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Botswana Budget Safari Tours

Finding a Botswana budget safari can be a challenge. This is a country that has very much aimed its tours, or safari pitch, at a high-end market. But don’t let that put you off. Botswana is a fabulous destination for a wildlife trip. A number of operators offer budget safari packages that can take you deep into some of the best wildlife-viewing country in southern Africa. The Okavango Delta is a possibility, particularly in the Moremi Game Reserve or in the west, although the Delta’s northern reaches are dominated by private, luxury concessions. Chobe National Park, including the Savuti region, is a highlight, as are the options within the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and Tuli Block.

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1-20 of 113 cheap tours, packages and holidays to Botswana

6 Questions About Botswana Budget Safaris


6 Questions About Botswana Budget Safaris

Answered by Anthony Ham

Why should I choose Botswana for a budget trip?

“Botswana is a brilliant choice for a budget safari because the wildlife is world-class, and facilities such as budget accommodation or safari campsites are rarely crowded. Low visitor numbers and the relatively small market for budget safaris mean that once you get beyond the larger towns, a sense of wilderness is easily found. Much of this wilderness is accessible to those on a budget holiday. It’s actually far better here than in other countries where budget accommodation and campsites can be crowded, and multiple vehicles gather around wildlife sightings. Botswana also has one of the most professional safari industries in Africa, and these high standards very much include budget operators. Once you’re here, expect big cats, elephants and abundant birdlife.”


What is included in a Botswana budget safari?

“Meals, accommodation and transport are usually included in the cost of your budget safari in Botswana. Depending on the operator, you may be expected to help in setting up the tents each night. And to participate in the more mundane aspects of camp life: cooking, washing up, and gathering firewood. Most safaris in Botswana begin and end in one of the gateway towns for the parks and protected reserves. For example, Maun (for Moremi and the Okavango Delta), Kasane (for Chobe National Park) and Gweta (for the Makgadikgadi Pans and Central Kalahari Game Reserve) all have simple but atmospheric budget lodgings. Beyond the towns, travel will be by a mixture of 4x4 and boat. The ‘mokoro’ (wooden dugout canoe) is a classic Delta experience that is at once cheap and environmentally friendly. It enables you to get a feel for the intricate tangle of waterways that define the Delta at the speed of a slow-moving river. Always ask your operator what is included and what will be expected of you out in the bush, before making your final reservation.”


What are the pros and cons of a self-drive budget safari?

“Taking a self-drive budget safari has the advantage of including almost all of your expenses in one fee. Once your vehicle is paid for, campsite fees and food are both extremely cheap in Botswana. Petrol can, however, be expensive, as can the overall cost of rental vehicles. Whether it works out to be more expensive to take a self-drive safari, or go on an organized budget safari, will depend on how many of you are in the vehicle. These pros and cons can be added to the more general advantages of the self-drive safari in Botswana. The most obvious of these is the freedom it gives. Unlike on an organized tour, you decide how long you stay at each wildlife sighting. You also decide where to go and when. However, many campsites are so popular that you’ll need to reserve these sites through your operator well in advance of your visit. While it can be a little nerve-wracking to set out alone into the bush, trails are generally easy to follow and excellent GPS programs help to guide your way. You’re also never too far from help if you take the necessary precaution of carrying a satellite phone. The result is a deep-Africa experience that simply cannot be replicated by any other means.”


Can you describe a typical day on a Botswana budget safari?

“A typical day on a budget safari involves a mix of helping out around camp and being out on the trails looking for wildlife. On a budget safari, you’re usually expected to help pack up the campsite in the morning and generally help to keep the camp clean. If you’re moving on to a new campsite, this may mean packing up the tents, as well as helping with the breakfast and washing up. If you’re remaining at the same campsite for a number of days, breakfast and daily cleaning-up duties may happen after you return from an early morning game drive. If you are expected to help with camp chores, you will assist in setting up camp upon arrival at each new campsite. This may include everything from putting up tents to preparing meals. Typically, lunch on a budget safari is a simple affair, a light meal or picnic taken in the shade. Activities during the heat of the day vary from one budget safari to the next. Some days you’ll rest in camp while at other times you’ll be out looking for wildlife, taking advantage of every minute out on safari. Sometimes you’ll be traveling from one campsite to the next, usually with some wildlife viewing en route. Dinner is usually the main meal of the day, followed by stories and (perhaps) singing around the campfire until everyone drifts off to bed.”


What type of accommodation can I expect?

“There are a few budget lodges and permanent tented camps scattered throughout the country’s north. Most often your accommodation will consist of a simple canvas tent with bedding usually provided. Some of these are simple dome tents that you take with you from one site to another. Other tents have a semi-permanent location on elevated wooden platforms that serve as bases for exploring the surrounding area for a few days. Larger, and generally more expensive, are the safari tents that, as a minimum, consist of canvas floors, beds and either en suite toilets or a nearby shared ablutions tent or block with showers. The fancier of these tents might include a desk, wooden chest and shaded deck at the front, but most of these are associated with an increase in price.”


How much will this safari cost?

“Per-person per-day prices for a cheap Botswana safari start at around US$165. This is based on a twin-share safari package. Individual or solo travelers can expect their costs to start at around US$220 to US$275, once the single supplement is added. Prices are, of course, highly variable, with rates depending on, for example, the number of people in a traveling party, the type of accommodation and the season. Transport can be another varying factor. The isolation of many Delta camps means that if you have to fly into your location in the Delta, costs rise significantly. Always ask if any flights are included in the cost.”


Botswana Reviews

4.8/5 348 Reviews
Harriet Nimmo  –  
South Africa ZA

Harriet is a zoologist with more than 20 years’ experience. She has the privilege of working with the world’s top wildlife photographers and photo-guides.

Africa at its most wild

If I had 48 hours left on this planet, I would spend it on safari in Botswana. Botswana is my favourite African country. It still feels so wild, there is abundant wildlife, a huge variety of scenery and habitat…and only 2.4 million, very...

Full Review

Mark Eveleigh  –  
United Kingdom UK

Mark is a travel writer who grew up in Africa and has written over 700 titles for Condé Nast Traveller, Travel Africa, BBC Wildlife and others.

Desert and Delta diversity...and leopards galore!

If – as many will feel – leopard sightings are your last great Big 5 aim, then Botswana is leopard country par excellence! I have made 5 visits to Botswana and, by some bizarre coincidence, have seen 6 leopards every time I have been...

Full Review

Natalia Bondarenko  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Nov 28, 2023
Memories for Life!

Botswana was definitely the highlight of my entire trip. I explored 4 countries in Africa and Botswana took my heart completely! I did bush camping and it was incredible experience. I can’t wait to go back . I got to spend one week in...

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Noralv Breivik  –  
Norway NO
Reviewed: Nov 2, 2023
Nature and people in harmony

I lived in Botswana 1975-78. The development hasbeen amazing in the capital, and regardingvthe roads . The wildlife is very interesting and impressive. We saw all the «big five» , several lions, lots of buffaloes and elephants, rhinos in...

Full Review

Agne  –  
Estonia EE
Reviewed: Oct 17, 2023
So many birds!

It was really safe trip and the team and the guide made all to make us happy and feel comfortable. You dont need to worry, the team will take you, feed you, carry you and so one. Still you have to be aware, that you are in Africa and in...

Full Review

Michael  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: Oct 13, 2023
A must see safari destination

This was our first trip to Africa and to Botswana. Words fail to describe the beauty and abundance of wildlife in the Okavango Delta. We stayed in two camps at the beginning of October. There was still plenty of water in the delta and...

Full Review