Botswana has perfect pockets of wilderness that make for wonderful walking. Venture closer than the confines any car could allow and enjoy encounters with the smaller, more intimate details of the bush.
Tread on Chiefs Island in the Okavango Delta
Amos Disho, a guide at Moremi Crossing in the Okavango Delta, walks silently across the great plains. Amos has worked as a trails guide for nearly ten years and poling traditional dugout canoes (better known as a mokoro in these parts) through Okavango waters since he was just 11 years old. Hailing from Betsha, a village on the very northern border of the Okavango Delta, it’s people like Amos who are trained to track wildlife on foot.
Moremi Game Reserve covers one-third of the Okavango Delta and was proclaimed in 1963. It was the first reserve in Africa declared by local residents (as opposed to colonial powers). Under the leadership of the late Chief Moremi III’s wife, Mma Moremi, the Batawana people of Ngamiland set about protecting paradise. Chief’s Island is the largest island in the Okavango Delta (roughly 70km long and 15km wide) and is so named because it was once the sole hunting preserve of Chief Moremi.
Situated on the boundary of Moremi Game Reserve and overlooking Chiefs Island, Moremi Crossing is the ideal location for on-foot animal encounters. The Okavango Delta waterways have created an island stay for the intrepid, because the only way to explore these wilds is by walking. While still maintaining a safe range, guides like Amos will carefully navigate the Okavango’s fauna and flora on foot, without disrupting the natural rhythms of the animal world.
In certain seasons, you can even arrange a walking safari that includes an overnight stay in a secluded fly camp. It makes for a true tented adventure in the Delta, the way its been done for decades.
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.
Meander with Meerkats on the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans
Scratching for scorpions and snacks as they scurry from bush to burrow and back again, no one can deny the cuteness of the Kalahari’s charming meerkats. Get up close and personal with the habituated meerkats when visiting the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. Each colony has a caretaker that follows these busy creatures, which has made it possible to walk alongside the meerkats in their natural habitat. The crusted pans are fringed by golden grassland and this is the prime suricate estate. Walking with them (and sometimes they might even clamber atop you for a better view) allows for an intriguing insight into the life of an often overlooked animal and the complex community that the families formulate.
Wander with waterbirds at the Nata Bird Sanctuary
Nata Bird Sanctuary offers birdwatching bliss and you’re able to amble along the water’s edge in order to tick off your birding checklist. A community-managed reserve, the Nata Bird Sanctuary includes Sua Pan and forms part of the greater Makgadikgadi Salt Pans network. Although small, the sanctuary protects both birds and wildlife. There are more than 150 bird species, such as korhaans, bustards, spoonbills, pelicans, stilts and during the right season, hundreds and thousands of flamingoes.
When it’s filled with water, Nata is the place for seeking out Pink-backed pelican and both flamingo species. Sua Pan is a crucial breeding site for these crazy-looking birds and visiting Nata Bird Sanctuary is the easiest way to access their noisy congregation. At the moment, the flamingos are still waddling in the waters and you can wander almost alongside them. For a serious stroll, grab the binoculars and walk between the viewing deck and the Nata river mouth.
Other wildlife to be seen includes springbok, ostriches, jackal, oryx, hartebeest, wildebeest and kudu too.
Also read about Botswana’s best birding safaris and when to go.
Stay here: Nata Lodge sits just 10km away from the wide-open landscapes of Sua Pan and the incredible Nata Bird Sanctuary. Accommodation ranges from safari-style tents or wooden chalets set below swishing palms.
Go back in time in the Central Kalahari
The Kalahari is world-famous as being the home of Botswana’s very first inhabitants. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is the ancestral home of the San, an iconic group of hunter gatherers who have survived in the arid sands of the Kalahari for over 50000 years.
Nature walks with Bushman trackers, such as ‘Scuppa’ Tshuruu from Tau Pan Camp, offers unique and culturally-sensitive insight into the traditional ways of the San (without any animal skin stereotyping). Walking through the bush with Scuppa allows visitors to witness and learn about the unique skills that helped the San survive the hardships of the desert.
Stay here: The Tau Pan Camp 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. However, you’ll certainly be in safe hands on the short nature walk. Also, don’t miss the incredible opportunity to snuggle up with the stars on the outdoor sleeping deck if planning a stay here.
Book your next Botswana Walking Safari
Want to enjoy Botswana’s wildest walking? Our adventure safaris introduce wildlife enthusiasts to Botswana and can be specially curated to include an epic walking safari.