Botswana is arguably home to some of the best safari spots on the entire continent. In this country, nature and outdoor enthusiasts go out of their way to join safari tours where they’ll hop on jeeps or tour buses to delve into the deep savanna to find stunning wildlife. Animals from enormous sizes (elephants, rhinos, giraffes, etc.) to smaller creatures that’ll disappear in the blink of an eye continue to attract visitors annually. Safari tours usually consist of hopping in a safari vehicle with other tourists before being comfortably taken around by a skilled guide to show you the known dwelling spots of popular animals. But for those of you who are active tourists that live for that adrenaline rush, you may want to consider biking as an alternative safari.
Cycle Mashatu is Botswana’s most popular cycling tour where groups are taken through the rugged terrain on their mountain bikes. A knowledgeable guide will lead the group through some scenic routes like the Cycle Mashatu Wilderness Trail on the Northern Tuli Reserve. Unlike safari trips in jeeps or buses shared with others, cyclists will have more control of their experience, choosing to slow down or stop at specific destinations to take in the full splendor of the surrounding landscapes and the animals that make it its year-round home. Guides are used to trekking past elephants and grazing antelopes (and vice versa with the animals) and are familiar with the safety protocol. The cycle safari program also offers additional perks like extending your stay for another night in a tented camp.
Cycling in Botswana is such a pleasure to behold on two wheels that several annual tours are held to raise funds for charities. For example, the well-known Tour de Tuli (or Tour de Wilderness) is a five-day long tournament where skilled cyclists from around the world flock to the region to raise awareness and donate to Children in the Wilderness — a nonprofit program dedicated to rural children in Africa. Local children will also visit during the tournaments to cheer on and interact with the cyclists. And it definitely helps that Botswana owns the niche market of cycling for a good cause through intense nature and big game animals. After all, where else in the world, can you see crocodiles, rhinos and leopards lurking about when cyclists are on a high-end prestigious cycling tournament on par with Tour de France?
Another popular way to get around on your cycling holiday is Escape Cycle Tour‘s own South African Bike, Bush and Botswana Tour. People who are already in South Africa or are planning visit in South Africa will find an easy way to explore the neighboring country. Cyclists will depart from Johannesburg to head north in a car for a few hours before hopping off to cycle for 11 days. Cyclists making several stops along the way including Kruger National Park and several of Botswana’s parks. Meals and overnight accommodation are provided as part of the package and cyclists will gain a raw bushveld experience in Botswana. Riding distance on this one-of-a-kind tour averages about 15-20 kilometers a day, giving cyclists a true sense of the region. This tour is not for amateur riders and is highly recommended that only seasoned and serious cyclists should consider embarking on this journey.
If you’re more of a motorsports person than a cyclist, you’ll be pleased to learn there is a motorbiking tour that lasts for two weeks through the wilderness of Botswana (and sometimes other neighboring countries like Namibia). Through the Ride2Roam tour, hordes of motorcycle riders roam together through vast landscapes of the Okavanga Delta (famous for its salt pans) and Etosha National Park where they’ll see a wide range of animals like hippos, zebras and more. However, be mindful that you’ll have to stay on the road and paved trails through the parks unlike cyclists who have more freedom to wander off and explore the land. But this doesn’t mean you can’t dismount from your motorbike and join a short cycling tour once you’ve reached one of the parks.
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