Botswana has long been a popular nature and wildlife destination due to its small-volume sustainable tourism model and the vastness of its wilderness areas unrivaled by other safari locale. Botswana is the size of France with little more than 2 million human inhabitants and a tremendously diverse collection of wildlife. Roaming free in Botswana are one of the world’s greatest concentrations of elephant, one of few remaining endangered wild dog populations, a growing number of black and white rhino, all the big cats, and much more. It used to be that Botswana was explored primarily by 4x4 safari vehicle and traditional dugout canoes called mokoros, but today there are many exciting ways to observe this arresting wild landscape.
1. 4x4 Safari Vehicle
The classic "game drive" by open 4x4 safari vehicle is certainly an essential safari feature. Typically conducted in custom-built Land Rover Defenders or Toyota Land Cruisers with three graduated rows of stadium seating, open sides and occasionally a canopy over the top, a wildlife drive is an ideal way to navigate the terrain and get close to the very relaxed wildlife you'll find at close range in Botswana. Duba Plains' Land Cruisers are especially distinctive, built to negotiate both land and deepwater channels while on safari.
2. On Foot
Walking safaris are an appealing way to get out of the vehicle and observe smaller creatures and plants and identify animal tracks. Walks tend to be seasonal depending on the area. Selinda Reserve now offers a traditional walking and canoeing safari, the Selinda Adventure Trail, starting around $600 per day, fully inclusive.
3. Hot Air Balloon
A fairly new offering in Botswana, hot air ballooning is now offered in the dry season from Vumbura Plains and Little Vumbura Camp in the Okavango Delta, starting at $430 plus transfers to and from the launch site. The meandering waterways and herds of elephant are a once-in-a-lifetime sight as you float tranquilly over the mosaic of land and water below. The balloon accommodates a maximum of four and lasts about 45 minutes, followed by a traditional Champagne breakfast on the ground.
Helicopter flights are now quite accessible in Botswana, both for transfers between camps and for scenic flights. A great way to capture aerial photography, helicopters offer a lot of flexibility in terms of flying low and providing the desired angle for shots. Belmond Eagle Island Lodge offers a helicopter based at the camp for scenic flights (extra charges apply).
Mokoros are long, narrow boats that were traditionally carved out of tree trunks — now typically made of fiberglass — and propelled by a person standing in the back pushing a pole against the bottom of shallow delta waterways. Guests sit as a guide poles the mokoro, floating at a languid pace through the reeds, spotting tiny reed frogs, rare birds or distant elephants on the banks. An ideal location for experiencing the Okavango Delta's quintessential waterways is Pelo Camp in the western delta's Jao Concession. Situated on a heart-shaped island, Pelo (meaning "heart" in Setswana) offers activities by mokoro and motorboat from April through November.
For More Information, Call 1-800-543-8917
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