Botswana has been named the best African country for safari adventures, narrowly edging out Tanzania for the first time in annual ratings conducted by SafariBookings.com.
“Botswana – a study in contrasting landscapes, from the impossibly beautiful Kalahari Desert with its big skies to the watery wonderland of the famous Okavango Delta – on average had the highest scores,” said the leading tour company. It is based in the Netherlands.
Safari Bookings said it analyzed more than 3,000 reviews on its website, which features thousands of available tours and operators, to arrive at its conclusion. It also looked at reviews from 22 authors of guidebooks, such as Lonely Planet and Frommer’s, who served on the company’s expert panel.
Tanzania won in 2013 and again in 2017, but Botswana’s wildlife-viewing opportunities and its accommodations took the top spot this time. So did Botswana’s biodiversity, with some 550 recorded bird species making it a destination for birdwatchers.
Zimbabwe also got high marks, with attractions such as Zambezi and Mana Pools national parks highly recommended. Rounding out the list, in order, were Zambia, Kenya, South Africa, Namibia and Uganda.
The news was proudly welcomed by Botswana’s government, which passed it along Thursday morning. The country came under increased scrutiny in September over reports that it was failing to protect wildlife from poachers.
African countries place tourism as an economic development priority and are advancing conservation efforts to protect biodiversity and ecosystems. Uganda’s tourism minister, Ephraim Kamuntu, said earlier this week that tourism accounts for nine percent of the nation’s GDP. His remarks came during the African Wildlife Consultative Forum, which continues through Friday in Kampala.
Image: Botswana Government file