Park is one of southern Africa's most popular safari destinations, renowned for having some of the densest population of game on the continent. It covers an immense 11 700km² and boasts huge herds of elephant, buffalo and lion among many others animals. Lying along the Chobe River, the park is divided into four distinct ecosystems – the lush plains and forests of the Chobe river; the verdant grasslands and savannahs of the Savuti Marsh; the Linyanti Swamps, noted for prowling predators and large herds of game; and the hot and dry hinterland of Nogatsaa and Tchinga. A visit to Chobe is not complete without a boat trip and we highly recommend enjoying the wildlife and abundant birdlife from this unique perspective. Other activities include scenic flights, mokoro boat excursions, photography, and white water rafting on the Zambezi. Chobe offers a diversity of accommodation options ranging from picturesque campsites in and around the town of Kasane, through to wild mobile bush camps and remote luxury lodges along the Chobe Riverfront. The town of Kasane, on the border of Chobe, has a small international airport and a good array of services and amenities, while the close proximity of the park to Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia allows for easy day trips to the Victoria Falls as well as extended itineraries throughout the wider region of southern Africa. Suggested length of stay: We recommend a safari of at least 3-4 nights in order to fully appreciate the diversity of wildlife and birds in this outstanding and unique game park. Contact Boutique Africa to assist you in including this visit in your broader southern Africa itinerary.

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Lying in the far northern reaches of Botswana, Linyanti is one of the most secluded private concessions in the country, offering not only outstanding wildlife viewing but also an exquisitely picturesque landscape. The area is considered real African big game country, and during the dry season the permanent water of the Linyanti River serves as an important migration point for wildlife from much of northern Botswana. Scores of buffalo, elephant and wildebeest are to be found, along with many predators and antelope that seemingly just wait to be discovered in their pristine environment. Besides its wildlife, Linyanti is best known for its extreme isolation and privacy with small, exclusive camps that generally have no more than 20 guests at any given time. Visitors can enjoy peaceful and intimate game drives as well as walking safaris, night drives and off-road driving which makes predators easier to locate. The Linyanti Reserve covers 1 250 km², within which only a few private camps enjoy sole use of the open floodplains, riverine forests, and dense mopane forests. Although a safari package in such an exclusive region does come with a higher price tag, they do offer value for money as they generally include charter flights, meals and a host of outdoor activities. Suggested length of stay: Enjoying magical and close encounters with wildlife in such an untouched and secluded location is a rare treat, and we suggest a stay of a minimum of 3-4 nights, allowing you time to partake in all the activities your accommodation establishment offers. This will also leave you with a few leisurely hours to put your feet up and marvel at the close proximity of wildlife which often comes to within a few feet of the lodges and campsites.

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Listed as one of Africa's seven natural wonders, the Okavango Delta is an incredible oasis in the middle of the Kalahari Desert. It is considered a prime safari area and covers over 15 000km² of lush water wilderness where papyrus swamps, floodplains and islands are all connected through a network of meandering channels. Here visitors can revel in a plethora of seasonal and permanent wildlife and over 400 bird species, as well as enjoy excellent game viewing throughout the year. With so much water around it stands to reason that the best way to explore this wonderland is by boat, offered by most lodges located along waterways. The Okavango Delta's outstanding environment is protected by a network of private reserves and concessions, only accessible by air. These offer exclusive wildlife safaris to remember for a lifetime as well as off-road game drives, night drives, and walking safaris that are not offered by public parks. Although land-based safaris are entirely possible, we suggest participating in at least one water-based wildlife adventure, such as gliding along in a mokoro from where you can watch wildlife at eye level and notice the smaller creatures of the Delta. Suggested length of stay: We suggest at least 3-4 nights in the Okavango, giving you a chance to relax and absorb its intricate network of waterways as well as fully enjoy the abundance and wealth of its wildlife. Contact Boutique Africa about booking your exclusive luxury Botswana safari today.

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Moremi Game Reserve

Spectacular Moremi Game Reserve is spread over the central and eastern areas of the Okavango Delta and is its only officially protected area. Consisting of a lush patchwork of lagoons, shallow flooded plains and forests, it offers high game densities where animals are often relaxed, allowing vehicles to closely approach. Besides having all the naturally occurring wildlife in the region including the Big Five, the reserve also shelters an abundance of birds, black and white rhino, and rare antelope such as the lechwe and sitatunga. Some of its many loops and trails are accessible by vehicle while others require you to fly in. Moremi can be roughly divided into five sections: Chief's Island providing some of Botswana's best safari lodges and exclusive privacy; Khwai River, awash with an assortment of wildlife; unforgettably beautiful Xakanaxa Lagoon at the tip of the Moremi Tongue where the land meets the Okavango's permanent waters; Third Bridge, located on an island and excellent for mobile safaris; and South Gate, used by mobile safaris and the public. Moremi is ideal for year-round game viewing and self-drive safaris are possible. To enjoy the private concessions, however, travellers need to join a guided safari tour such as those offered by Boutique Africa. Suggested length of stay: We suggest 2-3 nights in Moremi which can be easily combined with a visit to the Chobe National Park to the northeast and other regions in the Okavango Delta. Embarking on at least two guided game drives is also strongly recommended as these make use of open-air four-wheel drive vehicles that take you off the beaten track as you explore the wondrous wildlife and birdlife of the Okavango Delta.

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Tuli Bloc

The Tuli Bloc is a narrow fringe of land located on Botswana's eastern border and a region of dramatic, rocky scenery, towering baobab trees and thick riverine forests. Formerly a farming area, today much of the land is held under private ownership and has been transformed into one of the largest privately owned game reserves in southern Africa. Wildlife is prolific with large numbers of elephant, lion, leopard and cheetah as well as many species of antelope and over 350 bird species. Also sometimes referred to as the ‘Land of Giants', the Tuli Bloc is home to the largest herds of elephants on privately owned land as well as two other members of the Big Five – lion and leopard. It is also home to two stunning private concessions and a selection of luxury accommodation establishments where visitors can participate in night game drives, guided nature walks, mountain biking, and horse-back safaris. Tuli also has a wealth of archaeological and historical sites holding pottery shards, beads, smelting relics and granaries, where visitors can get a glimpse into the lives of early communities. Another advantage of the Tuli Bloc is its easy accessibility as it is located only a short distance from the capital of Gaborone. For those that prefer to fly there is also an airstrip in the reserve. Suggested length of stay: The location of the Tuli Bloc makes it ideal for a quick safari trip of 2 nights, although, 3-4 nights allows for more time to enjoy activities such as nature walks and mountain biking. It is also easy to include this destination in a more comprehensive Botswana safari itinerary and Boutique Africa can assist you in tailoring a bespoke holiday schedule that perfectly suits your travel needs.

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