Botswana has long been known as one of the best safari destinations in Africa, but when it comes down to the best Botswana safari lodge or camp there is much debate. Of course which is the best Botswana safari lodge or camp for you is completely dependent on what you want from your safari and who you’re travelling with, but there are certainly a few stand out properties that have to be ranked amongst the best safari experiences in the world. Often these amazing Botswana safari properties are located the wildest, most pristine areas of natural wilderness all of which is just pumping with wildlife. What heaven! Botswana is very flat in the Delta and the Kalahari and this can lead to some of the most magical sunsets and sunrises you will see anywhere in Africa. Here we go into a little detail about what might make the best Botswana safari for you.
Our luxury Botswana safaris are born out of a passion for the bush, which is unrivalled, as well as a knowledge which has been built up over years of travelling to this amazing country, and being in constant touch with our friends on the ground in Botswana. We are always being kept in the loop which is how we help our clients from all over the world organise the absolute best safari for them, matching the Botswana camp or lodge to the client. We know every special there is and also have access to the best rates across the board at all of Botswana’s best safari properties.
The green season (Nov-Mar) in Botswana is one of the best times to travel if you like luxury deals and no people. The rain (which tends to come at night or in heavy 20 minute thunderstorms, giving way to bright sun) always comes as a blessing as without it the Delta can become very dry which means everything else suffers terribly. It can be hard on safari during the dry season as although the game viewing is exceptional it can also be quite brutal as much of the wildlife can be quite thin. Not all camps are open in the rainy season – &Beyond is a famous luxury safari operator in Africa and their camp Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge was severely affected by the floods a few years ago which meant they had to delay opening for the high season. This is one of Botswana’s best safari lodges by far, and it’s newly refurbished look is one of chic glamour in the bush.
The lodge has been having major works to update everything and make it even more luxurious than before – it is a classic example of whilst one must never complain about rain in Africa, it does cause some people serious problems, but others it really helps. This is really the nature of Africa which is very dramatic and the weather there can certainly always be life changing. Africa teeters on life changing weather patterns and natural disasters all the time and that’s why people love it – it’s nature and it’s unpredictable. The best safari properties across the board are always the ones in the most remote and unpredictable places.
Lebala Camp (although slightly more rustic than other properties) is another that has to be listed as one of the best Botswana safaris – this is because it is located in a wild and remote area with absolutely no other people, and fantastic game viewing. It is just heavenly especially since it has been completely refurbished – the resident cheetah brothers have been seen regularly sadly catching a baby zebra. Wild dogs were seen recently from Lebala on the aptly named wild dog road chasing impala through the bush at break neck speeds, sadly not having any luck catching them. They did bump into an African Wild Cat (similar in size to a house cat) who proved that like most cat-dog relationships the African Wild Cat was the boss and stood his ground until the dogs got bored and moved on. One set of lucky Lebala Camp guests did see the wild dog kill an impala, and also witnessed two hyena try and steal it from the pack – this went down like a lead balloon and the dogs turned on the hyena – a savage fight ensued. Game viewing as to be a consideration when discussing the best Botswana safari camps.
When trying to decide on the best Botswana safari this can indeed be a little hard, but that’s where we come in. We spend most of our time on safari in one country or another and only handpick the best camps and lodges based on guides, location, food and comfort. The Okavango Delta provides numerous landscapes and habitats for guests to explore, often encountering extraordinary sights. The guiding laws in Botswana are also very tough so the guiding there is excellent.
Machaba Camp in the Khwai area of the Okavango Delta is a semi new which we’re very excited about. The stunning pool overlooks a popular rest spot for a huge pod of hippo and often elephants too, so in between game drives you can sit and watch the wildlife go about its daily business. The camp itself is decorated incredibly stylishly and is more East African in style making it incredibly romantic. Owned and run by one of Botswana’s best safari guides you can also rest assured that your game viewing here will be exceptional with some of Botswana’s most knowledgeable experts. Machaba is intimate and personal with all the staff knowing your name. Game viewing in camp itself has also been incredibly impressive recently with a leopard kill later stolen by hyenas and a showdown between eight hyena and eight lion seen by guests in camp last week.
If you want remote game viewing and privacy and exclusivity then consider the Makgadikgadi Pans, they are amazing in high or green season and offer a truly life changing experience. Green season on the Makgadikgadi Pans tends to be when things really start to liven up – the Migration in Botswana is far less known than it’s Tanzanian counterpart but in some ways is more magical. At this (Feb-Mar) time of year thousands upon thousands of wildebeest and zebra begin to appear in the Pans – these huge numbers combined with the white salt of the pans, the green grass and the exotic palm trees make this a wonderful spectacle to see and of course with the herds come the predators. The Kalahari and the Makgadikgadi Pans really come to life at this time of year and should not be missed. This is one of the best Botswana safari experiences one can have, and to be the only people there is stunning.
Combine this with some exceptional low season offers in the Okavango Delta and you can also stay at the best safari camps in Botswana for virtually nothing. Although the green season is the rainy season the Makgadikgadi and Kalahari receive very little rain so you can be assured not to get too wet while there – an African thunderstorm is also quite extraordinary and well worth seeing. In short we think the best Botswana safari should always include Makgadikgadi – it is one of the ultimate trips one can do in Africa.
Kerr and Downey Safaris are one of the best Botswana safari operators and Kwhai Bush Camp is one of our favourites when it comes to their camps. It is perfect for those not wanting to pay through the nose but wanting to ensure they will have the best guides possible with a fantastically authentic safari experience. Botswana doesn’t have to be expensive if you know the right people, the key is to book a less expensive camp with a professional well respected operator so you still benefit from their guides and delicious food. Those camps are generally in better locations too.
Botswana has a reputation as the best place in Africa for wildlife viewing for a reason and it certainly lives up to that. When looking for the best safari lodge in Botswana it will help to speak to one of our experts who can tell you exactly where the game will be at certain times of year, and also any little quirks the individual camps have, which may or may not suit you. We take our commission from the camps and lodges, not from you, so our lightening quick efficient service is actually free, and we make the whole process of picking the best safari lodge in Botswana incredibly enjoyable. In fact it is often more economic to go through an operator like ourselves as we have much better rates on internal flights and at the lodges and camps than the public can get by going direct.