Go List 201325 PLACES TO GO IN 2013

Show Map Photo: Michael Poliza/Wilderness Safaris

Botswana Emerging

Upgrade from the first-time safari circuit to rare finds in a lush landscape

Why Go Now In this remote part of southern Africa, you can safari like a local in Botswana's diverse landscape. You'll get unforgettable sightings of The Big 5 with backgrounds ranging from the lush Okavango Delta to the dramatic Kalahari Desert—but without the Great Migration of tourists. Recent years of heavy rain mean that the landscape in some areas is regularly changing, so be sure to embrace the benefits of the wet cycle with a mokoro (flat-bottom canoe) ride as an alternative to standard game drives. And "undiscovered" doesn't mean you have to settle for sub-par accommodations; recent additions to the luxury scene guarantee a stunning stay. –by Cate Starmer

Where to StayOne of the most unique options among local safari lodgings is the 3-year-young Zambezi Queen boat with 14 cabins, all stylish suites. Gliding along the Chobe River watching game—buffalo, hippos, and crocs—from your balcony is unforgettable. For a more classic experience, sleep in tented luxury at San Camp, a Fodor's 100 Award winner in the "Trip of the Lifetime" category. With just six sumptuously appointed tents, you won't find a more intimate experience in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans area.

Insider TipWhile you're in the neighborhood, don't miss Victoria Falls—it's just 80 miles from northern Botswana's Chobe Game Park to the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Word of Mouth "I now firmly believe Botswana, or at least the delta, in the Green Season is the best kept secret and the way to go," reports Fodorite AKR1. "More than anything, the lush landscape greatly added to the overall safari ambiance and I would not trade in the gently swaying tall grasses in the balmy breeze for better game viewing in short grass with dust and cold in the winter season. The downsides of more difficult game viewing conditions and rain are an acceptable trade."

When to Go April to September (fall and winter) are the most popular times for Botswana travel; the rest of the year is considered the green (read: rainy) season, but that's the best time for bird-watching.

Plan Your Trip Start planning using Fodor's Botswana Travel Guide.

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