South-East Africa is blessed with a haven of four-legged mammals, but now it’s time to switch out focus to slightly North of Botswana as well as South-West Africa – where there are huge patches of game reserves and national parks. Game reserves are pretty much the same as national parks, but the key differences are their size and ownership.
National parks tend to be larger too. Large natural habitats are well protected in South-West Africa by local governments, so you won’t find many private game reserves in their boundaries – but you will find immense national parks.
In our overview of Botswanan safari in the previous article. we missed out the mammalian habitats near to the border of Namibia. Plentiful wildlife lives at Kgori National Park and safari – but if you plan on venturing westerly from Kaziikini campsite, there is an abundance of interesting wildlife here too.
Okavanga Delta, to the far left of the Botswanan hunting grounds, is not technically a safari park, but a peaceful place to go on an excursion within miles of Kaziikini. The delta is the natural home of lechwe antelope, donkeys, goats and cattle who roam peacefully in the marshy climate.
Within a short drive is Elephant Sands in Nata, a private reserve for the preservation of herds of elephants – in a country where they are often hunted by game animals. The elephants in their waterhole are among the most interesting animals to observe in Africa. Need-to-know info is available to English tourists from the keepers of the reserve.
From Elephant Sands, you may want to carry on to the west of Botswana into Namibia.
Two large national parks border Botswana (Nkasa Rupara and Mudumu), yet Etosha National Park is the most impressive area for viewing wildlife in Namibia. Etosha’s inland Salt Pan is abnormal for African desert – so large in fact, you can see it from space. It acts as an oasis for zebras and elephants, amongst many other species.
Etosha is easily accessible by road, which cannot be said of all national parks or safaris in Southern Africa, but many off-road tours are available.
If you choose to self-drive, The Khaudum National Park on the border is less the iconic African grassland and more forgotten hilly desert between Etosha National Park and Okavango Delta. It is a dry, rocky wilderness not for the faint hearted, where wild birds, dogs and antelope live. A 4×4 is recommended.
Angola Safaris are best in the south of the country, where large expanse of farmland continues Botswana’s unrivalled national parks, yet it lacks variation of wildlife from the more developed Botswana. As Angola is mostly a Spanish-speaking country, English-speaking tourists may prefer Zambia.
Mosi oa Tunya National Park on the river Zambezi is a popular area for observation. It is a cherished part of Zambia, listed on the UNESCO world heritage list. Mosi oa Tunya and Kafue National Parks, which are the largest in Zambia, are both part of the Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, which falls on the borders of five Southern African countries. The initiative was introduced to protect the local species, so you can fulfill your interest in wildlife and feel good about your tourism’s impact too.
With markets and museums to wander round and local adventure activities for younger travellers not far from the national park and Victoria Falls, Livingstone is a great place for tourists to unwind with more creature comforts and less animals that may want to eat you!