Botswana is a top tourist destination on the African continent due to the many tourist attractions that are found in the different parts of the country. 17% of the land in the country was set aside to cater for game parks, reserves and game reserves and that is why National parks are the most visited throughout the year.
There are several National parks in the country but there are strictly four National parks that is the Chobe National Park, Okavango National Park, the Moremi National park and the central Kalahari National park.
The Moremi Game reserve
This is the largest game reserve on the African continent and is located in the Okavango Delta. The best time for one to visit and explore the game reserve is during the dry season because the wettest months that run from January to month are so terrible that the roads that lead to the game reserve are always flooded. The Game reserve is also known for her wonderful eco system and the history behind its formation. It is said that it was set up by the locals and names after their chief Moremi III. Other activities that you that you can carry out when you visit Moremi include trekking, birding, game viewing and some of the animals that habitate here include leopards, elephants, impalas, the African jackal, cheetahs and many more others.
The Mokolodi nature reserve was founded in 1994 as a non-profit organization which was set up in order to save rhinos that were coming into extinction. The reserve is a home to numerous giraffes and bird species that can be spotted in their natural habitats. Some other activities that you can carry out in the reserve include trekking with the supervision of a tour guide, birding and game viewing. The fees that you pay at the entrance of the reserve help out when it comes to renovating and taking care of the animals in the reserve.
The Okavango delta National park
The Okavango national park is located in the Okavango delta and is one of the top tourist destinations in the country. It has a wide range of wild life that habitates within it and some of these species include cheetahs, elephants, zebras, crocodiles, hyenas, buffalos, the Topi, wildebeest, the Lechwe, warthogs, bush pigs and many more others. Some of the bird species that habitate around the Okavango River include the red billed hornbill, red billed oxpecker and many more others. The best time for one to visit the Okavango delta national park is during the dry season and many animals can be seen walking towards the Okavango river since many of the water holes at this time are dry and the wet season should be avoided because this is when the pans are flooded and the roads are impassable.
The Nxai national park is located in the Eastern part of Botswana and is majorly known for her large salt pans that are spread out across the park. It is also filled with Baobab trees that provide shelter to the animals during the dry season. Also known as the Garden of Eden by many tourists, the Nxai National park is a home to numerous animals some of which include ostriches, impalas, lions, the African jackal, kudus, antelopes, elephants, the bat eared fox, hyenas and many more others.
The Kgalagardi Transfrontier National Park
The National Park is shared between South Africa and Botswana and was created in the year 2002 and it is managed by both counties and can easily be accessed from both sides. It was formed after joining two reserves that is the Gemsbok National park in Botswana and the Kalahari in South Africa. The animals that traverse through the National park include hyenas, zebras, elephants, lions, hyenas and many other species including birds. You can also trek through the park as you view the different attractions that the park has to offer but note that you will not be allowed to access the national park without a tour guide.
The Chobe National park
The Chobe National Park is located at the border of Zimbabwe and Botswana in the northern part of the country. The park was created in the year 1968 and it is commonly known for the large number of elephants and buffalos that habitate in the Park. Other animal species that are found in the Park include buffalos, leopards, hippos, lions, antelopes and some of the bird species include the long toed lapwing, the African fish eagle, the African fish skimmer, and saddle billed stork, the heron, the African finfoot and the winged nightjar. The best time for one to visit the Chobe national park is during the dry season as many animals will be up and about in the Park due to scarcity of water during this period and it is better if you avoid the park during the wet season due to impassable roads although it is the best time for one to go for birding.
The Khama Rhino sanctuary was established by a community of the local people in the year 1992 in order to save both the black and white rhino that had been hunted down almost to extinction. It is a home to about 200 bird species and other animal species although the main attraction in the sanctuary is the rhino species. The other tourist attraction in the park are the ablution wells where you can rest after touring the whole sanctuary. The fee that is paid at the entrance of the sanctuary is used to cater for the animals and its development.
The national park is located in the North eastern part of the country and is known to have the largest salt pans in Botswana. Some of the bird species that can be viewed in the Makgadikgadi National park include both the lesser and greater flamingo, the white pelican, the African darters, the pink backed pelican, the blacksmith lapwing and many more others and the animals in the that habitate within the park include the red hartebeest, zebras, bush pigs, giraffes, elephants, lions, springbok and the bushbucks.
The central Kalahari national Park is located in the Kalahari Desert and is surrounded by the bush men who were the earliest settlers in the region. It is a home to various wildlife some of which include the honey badger, leopard, hyenas, the cape wild dog, the cape fox, the blue wildebeest, lions and many more other species and the bird species include ostriches, the red billed francolin, the black bustard and the red billed spurfowl. When you visit the central Kalahari Park, do not forget to take lots of water due to the heat in the desert. The best time for one to visit the central Kalahari National park is during the wet season as this is the time that animals come out to get water since during the dry season it is extremely hard to find water holes. Remember as you head down to the park to carry enough water so that you do not end up dehydrated.
When should one visit the different National parks in Botswana?
As earlier on mentioned, the different national Parks can be visited all throughout the year but all this depends on the activities that you are to carry out when you visit the different National parks.
When it comes to game viewing, trekking and hiking through the different national parks, this is best done during the dry season because during this time, many animals can be seen moving around the parks in search of the scarce water that is experienced in the dry season although there are a few Parks that receive animals during the wet season as compared to the dry season.
The wet season that is experienced in some of the game parks brings about the Zebra migration which is considered to be the second largest annual animal migration that is experienced in Africa. Many animals especially Zebras will be seen crossing the pans and then back after the wet season.
The wet season is also the best time for one to go for birding because during this time, you wlill find many endemic birds and migratory bird species that fly into the country but the downside about travelling during the rainy season is that some of the roads are inaccessible due to floods and some of the lodges are also closed off.
It is advisable that if you are not a fan of crowds, the best time for you to visit the National parks is during the wet season because the peak season is the dry season. Travelling through the many National parks in Botswana cannot be done in one day and that is why you need to pack appropriately, talk to your tour operator to help you find the best months for your tour in the country.