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Holiday Escapes to Beautiful Botswana
BOTSWANA it is internationally acclaimed for its supreme and effortless combination of tourism and wildlife. 17% of the country is declared protected and another 20% consists of wildlife management areas. With its eclectic mix of beautiful tranquil landscapes and some of the largest populations of wildlife species found in Africa, Botswana is a top holiday destination among adventurers and eco-tourists. Although the country is rich in cultural and historical heritage, Botswana’s main tourist attractions are the national parks.
Of the many parks and reserves that make up this wonderful country, there are three definite must-sees when traveling to Botswana.
Arguably the most spectacular region in the country, the Okavango Delta is located in the Kalahari Desert and is the largest inland delta system in the world. A land of natural wonders with a thousand islands in a thousand streams, born from the head of the determination of a great river, to meet the sea that will never meet, as its strong points are captured by the desert sands that surround the delta.
Delta ranks among the best wetlands in the world and above is a vast, fan-shaped, emerald desert with waterways, lakes, lagoons and lush forests. Over 1000 species of plants can be found in the delta and the rivers are teeming with fish, 80 species in total, which in turn attract many birds to the area, the Delta is actually one of the most popular bird watching and hunting regions of fish in Africa. The few people who actually live here permanently are mostly fishermen. Arguably the best way to see this natural wonder is by way of a mokoro, which is a dugout canoe that maneuvers swiftly through waters near impenetrable areas. The waters are crystal clear and crocodiles, hippos and hundreds of fabulous birds can be seen, as well as elephants, zebras and giraffes. The only area in the Okavango that is protected is Moremi National Park; the rest of the delta is carved into giant private concessions, sprinkled with luxury lodges.
The Okavango Delta has three main areas, the Panhandle, which a 15 km wide fault in the northwest offers excellent fishing but less spectacular game viewing; the central permanent marsh, with its maze of pans and water meadows, and the seasonally dry marshes to the south and east. From August to November, the Okavango is hot and dry, which makes for great game viewing, but low water often hinders mokoro trips. From December to March, the region is hot and humid, causing game to disappear in the undergrowth, but this is when bird and plant life is at its peak.
Since independent travel is very difficult in the delta region, most visitors can experience these amazing swamps with the help of tour operators that offer packages to the region.
Moremi Wildlife Reserve
Prized for its sheer beauty and intense variety of wildlife, this park covers 1,812 square km and is located in the northeastern corner of the Okavango Delta. Consisting of lush wetlands, forested islands, lagoons, forests and grasslands, the Moremi Game Reserve offers spectacular game views accompanied by magnificent scenery. There is no artificial burial and human encroachment is kept to a minimum, which makes it easy watching the game of such a brilliant nature. Some of the animals you will be able to see are Elephant, Buffalo, Zebra, Kudu, various herds of Buck, Lion, Leopard and Wild Cats. The park’s dry months, which run from April to October, are the best months for game viewing; it is also during this time that impressive herds of elephants converge on the Khwai River.
The park is home to over 400 bird species making it one of Botswana’s premier birding areas. Pelicans, Ibis, Herons and Storks are just a few of the species that bring wonderful splashes of color and sweet melodies to the area. The reserve is one of the most beautiful unmarried spots in Botswana and a trip to its tranquil plains is highly recommended.
Chobe National Park
Botswana’s shared border with Namibia’s Caprivi region is set aside for one of Africa’s premier wildlife conservation parks. Chobe National Park covers 10,566 square km of land and is home to an amazing variety of wildlife. The park consists of rivers, swamps, scrub, grassy savannas and natural pans.
One of the grandest sights to see here are the elephants that move in their thousands on the worn paths of the Chobe River every afternoon to drink. Boasting the largest elephant population in the world (approx. 45,000) is just one of the attractions of Chobe National Park. There are also large herds of Buffalo, Blue Wildebeest, Bushbuck, Kudu, Impala and Sable while the wetlands are home to impressive numbers of hippos and crocodiles as well as an eclectic range of birds. The Savuti area of the park marks what was once a massive super lake that covered most of Botswana, its flat and dry bed is now a sea of grass which is known for spotting Leopards, Cheetahs, Hyenas and Lions .
Except for certain sections, which are closed in the rainy season from November to April, the park is open all year round. The best time to visit is between May and September, when it is possible to see several thousand animals every day. Although Chobe National Park is one of Botswana’s most developed game reserves, many of the roads in the area are only accessible by 4X4 vehicles. Many visitors to the park chose a package option that includes luxury accommodation; safari runs other guided expeditions.
With the wide range of activities, accommodation and travel options available in this wonderful country, holidays in the wilderness regions of Botswana have become easy and accessible for all tourists. Many tour operators offer incredible packages that let you experience the true essence of Africa.
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