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Featured Destination: Botswana

September 27, 2018

 

Incredible scenery, extraordinary wildlife viewing opportunities and a friendly culture means there are endless reasons to visit Botswana.

 

From December to March, the country is at the height of the Green Season when the temperature is high, plant life flourishes and many species give birth. The water recedes on the flood plains and more of the land can be explored on foot or in a game vehicle.

 

 

In April the inundation begins, transforming the land into floodplains.

 

The delta is at its height in June to October and Botswana becomes unlike any other landscape. Best viewed by air, visitors can marvel at the spectacular beauty when flying from camp to camp.  
 
As many as 580 bird species have been recorded here, with 75 larger mammal species known to occur and more than 80 fish species identified in the Okavango. But it is often the sense of wilderness and pristine functioning ecosystems that has the most significant impact on visitors. 

 

 

It is an ideal destination for those who want to see sunsets that burn across salt pans, river deltas, long carpets of veldt (grassland) and some of the richest wildlife concentrations in the world. From the north west, the landscape shifts from the soggy, buzzing wetlands of the Okavango Delta to the dried-out crystalline cakes of the Nxai Pan salt flats.  

 

In a country full of stunning natural beauty, the Okavango Delta stands out, perhaps because Botswana is such a thirsty, dry country, where much of the rest of the landscape flits between desert and semi-desert.  
 
The Okavango is one of the last remaining unspoiled wilderness areas of Africa. It is fed by the floodwaters of central Africa and covers an area of approx. 16,000 square kilometers. These waters fan out into the Delta forming a wetland system of beautiful palm-fringed channels, a myriad of twisting papyrus-filled waterways, lagoons and palm-fringed islands where herds of elephants come to drink. 

 

 

Nowhere on Earth is remotely similar to this wonderful ecosystem, so much so that it became the 1000th site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2014. 
 
The exciting way to explore is by dugout canoe, locally called a mokoro. You are gently propelled through this magical wonderland by your own knowledgeable guide, normally whilst sipping a gin and watching the sunset - a truly once in a lifetime experience. 

 

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Game drives are another fantastic way to view wildlife. Each day at sunrise and again in the afternoon, following a sumptuous high tea, you set out in open-top Land Rovers, which are durable enough to navigate the most rugged terrain and deep water. The rangers and guides have years of well-earned experience and unsurpassed knowledge -  what they don’t know about the bush isn’t worth knowing.  
 
In the drier season, December to March, nature walks provide a closer, ground level insight into the bush with more time to appreciate animal tracks and colourful birdlife. 

 
Vumbura Plains Camp - in the Northern part of the Okavango Delta - delivers an excellent high-end wildlife viewing experience. Stay in opulent raised chalets with outdoor showers, small pools and areas from which to observe the grasslands and wildlife. Just magnificent. 

 

Besides the Okavango Delta, the most remarkable phenomena of the natural world, there is a neighbouring mini-delta system that flows from the Kwando and Linyanti Rivers into northern Botswana.   
 
DumaTau, meaning ‘roar of the lion,’ is a luxury tented camp located in the private Linyanti Wildlife Reserve that borders the western boundary of Chobe National Park. DumaTau is understated, with its tents raised off the ground to take advantage of the dramatic views of the Osprey Lagoon. Each en-suite tent is spacious, spreading out under a canvas roof, with sliding doors.