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Wildlife safaris in Botswana
Wildlife safaris in Botswana
Wildlife safaris in Botswana
Wildlife safaris in Botswana
Wildlife safaris in Botswana
Wildlife safaris in Botswana

Botswana wildlife safaris

Best wildlife safaris in Botswana

Botswana's wildlife safaris are perhaps the best in Africa: the vast reserves are usually un-fenced, so the wildlife runs free between them; many areas are private, guaranteeing truly exclusive wildlife safaris; and at their heart that the Okavango Delta is one of the world's most amazing environments.

We're sometimes asked what the 'Best wildlife safari in Botswana' is - and then the answer depends on what you want to see on safari. A few common requests are:
  • Lion: top of many lists, and seen frequently from almost all the camps. Huge black-maned lions are a real attraction in the Kalahari.
  • Leopard: mainly nocturnal, so best seek them on private concessions, which offer 4WD night safaris.
  • Cheetah: occur across Botswana, but are never common. Your best chances are around the Xakanaxa area and the private reserves north and north-west of there: Kwara, Vumbura, Kwando and Selinda.
  • Wild dogs: need vast areas to hunt, and Botswana has probably Africa's best remaining population of them. Found across Botswana, but for your best chances of seeing them, head for the Linyanti, Selinda, Kwando, Kwara and Vumbura reserves.
  • Elephant: occur throughout northern Botswana, gathering in their greatest concentrations at the end of the dry season, beside rivers like the Chobe, the Kwando and the Linyanti. When wet they disperse into the mopane woodlands and Kalahari bushveld.
Whatever wildlife you seek, Botswana's well-designed safari lodges offer luxury and exclusivity. Whether you're watching lions stalk their prey, or taking a magical mokoro trip along narrow, reed-lined channels, you're likely to see few other visitors. The birdlife can be spectacular and a wildlife safari here rarely disappoints.

Chitabe Camp

The Chitabe concession has regular lion and leopard sightings but reasonably constant wild dog sightings over the last few years have really been the highlight. There are also good levels of plains game here.

Little Vumbura

Little Vumbura offers some of the best wildlife safaris in Botswana. It's in one of the Okavango's prime game areas, with a real depth and range to the wildlife. In our last few visits here, we have had good sightings of lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dog.


Kwara Camp

If you’re looking for a wildlife safari in Botswana that focuses on predators, look no further. Kwara’s game and environments are varied, with plenty of tsessebe, impala, zebra, red lechwe, reedbuck, kudu, giraffe, buffalo and elephant – as well as the big cats and wild dogs.

Lagoon Camp

Lagoon Camp excels at sightings of the large predators, particularly wild dog, lion and cheetah, making it a good addition to a wildlife safari in Botswana. The best time for dogs is in June/July, the denning season, or within two or three months of that, when the pups are too young to move far.


Camp Kalahari

For a wildlife safari in Botswana, Camp Kalahari is pretty unusual. Visiting one of the families of habituated meerkats is an exceptional experience. Lion, brown hyena and other predators frequent this area, and during the rainy season, zebra can sometimes be seen here in their thousands, along with many wildebeest.

Khwai Tented Camp

With access to both the Khwai Community Concession and Moremi Game Reserve, Khwai Tented Camp is arguably in one of Botswana's greatest wildlife areas (though note that it can get busy). Sightings are good year round, with lion, leopard and wild dog seen regularly, as well as elephant and many other species.


Chitabe Lediba

The Chitabe area is renowned for its wild dog population, which has formed the subject of a book by the camp’s owners. Also worth noting are regular sightings of lion, leopard and even the odd cheetah, along with tsessebe, blue wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, reedbuck and steenbok.

Little Vumbura

Little Vumbura offers some of the best wildlife safaris in Botswana. It's in one of the Okavango's prime game areas, with a real depth and range to the wildlife. In our last few visits here, we have had good sightings of lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dog.


Savute Safari Lodge

Savute Safari Lodge enjoys a prime location directly on the Savute Channel, which is absolutely pumping with elephant, giraffe, hyena and other game during the dry season – ideal for a wildlife safari in Botswana. Wildlife also concentrates at the camp’s two pumped waterholes.

Xakanaxa

Xakanaxa Camp is right in the middle of the Xakanaxa area of the Moremi Game Reserve, one of the best areas for wildlife safaris in Botswana. With excellent densities of game and birdlife, the only drawback is that you will often have to share game sightings with other vehicles.

Lagoon Camp

Lagoon Camp excels at sightings of the large predators, particularly wild dog, lion and cheetah, making it a good addition to a wildlife safari in Botswana. The best time for dogs is in June/July, the denning season, or within two or three months of that, when the pups are too young to move far.


Savute Safari Lodge

Savute Safari Lodge enjoys a prime location directly on the Savute Channel, which is absolutely pumping with elephant, giraffe, hyena and other game during the dry season – ideal for a wildlife safari in Botswana. Wildlife also concentrates at the camp’s two pumped waterholes.


Sandibe Safari Lodge

Sandibe is situated in an excellent area for consistent big-game viewing. A variety of predators are regularly seen, alongside a good number of plains game. This is definitely a camp to consider for those wanting good year-round game viewing.


Tubu Tree Camp

Tubu Tree Camp has access to both land- and water-based activities, so offers the biggest diversity of game viewing within the Jao concession. There are good numbers of elephant and other plains game on the island, plus hippo in the deeper channels nearby.


Kwara Camp

If you’re looking for a wildlife safari in Botswana that focuses on predators, look no further. Kwara’s game and environments are varied, with plenty of tsessebe, impala, zebra, red lechwe, reedbuck, kudu, giraffe, buffalo and elephant – as well as the big cats and wild dogs.


Lagoon Camp

Lagoon Camp excels at sightings of the large predators, particularly wild dog, lion and cheetah, making it a good addition to a wildlife safari in Botswana. The best time for dogs is in June/July, the denning season, or within two or three months of that, when the pups are too young to move far.

Wildlife safaris elsewhere in Africa

Our top ideas and inspiration for Wildlife safaris in other countries.


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Where to see wildlife species in Africa

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


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

1,112 sightings from 1,335 observations

Where to see buffalo in Africa

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.

29% SUCCESS

418 sightings from 1,453 observations

Where to see cheetah in Africa

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

1,590 sightings from 1,750 observations

Where to see elephant in Africa

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

644 sightings from 924 observations

Where to see oryx in Africa

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.

83% SUCCESS

1,523 sightings from 1,833 observations

Where to see giraffe in Africa

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

1,168 sightings from 1,310 observations

Where to see hippo in Africa

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.

50% SUCCESS

903 sightings from 1,799 observations

Where to see spotted hyena in Africa

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

112 sightings from 711 observations

Where to see brown hyena in Africa

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.

45% SUCCESS

840 sightings from 1,873 observations

Where to see leopard in Africa

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.

80% SUCCESS

1,314 sightings from 1,646 observations

Where to see lion in Africa

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.

29% SUCCESS

261 sightings from 899 observations

Where to see black rhino in Africa

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

218 sightings from 508 observations

Where to see white rhino in Africa

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.

31% SUCCESS

375 sightings from 1,214 observations

Where to see wild dog in Africa

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.

63% SUCCESS

1,058 sightings from 1,668 observations

Where to see wildebeest in Africa

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

27 sightings from 1,487 observations

Where to see pangolin in Africa

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.

3% SUCCESS

43 sightings from 1,572 observations

Where to see aardvark in Africa

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.

45% SUCCESS

613 sightings from 1,362 observations

Where to see eland in Africa

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.

20% SUCCESS

38 sightings from 189 observations

Where to see meerkat in Africa

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

1,724 sightings from 2,057 observations

Where to see zebra in Africa

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

228 sightings from 959 observations

Where to see roan antelope in Africa

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.

21% SUCCESS

198 sightings from 954 observations

Where to see sable antelope in Africa

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.

20% SUCCESS

25 sightings from 122 observations

Where to see sitatunga in Africa

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