How to safari in Botswana on a budget

One night at a luxury lodge in Botswana can cost more than a month’s rent on a London flat. But, as Lizzie Pook argues, you can explore the country without paying through the nose

Thursday 31 March 2022 13:06 BST
Get up close to nature for less
Get up close to nature for less (Little Sable)

Rich in wildlife and home to some of the very best guiding around, Botswana is also the proud owner of some preposterously pretty scenery, from the sun-scorched Mkgadikgadi salt pans – where lone ostriches streak across the heat-blurred horizon and dormant bullfrogs hang in suspended animation metres below the surface – to the meandering Okavango Delta with its lion-stalked treelines and waterways coiling like the body of a huge serpent. But these epic landscapes come with a similarly epic price tag, and many of Botswana’s safari lodges – most of which are high-end, catering to wealthy empty-nesters and honeymooning couples – cost upwards of £1,000 a night. But it is possible to safari here without having to sell a kidney. Here’s how.

Take your own tent

Botswana is superbly set up for self-drive safaris, and you’ll find brilliant campsites – with slick shower blocks, electricity, and barbecues – smattered across the country. You’ll need to rent a 4x4 to avoid getting mud-logged in some of the national parks (such as the elephant-laden Chobe) so a rooftop tent is a convenient, space-saving way to camp on top of your car.

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