Astrotourism: Stargazing in Botswana and Kruger

Astrotourism has emerged as a prominent travel trend in 2024, as noted by Forbes. The essential components for a memorable Astrotourism holiday encompass unspoiled wilderness settings devoid of urban and artificial illumination…which pretty much describes our reserves and concessions! Just what is Astrotourism? It’s a type of travel that makes stargazing the focus of your holiday experience. Enthusiastic astronomers and devoted stargazers are drawn to destinations offering on-site telescopes, observatories, and educational lectures. Alternatively, some prefer the authenticity of remote wilderness hideaways. Our camps and lodges in Botswana and Kruger are strategically located for optimal stargazing experiences, where the captivating sounds of the wild enhance the Astrotourism adventure.

Read below to learn more about Astrotourism and stargazing in Botswana and Kruger.

Discover the Wonders of the Cosmos

Before you head out on an Astrotourism safari deep into the wilderness, it’s important to have a general understanding of the night sky.

Here are 5  handy-to-know facts about the night sky:

  • Constellations are groups of stars seen with the naked eye from the earth. They are named according to their pattern, shape and placement. They’re often named after animals and mythology, which are
  • Constellations are used for navigation and orientation. The pattern is a fixed reference point, making it easy for adventurers to navigate their way.
  • Dung beetles, moths, seals and certain species of bird use the stars to navigate
  • The season can be determined by the constellation, as some are only seen at certain times of the year because of the earth orbiting around the sun. Examples would be Leo, Scorpius etc. This is how Astrology originated – ancient civilisations picked up on the seasonal cycles of the night sky.
  • The biggest galaxy is the Milky Way which contains our entire solar system. A galaxy is a complex gravitationally bound system brimming with stars, remnants of stars, gas, dust, dark matter and all things celestial. According to research done in 2016, there are 2 trillion “observable” galaxies seen from the NASA Hubble Space Telescope. Of course, there are probably many more galaxies out there – we just don’t know it yet!

Feel you know enough? Now it’s time to find out the constellations and patterns to see in the Kruger and Botswana night sky.

Kruger Stargazing at the Bush Bar

Stargazing in Klaserie

Stargazing in Botswana and Kruger

The southern Africa night sky is the same in Botswana and Kruger, offering up a myriad of constellations to spot while on safari. Both regions offer minimal light pollution to observe the Milky Way clearly, meteor showers (if you’re lucky) and planets seen by the naked eye (Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn). Seeing the planets depends on the position in the sky, time of year, and local weather conditions. Visibility is always dependent on numerous factors aligning.

These are a few popular constellations to spot while on safari in Botswana and Kruger:

  • The Southern Cross: Possibly the most popular pattern in the southern hemisphere, the crux is visible from both South Africa and Botswana. It serves as a navigational aid and is the most easily identifiable group of stars in the night sky.
  • Alpha Centauri: This trio of stars is the closest system to the Sun and shines brightly in the night sky, making it easy for amateur astronomers to identify this constellation.
  • Scorpius: During the summer months, the giant pattern of Scorpius can be seen clearly from the southern hemisphere with Antares, a supergiant star.
  • Orion: Orion, a constellation mainly seen in the northern hemisphere, is visible from the southern hemisphere during certain times of the year. Orion’s Belt is the most commonly observed pattern in the constellation.

Stargazing at Chacma Bush Camp

Prime Stargazing Locations at Every Lodge

Camps and Lodges for Stargazing in Botswana

Mankwe Tented Lodge: From the private balcony area of your tented suite – just look up.

Camp Savuti: Anywhere – while at Camp Savuti you truly are remote. While on night drive back from the Savute Marsh, ask your guide to “drop anchor”, and absorb the stillness.

Boteti Tented Camp: From your tent or the small viewing deck on the river’s edge.

Mboma Island Expeditions: Because you’re staying in a mobile camp setup, there’s nothing around you. Head to the crackling campfire, grab a seat and stargaze. You will be spoilt for choice in this Delta destination.

Chobe Mopani Forest Lodge: On the wooden viewing deck overlooking the waterhole.

Camps and Lodges for Stargazing in Kruger

Africa on Foot: The treehouse, situated just outside camp.

nThambo Tree Camp: From your room’s private balcony, which is elevated.

Chacma Bush Camp: If you’re staying in the Steenbok Chalet, step out onto your patio. Otherwise, head to the boma area or the poolside overlooking the waterhole.

Nambu Camp: The entire camp is built on a raised area, which means it’s closer to the sky! View the stars from the wrap-around wooden balconies or (if it’s cold) from behind the expansive glass windows of the main lounge.

Nyala Safari Lodge: Anywhere along the wooden walkways, the expansive viewing deck or your room’s private patio.

Ezulwini Lodges: The elevated skywalk at Billy’s Lodge offers an exceptional viewpoint of both the sky above and the landscape. River Lodge boasts numerous private enclaves set off from the walkways, offering unique vantage points.

Bundox River Lodge: Sit in one of the sprawling relaxation areas elevated above the flowing waters on the comfortable oversized couches.

Sausage Tree Safari Camp:In the main area, there is an expansive viewing deck that takes pride of place at the camp. The carefully constructed, raised area houses the swimming pool, poolside deck, and small seating area with comfortable patio furniture. Choose a spot!

Umkumbe Safari Lodge Riverside: If you’re staying in a suite, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy private stargazing sessions from the comfort of your room. There’s also the pool deck, boma and main areas to enjoy the African night sky.

Africa on Foot Wilderness Trails: You’re in the elements, camping in the wild. EVERYWHERE on Trails is perfect for stargazing.

The next time you look up, look with NEW eyes and look differently. 

Botswana Savuti StargazingBotswana Stargazing