Botswana Specialists
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Northern Botswana

  • Maun

    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.
  • The Okavango Delta

    The 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. Most lodges have now moved onto solar systems as a more eco-friendly way of providing 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 Reserve

    In 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.

    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 Park

    This enormous National Park, bordering on Moremi Park and stretching northwards to the Namibian border area, is 11,000 square kilometers 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

Eastern Botswana

  • Francistown

    Francistown is the second largest city in Botswana and is an attractive town with all the necessary facilities – from shopping malls to hotels. It came into being during the gold rush period in the nineteenth century – although mining gold on a large scale never materialised. However, in the last few years, an Australian gold mining company has started prospecting again outside the city. One of early gold diggers, Daniel Francis, bequeathed his name to the town. Recently, copper and nickel have been discovered.

    Francistown is a stop over town for visitors to Zimbabwe (Bulawayo is only 180 kilometres away) and for travellers heading to the west (Chobe, Moremi and the Okavango Delta). There are several comfortable hotels in town and some offer camping sites. There are also several bed and breakfast establishments in town. Not far from town, there are some good lodges on private game reserves and an excellent self-catering/camp site.

    • A good stop over point for provisions and easy access to Zimbabwe
    • An interesting museum
    • Shopping malls with all necessary requirements
    • Good road access from Gaborone/Maun/Zimbabwe
    • Air services to/from Gaborone, Kasane, Maun and Johannesburg
    • Hotels offering varied accommodation
    • Bed and breakfast and guest houses
    • Lodges outside town offering accommodation, camping and meals
  • Serowe

    Serowe is the birthplace of Seretse Khama, the country’s first president and the capital of the Bangwato tribe and therefore the largest tribal ‘village’ in Botswana. For some, it is one of the most attractive villages in the country with its clusters of circular thatched traditional Tswana homes. The Khama 111 Memorial Museum is in Serowe and is worth a visit for those interested in royal memorabilia and traditional cultural artifacts.

    Near to the town lies the 4,300 hectare Khama Rhino Sanctuary, established in 1992 as a refuge for the few white rhino left in Botswana in the 1980s. As well as rhino the park also boasts zebra, antelope (including the tsesebe), giraffe and a good number of grassland bird species. It is a wonderfully relaxing place to visit. The sanctuary has small campsites with excellent rustic facilities and chalets – offering self catering or catered stays. With no electricity and only paraffin lamps, the spectacular night skies enhance the charm of the location.

    Recently, black rhino have been introduced into the sanctuary. The aim of the sanctuary is to build up the populations of rhino and eventually release them back into the wilds of Botswana.

    • Close encounters with rhino
    • Tranquil and relaxing setting
    • Road from Gaborone or Francistown
    • Well appointed campsites and ablutions
    • A-frame rustic chalets
    • Stone chalets
  • The Tuli Block

    This corner of the south-eastern part of Botswana, bordering the Limpopo River, is a ruggedly beautiful area of low shrubs and mopane trees and granite outcrops. Mashatu, which encompasses much of the Tuli Block, is one of the largest privately owned game reserves in southern Africa. It is also home to a large herd of elephants known as the ‘relic herds of the Shashe’ – remnants of a herd of elephants that roamed the Limpopo Valley which were decimated in the ivory hunts of the nineteenth century.

    The 30,000 hectare reserve is a great wilderness to visit and seeing lion, leopard and hyena are almost guaranteed. There is also a good bird population (some 400 species have been identified). The well-trained guides from Mashatu, all on radio-linked vehicles, ensure that game is easily located on morning and evening game drives.

    This is also home to the stately Mashatu trees. The reserve has two luxury lodges – one with a chalet enclave and a tented camp and the other with thatched chalets. The Tuli area has developed significantly over the years and outside Mashatu, other lodges have been built in private concessions. There is also a horse back riding company in the Tuli and the environment provides for a thrilling horseback adventure among the prolific wildlife in the area.

    • Horseback safaris
    • Access into Mashatu itself is not possible by private vehicle. Guests are met either at the small Platjan border post with South Africa or at the new tarred runway.
    • Access to other lodges and camps is by road or guests can be collected from Limpopo airfield.
    • Luxury chalet or tented camp accommodation on a fully inclusive basis.

North Western Botswana

  • The Tsodilo Hills

    The Tsodilo Hills are a magical place to visit yet not many tourists manage to get to them – partly because of their relative inaccessibility. This has changed significantly with a new gravel road that has reduced the journey from the main tarred road from Sepupa from 3hours + to 30 minutes. The Tsodilo Hills consist of four quartzite hills which rise out of the semi-arid and rocky terrain: the Male, the Female, the Child and a small hillock known as North Hill – and which legend believes was an argumentative wife of the Male Hill who was sent on her way!

    The Hills are filled with myth, legend and spiritual significance for the tribes that live in the area. The Bushmen believe they are the site of the first Creation. The Humbukushu tribe believe that the gods lowered the people and their cattle onto the Female Hill.

    The name ‘Tsodilo’ means ‘sheer’. It is believed that the area of the Hills has been inhabited for over 35,000 years. The prime interest for a visitor is the dazzling spectrum of 3,500 rock paintings that have been found – dating back to 700 AD.

    Also of interest to the visitor (especially around the rainy period) are the vast array of shrubs, trees, flowers and grasses that grow abundantly around and on the Hills. There is now a small Visitor Centre at the base of the Female Hill, which provides an excellent orientation to the history.

    Access to the Tsodilo Hills is by road (approximately 4.5 hours from Maun). There are several trails and it is highly recommended to take a guide with you from the Visitor’s Centre as not all painting sites are clearly marked.

    Walking is not too strenuous on the shortest and most interesting route covering part of the Female Hill though some walks onto the higher sections of the Male Hill are fairly arduous.

    Accommodation in the area is limited and only camping (either at remote ‘wild’ sites or at the Visitor’s Centre where there are ablutions and water available). Alternatively, day trips can be arranged from other accommodation places in the Okavango Panhandle.

    • Scenic beauty (especially in the ‘green season’)
    • Superb examples of bushman paintings, many of which are well-preserved
    • Spiritual experience
    • An insight into local culture
    • Some wildlife
    • Road: 4.5 hours from Maun; 1.5 hours from accommodation in the Okavango Panhandle
    • Campsites at the base of Hills
    • Rustic tented or chalet accommodation at Shakawe or Sepupa (1.5 hours)
    • Luxury lodge accommodation in the Okavango Panhandle
  • The Okavango Panhandle

    The Okavango Panhandle extends 10 kilometres from the border in Namibia and contains the main meandering river which finally releases its water into the main Delta. The local tribes in this area depend on the abundant fishing available and it is a popular fishing area too for South Africans and the expatriate communities in Maun. On the Western Panhandle is a vast lagoon which has permanent water. It is an excellent area to relax, go on boating trips and when there is sufficient water in the small papyrus channels, experience a ‘mokoro’ trip in a dug out canoe.

    There are several places to stay from self-catering camping, rustic chalet and tented accommodation to luxury and fully catered tented lodges.

    • Fishing
    • Scenic beauty (large tracts of water and papyrus islands and channels)
    • Water activities (boating, mokoro trips). These can be arranged for a day from one of the camps/lodges or we can arrange longer camping trips by boat/mokoro deeper into the Delta
    • Superb bird watching including several species of kingfisher, Fish Eagle and Pel’s Fishing Owl
    • Wildlife on mokoro trips include elephant, red lechwe (a species of antelope related to the waterbuck), the rare sitatunga (a brown antelope similar to a bushbuck) and occasionally predators
    • Road (3.5 hours from Maun/1-2 hours from Namibia). Some places require 4 x 4 vehicle to access camps through thick sand or water
    • Self-catering (camp sites with water/ablutions and rustic tents/chalets)
  • Gcwihaba Caverns (Drotsky's Caves)

    In the iKung language, the Gcwihaba Hills means ‘hyena’s hole’. It is not a very visited site as it is fairly inaccessible and requires 4 x 4 vehicle with long range fuel tanks. The caverns contain stalagmites and stalactites which reach up to 10 metres in height or length.

    One of the legends of the caves includes one which tells of Hendrik Matthys van Zyl, a very wealthy founder of the village of Ghanzi, who supposedly buried part of his vast fortune there in the late nineteenth century.

    The caverns are dry and there are wild campsites in the area. Liquid Giraffe also arranges for mobile tented safaris to the Gcwihaba Caverns and this can be combined with a few days in the Tsodilo Hills.

    • Rugged natural beauty
    • Archaeological interest
    • Road from Maun or from one of the camp/lodge areas in the Panhandle. It is suggested that at least one night be spent at one of the wild campsites at the caves.
    • Wild camping

Central Botswana

  • The Kalahari

    The Kalahari covers two thirds of the country and at its core lies the 50,000 square kilometers of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. It is also the second largest conservation area in the world. The Kalahari is often referred to as a ‘desert’ due to its lack of water and sandy soils. Yet it is a hauntingly beautiful wilderness of scattered thorn scrub, rolling grasslands and is home to a variety of wildlife which has adapted well to the very dry conditions of the area. Until recently, access was limited only to conservationists and researchers. The Kalahari Game Reserve now has two lodges: one in the Tau Pan area (a breathtaking camp built on a high ridge over looking Tau Pan) and one in the south eastern area (a canvas and wood lodge with solar power, overlooking a vast pan). The Kalahari is an ideal destination for those seeking a wilderness experience in a remote part of the world. The lack of electrical light means that the stars probably are the brightest you could ever see! The area is best explored with a mobile safari company although there are now two lodges inside the Game Reserve (which can be accessed by light aircraft or by road) and several lodges on the northern boundary of the Game Reserve. These lodges are in private concessions and although accessed by road (approximately 3 hours form Maun) they can also be reached by light aircraft.

    A self-drive expedition to the Kalahari is not one to be taken lightly. As the vast area has no water, shops, fuel or provisions, one has to be totally self-resourced. It is also not permitted for one vehicle to travel far into the Kalahari and a convoy of at least two vehicles is essential. It is recommended to visit the area with either a scheduled tour or on a private tour with experienced safari guides, who know the area well.

    • One of the last vestiges of true wilderness in Africa
    • Good game viewing – including the large black-maned Kalahari lion
    • A dry wilderness experience
    • Road from Maun (north entry) or from the south entry points from Gaborone
    • Two luxury lodges inside the Central Kalahari
    • Wild campsites with no facilities
    • One luxury lodge and one rustic lodge within the Reserve + several lodges in the Hainaveld area on the northern boundary of the Central Kalahari.
  • The Makgadikgadi Pan Region

    For a different experience to the more visited places in Botswana, a safari or stay in the vast salt pan areas of Botswana is different. The southern Makgadikgadi is certainly regarded as the world’s largest salt pan – part of what was once a large inland lake, perhaps even bigger than Lake Victoria in East Africa. It is believed that the area was once a lush expanse of vegetation and animal life but seismic movements caused the area to dry up, leaving behind the wastes of clay and salt.

    In some wet seasons, the pans do fill again with water – a shallow covering which attracts millions of flamingos and pelicans from other parts of southern Africa and Namibia. The alternating dry and wet season also produce awesome migrations of zebra and wildebeest – although the recent introduction of an electrified fence on the western boundary has caused disruptions in these migrations (research is currently being undertaken to determine the impact the fence is making on migrations). The pans can be treacherous in wet seasons and independent travellers with little experience have been known to lose their vehicles after getting stuck in the soft clay. The area is excellent for birders interested in raptors and grassland birds.

    The area is also known for its majestic baobabs, Baines Baobabs probably being the most famous. They were painted by Thomas Baines in 1862 on one of his travels and the painting now sits in the National Gallery in London. They are part of Nxai Pan which sits on the northern sector of the main tarred road linking Maun and Francistown. This area is different to the clay pans of the south and contains scrub, grasses and thickets of acacia. Here you can see a good mix of animals including predators.

    Accommodation in the Makgadikgadi Pan areas is diverse: from luxury lodges on the western boundary on the Boteti River to a luxury tented camp in the centre of the Makgadikgadi to a new chalet style lodge on the western boundary of Nxai Pan National Park. This is in addition to affordable hut style lodges close to the main Maun-Francistown road which offer trips on the Pans. The campsite in the Nxai Pan National Park is also now privately managed and run and offers solar powered hot water and ablutions.

    • Varied landscapes of grasslands, vast salt pans and moon-like stone ‘islands’ of acacia, rock and baobab trees
    • Migratory antelope herds
    • Interesting plains and raptor bird sightings
    • Quad bike excursions onto the pans
    • Access to either Makgadikgadi or Nxai is off the main Maun to Francistown road
    • Air transfers by private charter to luxury lodges or airstrips
    • Rustic National Park campsites in Nxai Pan with ablutions
    • Luxury tented and chalet lodges in the pan areas and the western boundaries of the Makgadikgadi Park

Southern Botswana

  • Gaborone

    The capital of Botswana, Gaborone (known as Gaberones until recently) was named after a chief and started its life in the last part of the nineteenth century as an administrative centre. Its existence as a capital only really started in 1966 after independence and the city has grown dramatically over the past 40 years. It is a busy city and has a range of excellent hotels, good shopping malls and expanding international restaurants and a very fine Museum and Art Gallery. International flights no longer fly into Gaborone direct but there are several links to Johannesburg a day as well as regular flights to Cape Town. Daily flights also include Maun and Francistown.

    On the outskirts of the city are the Mokolodi Nature Reserve which promotes conservation and has among other animals, rhino. It now has a good restaurant and provides a fine setting for a day trip. There is also an excellent craft centre near the airport which has one of the largest collections of Botswana baskets.

    • Stop over point for easy access to other parts of Botswana
    • Good shopping facilities and good restaurants and cinemas
    • Road from Johannesburg (two hours) and several air connections a day from Johannesburg and regular flights to other destinations in Botswana and to Victoria Falls and Harare in Zimbabwe
    • Good range of hotels and some of international standards
  • Mabuasehube Game Reserve

    This, of all the Kalahari region locations, is probably the most isolated and furthest one could travel from human habitation. Mabuasehube, meaning ‘red earth’ in the local language, is certainly recommended for the hardy traveller.

    Road links are sandy single tracks and there are no facilities on the two-three hour journey from the nearest village Hukuntsi in the north of Tsabong in the south. It is, however, an immensely tranquil place and is noted for its three large pans, its migratory antelope (including eland) and its carnivores.

    The National Parks have established camp sites in the area which are spaced out considerably providing each site with its own privacy and solitude. Some sites have showers and latrines (mostly with cold water).

    • A true 'get-away' location of isolated wilderness
    • Road (4 x 4 vehicle only)
    • National Park camp sites – some with basic ablutions