Botswana

Don't be fooled by its stable democracy, its thriving economy, and its peace-loving citizens: Botswana is a dog-eat-dog world ruled by ruthless savages. You're in Safari Country now, Toto.

Botswana is no-frills wildlife country where game reserves account for one fifth of the country - that's an area the size of Iceland.

Almost devoid of infrastructure, it is impossible for humans to get in and destroy anything. Most of Botswana really has remained unchanged since the dawn of time offering you a true African wilderness experience.

The highlight of Botswana is the extraordinary Okavango Delta - a boundless network of channels, islands and plains the size of Israel. The Kavango River meets its end in a fan-shaped watery wilderness that is the veritable Garden of Eden for wildlife and birds. Remote, inaccessible and serene, the delta as seen from a mokoro (a rudimentary African version of a gondola) is the quintessential Botswana experience.

Next on the list of essential Botswana attractions is Chobe National Park in the far north-east. At a shade over 10,000 sq km this is no petting zoo in size yet it boasts one of the largest concentrations of plains wildlife in Africa. Chobe National Park features the full spectrum of African wildlife and scenery with diverse habitats including the riparian forests along Chobe River, the lush Linyanti Wetlands and Savuti with its mix of marshland and open woodland plains.

The Makgadikgadi Pans National Park on the northern edge of the Central Kalahari, encompasses Nxai Pan, Makgadikgadi Pans, Ntwetwe Pan, Nata Bird Sanctuary, Kubu Island and Baines' Baobab. During the rainy season – December to March – the second largest migration in Africa occurs as hundreds of thousands of Zebra migrate to the fresh pastures of this vast basin. During the dry winter, the cracked salt pans are a spectacle of solitary beauty.

Central Botswana is dominated by the Central Kalahari Game Reserve – the world's second largest reserve (after Selous in Tanzania) weighing in at 52,800 sq km. With almost no facilities, the reserve is wonderfully unspoilt and the focal point is a place called Deception Valley; many private reserves dot the fringe of the Central Kalahari with excellent game viewing and scenic activities.

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