Last Updated on May 22, 2020 by lauren
Looking for a list of the must-see places in Botswana? Look no further! Below you’ll find a detailed roundup of the top attractions and one-of-a-kind experiences that the Gem of Africa has to offer.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with Botswana. It all started with my best friend from primary school moving there and when the British royals started popping around for luxury safaris – I wanted to know what all the fuss was about.
With its vast landscapes home to the Big 5, an intricate network of the Okavango Delta and unique safari experiences, Botswana is a spectacular piece of the world. It’s everything I dreamt it would be – luxurious, charming, off-the-beaten-track and enough ahh-worthy sights to keep me coming back year after year.
I’ve had the pleasure of road tripping around Botswana twice now, and my bucket list keeps getting longer. There really are countless incredible places to see in Botswana, whether you’re after a five-star safari escape or a camping adventure in the bush.
So to help you out, I’ve broken down a few of my favourite spots below – a Botswana bucket list with everything from UNESCO World Heritage Sites and hangout sessions with meerkats. Enjoy!
Psst…Want more Botswana travel tips? Check out these posts to help you plan your trip!
- The Perfect Self-Drive Botswana Itinerary for an Epic Safari Road Trip
- The Best Time to Visit Botswana: Everything You Need to Know
- Staying at Nxai Pan Camp in Botswana
- Staying at Nata Lodge in Botswana
Table of Contents
- Best Things to Do in Botswana
- Go on a Mokoro Safari in the Okavango Delta
- Chobe National Park
- Nxai Pan National Park
- See The Flamingos at Nata Bird Sanctuary
- Hang Out With Meerkats
- Plan a Safari Road Trip Across Botswana
- See The Ancient Baine’s Baobabs
- Go on a Bush Walk With The San
- Visit The Khama Rhino Sanctuary
- Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
- Moremi Game Reserve
- Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Best Things to Do in Botswana
Go on a Mokoro Safari in the Okavango Delta
The meandering waterways of the Okavango Delta are (in my mind) one of the most beautiful places in Botswana.
And if you don’t trust my opinion, the Delta is the 1000th UNESCO World Heritage Site for a reason.
It attracts HUGE numbers of wildlife when the seasonal flooding from Angola fills the dried-up riverbeds and brings them back to life. More than 500 species of birds flock to the Delta, and you can spot the Big 5 from your mokoro (a traditional canoe)!
It’s a one-of-a-kind safari experience that’s unique to Botswana! And with large concentrations of animals all-year-round it’s one of the best places to see wildlife in Africa.
Take in the beauty of the Delta with a traditional mokoro safari (spend at least one night camping on the banks of the river) or see the vast in-land river from above with a scenic flight over northern Botswana.
Read More: 100 of the Best Places to Visit in Africa
Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park is one of the best wildlife destinations in the world and one of the best things to do in Botswana.
Visit on a day trip from Kasane or stay inside the park at one of the luxury lodges or a houseboat (Zambezi Queen anyone?).
August to November is the best time to visit Chobe for wildlife sightings. The weather is dry and the wildlife flock to the dwindling watering holes. If you’re more of a bird lover, plan your safari between December to March. Hundreds of birds migrate to the park over the wet season – plus, it’s the baby animal boom!
While in the park you can go on guided game drives (or jump in your 4×4 and take yourself), sign up for a photographic tour and try wild camping!
The cherry on top? You can hop over the border to Zimbabwe and visit the iconic Victoria Falls while you’re in the area!
Nxai Pan National Park
Nxai Pan National Park is an off-the-beaten-track adventure.
You can only access the park via 4X4 or with a private chartered flight (if you’re staying at the luxurious Nxai Pan Camp).
Inside, you’ll find an incredible list of things to see and do that make it one of the top attractions in Botswana!
- Time your trip to watch the largest zebra migration on Earth make its way through the park.
- Visit the ancient baobab trees David Livingstone documented during his expedition.
- Go on morning and evening game drives (keep an eye out for those lion footprints!)
- Take a walk through the bush with the San and learn the many uses of elephant dung and more!
P.S. If you’re on a budget and not looking to splurge on accommodation, Nxai Pan National Park has camping spots. You can choose to stay at ones with some amenities (like electricity and toilets) or go completely off the grid and camp around the massive salt pan near Baine’s Baobabs!
Read More: Staying at Nxai Pan Camp in Botswana
See The Flamingos at Nata Bird Sanctuary
There is no shortage of incredible wildlife experiences in Botswana, but the annual migration of 250,000 flamingos is one for the books!
From November to April (Botswana’s wet season), the birds travel from the Great Rift Valley to feast on unsuspecting shrimp in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans.
The best place to watch this natural phenomenon? Nata Bird Sanctuary.
You can drive right up to the bank of the salt pan and watch the show from a lookout tower.
What happens if you visit Botswana in the dry season? You should still swing by Nata Bird Sanctuary.
The birds won’t be around, but you can drive onto the dry salt pans and watch a phenomenal sunset over the plains.
Read More: Staying at Nata Lodge in Botswana
Hang Out With Meerkats
Need a dose of adorableness? Hangout with the meerkats of the Makgadikgadi Pans!
While you can’t touch the animals, the meerkats often come quite close to humans (due to years of scientists monitoring them) which makes for amazing photos and a unforgettable safari experience.
But you’ll need to set your alarms for before sunrise! The best time to see the meerkats is in the early morning as they leave the den in search of food.
Read More: The Best Time to Visit Botswana
Plan a Safari Road Trip Across Botswana
By far, my favourite activity in Botswana was the epic 10-day road trip!
My friends and I started in Johannesburg and travelled to Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Nxai Pan National Park, Maun, the Okavango Delta, Baine’s Baobabs and we had time to squeeze in a music festival!
If you have the time, a road trip is one of the best ways to explore Botswana – but you will need a 4×4.
Some attractions are accessible with a hatchback, but if you want to see the gems of the country – getting off the tarred roads and tackling the dunes is the way to go!
See The Ancient Baine’s Baobabs
Before my trip to Botswana, I knew next to nothing about David Livingstone’s expedition to find the source of the Nile River.
So when we arrived at Baine’s Baobobs in Nxai Pan National Park, my inner history nerd had a field day.
A little backstory: The baobab trees are named after Thomas Baine (who was part of Livingstone’s expedition). The explorer was so overwhelmed by the sighting of these rare trees that he painted them (even Prince Charles followed suit decades later) – and the seven baobabs haven’t changed much since 1861.
As someone who has almost always been the tallest girl in class (and taller than most guys), I felt so tiny next to these freaking massive baobabs!
Tip: While you’re wandering around the trees, keep an eye out for the Oryx. While we didn’t see any, our guide told us they love hanging around there.
Go on a Bush Walk With The San
The San people are freaking geniuses.
Go on a bush walk and the many uses for elephant dung will blow your mind!
Nxai Pan Camp arranged for us to go on a morning walk with Shoes, one of their wildlife trackers. He grew up in the Central Kalahari and taught us how to make fire with two sticks, track animals and lay a trap for a guinea fowl.
What I also liked was that Shoes wasn’t required to wear the traditional San clothes. We still got a super authentic experience without Shoes having to ‘dress the part’.
Visit The Khama Rhino Sanctuary
Khama Rhino Sanctuary is a community wildlife project established in 1992 to help save the rhino from extinction.
The 4,300-hectare reserve is located about 25km outside of Serowe and is heavily patrolled by the Botswana Defence Force. If you’re self-driving to Botswana‘s northern game reserves, it’s easy to make a pit spot here and catch a glimpse of these critically endangered creatures.
While in the park, you can go on a game drive, a walking safari or track a rhino on foot with a guide.
And rhinos aren’t the only animals you’ll spot in Khama. The sanctuary is home to other endangered creatures like the wild dog as well as leopard, aardvark, caracal, cheetah, elephant and more!
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Khalagadi Transfrontier Park has a lot going for it.
- It’s Africa’s first trans-border conservation area.
- It straddles South Africa and Botswana.
- It is 3.6 million hectares making it one of the largest parks in the world.
Drive past the red dunes, the dry riverbeds of the Nossab and Auob, and if you’re lucky, you might spot the Kalahari’s iconic black-maned lion!
While the park does stretch across borders, you don’t need your passport for entry unless you plan to leave via a different gate into another country.
Moremi Game Reserve
What’s a list of the best things to do in Botswana without a mention of Moremi Game Reserve?
The Big 5 safari paradise is the oldest protected section of the Okavango Delta, covering 40% of the Okavango and making it one of the richest eco-systems in Africa.
And if seeing wild dog is high up on your Botswana bucket list – Moremi is the place to go! The reserve has a strong population of the rare dogs, and watching these animals hunt is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Want to go on safari in the most remote reserve in Southern Africa? Pack your bags and head to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve!
Covering an area of 52,000 square kilometres in the Kalahari Desert, it’s the second-largest reserve in the world and the biggest in Botswana.
Due to its size and how isolated the reserve is from civilisation, it tends to attract travellers looking for an off-the-beaten-track adventure and the chance to see the famous black-maned lions and cheetah.
The arid landscape doesn’t have as much wildlife as other reserves in Botswana, but if you want to boost your sighting chances, visit in the wet season.
Which of these things to do in Botswana is at the top of your bucket list? Hit ya gurl up in the comments below and lets geek out about Botswana travel!
Did you find this post useful? Save it for later on Pinterest!