Ideally you need to plan your trip with a Botswana safari specialist that has experience and has visited the areas you plan to travel, this may be a Tour operator/agent or even just a well travelled friend. Travel in Africa is not as simple as in more developed areas, with 'African time' being one of the major complicating factors! It is recommended that you book through a tour operator that can present you with a well planned and informative itinerary that has taken time to listen to what your expectations and interests are and tailored a safari to suit. The main points to decide initially are: when can you visit (based on your available time), how long can you visit, what points of interest are you wanting to particularly meet, what level of accommodation are you looking for and how does that suit your budget. An experienced operator will be able to offer advice to assist you with making these choices.
In addition, the more research you do prior to travel the more informed your choices will be; resulting in a truly rewarding experience.
Recommended reading whilst planning your trip (and in the case of guide books, to take along on your Botswana safari ) includes:
Botswana Travel Guide:
A comprehensive guide to Botswana (www.bradt-travelguides.com)
This book is available for purchase at the above link
Botswana Tourist Map and Guide - Veronica Roodt (useful for planning your safari as well as whilst on safari)
African Adventurer's Guide to Botswana - Mike Main
(useful information, specifically targeting self drive visitors/independent travellers)
Wildlife-reference guides to bring on a Botswana safari:
Wildlife of the Okavango, Common Animals and Plants - Duncan Butchart (quick reference, first timers guide)
Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - Chris and Tilde Stuart (more comprehensive than above)
The Behaviour Guide to African Mammals - Richard D Estes (for those wishing to develop further knowledge)
Birding guides to bring on a Botswana safari:
Newman's birds of Southern Africa and Common Birds of Botswana - Ken Newman (a bible for birders)
Roberts Multimedia Birds of Southern Africa - Various Producers (a comprehensive CD-rom)
Okavango Delta guides to bring on safari:
Guide to Trees and Shrubs of the Okavango Delta - Veronica Roodt (specific to the Okavango Delta)
Guide to the Wildflowers of the Okavango Delta - Veronica Roodt (specific to the Okavango Delta)
Okavango River, the flow of a lifeline - John Mendelsohn and Selma el Obeid (comprehensive and informative study on the Okavango Delta)
Please note: The above books are in no particular order and varying in depth of information. Should you have trouble obtaining a field guide overseas before your Botswana safari, many of these books are available at Maun Airport.