With so many choices for an African safari, it can be hard to figure out where to go first. And once you are there, how do you make the best use of your time? Here is Ker & Downey’s go-to recommendation for a 12-day safari in Africa.

Botswana is a timeless and classic destination providing the essential African safari. Walk the plains among herds of antelope, glide through the wetlands in a traditional canoe, follow in hot pursuit of a pack of wild dogs, or sit quietly next to a watering hole while a cheetah stops in for a drink — the best of African wildlife and nature is on constant display during a Botswana safari. 

Most trips to Botswana begin with a stopover in Johannesburg. You will be met by a Ker & Downey representative at the airport to assist you with all entry requirements. Next, you will be whisked off to the Saxon, a luxury hotel perfect for recovering from a long flight with its excellent spa and tranquil grounds. Arise to a delicious breakfast before you continue to Botswana. 

Central Kalahari Reserve 

You’ll fly to Maun before boarding a flight to the private conservancy of Dinaka on the edge of the second largest national park in the world, the Central Kalahari Reserve. The semiarid region is home to many of the rarer animals such as brown hyenas and black-maned lions, making the Kalahari a treasure trove of nature. Nowhere is more perfect for ultimate comfort and complete immersion than Dinaka where guests stay in private luxury tents. 

Watch the sunrise with a cup of coffee from your private deck in the morning. After breakfast, you will head out on a game drive in search of ostriches, jackals, and maybe even an Oryx. No visit to the region is complete without a walking safari lead by San Bushman guides. They will expertly lead you into the bush while teaching you some of the survival techniques that have sustained locals for centuries. 

Moremi Game Reserve 

Next on your Botswana safari will be a visit to the world-renowned Okavango Delta, beginning in the Moremi Game Reserve. Moremi is abundant in wildlife with its intersecting woodlands, plains, and wetlands. You have a good chance of spotting leopards, lions, and even the elusive African wild dogs. Bunk down in the most glamorous way at Okuti where in lieu of tents you’ll stay in traditionally inspired reed huts overlooking the Maunachira River. These luxurious accommodations almost have a Gothic feel with the high ceilings providing a cool respite after a warm day. 

With only four people and a guide per vehicle, your safari experience is exclusive and intimate at Moremi. Your knowledgeable local guide is passionate about the delta’s conservation. Whether you are watching the ever-present elephant or have a chance encounter with a cheetah, your guide will stay in communication with other guides to better pinpoint the location of wildlife for your viewing.  

A game drive can become a bit hot and dusty after a while. Time to take to the water to spend an exhilarating afternoon navigating the maze of the delta in a motorboat. Be sure to keep an eye out for hippos and the amazing birdlife in the delta. Your day draws to a close with a stop on a remote island to enjoy a sundowner and reflect on the beauty of nature surrounding you.

Kanana

You will zoom just above the treetops via a helicopter ride to reach your final destination of Kanana. Many of the sweeping shots in nature documentaries are captured this way giving you an exhilarating view of the delta. 

Get ready for one of the most enigmatic experiences of your entire trip — a sunset ride on a mokoro. Recline as your guide navigates the clear waters reflecting the immense African sky above. Kanana is best known for its birds, specifically the yellow bill stork and slaty egret. As you draw close to the Heronry, you’ll begin to hear the chatter before eventually being surrounded by dozens of bird species. A herd of an elephant might even cross your path as they wade through the waters. 

Later you will join your guide for a nighttime safari searching for nocturnal animals. The searchlight beams into the inky blackness looking for glowing eyes. Leopards are especially a highlight of these game drives as they are more active once the sunsets. Antelopes, like red lechwe, keep one wary eye open hoping to alert the herd should any opportune predator be on the prowl.  A nighttime safari is the perfect ending to your Botswana safari adventure. 

Botswana is one of the foremost African nations dedicated to preserving and improving its natural splendor. A safari here does not disappoint. Whether you make one trip to Africa or many, Botswana will stay with you for the rest of your life.