These days, safari-goers are not just looking for lions and leopards (although we have to admit, those never get old!). Botswana is famously home to epic wilderness that will always appeal to nature-lovers, but you can also enjoy a thrilling journey that offers both animals and adventures.
The African Wild has a special line of adventure safaris that will take your trip to the next level. Brave the wilds of Botswana a little differently by throwing in one of these exciting excursions.
1. Kayak the Okavango Delta
Many visitors to Botswana will enjoy the waters of the Okavango Delta by mokoro, but few have rowed across the entirety of Africa’s most astonishing geographical marvel in a kayak. Guided by experts, you’ll paddle your way into the heart of the Delta and camp on some of the most remote islands in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While two or three-day kayaking options are available, we suggest the ten-day option, which covers over 300km from Sepopa in the northern reaches of the Okavango and ends in Maun. Days follow a ritual of early-morning coffee around the fire, days out on the water exploring the channels of the Okavango and afternoons walking the wilds back on land beyond the riverbanks.
This is also a great activity for the environmentally conscious. Travelling by boat leaves as little impact as possible and river guides clean up where they find damage.
Read more: Follow the Okavango River in a Kayak
2. Ride across the Makgadikgadi Pans
The Makgadikgadi Pans are a sprawling network of salt pans so enormous that they can be seen from space. That’s why we recommend enlisting a little bit of help to explore them.
There are two ways to tour across these seemingly endless pans, either on horseback or with the help of gears on atop a quad bike. An adventurous two-hour horseback safari is available for all levels of riders or there are multi-day riding safaris for more experienced riders. If horses aren’t your thing, quad bikes are sure to sate any affections for adrenaline.
Embrace the offroad and take a radical sabbatical by quad biking across the salt-crusted pans on a two-night expedition all the way to the enigmatic Kubu Island. This adventure will have you sleeping out under the stars in the middle of nowhere. Pure bliss.
Stay here: Check out our Makgadikgadi Lodges. We’ll let you know which ones offer these awesome activities.
3. Sleep under the Milky Way
Speaking of stars… the dry air of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve allows for the most magic of Milky Way displays. Up the ante on your next safari in Botswana’s biggest park and snuggle up with the stars on Tau Pan’s outdoor sleeping deck. You’ll hear the jackals cry out and feel the bellow of lions roaring in your belly. Luckily, the height of the open-air deck keeps safely out of reach of any predators.
The Kalahari is also a good destination for the more culturally inclined. The San, an iconic group of hunter-gatherers, have called the Kalahari home for over 50000 years. Any trip to this desert area should include spending time with the San – whether in a community or on a walk, tracking game the traditional way.
Stay here: The Tau Pan is fabled in Botswana for the black-maned lions that prowl across her stretches, and viewing these lions from the lodge is a breathtaking experience. Tau actually means lion in Botswana’s local language of Setswana.
4. Walk wild in Moremi Game reserve
Embracing its isolation, Moremi Crossing is totally islanded by water. As a result, no game drives are possible at this lodges in the Okavango Delta. Exploration is only possible by walking the wilds, navigating the water channels by mokoro and, when the flood waters rise each year, by bigger boats. This is safari that’s more hands on.
The lodge overlooks the abundant grounds of Chief’s Island, which is the largest island in the Okavango Delta and is raised above the water level by tectonic activity. This is where so much of the delta’s wildlife retreat to as water levels rise. As a result, it’s home to the rich concentrations of wildlife during the dry season. As Lonely Planet puts it, ‘It’s the Okavango Delta as you always imagined it.’
Conducted by a specially trained guide, staying here will allow you to walk the famous Moremi Game Reserve and get up really close to the wilds that Botswana is so famous for. Track lions with the pros, learn about the smaller insects, grasses and flowers that make the Okavango such a marvel and brush up on your birding too – rare sightings have included Pel’s Fishing Owl and the Ground Hornbill.
Stay here: Combining luxury with simplicity, Moremi Crossing is a 100% eco-friendly development featuring solar and waste disposal technology, biodegradable soaps and a focus on sustainable tourism by employing Motswana citizens.
5. River cruise the Kalahari
Think there’s no water in the desert? Think again. The Boteti River recently sprang to life again after years of drought and it’s even deep enough to explore by boat. Overlooking the Makgadikgadi National Park, a lack of water in the interior of the park means that thousands of zebra make the Boteti their dry season lodgings. This is the time to visit!
Stay here: Leroo La Tau is built on cliffs above the Boteti and its changing riparian environment, offering unsurpassed views of the river and the Makgadikgadi Pans to the east.
Book your next adventure in Botswana
Inspired? Our adventure safaris are not only designed to introduce wildlife enthusiasts to Botswana, they are specially crafted to administering adventure into your safari itinerary.