Wildlife in Botswana
Botswana represents wilderness on a grand scale. From the water-rich expanses of the Okavango Delta in the north to the arid emptiness of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, wildlife is in its natural element.
The sheer range of Botswana’s ecosystems translates into a correspondingly wide range of animals. Huge herds of buffalo and elephant roam across the north, revelling in the permanent waters of the Okavango Delta, and out to the Chobe, Kwando and Linyanti rivers.
Further south, on the great salt pans of Makgadikgadi and Nxai, zebra congregate in their thousands during the rains, in a migratory pattern that remains far from understood.
Water-dependent antelope such as waterbuck and red lechwe thrive in the wetlands of the north; springbok and oryx seek out the arid grasslands of the pans and the CKGR.
Of the predators, lion are omnipresent, the availability of prey influencing the size of the pride. Cheetah, too, are at home across the region, though arguably more common in drier areas where competition for prey is less fierce. More specific, leopard favour riverine woodlands; wild dog the open savannah.
Great wildlife safaris to Botswana
The possibilities are endless; here are just a handful of ideas for great safaris in Botswana.
Botswana's top camps for wildlife safaris
Click on the dots on the map to show the sightings from that lodges or camps for the species selected. It's based on 6471 reports by 770 groups of our our travellers since May 2018.
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Some Botswana wildlife highlights
Wildlife proliferates in northern Botswana’s vast areas of pristine wilderness.
Botswana: Africa’s sanctuary for beleaguered wildlife
Botswana is home to around a third of African elephants, along with a similar proportion of wild dogs. It also provides refuge for a small but slowly growing population of both black and white rhino. The key is a combination of factors, among them are the vast unfenced spaces and plenty of permanent water – and genuine government backing for wildlife, with tough legislation and serious enforcement.
An estimated 130,000 elephants live in Botswana. As migratory creatures, they tend to break up into smaller groups during the rainy season, returning to areas of permanent rivers when water sources elsewhere dry up.
For the endangered wild dog, whose entire population has slipped below 3,000, Botswana represents a last stronghold. Strictly territorial, the dogs hunt in packs, each covering an area of 400km2 or more – for which the Okavango Delta is ideal.
Other top destinations for wildlife
To understand more about the the wildlife in our other key destinations in Africa, click on the countries below.