Boteti River and Western Makgadikgadi

Offering a fantastic contrast to the lush Okavango, the area around the Boteti and Western Makgadikgadi National Park offers an interesting safari experience which really showcases the varied landscapes of Botswana.

Easily accessed from Maun either by light aircraft or by tarred road, the western boundary of MP National Park at the Khumaga/Boteti River point offers a less conventional but, nonetheless, superb safari experience.

The Boteti River itself is not a permanently flowing system, as it depends almost entirely on the push of water from the Okavango Delta and the Thamalakane River of Maun.   Whatever the levels, it provides vital water to the animals in the Park as well as to community livestock in the area.  A wide array of birdlife inhabit the River and Scrubland areas.  Bee-eaters, Goliath Herons, Terns and even the rare Wattled Crane can be sighted.  Fish Eagles, Pied Kingfishers are always evident.  In the Acacia woodlands owlets are frequently heard and seen.  Often as one enjoys dinner or round fire conversation.

The divide of the river is, of course, blurred for all animals so it is not unusual to see zebra amongst cattle on community land.  In spite of this, one rarely sees cattle where the greatest density of Zebra and Elephant occur.  Most likely due to frequent Lion activity here, domestic animals provide easy prey.

As Zebra and Wildebeest migrate from North to South and East to West, following seasonal rain and nourishing pasture, the Boteti River and Khumaga area can literally seethe with activity.  The pattern of movement is not entirely understood but it is estimated that around 50,000 animals move between the northerly areas of Nxai Pan – possibly from as far north as Gomoti, Savuti and Chobe systems – to as far south as Makgadikgadi.  As with Serengeti, it is not a straight “there and back” movement, but governed by complexities of weather conditions and animal instinct.

Predicting exactly when the hundreds upon thousands of animals will congregate here is difficult.  Generally speaking, though, the drier it is in the Makgadkgadi and Nxai Pan, the more likely you are to see gazillions of creatures at Boteti!

Accommodation in this Area

From $550 per person

Moela Safari Lodge

With stunning views over the Boteti River Valley, Moela Safari Lodge offers a front row seat to the zebra migration in Botswana. The design of this luxurious lodge is both innovative and environmentally conscious and is constructed entirely by the skilled hands of the Khumaga village community. Moela is located within a 770 hectare private tribal reserve bordering the Makgadikgadi National Park, close to Nxai Pan National Park and Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

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From $595 per person

Meno a Kwena

Lying between the wetlands of the Okavango Delta and the deserts of the Kalahari, Meno a Kwena - “teeth of the crocodile’’ - offers an interesting safari experience from a semi-arid environment, with starlit sleepouts and seasonal river safaris along the lively Boteti River. This is an affordable, friendly and down to earth camp, appealing to those looking for something different. Lovely landscapes feature a myriad of wildlife from dazzles of zebras to desert- adapted elephant.

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From $614 per person

Leroo La Tau

Leroo La Tau (meaning “Lion’s Paw”) is a luxury lodge set on the cliffs overlooking the Boteti River, on the western boundary of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. The lodge offers wonderful views across the park and good game viewing can be enjoyed from the comfort of the lodge itself as animals come and go from the river. Leroo La Tau offers an interesting, contrasting, safari experience in combination with the Okavango.

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