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The Boteti River is a natural watercourse in Botswana fed directly from the outflow of the Okavango Delta via the Thamalakane River in Maun - ultimately flowing out at Ntwetwe Pan, part of the greater Makgadikgadi Pans.


The river forms the north western boundary of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park but more importantly is a major source of water for thousands of animals that live around the Makgadikgadi Pans, it is truly a magnet for all life around there and is a key part of the zebra migration within Botswana - which moves from as far north as the Chobe River and the Okavango Delta to the short grass regions around Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans to the east and south.


The divide of the river is however blurred, on one side of the river is national park and on the other are numerous villages with accompanying cattle, so it is not unusual to see zebra amongst cattle on community land. In spite of this, one seldom sees cattle where the greatest density of zebra and elephant occur. Most likely due to frequent lion activity here, domestic animals provide easy prey. That said, you are also unlikely to see lion here, or any of the big predators, who might sneak in at night to drink but avoid human and animal interaction for the most part.


Why feature the Boteti River? There are a selection of camps along the river, offering a fantastic contrast to the lush Okavango, and an interesting safari experience that really showcases the varied landscapes of Botswana. Water flow and levels depend on how much water exits the Okavango Delta, at times it doesn't flow and just pools remain. Through the significant dry season however, it generally does have water and that is the time to visit.


There are three reputable lodges here, who offer access to these fascinating landscapes, villages and unusual experiences. Guided game drives in the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park focus on the exceptional wildlife sightings and birding along the Boteti River. Depending on the water level, boat activities are also provided. Optional cultural excursions can be arranged to Khumaga Village as well as day trips to Nxai pan and Baines Baobabs (longer stays only). For those looking for a truly unique experience, enjoy a sleep out under the stars on the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans (also for longer stays of 3 nights).

These camps are easily accessed from Maun either by light aircraft or by tarred road, the western boundary of MP National Park at the Khumaga/Boteti River point offers a less conventional but, nonetheless, superb safari experience.

View our safaris that include the Boteti River camps

Boteti Video





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