Culture & Crafts
The nearby Mokolodi Nature Reserve (with a few retired predators) and in-town Gaborone Game Reserve (herbivores and good birdwatching only) is the best wildlife viewing that Gaborone can muster. But the Department of Wildlife and National Parks office (for paying park fees and booking some campsites) may make Gaborone an important stop.
The National Museum and the Three Dikgosi (Chiefs) Monument both have a certain run-down charm, but Gaborone’s thriving cultural life includes important arts projects and tours inspired by Alexander McCall Smith’s No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.
A Varied Plate
Perhaps more than anywhere else in the country, Gaborone is a decent place to eat, with some excellent cafes, steakhouses and even a place serving a guinea-fowl pot.
Tuli Block & Khama Rhino Sanctuary
The main wildlife place here is Tuli Block, where you’ll find healthy populations of big cats, elephants and other important species, while the Khama Rhino Sanctuary is Botswana’s rhino ark.
It's rare to find variety in Botswana’s salt-pan-flat terrain, but the Tswapong Hills are a little-known pocket of dramatic canyons cutting deep into the hills that, from a distance, give no hint of the drama that lies within.
Botswana is not known for its hiking possibilities, but the Tswapong Hills offer fine landscapes, some intriguing ruins and good birdwatching.
Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pans
The largest salt pans on earth offer up views where the horizon never seems to end – an extraordinary, humbling sight. In places the pans are interrupted by baobab islands, while the Boteti River is one of the great curiosities of Botswana’s natural world.
A zebra migration that's among the largest in Africa catches most of the attention, but there are also flamingos in their massed, migratory hordes in the Nata Bird Sanctuary. The dry season’s wildlife concentrations in the west, around the Boteti River, also rarely disappoint.
Botswana’s call to exclusivity is heard here, albeit on a smaller scale than the more famous Okavango or Chobe further north. There’s a handful of remote and opulent lodges out on the pans here and a fine riverside option.
Chobe National Park & Kasane
Lodges & Campsites
Elephants & the Rest
Chobe means elephants, big elephants…more than 70,000 of them at last count. Elephants might get all the attention (rightly so, we might add), but there are also infamous lion prides, leopards, cheetahs and wild dogs, plus a full suite of antelope to keep them all happy.
Rivers, Rocks & Marshes
Chobe Riverfront is classic safari country with land- and water-based possibilities as abundant as the wildlife. Savuti has some fabulous outcrops and the intriguing Savuti Channel to its name, while the marshes of Linyanti are like a mini Okavango Delta.
From remote lodges in Linyanti, Savuti and elsewhere to riverside campsites all across the park, Chobe’s accommodation choices are brilliant and perfectly located for watching the park’s epic wildlife shows.
The Okavango is a signature African landscape, a terrain sculpted by the waters that rise and fall in time with the seasons, year after year. The combination of river, savannah, forest and all manner of variations on the themes offer a stirring backdrop of singular variety.
Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth
The Big Five have returned to the Okavango (although seeing rhinos would be a rare bonus), and the delta is otherwise like walking onto the set of a wildlife documentary. The Okavango Panhandle is especially good for birdwatching.
Land, River & Sky
Scenic flights over this breathtaking world of water are a memorable way to explore. Add to this mokoro (dugout-canoe) expeditions, walking safaris and wildlife drives, and the delta’s exploration possibilities are endless.
The Kalahari is a place of legend, an iconic landscape that calls to travellers to leave behind the modern world and seek out the desert’s solitude. From the red dunes of the Kgalagadi to the grasslands of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve's fossilised river valleys, this is a desert unlike any other on earth.
Big cats may be thinly spaced across the desert, but they remain something of a Kalahari speciality. The renowned black-maned lions of the region are one of the great sights, but there’s plenty more wildlife to track down.
The Kalahari is the ancestral homeland of the San, and although encounters with this ancient people are rare, many lodges and camps allow you to explore a small corner of the Kalahari with San guides, while D’kar is home to a fine San arts project.