Karyn Wofford is a freelance writer in the fields of travel, eco-tourism, and wellness. She’s an avid traveler and Georgia native. She grew up with a passion for travel, exploring everything from the mountains to the ocean, and continues to find new and unique things to do in the places she travels.
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Thinking about visiting Africa for its long list of bucket-list-worthy animal encounters? You’re probably hoping to see cheetahs, hippos, elephants, giraffes and a list of other incredible creatures known to inhabit Africa. Botswana is one of the best places to begin traveling through the continent accord to travel experts, because it’s overall quite safe, while housing the Okavango Delta, Kalahari Desert and Chobe National Park—all perfect places for taking a safari. Guides have to know their stuff to pull off a few hours, or several days in this untamed part of South Africa, so we’ve rounded up a list of well-rated safari experiences throughout the country.
Safaris can be by boat as well as by all-terrain vehicles, and this floating adventure takes up to 12 guests down the Okavango Channels. Elephants may be bathing in the river, hippos might emerge and even crocs swish through the grassland and waters. Guides point out when an animal appears, and with all the birds in the area, in addition, sightings are often. Lunch and snacks can be added on too.
Now on to a land option, which takes guests on a 12-hour excursion through the Moremi Game Reserve. This part of Africa is full of wildlife, from galloping zebra and antelope, majestic giraffes munching on foliage, to striking elephants. Pickup from various locations is an option, and other conveniences include drinks and snacks.
Rather than floating down the Okavango Delta for just a few hours, this tour is far more extensive, spanning over three days. Fully immersing into the surroundings of the channels, hosts are sure to make every aspect of the journey wonderful, right down to the amazing food prepared by the talented cook.
The adventures in the iconic Okavango Delta continue, but along this trip, guests will be in a much smaller boat that resembles a canoe—traditionally the vessel is referred to as mokoro boat, and it adds a different edge to an already fun experience. After sighting wildlife up close, venture into the bush to enjoy an included picnic lunch while reflecting on the day’s sightings.
While the four to five-day tour begins in stunning Victoria Falls of Zimbabwe, guests ultimately take a scenic transfer over the border to one of the best safari destinations of Botswana— Chobe National Park. Here sightings of large animals can likely be expected, and everything along this trip is excellently organized and planned. Lunch and dinner are provided in the price.
Also forging into the wild landscape of Chobe National Park, the journey will offer two perspectives, by boat and land. For those just wanting a taste of nature, this is an excellent selection that only lasts for around six hours. Get ready to marvel over the beauty of the pristine Chobe River, and the precious habitat that surrounds it. Hotel transfers are possible and lunch is provided.
Organized to offer a private experience to small groups and families, Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve, Khwai, Savuti, Chobe, Kasane and Victoria Falls can all be checked off your bucket list after this. Classified as “semi-luxury”, guests will rough it just enough to where it feels like they are on a real safari, but all the heavy lifting from camp set up to cooking is taken care of. Warthogs, leopards, honey badgers—so much is a possibility to discover.
Departing from Livingstone, this is also an adventure that takes travelers into the Chobe wilderness, both in water and on land. Delivering solid viewings like many of our picks, we like that there’s a maximum of just 15 people, so snapping photos and asking questions is simple. Lunch is provided and served buffet style, and sightings can range from river bathing elephants to roaming buffalo.
For two days wander through Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve and Khwai by foot and by traditional boat—this tour is immersive while not being overly daunting or long. Guides will help set up camp as well as prepare delicious meals. They are well versed in the Bush surroundings and are able to quickly spot animals. You’ll travel by 4×4 vehicle while on land, and it’s specifically converted to being excellent for safari trips.
Now for the mother of all safari tours in ruggedly beautiful Botswana. Relax and know all is taken care of along your journey through Xakanaxa, Khwai and Savuti. Campsites are pre-prepared, and are ready to welcome guests with plush bedding, a shower, and even flushing toilets! Much more time can be spent site-seeing, or relaxing around the fire at night. Hosts will also give travelers a taste of local culture via songs and such.