Wondering where to go in Botswana? Here are the 10 best places to visit in Botswana that will give you an incredible experience of an African safari
If someone ever told me that I would be completely blown away by the amazing wildlife in Botswana, I’d not believe them at all. I thought I had seen it all in Uganda – but this southern African country exceeded my expectations.
But then again, why would anyone even be surprised by that! Botswana’s great wildlife has been featured on big TV networks like the Nat geo wild, but let me set the record straight, it’s more impressive in real life than on a TV documentary.
Just imagine spending a few days in the country and see the “big five” animals. It’s incredible what Botswana has to offer. From the hot Kalahari desert to the subtle Okavango Delta, Botswana’s wildlife is the reason why it has become one of the Safari destinations in Africa.
Best places to visit in Botswana
1. Chobe National Park
Providing a chance to see the big 5, it’s no surprise that Chobe is the most visited national park in Botswana. If you didn’t read my previous statement well, Chobe has the biggest number of Elephants in Africa which is estimated at around 12000. Now that’s what I call impressive.
The Chobe River which has greatly impacted the huge concentration of animals in the park is the major source of water for the park’s animals. Even though I didn’t see all the big 5 in Chobe, I was lucky to see a pride of lions just a few meters away, herds of elephants, and herds of buffalos.
At one point, the road was literally cut off by a herd of buffalos that was headed in the same direction as me. All in all, a game safari in Chobe national park is one of the best safaris in Botswana.
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2. Moremi Game Reserve
Though Moremi might not be as big as Chobe National park, this reserve also has a high concentration of wildlife.
Located on the Eastern side of the Okavango Delta, Moremi is blessed with Papyrus rivers, amazing savannah, lagoons that see the wild animals flock to them to have a splash of water.
Moremi game reserve also provides an opportunity to go for Mokoro trips that offer amazing views of water inhabitants and an amazing way of seeing wildlife from a different angle.
And just like Chobe, there are chances of seeing the big 5 animals at Moremi. Whether it is seeing huge herds of African Elephants, rhinos, lions or wild dogs that call Moremi their major hunting grounds, going on a safari in Moremi game reserve should be added to the list of the things to do in Botswana.
Moremi is also an ideal place for bird lovers as it offers over 500 different bird species from kingfisher, African fish eagle, green-winged Pytilia, to African skimmer, and many others.
But to get the most out of Moremi, hire a tour guide or hop into a self-drive 4×4 in the months of June to October.
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3. Kharma Rhino sanctuary
If you’re looking for things to do in Botswana, then visiting the karma rhino sanctuary should be added to the list of Botswana places to visit.
Located in the northwest of Serowe, the Kharma rhino sanctuary is a community-based wildlife project which was established to preserve the rhinos that were vanishing in the early years.
Covering an area of approximately 8585 Hectares, the Rhino sanctuary not only provides an opportunity to see both the black and white rhinos but also other wild animals like the Zebras, Wildebeest, Warthogs, giraffes, and many others.
Bird lovers also have an opportunity to watch birds as there are over 230 bird species. Kharma rhino sanctuary also has a “bird hide” which gives an opportunity to gaze at birds up close and also an opportunity of seeing different bird species in one place.
The sanctuary also has well-established campsites with ablutions and well-equipped chalets, so an overnight stay is possible.
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4. Nata Bird Sanctuary
If you find yourself stopping in Nata, then Nata bird sanctuary is one of the attractions in Botswana that is specifically designated for bird watching.
Located in the Sowa pan which is part of the Makgadikgadi pan, the sanctuary provides great views, amazing landscape, and vegetation.
The Nata bird sanctuary is one of the largest breeding sites of Lesser and Geater Flamingo in the world and that is why the majority of the birds you find here are flamingos.
Other than watching birds, the sanctuary also has other wild animals like the wildebeest, ostrich, jackal, and others.
The sanctuary also has a wooden elevated area where you can view the Flamingos from a distance or you can walk closer to the salt pan to have an up-close view.
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5. Kubu Island
If you’re looking for one of the most beautiful places to visit in Botswana, then Kubu Island is the place to be.
The Kubu island which is in the Makgadikgadi pan is a dry granite rock island that provides breathtaking views of the salt pan and its authentic beauty has made it one of the Botswana landmarks and it is now protected as a National monument.
The long and bumpy drive to Kubu island might let you think that you’ll be the only one there, but its beauty has led to many tourists making a decision of taking that long drive.
Aside from the panoramic views and the beautiful sunsets, Kubu island has a variety of large Baobabs that leave tourists in awe making it one of the most beautiful Botswana tourist attractions.
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6. Okavango Delta
The Okavango Delta is one of the major Botswana attractions and also the largest inland river in the world that is home to many endangered animals. The delta is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa and also the only river that never flows into a sea.
To experience the Okavango Delta even better, go for a Mokoro ride (traditional canoe cruise) on the swampy narrow river to see the species that the Delta harbors.
While on the cruise, look out for hippos, crocodiles, different bird species, and other animals like the Red Lechwe, Elephants, buffalos can be seen on the mainland. You can as well book a Mokoro ride from here.
More tours to opt for if you want to have the best experience on the Okavango Delta.
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7. Chapman’s Baobab
Located in the small town of Gweta, Chapman’s Baobab is one of the major attractions in Botswana.
Being one of the largest and oldest trees in Africa, the Chapman’s baobab was named a national monument in Botswana. Before it fell in January 2016, Chapman’s Baobab was actually used as a landmark for travelers.
But even though it fell to the ground, the size and the form of the Chapman’s baobab is still impressive and worth a visit by tourists.
So if you’re looking for what to do in Botswana, then visiting the Chapman’s Baobab should be put into consideration.
8. Makgadikgadi Pans
Situated in the middle of the dry savanna of northeastern Botswana, Makgadikgadi is the largest salt flat pan in the world.
The pan which was originally a big Makgadikgadi lake occupying an area bigger than current Switzerland dried up a thousand years ago leaving a huge dried-up salt pan covering approximately 3900 kilometers.
Safari drives within the Mkgadikdai pans are amazing as they create illusion views of a skyline that never ends.
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Kalahari desert is one of the major attractions of Botswana. The Kalahari Desert that covers approximately 900,000sq. km is a large semi-arid sandy savannah whose temperatures are extreme reaching up to 45 degrees in summer but can go even below zero in winter.
Kalahari desert is a remote place that can only be accessed by a 4×4 drive. Since the desert has different game reserves, tourists can opt for which reserves to go to.
The most common ones are the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and the Central Kalahari game reserve.
10. Mokolodi Nature Reserve
If you find yourself in Gaborone, consider a day trip to Mokolodi Nature reserve. Located in the south of Gaborone just 15km from the city center, Mokolodi nature reserve is a private not-for-profit-game reserve that offers a variety of activities including guided game drives.
You can treat yourself to activities like giraffe tracking, rhino tracking, and horseback safaris. Some of the animals that you can expect to see in the reserve include Kudu, baboons, elands, impalas, warthogs, and many others.
The reserve is also a conservation education center where schools and individuals go to learn more about wildlife. And since Gaborone city doesn’t have so much to do, visiting Mokolodi reserve while in Gaborone will be an amazing day trip.
And if you’re looking for where to stay in Gaborone, check out my review of Masa square hotel to make a decision.
If you’re looking for the best Botswana holiday destinations, I hope the above list of the 10 best places to visit in Botswana will guide on where to go.
Have you been to any other Botswana attractions that I might have missed, do let me know in the comment section.
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