Between the wet wilderness of the Okavango Delta, the expert local guides and the feeling of total seclusion, there is something about Botswana that makes it stand out from the herd. Maybe you have been dreaming of a trip to Africa for a while — only for your eyes to water at prices that frequently go above €15,000 per person. A mobile safari holiday in Botswana is hardly cheap, but it is more cost-friendly than you might expect over on this side of paradise. And you may find that you prefer the total freedom that ‘glamping’ brings; as opposed to opulent hotels that end up being further away from than the game than suggested.
What could a Botswana Mobile Safari trip look like?
Put simply, a mobile safari is where your camp moves to different bush location every two to three nights for a different viewing experience. But this is no ordinary camping trip. Each tent is fully self-sufficient and carries its own facilities, including water, a shower, and toilet tent. Plus, the sites are strictly maintained with a no littering policy so that everyone can be happy campers.
We have included a few different tour operators under our ‘Planning your trip’ section further in this article. Scroll down to find out more.
A safari in Botswana is comparatively pricey, but it pays off in the best possible way. Botswana has been a pioneer in implementing sustainable tourism strategies for over 20 years, and almost a third of the country is officially protected land where wildlife can roam freely.
The result is not only game viewing that is second-to-none, but the ideal introduction into Africa for first-time travellers. Especially since Botswana shares its borders with four other countries in Southern Africa… more on that later.
While the rest of Botswana heads into its dry season from May to October, the Okavango Delta prepares for flooding. It’s around this time of year that the water is at its highest, and the delta is at its busiest with animals thirsty from the lack of rain.
As the biggest inland delta in the world (for reference: it’s around half the size of Belgium), you’re unlikely to run out of prime viewing spots. Aside from capturing memorable candid shots of ‘Big Five’ creatures in action, boat rides provide you with a fresh angle. You’ll be led out onto the water on mokoro, traditional wooden canoe, with an animal-intuitive guide.
Each mokoro is limited to a small number of people (usually two per boat). The mokoros move with a certain stillness so as to not disrupt the rare small birds that have settled here. This activity is just as much a rite of passage as going on a gondola in Venice is — hence why our suggested travel companies listed later in this guide all offer trips that include a mokoro ride.
Moremi Game Reserve
Just north of the Okavango Delta is the oldest protected section. It’s named after the Batawana tribe members, Chief Moremi III and his wife, who dedicated all their time and effort into keeping this wildlife safe and sustainable. Their efforts undoubtedly paid off, as here you’ll find an unbelievable variety of animals: including a steady reintroduction of the endangered black rhino and white rhino.
It’s called the ‘predator capital’ for a reason — as there are plenty of leopards, lions and cheetah who roam around in search for either antelopes or one of 500 kinds of birds. But they move so quickly that capturing a detailed picture of them may require some patience and skill.
You’ll also be find plenty of elephants and buffalo: making the Moremi Game Reserve an opportunity to cross seeing the Big Five off your safari bucket list.
Chobe National Park
Split into four distinct areas, the Chobe National Park is Botswana’s most expansive outdoor playground. There are a few different ecosystems worth exploring; the salt pans in Ngwenzumba, Linyanti wetlands, a swampy desert called Savute, and a scenic riverfront all give the Chobe National Park its signature flair.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the diverse nature has created one of the highest game concentrations in Africa. If you were to stick to one location only for your Botswana Mobile Safari experience, the Chobe National Park is easily the best choice. Not only does the park offer everything you could want out of a safari holiday, it is easy to get here as you can arrive by plane.
Chobe National Park also offers an unique opportunity to take your travels further throughout Africa. By that we mean this part of Botswana shares borders with four different countries — all of which are readily accessible.
If you have ever dreamed of seeing Victoria Falls, the world’s biggest waterfall, in person — take the chance to cross into either Zambia or Zimbabwe. You could visit ethereal dunes and go stargazing in an orange desert in magnificent Namibia (road trip anyone?). Or maybe driving the iconic Garden Route in South Africa is more your thing?
Planning your trip
Deciding which tour operator to go with can feel a little overwhelming — and so to help you out, here are three reputable options that vary in price.
Intrepid Travel: This B Corp certified business takes you all around the globe, working with the local experts. The small group experiences and affordable prices make it a favourite among young person solo travellers — although most of the trips are open to everyone age 16 and up. There are four different styles to choose from: starting at Basix and going all the way up to Premium. A trip to Botswana with Intrepid could cost anywhere from £1,400 to £4,000 per person — depending on your travel preferences.
The Luxury Safari Company: Prefer to travel solo? Aside from an expert guide, your mobile safari experience is completely private if you go with the Luxury Safari Company. Prices start at around £4,000 per person for five nights, and your tent will include the suitable facilities needed for travelling around comfortably. There are a few different tours to choose from with this operator, including a flexible 7 day itinerary. It’s a preferable option for those hoping for a more intimate experience of the wildlife — or for those looking to travel in a group.
Audley Travel: Our last pick is easily the most expensive on this list — but the majority of the trips cost around half the price of a luxury safari package. Spend nine days exploring the hidden depths of this rich landscape for around £6,260 — or invite the family along for a 10 day trip that costs £7,625 per person. But if you think £16,000 per person is minor money, then go right ahead with Audley Travel’s Luxury Safari Tour for the ultimate opulence (… it’s what they do best).