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Flying over Botswana:

I’m not a great lover of flying. And small planes? No, not for me. However if there is one place I tend to forget my fear and surprise myself by enjoying the experience, it’s flying over Africa, and specifically over areas of Botswana.

I have flown over the Okavango Delta, Chobe and the Linyanti, the Makgadikgadi Pans and the Kalahari Desert in tiny 4 seater Cessnas up to larger 12 seater Caravans. I tend to choose morning flights if I can as the afternoons are usually hotter which often makes for a bumpier ride.

So why would someone who’d normally find any reason not to go up in a small plane willingly submit to these flights? Quite simply because the views you get of the land below are so utterly mesmerising. In the Delta you fly over a patchwork of blues, greens and golds. You follow waterways as they suddenly spread into huge lagoons, and you see tiny green islands in amongst them. Your eye is drawn by flocks of egrets skimming the water before landing en masse in trees, and you see trails of elephants slowly wending their way across the savannah to get to the permanent water sources, and herds of lechwes jump across narrow water channels to the next island haven.

In the desert, the scale of the Kalahari hits home as you rise above the never-ending sands. In the Makgadikgadi, the glistening white salt pans are a revelation from above as the landscape looks like nothing else you’ve ever seen. It looks like a child has rubbed too hard on their drawing and the white paper scars seem like they shouldn’t be there. Add palm trees to the scene and it’s just a bit surreal.

It’s also interesting to see the lodges and camps you’re staying at from this height as it brings home the fact that in Botswana you really are living out in the middle of a wilderness which is hugely precious.

Yes I hate flying. Would I fly again over Botswana? Always

Holidays that include this experience:

  • Other than mobile safaris, most trips include at least one scenic flight.  If a flight is not included, we can usually add one in for you as an extra excursion.


If you’re flying from lodge to lodge, you’ll get a few opportunities to enjoy this. If you’re on a mobile safari driving from place to place though, you can take a short flight over the Delta from Maun to experience this.


This is available all year.



By Amanda Marks, director of Botswana Specialists.

To include this experience in your Botswana safari holiday