Located in Southern Africa, Botswana is a unique safari destination with its unusual blend of desert and delta. This wet/dry combination draws an immense concentration of wildlife to the wetlands in the winter and a dazzling array of birdlife during the summer. In fact, an estimated 200,000 animal and bird species reside in and around Botswana's Okavango Delta and the two main wildlife parks, Chobe National Park (known for its elephant herds) and Moremi Game Reserve.
Northern Botswana's crown jewel is the Okavango Delta. Spreading across the Kalahari Desert, it is a beacon for birds and animals and provides a seasonal habitat for numerous species. Among these are "The Big Five" – lion, leopard, elephant, black rhino, and buffalo, and the goal of many safari-goers is to capture the perfect image of each of these African marvels on film.
However, a great many other animals are also drawn to the Okavango's bounty and visitors frequently witness predator and prey acting out the stirring, cyclical drama that is life in Africa. Among carnivores and scavengers, you'll find cheetah, Nile crocodile, brown and spotted hyenas, and the endangered African wild dog. Grazers and omnivores include hippopotamus, topi, blue wildebeest, giraffe, greater kudu, sable antelope, black and white rhinoceros, plains zebras, warthog, and chacma baboon. The delta also draws over 400 species of birds, among them the African fish eagle, crested crane, lilac-breasted roller, hammerkop, ostrich, and sacred Ibis.
Interestingly enough, the most striking features of Botswana are its flatness and aridity. Nearly 85 percent of the country is technically the Kalahari Desert. This is what makes the Okavango Delta even more remarkable, it is a wonderful wetland within a desert, getting its waters from rain falling in central Africa, over 600 miles away. Following the floods and rains, the majority of the delta's inhabitants move in and out with the seasons. They leave with the summer rains to find renewed fields of grass to graze on and trees to browse. And then as winter approaches and the countryside dries up, they make their way back to swamps.
The months between April and November, when large numbers of animals migrate toward the waterways of the delta, are considered the prime time for game viewing. The summer season is from November through the end of March and usually brings higher temperatures. It is also the rainy season, with clouds and somewhat cooler temperatures, although usually only for a short period of time. November and December are considered the calving months and are also an excellent time to witness nature's own timetable of regeneration. The rainy season, from January to March, sees the migration of large numbers of game into the summer grazing areas, while the delta comes alive with sounds of hundreds of bird species.
Unsurprisingly, there is a plethora of safari camps and lodges throughout the delta and visitors are spoiled with choice for where to spend their safari. Allow the travel experts at Frontiers to help you choose the combination of camps that is best for you and your companions or family. Our agents have given Botswana's accommodations the white-glove test to ensure that your in-camp experience is every bit as remarkable and amazing as your time viewing the wildlife. Contact Kathy Schulz or Eileen Datt to enlist their expertise in planning the perfect photographic safari of a lifetime.
Photos Courtesy of: Wilderness Safaris, &Beyond and Abercrombie & Kent