As a very rough guideline, a good 10 day safari in Botswana will cost in the region of US$7000pp (£4500pp) excluding international flights. There is a huge variety on offer, but on the whole, Botswana remains one of the more expensive safari options available for a numbre of reasons.
Over the last ten years, the destinations of Botswana have developed their own unique character. Tourism is the second biggest earner after diamonds and the strategic approach of the government towards high quality, low impact tourism has had a marked effect on the industry. The development of the tourism industry in the country has been tightly regulated with carefully controlled designation of camp sites and permanent lodge sites, and a strict ceiling to the number of “beds" allowed on any one particular site. In some areas only 20 people (including staff) are allowed on a camp-site. Particularly in the Okavango Delta, this policy has seen a network of very small camps (sometimes only 4 rooms).
Given lessons learned from unimpeded growth in other safari countries, this is actually a really good thing. For one, it means that the environmental footprint of a camp is that much smaller: waste is manageable, infrastructure is kept to a minimum, the tracks made by vehicles can be contained and the disturbance to the landscape and wildlife will be much less. Furthermore, from your point of view as a visitor to the area, you will be sharing your experience in this immaculate wilderness with only a few other people rather than herds of minibuses.
It goes without saying that there are cost implications to this approach. The camps are all remote and difficult to reach. The economies of scale are significantly reduced and therefore their operating costs are greater. Furthermore, Botswana has some environments that really are unique and very special. The natural evolution is for camps to go for the luxury market and charge top-dollar.
We look for places that offer real value in terms of location, guiding and general experience, as opposed to gold taps.
Posted by: Alex