A country shaped by water, an enigmatic landscape identifiable by its desert and its delta, Botswana is one of the world’s greatest wildernesses.

Botswana is often referred to as the ultimate and most luxurious safari destination in Africa, home to spectacular reserves often only accessible by light aircraft. Perhaps its greatest treasure is the Okavango Delta, a lush oasis in the middle of the Kalahari Desert, about the size of Switzerland, where crystal-clear rivers, lily-clad lagoons and grassy floodplains hide hippo, elephant and a host of other wildlife. The best way to see it is to glide between the islands in a dugout mokoro (canoe), poled by an expert guide. Even then, if you see 10% of what sees you it’s been an exceptional day.

But there’s more to Botswana than just the Okavango. The Kalahari Desert is the largest unbroken stretch of sand in the world, a hauntingly beautiful wilderness that’s home to the San people, more commonly known as the Bushmen of the Kalahari, and a surprising diversity of game. On its eastern fringe are the Makgadikgadi salt pans, the largest in the world, where meerkats keep watch by day and brown hyena perform nightly patrols. Chobe National Park shelters some of the largest herds of elephants in Africa, while more remote regions like Linyanti, Savute and the Mashatu Game Reserve offer rare opportunities for crowd-free game viewing in truly spectacular surroundings.

Though perfect for couples and honeymooners, Botswana is also an excellent option for adventurous families with an appetite for wilderness.