A safari in the Okavango Delta, Botswana, one of the top things to see

Botswana Travel Guide

If you’re looking for a safari adventure in the wildlife paradise of Botswana, this travel guide highlights the top places, how to get around, logistics, and more to help plan your trip.

Why safari in Botswana? Did you know that 38% of its land area is dedicated to national parks, animal reserves, and sanctuaries? That it’s committed to high-quality, low-impact tourism? And that it has the highest concentration of African elephant in the world?

Botswana has an impressive conservation record, allowing vulnerable and endangered species, like elephant, lion, and rhinoceros, to thrive in their natural habitat. It also means you can feel good about taking a safari here.

This travel guide and posts on Botswana were updated January 2022.

Top Sites In Botswana Travel Guide

Botswana’s top three sites are the Okavango Delta, the Moremi Game Reserve, and Chobe National Park. A brief overview of each is below, but for more detail, and other top sites (like the Greater Makgadikgadi, the Central Kalahari Game reserve, and the plethora of prehistoric art at Tsodilo Hills), see my post at the bottom of this page.

Okavango Delta

With over 150,000 islands, the Okavango Delta is an amazing maze of lagoons, swamps, and grasslands. Full of mesmerizing sites and exceptional wildlife, there’s no place in the world like it.

Okavango Delta safari Botswana Travel Guide
Okavango Delta

It’s home to over 150 species of mammals, 500 species of birds, and 15,000 species of plants, many of which have synchronizing their biological systems to the cycle of the Delta (like lions that hunt by swimming).

You can see the Big Five (elephant, lion, Cape buffalo, rhino and leopard) here, although rhino are rare. You can also see hippo, zebra, giraffe, wildebeast, antelope, African wild dog, and much more. Cheetah, although rare, are also here.

On top of that, poling in a mokoro through the Delta is an amazing way to do a safari!

Safari in Okavango Delta in Botswana Travel Guide
Elephant in the Okavango Delta

Moremi Game Reserve

Moremi Game Reserve was once the homeland and hunting grounds of the San Bushmen. After hunting was banned, this area was turned into a reserve so the San could continue living here. It covers much of the eastern Delta.

Similar to the Delta, you can see the Big Five here, as well as hippo, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, Nile crocodile, antelope, and wild African dog. Cheetah and rhino are rare.

Chobe National Park

Chobe National Park has the largest concentration of game in Africa and the world’s largest concentration of Afrcian elephants. Cruising along the Chobe river while elephants and hippo swim and play is a remarkable experience.

Traditional game drives are also an option, but I found the river cruise safari to be extra special as the animals are more active in the water.

The Big Five is also here, except rhino. You can also see hippos, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, cheetah, antelope, and much more. Wild African dog is also here, but rare.

Elephant at Chobe River in Botswana Travel Guide
Chobe River

Best Time To Visit Botswana

Although the three destinations noted above are all in northern Botswana and have similar optimal visiting times, they do vary.

Okavango Delta & Moremi Game Reserve: The best time to visit is July through September. Although this is the dry season, it’s when the Delta is at its highest from distant rains in the Angolan highland. It not only nourishes plant life, it also brings migrating game from miles away. Keep in mind, however, that temperatures can be quite hot, especially late in this season.

Birdwatching, however, is best November to April. Note that sometimes rain causes closures in Moremi during the rainy season.

Chobe National Park: At Chobe National Park, game gathers at the river during the dry season, May through September.

Central and Southern Botswana: Best visited during the rainy season, November to March.

Sunset at Chobe National Park
Sunset at Chobe National Park

Botswana Travel Guide: Languages

There are two official languages, English and Tswana, a Bantu language. English is the official language for business and written communication.

There are also about 20 other languages or dialects spoken throughout the country.

Botswana Travel Guide: Money Matters

Currency: Botswana’s currency is the Pula (BWP). Pula means ‘rain’ in Setswana, which brings life here. Conversation rates to Botswanan Pula as of January 1, 2024:

  • USD (1) = 13.44 BWP
  • Euro (1) = 14.82 BWP
  • CNY (1) = 1.89 BWP

The South African Rand is also accepted as Botswana was once under South African rule. Change is provided in Pula. USD are also accepted at some larger lodges.

Credit Cards & ATMs: Credit cards are only accepted in larger towns, but not consistently. For lodging fees, some larger lodges will take credit cards, however, it’s best to ask in advance. Likewise, ATMs are also only available in large cities, not in safari areas. Therefore, it’s best to carry cash.

Tipping: Although tipping is voluntary, 10% is the norm for good service in restaurants. Tipping for safari guides is 10 USD per day and trackers 5 USD. However, this it’s your discretion. It’s best to tip in cash to ensure it gets to the intended recipient.

Okavango Delta | Wynand uys

Safety in Botswana

Botswana, a stable democracy for 50 years, is one of the safest places in Africa. That said, petty theft does occur, so exercise caution. There’s no need for flashy clothes or jewelry here. And don’t leave valuables in your vehicle (or tent).

Take normal precautions and always be aware of your surroundings. Trust your instincts. If things don’t feel right, evaluate alternatives.

Botswana village visit hut
Village Home
Walking safari in Botswana Travel Guide
Walking Safari Guide

Getting Around Botswana

There are several options for getting around Botswana. Due to the low impact tourism, trips here can be pricey.

Fly-In Safaris: Charter flights are usually from the city of Maun to your camp, or lodge, and include any intermediary transportation. Although exciting, this option can also be quite expensive. In fact, many exclusive lodges are only accessible this way.

Mobile Safaris: In a mobile safari, or mobile tenting, you and your tent is moved along a pre-planned route. You also generally get a guide. Although still expensive, prices can vary widely depending on if you want to pitch in with tent set up and cooking or if this is all taken care of.

Self Drive Safaris: You can also self drive. This, however, should only be done via fully equipped 4 x 4 as roads can be challenging. Costs are similar to an low end mobile safari, but with the possibility of dealing with a flat tire or breakdown on your own. Not only is this a hassle, but you could lose a booking due to long delays. A satellite phone is a good idea.

Overland Safari: Finally, there’s the overland tour, or overland safari. This is the most cost effective option and usually involve routes through nearby countries, namely Namibia, Botwsawa, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania. I used Intrepid for an amazing 49 day camping trip from Cape Town to Nairobi. We toured 7 countries with countless safaris. Not only was it amazing, but I met wonderful people from around the world.

Visa Information For Botswana

Many countries can visit Botswana visa free, including the USA and most of Europe. A visa is required for Chinese citizens. See Click Botswana Visa Guidelines for more information and details on other countries.

Botswana Travel Guide: Top Destinations, Blogs & Stories

Click the icons below to read more about Botswana.

Botswana really is an amazing place. Some places become etched in your mind and you know you have to return. This is one of those places for me. I especially loved safaris on the water. And knowing that Botswana provides a responsive safari experience made me feel good about indulging my passion.

If this travel guide has been useful in planning, or just dreaming about adventures in Botswana, add a comment below.

Safe Travels!


To read more about me and my philosophy on travel, see my about me page.

Hello! I resigned from a corporate career in product development to explore the world. Although my goal was to travel for a year, 8 years later, I’ve been honored to have explored more than 60 gorgeous countries and met some unbelievably amazing people. Our world truly is a beautiful place! Follow me into the gorgeous unknown by subscribing below. You’ll receive details on fabulous destinations, comprehensive travel guides, travel tips and tidbits, and information on travel trends, like experiential, sustainable, and transformational travel. Where is your next gorgeous unknown? Julie

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