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Birdwatching in Botswana
Birdwatching in Botswana
Birdwatching in Botswana
Birdwatching in Botswana

The woodland kingfisher's distinct call is unmistakable in the Okavango Delta

Botswana birdwatching

Some excellent places for birdwatching in Botswana

Much of northern Botswana consists of vast tracts of untouched wilderness with plenty of wildlife. Observe also that it encompasses two extremes of environment: the arid Kalahari and the verdant, watery Okavango - and you'll understand why birdwatching in Botswana can be as good as it gets!

The Okavango Delta is perhaps the ultimate destination for birding in Botswana. Best visited after the rains, around October, enthusiasts may seek the slaty egret, wattled crane and lesser jacana. Elsewhere, Chobe National Park and the vast expanses of largely undisturbed wilderness are also suitably commendable for keen birders.

Herons and larks are two well-represented bird families found in Botswana. Although it has no endemic bird species, birders in Botswana will often seek out several specialities of note, including: groups of southern pied-babblers and hartlaub's babblers; swamp boubou; brown fire finch; and melodious larks.

Kwara Camp

The environment at Kwara Camp is incredibly diverse resulting in superb birdwatching. Seasonal floodplains and wooded islands surround camp while papyrus-lined waterways, lagoons, mopane woodland and scrub savannah are all easily accessible.

Lebala Camp

Situated in the huge, remote Kwando Concession of the Linyanti, Lebala Camp has access to mopane forests, lush riverine forest and open floodplains attracting an incredible range of bird species. Raptors such as eagles and vultures thrive here.

Lagoon Camp

Drives from Lagoon Camp cover riverine, savannah and mopane-dominated areas – while boat trips bring great views over papyrus reedbeds. Colonies of carmine bee-eaters may enhance your birdwatching from mid-September to early December.


Mombo Camp

The fertile soils around Mombo make for nutrient-rich vegetation resulting in excellent birding. With so much game around, vultures abound and birds of prey also find easy pickings whilst the wetter extremities have a different set of species again.

Vumbura Plains

Ranging from open floodplains to dense mopane bushveld, Vumbura Plains has wonderful birding opportunities all year round. Species you are likely to encounter include wattled crane, slaty egret, chirping cisticola and possibly rosy-throated longclaw.

Zarafa Camp

Zarafa Camp is situated close to the Zibadianja Lagoon which is known for its colony of African Skimmers. Each tent comes with its own pair of Swarovski binoculars - a massive boon for anyone with a keen interest in birds.


Chitabe Lediba

Approximately 345 species have been recorded in the Chitabe concession, comprising both resident and migratory birds. Raptors are abundant and thrive here. Of particular note on Chitabe are breeding wattled crane and slaty egret.

Little Vumbura

Little Vumbura is a first-rate camp for birdwatching in Botswana. From shallow and deepwater floodplains and channels to dense, shady woodlands, our sightings have included swallowtail bee-eaters, Pels fishing owls, white-backed ducks, brown firefinches, slaty egret and rufus-bellied herons.

DumaTau

Birding is outstanding at Duma Tau. There is a diversity of habitats which in turn attracts a variety of species ranging from waterbirds to the drier mopane woodland species. The Savute Channel has a high concentration of eagles and raptors.


Kwara Camp

The environment at Kwara Camp is incredibly diverse resulting in superb birdwatching. Seasonal floodplains and wooded islands surround camp while papyrus-lined waterways, lagoons, mopane woodland and scrub savannah are all easily accessible.

Tau Pan Camp

Even though the central Kalahari is largely a semi-desert it is home to a surprisingly high number of bird species. The best time of year for birding is the summer when the rain falls and resident birds are joined by migratory species.


Savute Under Canvas

The Savuti Marshes are renowned for birdlife densities, particularly from mid-December to March, when flocks of yellow-billed storks, African spoonbills and pink-backed pelicans make this a great time for birdwatching in Botswana.

Pelo Camp

Located in the Jao Concesion, birding is exceptional at Pelo Camp. Birds typical of wetlands such as wattled crane and lesser jacana are found on the eastern side, with the western drier areas hosting woodland species such as Dickinson Kestrel.

Machaba Camp

Machaba Camp is located in the Khwai Community Reserve. The camp is built in riverine forest on the edge of the Khwai River. The Moremi Game Reserve, the floodplains of the Khwai River and mature woodland are all home to a good variety of species.


Selinda Camp

Selinda Camp's location on the Selinda Spillway is an excellent place for birdwatching. Many waterbird species, like cranes, herons, kingfishers and cormorants, can be viewed here and eagle and vulture populations are healthy.

Duba Plains Camp

Duba Plains is located deep in the Okavango among a matrix of palm-dotted islands, floodplains and woodland. The birdlife here is rich and varied with good numbers of typical Okavango specials such as Pel's Fishing Owl, Slaty Egret and Wattled Crane.


Chitabe Lediba

Approximately 345 species have been recorded in the Chitabe concession, comprising both resident and migratory birds. Raptors are abundant and thrive here. Of particular note on Chitabe are breeding wattled crane and slaty egret.

Savuti Camp

Birding is outstanding here ranging from Okavango species to the drier mopane woodland species. The Savute Channel has a high concentration of eagles and raptors and this area is internationally recognised as an Important Bird Area.


Machaba Camp

Machaba Camp is located in the Khwai Community Reserve. The camp is built in riverine forest on the edge of the Khwai River. The Moremi Game Reserve, the floodplains of the Khwai River and mature woodland are all home to a good variety of species.


Tau Pan Camp

Even though the central Kalahari is largely a semi-desert it is home to a surprisingly high number of bird species. The best time of year for birding is the summer when the rain falls and resident birds are joined by migratory species.

Machaba Camp

Machaba Camp is located in the Khwai Community Reserve. The camp is built in riverine forest on the edge of the Khwai River. The Moremi Game Reserve, the floodplains of the Khwai River and mature woodland are all home to a good variety of species.


Savuti Camp

Birding is outstanding here ranging from Okavango species to the drier mopane woodland species. The Savute Channel has a high concentration of eagles and raptors and this area is internationally recognised as an Important Bird Area.

Best camps & lodges for Birdwatching in Botswana


Pom Pom Camp

Pom Pom Camp

Located within extensive floodplain areas, the birding at Pom Pom Camp offers is excellent opportunities for birding in Botswana. Water-associated birds are a feature here and sightings may include wattled crane, Pel's fishing owlDickinson’s kestrel, African palm swifts, slaty and black egrets and black coucals.


95% (15 reviews)
Little Vumbura

Little Vumbura

Little Vumbura is a first-rate camp for birdwatching in Botswana. From shallow and deepwater floodplains and channels to dense, shady woodlands, our sightings have included swallowtail bee-eaters, Pels fishing owls, white-backed ducks, brown firefinches, slaty egret and rufus-bellied herons.


96% (138 reviews)
Vumbura Plains

Vumbura Plains

Ranging from open floodplains to dense mopane bushveld, Vumbura Plains has wonderful birding opportunities all year round. Species you are likely to encounter include wattled crane, slaty egret, chirping cisticola and possibly rosy-throated longclaw.


96% (37 reviews)
Kanana

Kanana

Kanana offers motorboat access to an enormous nearby heronry. From mid-July onwards, many migratory water birds come to nest, including yellow-billed, open-billed and marabou storks, reed cormorants, pink-backed pelicans, grey herons and sacred ibis.


95% (77 reviews)
Duba Plains Camp

Duba Plains Camp

Duba Plains is located deep in the Okavango among a matrix of palm-dotted islands, floodplains and woodland. The birdlife here is rich and varied with good numbers of typical Okavango specials such as Pel's Fishing Owl, Slaty Egret and Wattled Crane.


95% (19 reviews)
Mombo Camp

Mombo Camp

The fertile soils around Mombo make for nutrient-rich vegetation resulting in excellent birding. With so much game around, vultures abound and birds of prey also find easy pickings whilst the wetter extremities have a different set of species again.


100% (12 reviews)
Little Mombo

Little Mombo

Mombo is a birder's paradise. Chief’s Island has dry-country birds, whilst surrounding waterways are home to fish eagles and a variety of kingfishers, waders, darters, egrets, herons. If you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of a Pel's fishing owl!


97% (6 reviews)
Machaba Camp

Machaba Camp

Machaba Camp is located in the Khwai Community Reserve. The camp is built in riverine forest on the edge of the Khwai River. The Moremi Game Reserve, the floodplains of the Khwai River and mature woodland are all home to a good variety of species.


92% (36 reviews)
Selinda Explorers Camp

Selinda Explorers Camp

Located on the banks of the Selinda Spillway the camp offers a good mix of waterbirds and woodland species. The camp offers an honorary "membership" into the "111 Club", an honour bestowed for those who see 111 or more species during their stay.


98% (29 reviews)
Lebala Camp

Lebala Camp

Situated in the huge, remote Kwando Concession of the Linyanti, Lebala Camp has access to mopane forests, lush riverine forest and open floodplains attracting an incredible range of bird species. Raptors such as eagles and vultures thrive here.


95% (199 reviews)
Pelo Camp

Pelo Camp

Located in the Jao Concesion, birding is exceptional at Pelo Camp. Birds typical of wetlands such as wattled crane and lesser jacana are found on the eastern side, with the western drier areas hosting woodland species such as Dickinson Kestrel.


96% (10 reviews)
Chief's Camp

Chief's Camp

The diverse habitats around Chief's Camp attract over 450 bird species, from waterbirds to woodland varieties. Mokoro excursions offer close appraoches to African jacana and pied kingfisher, whilst woodland species are seen on 4WD activities.


93% (8 reviews)
Kwara Camp

Kwara Camp

The environment at Kwara Camp is incredibly diverse resulting in superb birdwatching. Seasonal floodplains and wooded islands surround camp while papyrus-lined waterways, lagoons, mopane woodland and scrub savannah are all easily accessible.


93% (224 reviews)
DumaTau Camp

DumaTau

Birding is outstanding at Duma Tau. There is a diversity of habitats which in turn attracts a variety of species ranging from waterbirds to the drier mopane woodland species. The Savute Channel has a high concentration of eagles and raptors.


95% (52 reviews)
Linyanti Bush Camp

Linyanti Bush Camp

Highly knowledgeable guides and a mix of wet and dry environments makes Linyanti Bush Camp an excellent addition to a birdwatching holiday. We noted a particularly wide variety of raptors and owls, in addition to bee-eaters and kingfishers.


90% (40 reviews)
Tau Pan Camp

Tau Pan Camp

Even though the central Kalahari is largely a semi-desert it is home to a surprisingly high number of bird species. The best time of year for birding is the summer when the rain falls and resident birds are joined by migratory species.


96% (90 reviews)
Lagoon Camp

Lagoon Camp

Drives from Lagoon Camp cover riverine, savannah and mopane-dominated areas – while boat trips bring great views over papyrus reedbeds. Colonies of carmine bee-eaters may enhance your birdwatching from mid-September to early December.


95% (269 reviews)
Savute Under Canvas

Savute Under Canvas

The Savuti Marshes are renowned for birdlife densities, particularly from mid-December to March, when flocks of yellow-billed storks, African spoonbills and pink-backed pelicans make this a great time for birdwatching in Botswana.


96% (23 reviews)
Linyanti Ebony

Linyanti Ebony

Noteworthy for species of raptors and owls, plenty of water birds and a range of land birds such as ground hornbill and colourful Acacia pied barbets. The camp also has great guides and a mix of wet and dry environments for birding.


100% (5 reviews)
Savuti Camp

Savuti Camp

Birding is outstanding here ranging from Okavango species to the drier mopane woodland species. The Savute Channel has a high concentration of eagles and raptors and this area is internationally recognised as an Important Bird Area.


97% (25 reviews)
Xigera Safari Lodge

Xigera Safari Lodge

Situated in the heart of the Okavango Delta the birding at Xigera is superb all year round. Pel's fishing-owl is regularly seen, with other specials including wattled crane, slaty egret, fan-tailed widowbird and pinkbacked pelican.


98% (36 reviews)
Chitabe Lediba

Chitabe Lediba

Approximately 345 species have been recorded in the Chitabe concession, comprising both resident and migratory birds. Raptors are abundant and thrive here. Of particular note on Chitabe are breeding wattled crane and slaty egret.


97% (87 reviews)
Mapula Lodge

Mapula Lodge

Having a variety of habitats on its doorstep Mapula Lodge is a superb camp for birding. Over the years, we have spotted dwarf bittern, wattled crane, saddle-billed stork, brown snake eagle, Meyer's parrot and lesser grey shrike.


94% (20 reviews)
Selinda Camp

Selinda Camp

Selinda Camp's location on the Selinda Spillway is an excellent place for birdwatching. Many waterbird species, like cranes, herons, kingfishers and cormorants, can be viewed here and eagle and vulture populations are healthy.


96% (67 reviews)
Jao Camp

Jao Camp

Jao Camp offers superb birding, include wetland specialities such as yellow-billed and woolly-necked storks, hadeda ibis, painted snipe, slaty and black egret, sacred ibis, wattled crane, goliath heron and Pel's fishing owl.


87% (6 reviews)
Jacana Camp

Jacana Camp

Jacana Camp would be a key part of a birding trip to Botswana, with species including Pel's fishing owl, wattled crane, saddle-billed stork, African darter, reed cormorant, slaty egret, and goliath and rufous-bellied herons.


99% (27 reviews)
Chobe Under Canvas

Chobe Under Canvas

The Chobe Riverfront is not just about the 'big stuff': it's also a superb destination for birdwatching. Over 450 species of birds have been seen in Chobe, including African skimmers, found between about October and March.


100% (22 reviews)
Zarafa Camp

Zarafa Camp

Zarafa Camp is situated close to the Zibadianja Lagoon which is known for its colony of African Skimmers. Each tent comes with its own pair of Swarovski binoculars - a massive boon for anyone with a keen interest in birds.


100% (19 reviews)
4 Rivers

4 Rivers

The terrain surrounding 4 Rivers is home to a wide variety of vegetation making this camp an ideal location for birdwatchers in Botswana to see many of the Okavango’s almost 450 species of birdlife.


100% (3 reviews)
Okavango Explorers Camp

Okavango Explorers

Located on the banks of the seasonal Selinda Spillway the camp offers a great mix of waterbirds and woodland species, with plenty of raptors always around in this very wild area.


90% (2 reviews)
Nxamaseri Lodge

Nxamaseri Lodge

Relatively near the Okavango's main channel, Nxamaseri Lodge makes an excellent choice for a birdwatching holiday in the Okavango Delta, with a deep-water lagoon environment.


93% (79 reviews)

Best camps & lodges for Birdwatching in Africa

Birdwatching elsewhere in Africa

Our top ideas and inspiration for Birdwatching in other countries.


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Where to see wildlife species in Botswana

Maximise the chances of seeing your favourite animals based on traveller sightings reports from the field.


Lion

Lion

Panthera leo

Lions are at the top of the food chain and also most safari wish-lists, but with their numbers falling fast, any encounter with these majestic apex predators always feels like a privilege.

81% SUCCESS

3,106 sightings from 3,826 observations

Where to see lion in Botswana

Leopard

Leopard

Panthera pardus

The most numerous of Africa’s big cats, leopard occur across many habitats, from wild tracts to populated areas. Their grace and their elusive nature make them a unique safari drawcard.

47% SUCCESS

1,993 sightings from 4,246 observations

Where to see leopard in Botswana

Cheetah

Cheetah

Acinonyx jubatus

The cheetah is the fastest land animal and the only cat that hunts by pure speed. Found largely in open grasslands, its slim, elegant form is today an increasingly rare sight.

33% SUCCESS

1,066 sightings from 3,256 observations

Where to see cheetah in Botswana

Wild dog

Wild dog

Lycaon pictus

African wild dogs are among the continent’s most compelling animals. Much misunderstood, these rare, tie-dyed canids are amazingly efficient hunters with a fascinating social life.

32% SUCCESS

901 sightings from 2,847 observations

Where to see wild dog in Botswana

Spotted Hyena

Spotted Hyena

Crocuta crocuta

The spotted hyena may be thought of as ‘ugly’ and ‘cowardly’. In fact, this versatile and intelligent carnivore is one of Africa’s most fascinating and warrants attention on any safari.

55% SUCCESS

2,215 sightings from 4,039 observations

Where to see spotted hyena in Botswana

Brown Hyena

Brown Hyena

Parahyaena brunnea

This largely solitary scavenger is one of the more elusive and little-known of Africa’s carnivores. Shaggier than its spotted cousin, it occurs only in the arid southwest of the continent.

16% SUCCESS

249 sightings from 1,561 observations

Where to see brown hyena in Botswana

Meerkat

Meerkat

Suricata suricatta

These highly sociable little mammals have an endearing appearance and comical antics. Found in the drier areas of Southern Africa, close encounters are a sought-after experience.

21% SUCCESS

90 sightings from 423 observations

Where to see meerkat in Botswana

Elephant

Elephant

Loxodonta africana

By far the biggest of the so-called Big Five – indeed, the largest land animal on the planet – the elephant shapes the very landscape it inhabits and is a defining presence on any safari.

91% SUCCESS

3,722 sightings from 4,097 observations

Where to see elephant in Botswana

Buffalo

Buffalo

Syncerus caffer

One of the ‘Big Five’, buffalo earned a fearsome reputation in hunters’ tales. By contrast, big herds of these sociable bovids are placid, but mount formidable defences against predators.

83% SUCCESS

2,627 sightings from 3,173 observations

Where to see buffalo in Botswana

Giraffe

Giraffe

Giraffa camelopardalis

The world’s tallest land mammal, giraffes are herbivores which have evolved many unique adaptations. Their iconic outlines tower above the bush in many of Africa’s wildlife areas.

86% SUCCESS

3,585 sightings from 4,170 observations

Where to see giraffe in Botswana

Hippo

Hippo

Hippopotamus amphibius

The territorial calls of the hippo create a signature soundtrack to Africa’s rivers & wetlands. Despite an endearing smile, this aquatic herbivore has a notoriously aggressive disposition.

89% SUCCESS

2,723 sightings from 3,051 observations

Where to see hippo in Botswana

Black Rhino

Black Rhino

Diceros bicornis

The black rhino is the smaller and rarer of Africa’s two rhino species but has the more fearsome reputation. Shy and heavily persecuted, it tends to stick to cover.

30% SUCCESS

632 sightings from 2,093 observations

Where to see black rhino in Botswana

White Rhino

White Rhino

Ceratotherium simum

The white rhino is the largest and most numerous of the world’s five rhinoceros species. They are larger, easier to see and generally more approachable than the black rhino.

43% SUCCESS

505 sightings from 1,163 observations

Where to see white rhino in Botswana

Oryx

Oryx

Oryx sp.

Oryx are impressive antelopes, with a powerful physique and elegant markings set off by rapier-like horns. They cut a distinctive dash in some of Africa’s harshest landscapes.

70% SUCCESS

1,354 sightings from 1,948 observations

Where to see oryx in Botswana

Eland

Eland

Taurotragus oryx

Africa’s largest antelope, eland are culturally important from prehistoric rock art to modern game farms. Though widespread, they are also shy so sightings are uncommon and often fleeting.

49% SUCCESS

1,486 sightings from 3,042 observations

Where to see eland in Botswana

Roan antelope

Roan antelope

Hippotragus equinus

Africa’s second largest antelope and one of its most handsome, with a powerful build and distinctive markings, roan are wary of people, but renowned for their bravery against predators.

24% SUCCESS

494 sightings from 2,087 observations

Where to see roan antelope in Botswana

Sable antelope

Sable antelope

Hippotragus niger

Perhaps Africa’s most beautiful antelope, sable are renowned for their combative nature, even holding off lions. Shy and restricted in range, sightings of sable are always special.

23% SUCCESS

471 sightings from 2,086 observations

Where to see sable antelope in Botswana

Sitatunga

Sitatunga

Tragelaphus spekii

The sitatunga is the most aquatic of Africa’s antelopes and specially adapted to its swampy habitats. Though widespread across Africa, only a handful of places offer reliable sightings.

19% SUCCESS

64 sightings from 343 observations

Where to see sitatunga in Botswana

Wildebeest

Wildebeest

Connochaetes sp.

Superficially bovine in appearance, wildebeests are known for their spectacular migrations sometimes in huge numbers. These resilient animals are some of Africa’s most successful herbivores.

68% SUCCESS

2,543 sightings from 3,753 observations

Where to see wildebeest in Botswana

Zebra

Zebra

Equus sp.

The zebra is a quintessential African animal: the horse in stripy pyjamas at the end of every child’s A–Z. There are three species, of which the plains zebra is much the most common.

84% SUCCESS

3,920 sightings from 4,659 observations

Where to see zebra in Botswana

Pangolin

Pangolin

Smutsia sp.

Pangolins appear to be more pine cone than animal in their unique armoury of scales. These nocturnal, ant-eating oddities are not only highly elusive but also increasingly rare.

2% SUCCESS

57 sightings from 3,411 observations

Where to see pangolin in Botswana

Aardvark

Aardvark

Orycteropus afer

The aardvark is one of Africa’s most bizarre and enigmatic animals. A shy, nocturnal termite-eater, signs of its presence may be scattered about the bush whilst sightings remain elusive.

2% SUCCESS

72 sightings from 3,406 observations

Where to see aardvark in Botswana

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