Botswana is an African success story. After achieving democratic rule in 1966, three of the world’s richest diamond-bearing formations were discovered within its borders. Today, the country enjoys a high standard of economic stability, education and health care, which, with the exception of South Africa, is unequalled elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. However, its modern veneer belies the fact that much of it remains a country for the intrepid (not to mention relatively wealthy) traveller. This largely roadless wilderness of vast spaces requires time, effort and, above all else, lots of cash to enjoy it to its fullest.
Landlocked Botswana extends 1100km from north to south and 960km from east to west, making it about the same size as Kenya or France and somewhat smaller than Texas. Most of the country lies at an average elevation of 1000m, and consists of a vast and nearly level sand-filled basin characterised by scrub-covered savannah. The Kalahari, a semi-arid expanse of sandy valleys, covers nearly 85% of the country, including the entire central and southwestern regions. In Northern Botswana, the Okavango River flows in from Namibia, and soaks into the sands to form the Okavango Delta, easily accessed via Maun. With vast open savannas teeming with wildlife, Botswana is truly the Africa of your dreams. Because the Okavango Delta and the Chobe River provide a year-round water supply, nearly all southern African mammal species are present in the Moremi Wildlife Reserve and Chobe National Park. In the Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pans National Park herds of wildebeest, zebra and other mammals migrate annually in search of permanent water and stable food supplies.
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Best places to stay in Botswana
Ten of the world's best off-season adventures
Avoid the crowds and bag a bargain by travelling to the world’s best bits when everyone else isn’t. Here are 10 reasons to resist travel during high season, straight from Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Adventures. 'Green season' safari, Botswana Hippos in Botswana by Mazzali / CC BY-SA 2.
Botswana destination guides
The world's best sunrises
Kicking back on a beach, cold beer in hand while watching the sun go down is one of travel’s finest pleasures. But there’s something far more rewarding about heaving yourself from bed in the pitch black and blearily traipsing to the top of a mountain or the edge of a cliff to see the sun rise in all its glory.
Southern Africa Explorer
A classic overland journey through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe
African Wilderness in Comfort
A diverse accommodated overland traverse through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls)
Top 10 ultimate places to see wildlife
In this excerpt from Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Experiences, we share our top 10 places to see the world's most beautiful creatures in their natural habitats. 1.