By Darren Griffiths

Best National Parks in Botswana

19th January 2024

If you are looking for a trip that offers you a unique combination of adventure, stunning landscapes, cultural experiences and wildlife viewing you need to look for the best safari trips. Many people choose safari tours which allow them to view wild animals in their natural habitat. Africa has remained one of the top destinations when it comes to wildlife experiences. However, you still need to look for various countries that you can choose from to get the right experiences. 

While Kenya remains the popular choice, Botswana, bordering South Africa, has become a hot favorite of safari enthusiasts who want to spend more time outdoors. Over the years, Botswana has become one of the top choices for those who are interested in exploring their game reserves and national parks. Additionally, Botswana is closer to South Africa. Hence, you can always plan for Botswana safari holidays for an incredible experience that is hard to find elsewhere on the planet.

If you are interested in national parks in Botswana there are four which you need to explore.

Chobe National Park

Chobe National Park

If you are planning to visit Botswana this national park must be on your list. Chobe National Park is the most popular, the third largest and most biologically diverse national park. This means that you will need to spend a lot of time here to explore the park in its entirety. Home to more than 120,000 African elephants, Chobe National Park lies within the spectacular Okavango Delta. Hence, if you are interested in a boat cruise in Botswana you can do that here. Also, when you are exploring the Chobe National Park you can find ample herds of lions that target these elephants and other mammals living or crossing the territory.

While you are exploring the Chobe National Park you will find herds of animals congregating near the Chobe River, especially during the dry winter months. Apart from lions and elephants, you can also spot a multitude of African buffalos, Angolan giraffes, sable antelopes and even a variety of birds like storks, ducks and waterfowls. While you are here you can also explore the Savuti Marsh and Linyati Marsh where you can find African wild dogs, African leopards, Nile crocodiles and many other predators and mammals. The Savuti Marsh is popular for watching lions and hyena prides competing for food and territory. You can also stay at the lodges here for a few days before moving on to the next national park. For this, you need to choose the right safari lodge that can help you optimize your safari tour. 

Gemsbok National Park

Gemsbok National Park

If you are looking for a different experience you should not miss exploring the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana. Located in the Kalahari, Gemsbok National Park is now a part of Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. This is the first transfrontier conservation area signed by South Africa and Botswana in 1999. While the park straddles the South Africa and Botswana border a huge part of the park is within Botswana. This ensures that you can have a great time when you are on your safari tour in Botswana. Nestled in the southwest corner of Botswana this is where you can find the red dunes and salt pans that make this park different from the rest.

Considering the unique geography and climate in the Kalahari, it is hard to find the African Big Five here. However, you can find herds of antelopes and wildebeest that attract the attention of predators. These predators hunt as these animals journey on their ancient migration routes. For many safari enthusiasts, this is one of the best places to watch game drives and be close to the action. Also, when you are exploring the park you have the facility for immigration and customs to help you enter and exit between two countries. Gemsbok National Park is also a haven for bird life and therefore you can bring the best binoculars for bird watching to see them close enough. 

Nxai Pan National Park

Nxai Pan National Park

One of the first things that would come to mind on visiting Nxai Pan National Park is the Baines Baobab trees. When you are enjoying safari tours in Botswana you have to explore the Nxai Pan National Park located on the north-east side of the country. This national park is connected with the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park to the north. If you are interested in watching predators and mammals in action this is one of the best national parks in Botswana that you should not miss. The park is home to jackals, hyenas, Cape wild dogs, elephants, giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, cheetahs, lions and leopards and many other animals and birds. 

Bird lovers can explore the Nata Bird Sanctuary which is home to ample local and migratory birds. The national park mainly consists of pans and grasslands that provide animals enough space to move around. During the peak season, you can also find flamingos, geese and pelican ducks congregating on the lakes. This is also a great place for those who are interested in game viewing. 

Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

When you head a bit north of Nxai Pan National Park you enter Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. This is one of the largest salt flats in the world and the dry savannah offers a great space for birds and mammals that thrive here. If you are interested in a desert-like environment you can explore this national park in Botswana. Considering the hot weather and hostile conditions finding large mammals here will be a challenge.  However, you can spot meerkats, wildebeests and herds of zebra here in the region. You will also find many large predators that cover this region and prey on the animals.

While you are exploring the region you will also find many reptiles like snakes, lizards and tortoises that are present in this region. You will also find various birds that migrate here during the peak season. If you are interested in great white pelicans, ostriches, hornbills, ducks and geese you can find them here in plenty. Also, the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is popular for its breeding population of greater flamingos. The remote beauty of this place is one of the main reasons why many safari enthusiasts visit this national park.

Apart from the four main national parks, Botswana has ample choices for safari enthusiasts to get close to the action and watch predators and mammals in action. If you are someone looking beyond national parks you can visit the Okavango Delta that has plenty to offer. You can also explore the Moremi Game Reserve that borders the Chobe National Park. While you are in Botswana you can explore the Central Kalahari Game Reserve which allows you to enjoy stunning landscapes and game viewing experiences.