Gaborone - Botswana has claimed the title of best country for safaris for 2019, for the second year in a row.
The ranking was done by Safaribookings.com (http://www.
These reviews included those from guests who had visited the nominated countries and travel journalists, mainly guidebook writers who contribute regularly to Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Frommer’s, Bradt and Footprint.
Commenting on the report, Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) spokesperson Keitumetse Setlang said Botswana Tourism Product always stays on top.
“Receiving this news calls for a huge celebration. We take rankings by Safaribookings.com serious. We are happy that the world continues to appreciate our tourism products and beautiful landscape,” she said.
The report says that a closer analysis of the results throws up a surprise: when broken down the results show that the industry experts rated Botswana the highest, but that there was a preference for Zimbabwe amongst safari-goers.
“Botswana – a study in alternating landscapes, from the stark, arid beauty of the Kalahari Desert with its bellowing black-maned lions to the Okavango Delta, famed for its shimmering, winding waterways and profusion of elephants – on average had the highest scores, though Tanzania was not far behind,” the report says.
Tanzania was the winner in 2013 when SafariBookings conducted its first study to determine the best safari country in Africa. We got the same result in our second study in 2017. But that changed in 2018 when Botswana narrowly defeated Tanzania in that year’s analysis for Africa’s best safari country.
This year has seen Botswana strengthen its grip in the number one spot, although Tanzania remains a close second. It’s an understandable result given the unforgettable wildlife-viewing in Botswana, a country that epitomizes luxury in the bush and exclusive safari experiences.
The Okavango Delta is an iconic name as is the Kalahari Desert – these are big drawcards for visitors and both certainly live up to their safari-legend status, a status enhanced by this year’s big win as the continent’s leading safari country.
Botswana was also rated as the best country overall for wildlife, bird-watching and for its bush vibe, which really consolidates its position as the best in Africa.
Co-owner of SafariBookings.com, Jeroen Beekwilder, said more than 4,000 reviews were analyzed in this comprehensive study. Safari-goers from all over the planet made a valuable contribution.
Tanzania is the best country in Africa for its scenic value according to SafariBookings.com.
“And we think it’s a deserved winner of this category with Ngorongoro Crater, possibly its greatest scenic treasure. An incredible sight, gouged out of the earth, it is also a wonderland of wildlife and one of the only places you have an excellent chance of spotting a black rhino in the wild.
“And, all over the country, magnificent savannah grasslands unfurl like giant green ribbons stretching over the horizon…iconic Africa from childhood daydreams.
“Zambia has risen considerably in popularity since our last study of reviews, rocketing into third position, just behind Botswana and Tanzania. It’s great to see this wonderful country begin to get some credit for what is a magnificent collection of parks, wildlife and ‘wild’ experiences. Safari-goers also rated the country as the best for birding too,” SafariBookings.com said.
Last year, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) revealed that Botswana’s tourism sector grew by 3.4 percent in 2018, boosted by international tourists as they splurged on some of the country’s leisure resorts. According to other data sources, the travel and tourism’s share of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) has increased twofold in the past 24 years - from 6.5 percent in 1995 to 13.4 percent in 2018.
The WTTC’s 2019 Economic Impact Research report says Botswana’s travel and tourism sector contributed about $2.5 billion (P25.9 billion) to the economy or 13.4 percent of GDP. The lucrative sector is supporting around 89,000 jobs or 8.9 percent of the country’s total employment.