Private Concessions in Botswana
The early tourism industry in Botswana was based on trophy hunting, with all the areas outside national parks and reserves divided into concession areas of between 800 and 2,500km2 which were sold to companies for hunting safaris.
As the interest in hunting gave way to photographic safaris many of these concessions were taken over by operators offering photographic safaris, who banned hunting.
Today the government strictly limits the number of guests allowed on each concession, usually to around one guest per square kilometre, hence the low numbers of camps on the concessions. Concession operators seek to derive a healthy income so the camps tend to be of a very high standard. As private concessions are only accessible to those staying within them, they are less crowded than public parks and reserves. There will be fewer vehicles and drivers and guides have the flexibility to spend longer at certain sightings depending on what is happening. The rules on permitted activities are less rigid in concessions than in national parks or reserves, where generally only daytime game drives are allowed. In a concession you’ll also be able to enjoy walking safaris, off-road driving and night drives as well as traditional game drives. In addition, many of the concessions border national parks and can incorporate game drives here with activities on the concession. The exclusivity of the concessions comes at price, of course, but we highly recommend this as a high quality safari experience.
National parks and reserves have certain benefits, too. There is a greater range of accommodation including budget lodges and campsites, making a Botswana safari more affordable. The parks and reserves are often situated in some of the best wildlife locations, so game viewing will be of a high standard. Self-drive safaris are possible in these areas, which is not the case in private reserves.