Crossing the border between Namibia and Botswana took a long time, it seemed like there was only one person working there, so prepare to wait. Once through we made a brief overnight stop in Ghanzi before heading to the tourism capital of Maun. The town has everything you need and is pretty much a starting point for any trip into the Okavango Delta. It is the largest inland delta in the world, and a scenic flight is a good way to gage the enormity of it. We saw so many herds of elephant wondering through the Delta, it was beautiful.
While here we were headed on a three day camping excursion to stay on one of the islands in the Delta. It started off with a pretty bumpy 4×4 drive to the edge of a river. Here we met our polers (basically guides) for the mokoros (dug out log canoes) who were taking us into the Delta. We then headed off for 2 hours in the canoe to find our camping spot. It was incredibly beautiful gliding through the lily pad studded canals. We saw so many birds, including fish eagles.
We went on a few rides in the mokoros to see the Delta and some wildlife and came across hundreds of hippos and many crocodiles. It was amazing that our guides knew where to take us as the Delta is basically a maze of rivers.
Our campsite was in a great location right next to a waterhole, being fed by a river, that we were told was safe to swim in. I was pretty wary of this fact because we had just seen hippos not very faraway, however, it was hot so of course we swam a lot. But on about day 2 I got the biggest fright of my life when I saw something jump into the water from the corner of my eye and a wave of water come towards me. I thought I was about to be eaten by crocodile, and I have never moved so fast in my life. Turns out, it was not a crocodile, but a very large monitor lizard!
While in the Delta we also went on a few game viewing walks around the area. I was pretty nervous to cross one of the rivers by foot given the monitor lizard incident, but it all went smoothly. We didn’t see too much wildlife on these walks, mainly just took in the scenery. We did see a herd aof zebra though, and quite a bit of spoor.
It was sad to leave the beauty of the Delta and head back to civilization. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. But we had other places to experience and our next stop was Planet Baobab in Gweta. It is the home of many, many enormous baobab trees. The drive itself was interesting as we encountered a couple of pretty angry bull elephants on the highway.
To end our trip in Botswana we travelled to Kasane, which is right on the border between Zambia, Angola and Zimbabwe. It was here that we took a boat trip into Chobe National Park. We saw a lot of different birds, and in particular many different kinds of kingfishers. We watched as a heard of elephant came down to the water to drink, including their many babies. There were also a lot of hippo and crocodiles. Chobe National Park is known to be flush with wildlife so it was great that everywhere we looked we saw something.
Our time in Botswana was beautiful and if you are after seeing a lot of wildlife then this is definitely the place to go. It was so green, and a huge contrast from Namibia. Cost wise it can be as cheap or expensive as you like. We spent NZ$2,000 on the tour (which included Namibia) with Nomad Africa Adventure Tours and then we spent an extra NZ$20-30 (US$15-20) per day on miscellaneous things like snacks and alcohol. Check out my posts on Namibia and Zimbabwe for information on the rest of the trip.
Editor’s Note: Visited Botswana in 2010, updated in 2017.