Located in Southern Africa, with a population of just 2 million spread across its 224,000 square mile range, Botswana is among the most sparsely populated countries in the world. It is perhaps no surprise then that safari tours are both popular and fruitful for those seeking some of Southern Africa's untouched wilderness. The predominantly flat landscape is dominated by the Kalahari Desert, but it is also home to the incredible Okavango Delta, one of the largest inland deltas in the world. Alongside the Limpopo River Basin it provides Botswana with a truly unique and diverse natural habitat.
With such a large and unspoiled landscape on offer, choosing the right place to enjoy a safari can sometimes be difficult. Moremi Game Reserve found within the Okavango Delta is an excellent place to start. Contrasting permanent water reserves with drier savannah areas, the Moremi creates some startling contrasts. At around 1900 square miles, the reserve contains mopane woodlands, acacia forests, floodplains and lagoons providing a welcome home for its flora and fauna. Here you might be lucky enough to see the African wild dog and may just catch a glimpse of a leopard.
Chobe National Park has one of the largest game concentrations in Africa, offering the best chance of seeing the spectacular Kalahari elephant which roam freely. The park itself is split into four distinct areas; Savuti Marsh, home to warthogs, impala, wildebeests and the occasional lion; Linyanti Marsh, where hippos wallow as crocodiles look on; Serondela, situated in the extreme north-east with floodplains that host giraffes and buffalo; and the Hinterland, a hot and dry grass woodland home to Africa's largest antelope, the eland.
The centre of Botswana is dominated by the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the second largest reserve in the world covering some 52,800 square miles. The majority of this park is flat bushland sparsely populated with ancient trees. Safari trips here are likely to take in the fossilized salt pans and rivers, one of which runs through Deception Valley. Here the big cats rule and you will find lions, cheetah and leopards stalking eland, gemsbok, kudu and hartebeest to name but a few.
As part of the Great Salt Pans, the Makgadikgadi Pans in the heart of Botswana provide a stark, and sometimes surreal, safari for those who crave the experience of a truly unspoiled Africa. Covering around 10,000km² of the Kalahari, the pans are vast, with each salt pan ranging from the size of a pond to gargantuan scale. The Makgadikgadi Pans are bordered on each side by the Central Pans and the Boteti River Area.
Finally, perhaps include a visit to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary to learn more about Botswana's rhino population which is under constant threat. A community based wildlife project, the sanctuary provides prime habitat for the extremely rare black and white rhino as well as making an excellent home for more than 230 species of bird including a healthy population of ostrich.