Botswana as a country is known to be as a country that is not a good hiking destination naturally due to its landscape nature especially since the larger part of the country is covered with parks. Nevertheless, if you are an adrenaline junky, there are a few spots in the country where you can go and have a good hike in Botswana.
Essential details that you need to know before hiking in Botswana
Botswana is a small country as compared to her neighboring countries and since there are few people living in the country, the hike routes are also extremely few which means that you will need a tour guide to take you through the hike so that you avoid getting lost while on your hike.
Hiking in Botswana is mostly on hills, Mountains and through the many forests that are located within the country. You should carry appropriate clothing throughout this time so that you do not get scratches on your body.
The best time to go for hiking in Botswana is during the heat winter also known as the dry season which runs from the months of May to September. In most cases the hikes start in the morning because when it comes to afternoon, the temperatures are so high you and sometimes the heat becomes unbearable. The reason as to why the hiking is done during this time is because the hike routes are always easy to access unlike during the wet season when most of them are slippery and flooded.
There are essentials that you will need as you go for hikes within Botswana at the different hike destinations as they will ease your hike. Some of these include:
- Hiking boots or shoes, since some of the routes are a bit slippery, you will need to have strong hiking boots that do not slide easily.
- A wide bream hast, most hike are carried out during the dry season and in order to avoid the direct sunlight effect, you will need one of these.
- A walking stick, this will help you keep steady while hiking on slippery routes,
- Gloves and long sleeved clothes, these will help you prevent scratches from the trees, stones and other things that might cause bodily harm to you.
Hiking through the Makgadikgadi salt pans
Hiking through the Makgadikgadi salt pans which are considered to be one of the largest slat pans in the world normally takes about five days to complete. When going for a hike through the salt pans, make sure you take a lot of water because when the place becomes too hot, you might get dehydrated and you also need to pack appropriate hiking shoes as part of the salt pans does not dry out and is always slippery even during the dry season.
The best time for one to go for hiking is during the months of July to August because this is the time when the salt pans have tried to dry up a bit. You also need to know the time for hiking because hikes are not carried out from 11:00am to 3:00pm due to the unbearable heat during those hours.
Hike on the Mountain Aha
The Mountain Aha is one of the top destinations that are found in Botswana. It rises up to a height of 1130 meters above sea level and although its summit is smaller than the rest of the Mountains, one can easily hike up the Aha for as long as you have a tour guide and map with you. The hike is normally done in the mornings and evenings to avoid the over-head heat in the afternoons.
Hiking through the Okavango Delta
The Okavango delta is one of the vast plains that are located in Botswana and has some of the best hiking routes in Botswana. The best time for one to go for hiking in the Okavango delta is October because then the weather will be warm and the hike routes easy to use unlike when it is the rainy season ant the routes are slippery. The hike route through the Okavango Delta have been clearly marked and the best way to experience all this is by going with a tour guide who will take you through the best routes and do not forget your hiking boots as you head out to enjoy the Okavango Delta.
Hiking through the Tsodilo
The hike trail through Tsodilo is about five miles and it takes you through the Tsodilo hills where you get to experience art work especially the rock painting found in the area. Some of the hike trails that can be used to explore the Tsodilo hills include:
- From the cliff trail to the Tsodilo hills, this route starts from the female hills in the area and it is harder to hike as compared to other routes. The most significant bit about it is that it has a cave that is shaped like a snake and it also has paintings on the rocks although they are not as impressive as the ones found along the Rhino route.
- The Lion Hill trail route, this is the easiest hike route along the Tsodilo hills because it is not hilly in any way and besides joining with the Male hill trail route, there are no sharp bends although it is interesting in its own way.
- From the Rhino trail to the Tsodilo Hills, this is one of the best routes to use as it has a lot of interesting points that will make your hike interesting that is the numerous rock paintings of various wild animals, the female hill and what is known as dancing humans. It is however hard to tell what they represent and that is why you will need a guide to take you through while explaining what you see.
- The Male hike route, the Lion trail is known to be the hardest route up the Tsodilo and this is because the hill is too sharp and it joins with the lion hike route in order for one to get to the top of the Tsodilo hills making it a double trail as compared to others.
Hiking in the Kgale hill
The Kgale hills are found in the town of Gaborone and the local people have a close attachment to the hills. These are sometimes known as the sleeping with some of the best hike hills in Botswana. If you do not want to get lost it is better if you go with a guide but the good thing about the trails up the Kgale hills is that they are labelled so just in case you are alone on the trip, you can follow the white markings that lead you to the top of the hill. When you get to the top of the hill, you will have a clear view of the whole city.
A hike to the Otse hill
The Otse hill which rises up to a height of 1491 meters is located just a few kilometers away from the South African border and Botswana and one of the many places where one can go for a hike while in the country. Some people believe that the Otse hill is the highest point in Botswana although there is still no valid evidence to prove the claim. The hike routes are not clearly marked and you will either have to use GPS or a tour guide before getting to the summit. It is a little bit tough to go up but once you get there, it offers you some of the best views of the palace and it is also a good place for one to take photos especially at the top of the hill and do not forget to go with water on the hike and note that the hike starts from the Otse village and still ends in the Otse village.
Hike to the Monalanong hill
The Monalanong hill trail is eight kilometers long and it takes just a day for tourist to complete. It is known to be as the highest point in Botswana although there is still a debate between the Otse and Monalanong hill to find out which is the highest point in the country the hill rises up to about 1494 meters high. The hill does not have clearly marked hike trails and this has made it hard from tourists to travel alone and that is why it is advisable that you go with a guide because there are some routes mostly as you are descending the hill that are extremely steep and not conducive. A map will also be provided to you so that you get to choose which routes to use and which ones to avoid.
Hiking in Botswana is done in different places and towns but in order for you not to get lost while hiking, you will need to use GPS or if not get a local tour guide who is well versed with the whole area.