The much anticipated annual Top 10 destination list from Lonely Planet is a list of the top countries the Lonely Planet team believe should be on everyone's wish list for the coming year. They selected Botswana No.1 because it is 'wild Africa at its best'. The list which was published at the end of October heaps praise on Botswana, which celebrates 50 years of independence in 2016 and has grown to be one of the most exclusive safari destinations in Africa. 17% of Botswana's land is given over to conservation while the jewel in Botswana's crown, the Okavango Delta was officially recognised last year when it was made the 1000th UNESCO World Heritage site.

Botswana excels at low density tourism with camps small and visitor numbers strictly controlled. In addition Botswana is often tagged 'the safest destination in Africa' with little poaching or corruption.

 Year-round safaris promise a special wildlife encounter from visiting in the Green Season months of November to March when nursery herds can be seen, migratory birds arrive, the landscape is at its most lush and beautiful and the salt pans of the Kalahari burst into life, to the peak dry season months of September and October when spectacular herds gather and big game viewing is at its best.

Safari specialist Real Africa is delighted to see Botswana's popularity continue to grow but adds a note of caution - with camps small and visitor numbers restricted, anyone wishing to go in 2016 should book now.

“Do not wait until after Christmas to book your safari to Botswana,“ warns Real Africa's Sales Director, Paul Hickey Fry, “Come the New Year we will already be looking at availability for 2017. As a general rule you should look to book a full 11 months in advance, just as soon as flight availability is released.”

 The peak months of September and October 2016, when herds are at their most dramatic, are already showing limited availability while the Green Season months (until March 2016) have been sold out for months following a series of special offers, advises Real Africa, a tailor-made safari specialist based in the UK.