Botswana Vs. Tanzania Safaris: How to Choose

Imagine how great life would be if planning your next tour was as easy as throwing a dart at a world map, without giving it a second thought. If you are, in fact, lucky enough (and free-spirited enough!) to book your travels this way; then power to you!

But, for the rest of us, research plays a huge part in determining where to go next. The challenge arises when comparing Botswana Vs. Tanzania, as both destinations offer ridiculously thrilling wildlife encounters, but in reality, these two destinations are wildly different in the experiences that they provide. How will you decide between booking a Botswana Vs. Tanzania safari? Read on to find out:

A safari truck in Africa travelling alongside a cheetah
Get up close and personal with the big cats on a safari tour | © Niedblog.de/Unsplash
BotswanaTanzania
Capital CityGaboroneDodoma
Must-see spotChobe National ParkSerengeti National Park
Population2.292 million (2017)57.31 million (2017)

Botswana

A baby elephant throwing water up in the air
In Botswana, you can expect to see hundreds of elephants| © Caterina Sanders/Unsplash

Why you need to visit Botswana

Watching a lion stalk its prey as it wades through the floodplains of Botswana is an indescribable experience. Learning first hand about the history and traditions of the bushmen in the Kalahari, or floating along shallow waters of the Okavango Delta on a mokoro – a traditional canoe – is a cultural experience you can’t miss. If that wasn’t enough, the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in the north-eastern part of the country will make you feel like you’re on another planet.

Diverse and varied landscapes including Chobe National Park, Moremi Game Reserve, Maun, Savuti, or Kasane, spirited locals with incredible stories to share, and the chance to jump over to Victoria Falls for the day are just a few of the reasons why you should visit Botswana.

When to visit Botswana

With the rainy season known to be between December through March, the best time to visit is from June to October or November. It’s usually around this time when travellers descend upon the country, and the dry months are the best time of the year to spot wildlife, especially around watering holes as there’s less water available across the country. Just don’t be surprised if an elephant reaches into your shower block in Botswana to drink directly from the tap!

If budgets restrain you, it is advised that you wait to travel until November when prices drop, and the crowds lessen. Botswana does experience the majority of its rainfall from March to May, so if you have set travel dates over this period, then Botswana might be your best bet.

What to see and do in Botswana

  • Visit the Khama Rhino Sanctuary on the edge of the Kalahari Desert to see these endangered creatures, but also to learn more about conservation efforts in the region.
  • Drive through Chobe National Park, where herds of up to 50,000 elephants have the run of the place.
  • Take a trip to Ghazni, a small township where you can gain a greater understanding of cultural practices and traditions.
  • Marvel at the ancient rock paintings and majestic rock formations in the little-known Tsodilo Hills.
  • Wander past the giant baobabs trees on Kubu Island, located in the centre of the Makgadikgadi Pan area.

Suggested tours in Botswana

  1. Botswana Delta Experience (5 days)
  2. Botswana Explorer (7 days)
  3. Wild Botswana from Maun to Kasane (9 days)
  4. Okavango Experience (10 days)
  5. Wild Botswana (11 days)

Tanzania

A Maasai tribesperson person overlooking a herd of animals
Learn about the history and culture of Tanzania during a safari| © Rémy Venturini/Unsplash

Why you need to visit Tanzania

From the moment that you step into Tanzania, you might begin to regret every travel decision you’ve ever made, wondering why on earth you didn’t visit Tanzania sooner! World-class diving sites scattered across the Zanzibar archipelago, one of the seven great summits; Kilimanjaro, savannah plains that stretch as far as the horizon, and panoramic national parks that host unparalleled opportunities for wildlife sightings are just a few of the magical sights you’ll discover here.

Just a moment’s glance at Tanzania will tell you there’s something for everyone, and you won’t be disappointed.

A hot air ballon hovering over the Serengeti National Park
Why not jump on a hot air balloon over the Serengeti?| © Ryan Al Bishri/Unsplash

When to visit Tanzania

Similar to Botswana, the peak travel months in Tanzania are known to be from June through September where the temperatures are enjoyable, the skies are a vibrant blue, and a sudden downpour of rain is unlikely to interrupt your adventure. Another critical difference between Tanzania and Botswana is that Tanzania is much more of a ‘year-round’ destination; even in the wet season, you are going to be treated to prime wildlife sightings and the annual birthing season of wildebeest.

As for the Great Migration, this event can be witnessed from July to October.

What to see and do in Tanzania

  • Spend time with the Maasai people to learn more about their nomadic way of life.
  • Driving through the Ngorongoro Crater is a must-do experience, as this is where you will find hundreds of flamingos and other creatures on the crater floor.
  • Your East African experience would not be complete without a visit to the Serengeti National Park where you can spot zebras, elephants, lions, wildebeest, giraffes, gazelles, and so much more.
  • Take time to relax in Zanzibar on the northern beaches or stroll through Stone Town where you’ll find opulent forts and richly-adorned houses that show traces of the many cultures that ruled the area from years past.  
  • Hike to the top of Kilimanjaro if you’re feeling brave and up for the ultimate challenge.
A row of tribeswomen in Arusha, Tanzania
Meet with the friendly faces of the Maasai tribeswomen | © Ray Rui/Unsplash

Best safari tours in Tanzania

  1. Predators in Action Budget Safari (5 days)
  2. Tanzania Camping Adventure (6 days)
  3. Taste of Tanzania (7 days)
  4. Serengeti Migration Safari (9 days)
  5. Serengeti Safari and Zanzibar (12 days)

Do you have any tips on Botswana Vs. Tanzania safari? Let us know in the comments below!