Botswana is a landlocked country, bordered by Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia and Angola.  Mining the significant diamond deposits has helped the country economically, and it is not only one of the world's fastest growing economies, but also one of the least densely populated nations.
Botswana was the first stop on our very first safari in 2005, but we hardly scratched the surface and I wanted to see how it had changed over nearly two decades.
The landscape is defined by the Kalahari desert in the south - ancient home of the San Bushmen - and the great wetland of the Okavango Delta in the north.  My journey started in the Kalahari, in the Makgadikgadi pans and then travelled roughly north west into the Delta.
The Delta gets a lot of its water from Angola to the north-west and it is dependent on the annual floods to keep it in good heart.  In 2005 there was water everywhere and one could only get about in boats and Makoros. Would it be the same in 2024?  Reports of poor rains in Angola over several years plus the Angolan's assessment of building a dam to conserve water on their side were worrying.  Certainly there were a lot less water courses, but early rains in Angola were reported to have been heavy.  The main rains come later in the year, so I hope beyond measure that 2024 will turn out to be a bumper season in the Delta.
My journey started on January 10th and finished - far too soon for my liking - on the 27th.  A look at the map shows that the Kalahari desert covers a huge area to the south western side of the country.  So I started in the middle and journeyed steadily north-west from the salt pans into the Delta, with my final camp being pretty much in the north-west quadrant.   All inter camp journeys were on small planes starting in Maun - an incredibly busy and well-organised airport roughly in the middle!
Camp Kalahari in the Makgadikgadi Pans
Radinare, Setari and Splash in the Okavango Delta
Lebala, Linyanti
The people I met were, without exception, happy and excellent company, kind, intelligent and above all, welcoming. Maybe its because they are surrounded by other nations, or maybe its because the population is low and the economy is strong - they were an absolute delight.

Back to Top