Botswana is blessed with numerous wildlife reserves, which are home to incredible wildlife and bird species. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve, covering 52,800 square kilometers is southern Africa’s largest and most remote reserve, part of the Kalahari Desert with vast expanses of grassland and some fossilized river valleys; the remarkable Okavango Delta, rich in wildlife and birds which live in this lush inland delta; Chobe National Park, renowned for its elephant herds and beautiful Chobe River; Moremi Game Reserve, in the eastern and central part of the Okavango Delta, where you can explore the waterways in dugout mokoro canoes; as well as many other marshes, such as Linyanti and Savuti Marsh, national parks and game reserves.
So when you’re on safari in the Botswana wilderness, how does the day pan out? We have provided a summary of how a day might unfold in Botswana, although bear in mind that with the changing seasons, it’s difficult to pinpoint each moment of the day, but we hope this gives you a good idea of a day on safari.
Most safari lodges and camps follow a schedule of exciting safari activities planned around the most likely times to see wildlife A safari is an experience unlike any other and there are a lot of activities and experiences to fit into the day, so the day usually starts pretty early. Of course, it’s your holiday so you can opt-out of activities if you’d rather take it easy at the camp!
✔ Early Morning: Before 8 am
Usually, wake-up time is 6 am (maybe later during the colder winter months) in readiness for the early morning game drive. Before departing, the camps offer tea/coffee and biscuits to set you up for the drive. Many animals find comfort in the cool early morning temperatures which increases the chances of spotting them. It’s also the time when the big cats return from hunting so you might be lucky to see them walking along the road giving you a great close-up view of them.
✔ Mid Morning: 8 am to 11 am
Mid-morning is often an ideal time to take safari photographs due to great light conditions at this time of the day, so don’t forget your camera. Before the heat of the day really sets in you return to the camp ready to relax, freshen up and enjoy a hearty brunch or early lunch.
✔ Early Afternoon: 1 pm to 3 pm
The afternoon on safari is reserved for resting and unwinding: soak up the beautiful views of the Botswana bush from your room or the main area, watch game coming to drink at the waterhole, cool off in the pool, curl up in a cosy corner with a book, or take a nap to rejuvenate you ready for the evening game drive. Around 3 pm tea is served with sweet and/or savoury snacks.
✔ Late Afternoon: 4 pm to 5 pm
The majority of the wildlife prefers cooler temperatures and comes out during the late afternoon so 4 pm to 5 pm is the ideal time to see Botswana animals on the move when you head out on an evening game drive
✔ Evening: 5 pm to 7 pm
As the cooler part of the day arrives, animals wake up and become more active. Predators are on the prowl with their prey becoming more alert and aware by the second. You may well stop for sundowners in the bush, a classic safari experience, before heading back to camp. Most safari camps located in the national parks or game reserves require you to be back before dark as there are restrictions in place for the safety of both visitors and wildlife. However, a few private reserves allow night game drives using powerful spotlights in order to see nocturnal species and accompanied by expert guides who are also excellent trackers, giving you a very different perspective to daytime drives.
✔ Late Evening: After 7 pm
On return to camp, shower and enjoy pre-dinner drinks before a delicious dinner. Afterwards, sitting around the campfire under the stars is a wonderful experience and a great opportunity to swap safari stories with other guests. Your guide will also chat to you about the next day and what activities you would like to do. Depending on the Botswana safari package you have chosen, the next day might be similar, revisiting the same routes on a game drive hoping to see the wildlife you did the day before, or choosing another game drive route to see what else you can spot. Alternatively, you might opt for a different activity such as a walking safari, bush breakfast or boat trip.
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