New Adventure: Botswana
Highlights: The wildlife of the Okavango Delta; the sprawling, semi-arid Kalahari Desert; the northeast’s Chobe National Park, known for its massive elephant herds.
Botswana now rivals South Africa as the continent’s most high-end safari destination, defined by the Okavango Delta’s standard-setting camps such as Mombo Camp and Wilderness Safaris’ refurbished Abu Camp, famous for its elephant-back tours. The country, however, is shifting away from ultra-luxe lodges and back toward active itineraries and comfortably rustic properties. On the Kalahari Desert’s Makgadikgadi Pans, the 10-tent Camp Kalahari from Uncharted Africa is the affordable sister to the classic Jack’s Camp, also on the pans. Alternatively, Ride Botswana with David Foot Safaris now operates a horseback safari across the pans. Even more adventurous is the Selinda Canoe Trail operated by Great Plains Conservation, a four-day, 30-mile trip along the ancient Selinda Spillway.
When to Go: Jan.–Nov.
Safari Expert Ralph Bousfield
Company: Uncharted Africa Safari Co.
Safari Veterans: “For the experienced traveler to Africa, a trip to the Western Kalahari with the Bushmen is an amazing opportunity to see where we all come from. It’s incredible to think that 10,000 years ago we were all hunter-gatherers.”