And Botha, who helped the Boks beat Bill Beaumont's Lions 19 years ago, thinks that the tourists have the potential to cause a much-vaunted Springbok pack plenty of problems in Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg.
"It's important to remember the conditions in the northern hemisphere are very different to what the Springboks are used to down here," Botha told AFP.
"They play a far more physical game up north and often the matches are a lot tighter with the packs doing plenty of work.
"Here in South Africa the ball is used more by the backs so perhaps, tactically, the Lions will be in better shape than the Boks to play the physical game."
Botha believes the make up of Ian McGeechan's tour squad suggests that the Lions will attempt to take on his countrymen up front, something which he feels could make life difficult for the Boks.
"It looks like they're going to try and play a forwards-orientated game, just like in 1974," added Botha.
"They've picked some big, experienced forwards, believing they need to match the Boks up front if they're to have a say in the series.
"With the kind of forwards they've selected they're going to be competing on an equal footing. They're not going to make it easy for the Boks.
"However, the Lions look like a side who are good enough to play it tight when the occasion demands, but also play it wide. They're a very balanced squad."
Despite his belief that the Lions will prove dangerous opposition for South Africa, Botha still feels the Boks will get the better of the tourists for the first time since he guided them to victory in 1980.
Botha cites home advantage, playing conditions and Super 14 form as the reasons why he believes the South Africans will finally be able to consign their 1997 series defeat to the history books.
"I think the Springboks should win the series, but only because they are world champions and have a strong core which has been together for a long time.
"Also the fact the Boks are on home soil and playing two of the Tests on the Highveld counts in their favour.
"The majority of the Springboks who'll be involved in the Tests have shown good form in the Super 14 and a number of other players have also been sticking their hands up. Competition for places is very strong, and that's always a good thing.
"Overall, the two sides will be very evenly matched and we're certainly in for a treat.
"Many in South Africa think it's going to be easy for the Springboks. I'm telling you it's not. I'd be very, very surprised if it's 3-0 as some are suggesting."