The smell of wild sage is for many synonymous with a safari in Botswana. For the first time visitor, completely new, as well as for the repeat traveller, it’s a scent of familiarity that triggers feelings of anticipation – for the excitement of the chase or the tranquillity of your pristine surroundings.
Botswana is a key safari destination thanks to a government and the greater community that are committed to conservation. It also has the good fortune of having an entirely inland delta system providing sustenance to many, as the annual inundation makes its way through the channels of the Okavango Delta – starting in the highlands of Angola and fanning out into the soft Kalahari sand near Maun.
While game viewing is amazing in the winter months as wildlife congregates around the life-giving food and water of the Delta, Botswana in the summer months is a real treat. This is when the Central Kalahari Game Reserve comes into its own, with vast open plains of grass attracting large herds of oryx and springbok, which in turn are followed by predators such as lion and cheetah. More unusual species such as bat-eared foxes and brown hyaena are seen, as well as a variety of other animals, plants and birds which have adapted to the harsh environment of the Kalahari Desert.
Spectacular cloud formations, awe-inspiring thunderstorms and lush green vegetation at this time of year add a whole new element to the safari experience in the Okavango and Linyanti regions to the north.
The ‘cuteness factor’ is everywhere as young animals are introduced to the world and the skies are aflutter with the arrival of a multitude of migrant birds from within Africa and the northern hemisphere. If you are lucky, you might see opportunistic carmine bee-eaters flying alongside, and even landing on the backs of, kori bustards as they stride through the long grass of the dry Savute Channel, disturbing insects.
Colourful wild flowers are everywhere and the iconic palm trees on the skyline will have you reaching for your camera time and again, especially when the sun is shining and there are dark clouds looming. Wildlife is plentiful, with a fit, fat and happy look about them thanks to nature’s bounty! Summer, in my opinion, is when Botswana is at its best and definitely worth putting on your must-visit list…
Written by Tina Kennedy