African adventure: breathtaking Botswana
Venture into the wilderness of this extraordinary continent for the a journey of a lifetime
Fans of Precious Ramotswe and 'The No 1. Ladies’ Detective Agency' won’t be disappointed to see the setting of these delightful stories brought to life. Its people are as courteous and gentle as its scenery is wild and dramatic.
Diamond-rich Botswana is a stable African nation, as big as France but with a population of around two million.
It’s safe and friendly, and you can happily explore on your own or as part of a group.
Travelling by motorhome is a comfortable option, although four-by-fours are popular, too. The roads are good and the fantastic campsites have swimming pools, good showers, restaurants and small shops. Stunning onsite lodges offer affordable en-suite rooms.
To reach Botswana easily, fly to Johannesburg, pick up your vehicle and/or join a tour group= and travel around five hours to the border at Martin’s Drift.
As you travel through Botswana’s almost empty landscape of scrubland and grassland, astonishing wildlife emerges. You’ll be thrilled to spot elephants clustering beneath the roadside trees – a taste of wonders to come.
Chobe National Park is an unbeatable introduction to Botswana’s wildlife. Set up camp at Toro Lodge to enjoy refreshing breezes from the Chobe River and watch hippos chugging through the water. From here, book an enthralling guided park tour in a safari vehicle (from £50 per person) to see regal giraffes, comical warthogs and gracious lions.
● Visit the lagoons of the Okavango Delta. Travel by Mokoro, a shallow canoe (around £90).
● Take a tour from Nata Lodge to see the flamingoes at Makgadikgadi Pans (around £80, www.natalodge.com).
● From Toro Lodge, visit Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe (around £120, www.torolodge.com).
Tip The border crossing is simple and officials helpful. Buy supplies in Francistown, Botswana, rather than taking them across the border from South Africa.
How we got there
Carefree – part of The Camping and Caravanning Club – offers the Southern Africa Discovery tour, which includes South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. This 39-night trip, November to December 2013, costs £5450 per person, based on two sharing a four-berth motorhome (from Bobo Campers, www.bobocampers.com), including tour escorts, flights with South African Airways, campsite fees, vehicle insurance and excursions. This well-run tour is a safe way to embrace this amazing adventure. Carefree also o ers individual itineraries – a tailor-made trip for 28 days costs around £3900 per person in October/November 2013. Visit www.motorhometouringholidays.co.uk or call 0845 601 0905.
More ways to go
● Self-drive safari specialist Safari Drive offers an eight-night safari from Livingstone, Botswana, travelling via the Caprivi Strip to Windhoek in Namibia, from £1825 per person. The price is based on four sharing a Land Rover, with comfortable roof-top tent, fully equipped camp kitchen and sat nav. Also included is eight nights’ camping and a half-day four-by-four driving course on arrival. Visit www.safaridrive.com or call 01488 71140.
● Absolute Africa offers budget safaris in Botswana, including a game cruise in Chobe National Park – five nights’ camping, five breakfasts and five dinners, incorporating a guided Mokoro Safari in the Okavango Delta (three days, two nights). Priced at £475 per person. Visit www.absoluteafrica.com or call 020 8742 0226.
● Africa Odyssey creates personalised tours all over Africa, including Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania and South Africa. A Tanzania safari and beach adventure costs from £1999 per person, including international and internal flights and three nights’ safari at Lake Manze Adventure Camp, followed by three nights at Pongwe Beach Hotel on Zanzibar. Visit www.africaodyssey.com or call 020 7471 8780.
● Fly to southern Africa with South African Airways from around £600 (www.flysaa.com).