Botswana for families
When to Go to Botswana
Botswana works best in May - October, so combines perfectly with Western Hemisphere summer holidays and British May Half Term and October Half Term Holidays.
Which areas of Botswana are most suitable for Families?
All the key areas work to some extent for families, Vic Falls is a fantastic relaxing base, Chobe is easy to reach from Vic Falls (keeping transport and cost down), the Delta offers a variety of activities and the diverse activities and cultural experience in the Kalahari works fantastically for families. So it becomes a question of where to draw the line.
- With a week to play with and limited budget we would usually recommend combining Victoria Falls with Chobe National Park. Chobe is easy to reach by road from Vic Falls, so works well as a simple safari and Vic Falls holiday without breaking the bank.
- A well balanced itinerary would focus on water based safari in a good Delta Camp with a good land-based camp in the Linyanti with a variety of activities on offer. The family can then relax on the banks of the Zambezi, seeing the falls and enjoying some good pool time.
- The ultimate family experience would combine a wet safari camp in the Delta with a land-based camp in Linyanti, followed by the magnificent family friendly Kalahari and finishing it all off at Vic Falls.
- For families looking to explore more broadly, a private mobile safari offers the advantages of a private guide and vehicle, the feeling of a traditional mobile safari, the ability to include most of the key areas (Delta, Moremi, Savuti, Chobe, Vic Falls) for less budget than a flying safari. However, don't kid yourself this is going to be a budget option, Conservancy fees, and private vehicles and guides all add up. This option is best for older families and can involve considerable driving between locations.
Combining Botswana Safari with Cape Town or the Beach
We often combine Botswana with Cape Town in South Africa, there are good flight connections and the contrast of Cosmopolitan City & Coast in Cape Town works well with Botswana's wilderness.
Combining a Botswana safari with some beach time can be a challenge. The best option is combining with Mauritius, but this will require an overnight in Johannesburg. Therefore, if you just looking for a good quality safari and relaxing beach experience, with the minimum of transport hassle, then we would rather recommend Tanzania, Kenya or even KwaZulu Natal in South Africa simply because the beach is so much easier to access from the safari location.
How much does a family safari in Botswana cost?
Costs can vary massively depending on family size, the age of children, time of year, length of stay and the quality of the camps, but with Botswana, one thing is always for sure, it won't be cheap. As a very approximate guide, starting budgets (inclusive of international flights) are around £3,000/$4,500 per person* and staying at the best camps and combining three locations, budgets can easily reach £10,000/$15,000 per person*. So a typical family of 4 could end up spending between £12,000/$18,000 - £40,000/$60,000.
Whilst Botswana is expensive, remember that the cost of managing a vast reserve the size of a small country is shared over a very small number of guests each year and the level of service and guiding is second to none.
* Per person price is the average per person price across the family.
Alternatives to Botswana
Botswana's key selling point is the opportunity to witness magnificent wildlife spectacles in rare exclusivity. With the exception of Chobe and some of the National Park areas, visitor numbers are very tightly controlled. Other areas in Africa can offer comparable wildlife experiences (Masai Mara, Serengeti etc.) and similarly lightly touristed wilderness (Laikipia, Selous etc.), but the combination of both is what marks Botswana out. This is also what makes it expensive, so if you find your budget is being stretched too far, then consider the following alternatives:
- If your focus is seeing Victoria Falls, you can easily combine safari in Kruger with Vic Falls and Cape Town in a lovely family holiday.
- If your focus is on an uncompromising wilderness family safari, then we find it hard to beat the Laikipia area in Kenya, where Camps such as Laikipia Wilderness Camp cater so well for families with a real outdoors adventurous ethos that takes the safari beyond the game drive to give a real feel for the African bush, from climbing rocky crags, to rafting gentle rivers, bush walking, horse riding and even camel safaris.
- If you just looking for a relaxing safari and beach combination, then we would instead recommend Tanzania, Kenya or Kwa Zulu Natal in South Africa.