Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta are the most sought-after safari destinations in Botswana, one with endless elephants and the other crowded with honking hippos. Chobe National Park is the pinnacle of a true land based safari experience, where spotting avenues of baobab trees and ferocious predators are the order of the day. For the ultimate water safari experience, the myriad of channels and open waterways of the remote Okavango Delta offer the quintessential safari adventure. For a quiet game-rich safari experience in Chobe, head to Camp Savuti and Camp Linyanti. For your magnificent mokoro and boating safari, head to the magical Mboma Island Expeditions camp.
A Chobe National Park Safari
Chobe National Park is one of the most accessible safari destinations in Botswana, and is known primarily for its high concentration of elephant herds, wild dogs, and big cats. The reserve’s landscape is so vast and diverse that there’s room for all kinds of safari tourists. During the height of tourist season, most people head for the Chobe riverfront area, a rich ecosystem surrounding the northern stretches of the Chobe along the mighty Chobe River.
A lesser known area—but equally significant—is Ngwenzumba Pans/Nogatsaa, a map of clay pans hugged by grassy plains and archetype mopane woodlands. During the rainy season, the pans fill with water and provide a life source for wildlife. This area is slightly to the east of the riverfront area, and is incredibly tricky to navigate. A destination reserved for the avid adventurer and rugged nature lover.
Travel south you get to the Savute Marsh region, an enclave of exceptional beauty made famous by a multitude of wildlife documentaries. Savute is relatively easy to get to, and is popular with self-drivers coming from Maun. and offers a sense of true remote wilderness. A Savute safari is ideal for holidaymakers eager for an experience that’s far from the maddening crowds. The erratic Savuti Channel is one of the geographical marvels of the area, and completely floods the marsh and the Delta’s Khwai region when its flowing.
Scientists and geographers don’t know when the river will flow or dry-up. It was dry in the 19th century, then flowed 75 years later. For decades the river won’t flow, but sometimes the gap is only a few years. Camp Savuti is situated right in the hub of this geographical phenomenon, and enjoys sightings of the famous lions that have become known as the notorious elephant killers. There’s no denying that the Savute region is top notch safari stuff, which is why Camp Savuti is right up there as being a firm favourite camp in Botswana.
The Linyanti region is another section of the Chobe National Park worth exploring. It pairs well with Camp Savuti and Mboma Island Expeditions in the Okavango Delta. Linyanti can be a trek to access, but the journey is well worth the adventure. Linyanti is close to Namibia and the Selinda Spillway, and is known for its prolific wild dog and lion populations. With landscapes characterised by lagoons and pans, it’s no surprise that water loving red lechwe and sitatunga are commonly spotted. The best place to stay is at Camp Linyanti, which is located on the river-border between Botswana and Namibia. Birders will delight in knowing that the Narina Trojan is localised to the area, while waders and owls are frequently seen around camp.
The Okavango Delta
Encompassing over 2,023,590 hectares of land, the Okavango Delta is the world’s largest inland delta. It’s the only delta that doesn’t flow into the sea, and instead drains into the Kalahari basin. There are over a whopping 150 000 island sprawled across the waterways, marshlands and seasonal floodplains.
The Delta is a renowned birding destination, particularly for raptors and waders. The Pel’s fishing-owl and southern carmine bee-eater are two of the most revered species to spot while exploring the floodplains. Moremi Game Reserve is the only proclaimed reserve within the Delta, and sits on the eastern part of the Delta.
Cheetah, elephant, leopard, lion, wild dogs, and everything in-between can be seen in Moremi. And the perfect place to stay in the Okavango Delta? That would have to be Mboma Island Expeditions, an idyllic hideaway located on the edge of the Okavango Delta’s fresh waters and the Moremi’s savannah terrain.
For the best Botswana safari, combine Camp Savuti, Camp Linyanti and Mboma Island Expeditions.