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Botswana Private Safari Tours

Botswana is perfectly suited to the private safari. It has luxury tented camps and lodges, as well as highly professional tour operators ready and willing to take you out on safari. The country also long ago took the decision to prioritize high-end, low-impact tourism, making this one of the more exclusive safari destinations in Africa. And as a wildlife destination, Botswana has it all, including an astonishing collection of animals across an incredible portfolio of parks, reserves and concessions. These include the world-class Okavango Delta, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Chobe National Park and so much more.

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1-20 of 191 private tours, packages and holidays to Botswana

7 Questions About Botswana Private Safaris


7 Questions About Botswana Private Safaris

Answered by Anthony Ham

What are the pros and cons of a Botswana private safari?

“There are many pros of a Botswana private safari. Botswana is one of the best safari destinations on earth, and a private safari allows you to explore all that this means in the best possible way. By going on a private safari, you have much more control over your experience than you do on a group safari. That’s because everything is focused on you. You have the guide and vehicle all to yourself, and decisions about the itinerary require no compromises with any other travelers. There aren’t many cons or disadvantages to this kind of safari in Botswana. One could be the cost: a private safari is considerably more expensive than a group or self-drive safari. The other drawback is that you’ll miss some of the fun and camaraderie that is possible when you share the safari trails with other like-minded travelers on a group safari.”


Who benefits from a private trip in Botswana?

“Everyone benefits from a Botswana private safari. For a start, you’ll have the best safari experience imaginable: what could be better than having your own private guide to answer your every question, your own vehicle, and so on. Secondly, apart from offering employment to your guide and driver and those who will look after you during your trip, a private safari offers opportunities for meaningful one-on-one encounters. Through these relationships, you’ll reach a whole new level of understanding when it comes to local culture. You might even make lifelong friends along the way. Although your per capita ecological footprint is higher than it would be on a group safari, you’re contributing to a local industry that recognizes that small is good, and that exclusive safari experiences have a far smaller footprint overall than safaris with big groups of visitors. In this sense, it’s also better for the animals, who won’t be facing convoys of full safari vehicles. Your private safari brings in much-needed revenue to local communities. It also helps to cement the importance of parks and reserves and preserve their role in conservation.”


Will we have private game drives on a private tour?

“If your safari is indeed an exclusively private safari, then you should have a vehicle, guide and game-drive experience all for yourself. You could, of course, ask other travelers you meet to join you on a game drive, but if you have paid a premium for a private safari, no tour operator should ask you to join with others. You will, of course, arrive at some wildlife sightings and share them with other vehicles. Some of these may be from your place of accommodation, others will come from elsewhere. But your vehicle should be for you and for you alone.”


Which parks and reserves should we visit?

“You could go just about anywhere on your safari holiday in Botswana, although some parks and wildlife areas are perhaps better suited to a private safari. The Okavango Delta, including Moremi Game Reserve, is one of Africa’s most exclusive safari destinations. Typically, the Delta’s tented camps are remote and intimate places, home to just a handful of safari tents, and therefore able to accommodate only a handful of travelers at any one time. Such an arrangement is much more in keeping with the spirit of exclusivity that is at the heart of a private safari. Other parks, such as the Central Kalahari Game Reserve or Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, also have a small number of tented camps spread over a large area. You could visit the vast Chobe National Park, but it all depends on where you go. The Chobe riverfront, close to Kasane, can get very busy, whereas the Savuti region is much quieter. When it comes to wildlife, however, all of these parks are world-class.”


How much do Botswana private safari packages cost?

“The cost of safari packages varies greatly, depending on a number of considerations. For a start, accommodation comes in all shapes and levels of luxury, although most private safaris occupy the top-end price bracket. As a general rule, accommodation will be the major cause of difference when it comes to price. How you get around is also a factor. If you’re on a fly-in trip, you’ll be flying from one tented camp to the next, and each flight can add significantly to the overall cost of your trip. The season when you’ll be traveling will also affect how much you pay: high-season prices can be double that of low season, with shoulder season usually somewhere in between. Leaving aside all of these variables for a moment, you should expect that a private safari will cost from US$350 per person per day. For an ultra-luxurious package, it could be double or even triple that.”


What type of vehicle can I expect?

“For game drives and some transfers, you can expect to move around in a 4WD game-drive vehicle. These are open-sided vehicles, usually with a canvas roof and tiered seating. If you’re in such a vehicle, the best views are often from the back row, but you’ll be too far away to hear your guide, which is an essential part of the experience. The row just behind the driver and guide is a perfect location, especially if the rest of the vehicle is empty. For moving between destinations, such as different parks or tented camps, you may end up flying in a small plane. It’s a quick and easy way to get around and has the added benefit of allowing you an aerial view of the landscape (and hence to see so much more) as you move between places.”


Will we spend all our time with our guide on a private trip?

“On most Botswana private safaris, you will have the same guide alongside you from the very start of your tour until the end. There may be slight variations on this. You might, for example, have an additional specialist or local guide in some places, but your main guide will almost certainly be with you as well. There may also be a need to change guides if your trip crosses international borders, although this is rare. Most guides are permitted to work (and are experienced in working) across a region and not just in their home country. It will depend on the company, the guide and your own preferences whether your guide eats every meal with you. Some travelers prefer meals to be a break from the overall safari and a chance for a little privacy. Most, however, welcome the opportunity to spend some downtime with their guide.”


Botswana Reviews

4.8/5 367 Reviews
Stuart Butler  –  
United Kingdom UK

Stuart is a travel writer and author of numerous Lonely Planet guidebooks, including 'Kenya', 'Rwanda' and 'Tanzania'.

Africa at its Best

First a confession. I love Kenya. It’s by far and away my favourite African country and I refuse to accept that there might be an even better African safari destination. But then I went to Botswana and nothing could wipe the smile off my...

Full Review

Kim Wildman  –  
Australia AU

Kim is a travel writer who authored and updated over 15 guidebooks, including Lonely Planet's South Africa and Bradt's Tanzania guides.

Where the wild things are

Despite living across the border in South Africa and criss-crossing the African continent for both work and pleasure for many years, Botswana had somehow managed to elude me. Last year Botswana finally beckoned and it did not disappoint. If...

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Ross James Wilson  –  
Australia AU
Reviewed: Jun 3, 2024
Friendly people; wonderful wildlife; sadly drought stricken so dry rivers and significantly reduced

Botswana is a wonderful travel destination. The wildlife experience was top level with very knowledgeable guides. The people are very friendly. Our safari lodge was very nice. Unfortunately, we visited during a bad drought so we...

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Emily L  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Jun 3, 2024
Chill vibes and lots of animals!

We did a 6-day safari in May 2024. The weather was great, warm during the day but not too chilly at night. We started in Maun and ended in Kasane, traveling through Moremi, Savuti and Chobe game parks, and included a Chobe River boat cruise...

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Susanne  –  
Germany DE
Reviewed: May 29, 2024
Worth a visit and a return, but expensive.

We did two things in Botswana, a self-organized tour to the Tsodillo Hills and the Moremi Game Reserve with a rented 4x4 car and a tour with Kalahari Tours (3d/2n) to the Chobe NP. Both experiences were remarkable. As Botswana is a wild...

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CJH  –  
Canada CA
Reviewed: May 24, 2024
Easy, friendly Botswana

We entered at Kazungula border for a day in Chobe park. The experience was easy, the tour staff were friendly and helpful. Yes things did not run on time and we had to wait for other people to gather; but as they say, "this is Africa". Just...

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