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BOTSWANA

Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta is the worlds largest inland delta ending in the sand plains of the Kalahari. The Okavango Delta has a total surface of 15.000 kmē. The third largest river on the African continent, the Okavango River, ends here. The source of the river is in the Angolan Highlands meandering away from the Atlantic Ocean, through the Caprivi Strip and eventually ending in a delta of lakes, lagoons and a labyrinth of channels. The entire delta contains 95% of the surface water from the entire Botswana.

The permanent water supply makes the region an excellent habitat for grazing animals and water birds. The presence of grazers logically attracts many carnivores.

The water is flowing slowly to the Okavango after the annual rainfall in Angola and together with the water, fertile sediment is coming to the region which stayed behind for many centuries.

Not all safari lodges can be reached by normal passenger vehicle but only by 4x4 vehicles which requires some experience to drive through the region. In other cases, lodges can only be reached by boat or small aircrafts.

 

Moremi Game Reserve

The ideal period to visit the Moremi Reservere are the dry winter months between July and September. It is during this season that the pans are drying out and because of that game is gathering around the few pools left. Game viewing is done by traditional 4x4 safari vehicle, motorboat or canoe.

The reserve had in 1976 a surface of 3800 kmē, in de 1990's another 1050 kmē was added to the reserve, wherefrom 20% Okavango Delta. The reserve can be reached from Maun and further in the northeast into the direction of Shorobe along a tarred road which ends up into a gravel road. The road becomes a deep 4x4 sand track past the Buffalo Fence and goes between mopane and acacia woodland. On less than 100 km from Maun, visitors reach finally the Moremi Game Reserve.

 

Chobe National Park

World famous reserve, found in the 1960's and has the reputation to be the capital city from the African elephant. The reserve is the home of the largest elephant, zebra and lion population on the African continent, living in huge grasslands from the Savuti.

The question raise in 1931 to stop the intensive hunting by founding a reserve. One year later, an area of 24.000 kmē was proclaimed to be a nature reserve. Another 31600 kmē was added to the reserve in 1933 and by 1960 the name Chobe Game Reserve was given. Chobe becomes in 1967 the first national park in Botswana. The last human settlements were removed by 1975 and in the 1980's another 10.500 kmē is added to the reserve. Chobe is a complex eco system from plains and forest from the Srondela in the northeast, the Savuti in the west, the Lynyanti Swamp in the northeast and the dry plains in the central area.

The dramatic annual zebra and wildebeest migration during the rain season is very spectacular. Once the water supply is dried out, the thousands of animals migrate back to the permanent water supply in the north. The Chobe water supply is attracting thousands of elephants and buffalo during the dry season. About 120.000 elephants live in Chobe, the most dense population on our planet with about 5 elephants per 5 kmē. The elephant population in the region is even 3 times higher than human population in the area. The enormous elephant population (the elephants in the reserve are the largest in Africa) brings a lot of ecological problems, the pressure on the land is so high that scientists will have to take measurements to prevent total destruction of the landscape.

Kgalagadi Trans-Frontier Park

The reserve is an international agreement between South Africa and Botswana. It is the largest conservation area in the world. The Mabuasehube and Gemsbok National Park in Botswana were melted together with the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park on South African soil. This project reaching of both frontiers has a total surface of  38.000 kmē. It is possible for visitors to migrate through both areas due to the international agreements between both countries.

The reserve is situated on 850 km southwest of the capital Gaborone and can be reached via the tarred road to Tsabong (about 550 km) and then further via another 310 km tarred road. Another road is from Gaborone to Hukuntsi on tarred roads (530 km) and further via a 171 sand road to the park. A 4x4 vehicle is recommended for both routes.

 

Thanking Britannica for the above map.

Centraal Kalahari Game Reserve

The reserve is one of the largest conservation areas in Afrika and the second largest in the world with a surface reaching 52.800 kmē.

Typical for the area is the flowering after the annual rainfall between November and beginning March. The rainfall is on average between 170 to 700 mm. Visitors are recommended to have good driving experience with a 4x4 vehicle during this season, one has also to take care for own comfort, firewood, drinking water and food supply. The best period of the year to visit the region is between December and April.

Khutse Game Reserve

The in 1971 declared nature reserve has a total surface of  2500 kmē. Typical for the region is dry savannah plains.

The Khutse reserve can be reached via Gaborone and Molepolole via a 210 km long tarred and gravel road. Visitors leave the tarred road near the Lethakeng Village (which has also the last petrol station). The area is bordering the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. A 4x4 vehicle is a must.

 

Makgadikgadi National Park

The Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans became famous because of Dr. David Livingstone. The Makgadikgadi and Xxai Pan National Park have an estimate surface of 12.000 kmē. The region is famous for its annual revival after the summer rains and the enormous baobab trees. A 4x4 vehicle is a must.

The Makgadikgadi is technically not a single pan but many pans with sandy desert in between, the largest being the Sua, Nwetwe and the Nxai Pans. The largest individual pan is about 1,900 sq miles (4.921 kmē). In comparison, Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is a single salt flat of 4,100 sq miles (10.619 kmē), rarely has water, and is generally claimed to be the world's largest salt pan.

At Makgadikgadi, the dry salty clay crust is seaonally covered with water and grass, and are then a refuge for birds and animals in this very arid part of Botswana. The main water source is the Nata River, called Amanzanyama in Zimbabwe.

 

 

Click on the PDF image for a tourist destination map of Botswana