Must see attractions in Botswana

  • Sights in Moremi Game Reserve

    Chief's Island

    The largest island in the Okavango Delta, Chief’s Island (70km long and 15km wide) is so named because it was once the sole hunting preserve of the local chief. Raised above the water level by tectonic activity, it’s here that so much of the delta’s wildlife retreats as water levels rise. As such, the island is home to what could be the richest concentration of wildlife in Botswana. It's the Okavango Delta as you always imagined it.

  • Sights in Botswana

    Chobe National Park

    Chobe National Park is one of Africa's great wildlife destinations. Famed for its massive elephants and enormous elephant population, Chobe, which encompasses nearly 11,000 sq km, is itself the size of a small country and an important epicentre of Botswana’s safari industry. The park encompasses three iconic wildlife areas that all carry a whiff of safari legend: Savuti, Chobe Riverfront and the Okavango-like Linyanti Marshes. Chobe has everything from campgrounds for self-drivers to luxury, fly-in lodges and tented camps.

  • Sights in Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pans

    Nxai Pans National Park

    This 2578-sq-km park is one of the most accessible places to experience the salt pans that are a Kalahari speciality, although it's more about smaller pans surrounded by grasslands and scrubby vegetation than the vast, salty wastes that you find further south. Wildlife is a highlight here, with elephants, giraffes and jackals pretty much guaranteed, and good chances to see lions and cheetahs as well.

  • Sights in Khama Rhino Sanctuary

    Khama Rhino Sanctuary

    With the rhinos all but disappeared from Botswana, Serowe's residents banded together in the early 1990s to establish the 43-sq-km Khama Rhino Sanctuary. Today the sanctuary protects 30 white and four black rhinos – the sanctuary was not originally set up for black rhinos but when one wandered across the border from Zimbabwe it was the start of a beautiful relationship. Some rhinos have been released into the wild, especially in the Okavango Delta, joining imports from Botswana’s regional neighbours.

  • Sights in Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pans

    Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

    This 3900-sq-km park, the southern section of the Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans National Park, extends from the Boteti River in the west to the Ntwetwe Pan in the east. The return of water to the Boteti River in recent years has drawn plenty of wildlife, particularly in the dry season from May to October, when the river, even at low levels, is the only source of permanent water in the reserve. There are three main campsites, and three entry gates.

  • Sights in Tsodilo Hills

    Zebra Painting

    One of the most fascinating paintings is the zebra painting on a small outcrop north of Female Hill. This stylised equine figure is now used as the logo of Botswana National Museum and Monuments. It lies beyond the main trails.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ntwetwe Pan

    Chapman’s Baobab

    About 11km south of Green's Baobab is the turn-off to the far more impressive Chapman’s Baobab, which, until it crashed to the ground suddenly on 7 January 2016, had a circumference of 25m and roots that extended 1km out into the surrounding area. It was historically used as a navigation beacon and may also have been used as an early post office by passing explorers, traders and travellers, many of whom left inscriptions on its trunk.

  • Top ChoiceSights in D’kar

    Kuru Art Project

    This fabulous art project provides opportunities for local artists (14 at last count) to create and sell paintings and other artwork; it’s worth spending an hour or two leafing through the various folios of artworks. Some of the artists here are well known around the world and their works hang in some of the world's most prestigious art spaces, including the Smithsonian Institute. It’s well signposted along D’kar’s only road, close to the turn-off to the Ghanzi–Maun highway.

  • Sights in Savuti

    Leopard Rock

    The rocky monoliths that rise up from the Savuti sand provide more than welcome aesthetic relief amid the flat-as-flat plains. The outcrops’ caves, rocky clefts and sometime-dense undergrowth also represent ideal habitat for leopards. The southernmost of these monoliths (the first you come to if you’re driving from Maun or Moremi Game Reserve) is known as Leopard Rock and sightings of the most elusive of Africa’s big cats are reasonably common here. A 1.6km-long sandy track encircles the rock.

  • Sights in Nxai Pans National Park

    Baines’ Baobabs

    In the south of the park are the famous Baines’ Baobabs, which were immortalised in paintings by the artist and adventurer Thomas Baines in 1862. Baines, a self-taught naturalist, artist and cartographer, had originally been a member of David Livingstone’s expedition up the Zambezi, but was mistakenly accused of theft by Livingstone’s brother and forced to leave the party. Today, a comparison with Baines’ paintings reveals that in almost 150 years, only one branch has broken off.

  • Sights in Moremi Game Reserve

    Mboma Island

    The grassy savannah of this 100-sq-km island, a long extension of the Moremi Tongue, contrasts sharply with the surrounding landscapes and provides some excellent dry-season wildlife watching – cheetah, lion and buffalo sightings are reasonably common. The 32km sandy Mboma Loop starts about 2km west of Third Bridge and is a pleasant side trip. Boat trips from the Mboma boat station on the island’s northwestern tip are highly recommended.

  • Sights in Tsodilo Hills

    Tree of True Knowledge

    This odd-looking tree, near a small pool at the start of the Rhino Trail on Female Hill, was described to Laurens van der Post as the Tree of True Knowledge by the San guide who led him there. According to the guide, the greatest spirit knelt beside this fetid pool on the day of Creation.

  • Sights in Tsodilo Hills

    Horned Serpent Natural Cistern

    Cliff Trail passes an amazing natural cistern (in a rock grotto near the northwestern corner of Female Hill), which has held water year-round for as long as anyone can remember. The San believe this natural tank is inhabited by a great serpent with twisted horns, so visitors should warn the occupant of their approach by tossing a small stone into the water. This impressive feature is also flanked by several rock paintings.

  • Sights in Moremi Game Reserve

    Xakanaxa Lediba

    With one of Africa’s largest heronries, Xakanaxa Lediba is renowned as a birdwatchers’ paradise. In addition to herons, potential sightings here include storks, egrets and ibises. The area also supports an array of wildlife and large numbers of fish. There are myriad trails around the Xakanaxa backwaters – the Shell Map of the Moremi Game Reserve is the most detailed resource.

  • Sights in Moremi Game Reserve

    Paradise Pools

    One of the prettiest corners of Moremi, the area known as Paradise Pools is as lovely as the name suggests. In the dry season, trails lead past forests of dead trees and among the perimeter of reed-filled swamps, while impala and other antelope species drink nervously at the receding shoreline of water holes. When we were last here, there were lion and leopard sightings in the area.

  • Sights in Tsodilo Hills

    Dancing Penises

    Directly across from the hollow on the southeastern side of Female Hill, one of the few Tsodilo paintings containing human figures depicts a dancing crowd of sexually excited male figures – Alec Campbell, the foremost expert on the hills and their paintings, has amusingly dubbed it the ‘Dancing Penises’.

  • Sights in Tsodilo Hills

    Whale & Penguin Painting

    On the southeast corner of Female Hill, and accessible along the Rhino Trail, look for the amazing whale and penguin paintings that suggest an intriguing link between the early San and the Namibian coast.

  • Sights in Nata

    Nata Bird Sanctuary

    This 230-sq-km community-run wildlife sanctuary was formed when local people voluntarily relocated 3500 cattle and established a network of tracks throughout the northeastern end of Sowa Pan. Although the sanctuary protects antelope, zebras, jackals, foxes, monkeys and squirrels, the principal draw is the birdlife – more than 165 species have been recorded here. It's at its best in the wet season when the sanctuary becomes a haven for Cape and Hottentot teals, white and pink-backed pelicans and greater and lesser flamingos.

  • Sights in Northwestern Botswana

    Gcwihaba (Drotsky’s) Cave

    In 1932 a group of San showed Gcwihaba (meaning ‘Hyena’s Hole’) to a farmer named Martinus Drotsky, who humbly decided to name the cave after himself. Legend also has it that the fabulously wealthy Hendrik Matthys van Zyl stashed a portion of his fortune here in the late 1800s; the treasure has never been found. The cave interior is famous for its 10m-long stalagmites and stalactites, which were formed by dripping water that seeped through and dissolved the dolomite rock.

  • Sights in Savuti

    Savuti Marshes

    For decades since the early 1980s, this vast open area in southern Savuti consisted less of marshes than sweeping open plains, save for occasional inundations during the rainy season. But the area’s name again makes sense with the return of water to the Savuti Channel. Once-dry tracks now disappear into standing water that draws predators and prey from all across the region. The marshes lie between the Savuti Channel and the main Savuti–Maun track.