This Popular African Destination Is A Perfect Spot For Escaping The Cold This Winter

If you're looking to avoid winter's dreary gray skies and frigid temperatures and exchange them for sunshine and time amongst nature, then Botswana is just the place for you. This Southern African country brings in hundreds of thousands of visitors each year and is home to sleepy cities, vast savannahs, the Kalahari Desert, and hundreds of animal species. You can take a safari and, if you're lucky, witness the big five — rhinos, elephants, lions, cheetahs, and buffalo. You can spend your evenings relaxing in a luxurious lodge, complete with delicious food and, in some cases, a glorious spa.

Summer, specifically May through October, which is actually winter in Botswana, is the most popular time to visit. However, visiting in the winter (Botswana's summer) has its perks. You'll find less expensive rates at lodges and lush greenery everywhere — which is a huge advantage if you're a landscape  — plus you'll be able to spot animals on the migratory paths.

Options for tours

One of Botswana's most popular attractions is the Okavango Delta. This nearly 16,0000 sq mile expanse of freshwater wetlands and plains is a breathtaking sight. More than 1,000 plant species live here, as do hundreds of animal species. You can embark on a journey through the delta and witness it all while also learning about the sights you're taking in. Most tours last for three days or more, and Kalahari Breeze Safaris has a three-day tour that starts at $550 per person. On this venture, you'll explore the Okavango Delta via canoe and opportunities to try and spot wild game. Antelopes and birds are common sights during the winter months.

Safaris in the national parks are also a thrilling experience. You'll get to see animals up close and spend time in their natural habitat when you choose to go on an African Safari. Indigo Safaris offers a three-day tour of Chobe National Park for $450 USD in October through December, and the same tour is $495 from January to May. Both are less expensive than the summer (Botswana's winter) rates of $515. They also offer longer tours and luxury tours if you're looking to splurge on your safari.

If you're more interested in culture and history rather than nature, you can take a cultural tour that'll give you deep insight into the region and its history. Heritage Adventures offers tours that'll take you through the city streets of Gaborone as well as in and through small villages outside of the city.

Lodging: from luxury to simplicity

There's no shortage of luxury lodges in Botswana. You can find camps with beautiful structures complete with private safaris and activities as well as spas, pools and lounges that offer spectacular views of the surrounding environment. Selinda Camp, which averages $3,445 per person, per night during peak season and $2,310 per person, per night during off season, is an example of impressive places to stay. You can go catch and release fishing in January and February and have an increased chance of seeing wild African dogs during the winter months. 

Duba Plains Camp is another great luxury lodge to consider. Prices range from $1935 per person, per night to $3040 per person, per night. If you're traveling on a budget, you can opt for a stay in Gaborone where there are numerous hotels like the Protea Hotel Gaborone Masa Square with rates just over $100 per room, per night. You'll have a pool, restaurant, and laundry services at your fingertips.

For your next African safari adventure, or simple venture to Africa, put Botswana on your list. You'll find immense beauty in the cultures you'll witness, the sights you'll encounter, and the land you explore. The country of just over 2.5 million people is filled with opportunities for fun, education, and serenity. Take a walking tour, talk with a local, visit a nature reserve, or look at art. Whatever you decide to do, it'll likely become a beautiful memory.