Hidden In Plain Sight – Botswana
Botswana is renowned for the density of its superb wildlife and with limits on the number of visitors in many of the better known regions, such as the Okavango Delta, demand for space in safari camps outstrips supply in most years. So, with this level of demand, how are there any secret areas left in Botswana? For those seeking an alternative to the most obvious areas of Botswana, these options will offer something different and rewarding.
Nxai Pan National Park sits to the south east of the Okavango Delta alongside the more famous Makgadikgadi Pans. Like its ‘noisy neighbour’ its formation is through the fossilisation of a lakebed and it comes to life during the euphemistically named ‘green season’. These rainy months of Botswana’s summer between December and March turn the vegetation lush attracting numerous herbivores to this mineral rich area, which in turn encourages predators such as lion, hyena and cheetah. Nxai Pan National Park is one of the best places to experience the longest zebra migration that spans from Namibia to the Nxai Pan area covering over 600 miles. Another fascinating attraction within Nxai Pan and accessible from Migration Expeditions camp, is a visit to Baines Baobabs. This cluster of huge baobabs have been around for millennia famously painted by artist and explorer Thomas Baines.
Selinda Game Reserve
Sandwiched between the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park, the Selinda Game Reserve offers wildlife viewing similar to both without some of the restrictions. Night drives are possible within Selinda making nocturnal species more visible, while nature walks allow smaller things, that can be missed on a drive, to be observed. Wildlife in the Selinda reserve is good throughout the season. Birding is good year round and fantastic in the wet months (December – March) when many migratory species pass through. Zarafa Camp overlooks the Zibadianja Lagoon in the eastern Selinda reserve, close to the source of the Savuti channel, so great views of hippos and crocodiles are guaranteed along with abundant bird life.
The northern Tuli area of Botswana is squeezed between Zimbabwe to its north and east, and South Africa across the Limpopo River to its south. The area enjoys superb scenery with rocky kopjes and huge baobabs, and is home to good quantities of wildlife including large herds of elephants and impressive populations of cheetah, along with lion, leopard, zebra, giraffe, wild dog, bat eared fox, jackal, and many plains antelope including eland. Combined with the excellent wildlife viewing is the opportunity to explore by mountain bike, on foot or on horseback. The imaginative architecture of Mashatu Euphorbia Villas provides a stunning base from which to enjoy all activities.
Central Kalahari Reserve
This is the second largest wildlife reserve in Africa, and for many years was closed to the public. It is known for being one of Africa’s last truly wild areas. It comes into its own for wildlife between December and March in Botswana’s summer months. Huge numbers of antelopes such as springbok and gemsbok are attracted by the lush vegetation which attracts predators such as cheetah, hyena and the Kalahari’s famous black-maned lions. Guided bush walks from Tau Pan camp with San Bushmen offer visitors a wonderful opportunity to learn about life in the desert through the eyes of people who have lived here for many millennia.
If this article has inspired you to find our more, we would be delighted to help plan your perfect safari off the beaten track in Botswana.
Do get in touch – chatting to people by phone or email is what we do best. We listen, we explain, we answer all sorts of questions even those you didn’t know to ask, and finally we make suggestions. If this is your first time to Africa or your twenty first, we have a team standing by to help make the planning easy and the journey the best ever.