There is a buzz about Botswana. Of course, it’s not the buzz of wifi connections or phones, because in this diverse land, which includes the contrasting scenery of the Okavango Delta and the Kalahari Desert, you can remain happily off-grid for most of your stay. No, this is the buzz of a country which is ramping up for an outstanding safari season.
On my recent two week trip visiting camps across Botswana, I found that operators are looking forward to one of their busiest peak seasons on record. Many of our favourite camps are already booked up for the July/August season and the Maun-based charter company Mack Air has bought 10 new aircraft to keep up with the air transfers for an increasing number of visitors.
Botswana has long been one of the most desirable safari destinations. Arguably the most contented, stable and safe of all African countries, its government has focused on sustainable high end tourism for many years. Nowadays it is even easier to get to: flight connections via Johannesburg and Cape Town have been further enhanced with the airport at Victoria Falls which is fast becoming an international hub for Southern Africa. This year, however, its popularity has reached new heights. Perhaps it is the Harry/Meghan effect. Perhaps it is simply that Botswana is now recognised globally for providing some of the best game viewing on the continent.
There is, however, no cause for alarm. Just because Botswana is busy, it does not mean it is crowded. Far from it: our selected camps are located in their own huge wildlife concession areas with exclusive game viewing for guests. This is safeguarded by the government’s policy of low volume, high-cost tourism which restricts camp operators to the number of beds they can provide in their vast concession areas. This not only keeps camps small and exclusive but ensures that the watery wildness of the Okavango Delta and the dry sands of the Kalahari Desert remain pristine wildernesses.
Botswana offers a different perspective on the wilderness and its wildlife and, for many, provides a wonderful escape from the cold months in the Northern Hemisphere.
What Botswana’s popularity does mean, however, is that the best small camps in peak season are getting booked up further and further in advance. Early booking is therefore advisable. Those who wish to visit this breathtaking country need not be limited to the high season, however, because Botswana is a year round destination. At Bushbuck we have been actively promoting the benefits of visiting Botswana in the low season for some time and my recent trip gave me a further opportunity to explore camps and concessions at this time of year.
One of the most obvious benefits of travelling outside the peak season is the cost. The rates at camps and lodges peak from June to October but are considerably less in the November to March period. But visiting Botswana during the green or low season is not a compromise: many in fact prefer going on safari at this time of year. It offers a different perspective on the wilderness and its wildlife and, for many, provides a wonderful escape from the cold months in the Northern Hemisphere. At Bushbuck we can recommend the best camps for game viewing at any time of year, taking into account personal preferences for the comfort levels required.
It is not too late to book now for Botswana November 2019 to April 2020 but please book soon for June to October 2020.