A Botswana Boat Safari

Written by Joseph Cameron

Once the flowing rains descend upon the Kalahari from the Angolan highlands, the landscape becomes a lush, diverse ecosystem. The once arid landscape becomes a flowing playground for man and animal alike. If there is one thing that holds true about the adventure that awaits: nothing is more immersive or eye-opening than a Botswana boat safari. From the top, the three most action-packed ways to experience the unpredictable waterways of Botswana’s backcountry are by far motorboat, houseboat or sunset leisure cruise. Here’s the how, when, where and why:

elephant sighting boat safari

Photo credit | Zambezi Queen
With a boat safari, you’ll go where safari vehicles can’t, coming eye-to-eye with animals wading, drinking and swimming in the water.

Where to go on a boat safari in Botswana

Truth be told there are 5 top areas to explore when considering a Botswana boat safari. Whether it’s a faster, intimate encounter you’re after or a slow and steady approach, the Chobe National ParkSelinda ReserveMoremi Reserve and the Okavango Delta offer top of the line experiences. The vast landscapes in each area range from marshland to small streams and roaring rivers offering an array of options in which to view the local wildlife.

When to go

Naturally, one would would think that the best time to charter a boat safari in Botswana would be when the water levels are at their highest (July-October). While this is true in part, as this is the time when the birds return and the antelope give birth, the winter months are equally as abundant. With lower water levels come thirsty elephant, lion, hyena, wild dog, cheetah and many more.

Motorboat safari along the banks of the Chobe River

Motorboat safari along the banks of the Chobe River

Types of boat safaris in Botswana

For those with a penchant for the fast life, a motorboat gets you right in the thick of things. For a more luxurious experience, a house-boat on the Chobe River or Panhandle region of the Okavango is everything (we recommend the Zambezi Queen). Take in herds of elephant and hippos wading in the shallow waters while you knock back a gin & tonic or catch an African sunset from your champagne laden hot tub. Last but not least, a sunset cruise is equally as leisurely and recommended for those on a bit of a time crunch. Snacks and drinks are served as you float amongst the waterside ecosystems. Not a bad way to end a day in the bush.

Zambezi Queen

Our recommendation | Zambezi Queen

Where to stay

There are number of camps and lodges who offer boat safaris as an inclusive activity but if you are wanting a bit more time on the water we would highly recommend the Zambezi Queen. This 42-metre long luxury houseboat offers an experience like no other. With a viewing deck, a plunge pool and bedrooms overlooking the banks of the Chobe River, you really can’t go wrong. For more accommodation options, we highly recommend that you enquire with one of our Luxventure® specialists.

The Zambezi Queen Collection

The Zambezi Queen Collection

Why you should go

Whether it’s aboard a speeding motorboat, a luxurious houseboat or a smaller zodiac for a sunset cruise, each unique option presents incredible photographic opportunities and intimate encounters. Water is life which is why a life on the delta offers, in our opinion, the most comprehensive tour of African wildlife. You’ll encounter lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, elephant, alligator, hippo and over 300 species of birds here. Viewing isn’t the only activity on offer as the infamous tigerfish also lurks in these shallow waters. If catch and release isn’t your thing then grab a glass of champagne and let Africa do the work. Go on.

Get in touch and plan your Botswana boat safari today.