The most outstanding feature of Botswana’s geography is the flat, verdant expanse of the Okavango Delta, often called the jewel of Africa, which flows into the pans of the Kalahari Desert, creating a fertile habitat for wildlife at certain times of the year.
The seasons in Botswana are reversed to ours in the United states, as it is deep in the southern hemisphere so that the warmest time there is winter here. Thus the best time to avoid the heat as well as the rainy season is April to October. Two of the world’s most acclaimed riding safaris are in the heart of the Delta: the Okavango Safari and Discover the Delta. The flat terrain is ideal for fast canters where one sometimes raises a cloud of spray in the shallow water and the area teems with wild game including many kinds of antelope, Cape buffalo, lion and crocodile.
Though the Okavango has a unique appeal there is excellent riding and game viewing in other parts of the country as well. You can spend a week on the Tuli Safari in the southwest where Botswana borders Zimbabwe and South Africa riding over a hundred miles in a huge game reserve with thriving populations of giraffe, kudu and sable antelope to name a few. There are also chances to view game like lion and cheetah from vehicles. The Kalahari Ride offers a fascinating view of another aspect of this diverse country. The wide open pans are ideal terrain for thrilling gallops and the semi-desert savannah is home to a wide array of animals from oryx to brown hyena. You can make a close approach to the charming meerkats which have become quite habituated to people. The wildlife is beautifully described in the delightful book by Delia Owens called THE CRY OF THE KALAHARI.
Botswana is one of Africa’s top destinations for game viewing and is particularly well suited for horse riding safaris. Rated as the most politically stable, least corrupt country in Africa, it has one of the highest per capita GDPs and has probably done a better job of protecting its abundant wildlife than any other country on the continent. There is little poaching and it has the largest elephant herd in Africa which is free to roam unimpeded for hundreds of miles. Almost a quarter of the country has been set aside for national parks and tourism is an important part of the economy. A great financial advantage is rich gem diamond mines; after Russia it is the world’s largest producer.