Things to see & do in Botswana. 11 exciting options for your safari to Botswana

Botswana's low impact exclusive safaris are among the most popular globally - and rightfully so. From the flourishing wildlife, scenery, history and outstanding political stability, Botswana is a gem and a wonder.

Botswana is one of the 'most-open' African countries to visitors from all over the world and the general sense of freedoms and tolerance is comparable to European countries. As such, the country receives many visitors who come to enjoy some of what Botswana has to offer.

botswana evening boat

In this article, we will look at some of the top things to see and do when you happen to visit Botswana. We haven't included everything because there is just so much. Be that as it may, we think these activities are exciting and similarly fulfilling.

Our list by no means a way of ranking these places and activities. How does one even rank natural beauty? 

Let's get right into it.

Things to see and do in Botswana

1. See herds of African wildlife

lioness with tongue out

Botswana is well known for its abundant wildlife and it is not just hype. Whether you want to see the big-5 animals (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, and rhino) or the other favourites like hippos, zebras, and giraffes, Botswana will blow your mind.

You can see animals in various places such as the Okavango Delta, Makgadikgadi, or Chobe. Wherever you choose to go,  you will tick many animals off your bucket list.

2. Ride a traditional Canoe in the Okavango Delta

mokoro canoe ride

The traditional way of moving around the Okavango delta has always been using hollowed-out tree trunk canoes called mokoro. The ride on these traditional canoes is quiet and peaceful as you get up close and personal with the various water plants and animals.

The poler/guide will tap the canoe and warn away the hippos to a safe distance. The quiet and serene experience is satisfyingly meditative.

3. Sunset Cruise on Chobe River

chobe river sunset cruise

The sunset cruise on the Chobe river is how many people chose to end their Botswana Safari. On the cruise, you are able to see many birds, crocodiles, hippos as well as many elephants as they cross from one side to the other.

Related article: Where to see African elephants in the wild

4. Bird Watching

flamingo migration

Botswana is home to more than 500 different species of birds. More than 100 of these are uncommon and rare. 

Whether you are enthusiastic about birds or you have never given it any thought, carrying a good set of binoculars will help you enjoy the birds of Botswana.

5. Camping in the Wilderness

Botswana camping

For anyone who loves camping, nothing beats sleeping out in the open sky. Many lodges offer great options for camping.

Because of very little air pollution in Botswana, the night sky is filled with colourful stars and the milky way. Any part of the country is good for stargazing but Kalahari has the best guarantee due to no cloud cover.

6. Hang out with the Bushmen of Kalahari

san bushmen of kalahari

The San Bushmen of the Kalahari desert are the earliest inhabitants of Southern Africa. Hanging out with the Bushmen is a great opportunity to learn about their traditional customs and stories that have been passed down for generations.

Learning about new places and their customs is a life-changing activity. Learning about traditions and norms that have stayed around for ages is the best equivalent of time travel.

7. Horseback wildlife viewing

okavango horseback game viewing

Experienced riders usually enjoy riding through the floodplains in search for the zebra, lechwe and sitatunga antelopes. Given that horses are used to the wild animals, they can get pretty close and you get to enjoy a mind-blowing close encounter of animals.

Riders with limited experience should talk to their tour operator or lodge to organize something that will fit their level of skills.

8. Hot Air Balloon Safari

okavango hot air balloon

Hot air ballooning over the Okavango delta provides the best bird-eye view of the vast richness that makes the Okavango beautiful. Unlike flying over in small aircraft, the hot air balloon allows you an exquisite experience of serenely floating over the rich flood plain of ox-bow lakes and the thousands of big animals.

9. See the Meerkats in Makgadikgadi Pans

meerkats in makgadikgadi

Enjoy some quiet time with the adorable meerkats of Makgadikgadi Pans as well as Kalahari. The meerkats like the drier sandy conditions which allow for burrowing and easy lookout to avoid predators.

The meerkats are quite used to humans and some might even climb you for a better lookout spot. They are simply adorable.

10. Explore the Capital - Gaborone

Gaborone Botswana

Botswana is a big country with a population of fewer than 3 million people. More than 70% of the population also happens to stay in urban areas.

This makes the Capital city the ultimate centre for culture - both past and present. In Gaborone, you will be able to do some shopping, enjoy the nightlife, try local foods from all over the country (- and continent) and well as visit places of historical and cultural significance.

11. Measure up to a Baobab Tree

Baine's Baobab in Nxai NP

Baobab trees look strange, are very big and live for centuries. You have probably seen pictures of people standing next to a baobab tree and looking really small - in comparison.

If you happen to be in Nxai Pan National Park, ask your guide to show you the Baine's Baobabs which were seen and painted in 1861 and haven't changed since. They are named after Thomas Baine who was part of David Livingstone's African exploration team.

Final Thoughts

These activities highlight what you can see, do and enjoy on a safari of Botswana. It is not the full list but we find all these items to be exciting and inspiring.

While not everyone has the same interests, we hope this list inspires you to visit Botswana and enjoy the beauty of this wonderful country and its warm people.

Have you already been to Botswana and feel like there is something we left out - which totally rocked for you? Tell us and we'll see about adding it for everyone. 

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