The Okavango is, literally, one giant oasis in the Kalahari Desert. Each summer, floods from heavy rains more than 600 miles away in Angola create a 6,500-square-mile wetland of palm islands and seasonal riverbeds packed with game, including one of the last remaining populations of African wild dogs. Exploring the Okavango involves a combination of light aircraft, 4x4s, paddling, and hiking. Botswana has opted for a quality-over-quantity approach to its safaris—meaning no mass tourism. You’ll pay more for the privilege, but next to the Serengeti, nowhere else can match it. &Beyond’s new Xaranna Camp puts you in the heart of the action (doubles from $550 per person; andbeyond.com).
Published: October 2009The Big Trip: Africa Special
Surefire Safaris: The South (Part II of II)
The continent's best trips, done right.
Map by Myra Klockenbrink
Visit the world’s wildest water park: The Okavango Delta[KEY: active adventure, big herds]