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Meerkats in Africa

With their endearing appearance and comical antics, meerkats are a firm favourite with safari goers. They are highly sociable little mammals and can be found throughout the desert regions of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

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Quick facts about Meerkat

Scientific name: Suricata suricatta Habitat: Semi-arid desert
IUCN Status: Least Concern Weight: 650g

This small species of mongoose lives in large family groups – known as clans –sometimes numbering more than 40 individuals, presided over by a dominant female. Meerkat clans are highly cooperative: the whole family helps to babysit, feed and raise the young.

This cooperation is also seen on foraging expeditions, during which individuals take turns on sentry duty, climbing vantage points to stand in their characteristic pose, watching for danger, while the rest of the clan scour the landscape for insects and other small animals.

Despite their small size, meerkats are surprisingly resilient to venomous bites and stings, including stings from scorpions, which form a staple part of their diet.

10 years






32 kph


Africa's top camps for seeing meerkats

Based on 90 reports by our travellers since Jun 2018, the camps below have the best chances of sighting meerkats. Simply follow the key below.

Best chances to see

Good chances to see

Some sightings

No sightings yet

Top 10 camps for meerkat

% of travellers who saw meerkat

Top 10 camps for meerkat

% of travellers who saw meerkat

Where to see meerkats in Africa

Meerkats are diurnal, but can be hard to spot. Maximise your chances in the wild by understanding their routines, or heading to a few hotspots where sightings of habituated clans are virtually guaranteed.

Top tips for viewing meerkats

Meerkats can be seen throughout the day but are most easily observed at dawn and dusk. Wait beside a burrow in the morning for the clan to emerge. Before heading off to forage, they relax and sun themselves in the golden glow of morning light, a time that offers perfect conditions for photography.

If you find a clan foraging, look for adults standing tall on guard. Keep calm and quiet: meerkats are easily spooked.

For the best chance of seeing wild meerkats, spend time in South Africa’s Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park or Botswana’s Central Kalahari. Alternatively, head to the Botswana’s Makgadigadi Pans where Jack's Camp, San Camp and Camp Kalahari have habituated groups of meerkats.


Holiday ideas to see meerkats

Based on our travellers experiences, these are the holidays which will give you the best chances of good meerkat sightings

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Red Lechwe Safari

9 days • 3 locations

Superb guiding from three fabulous camps full of character in three contrasting areas for a fabulous safari to the Okavango Delta and Kalahari Desert.

US$10,800 - US$25,210 per person

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African Jacana Safari

7 days • 3 locations

An adventurous introduction to Botswana blending prolific wildlife, incredible landscapes and varied activities staying at relaxed camps in the Chobe Enclave, a community-owned reserve bordering the Moremi, and Makgadikgadi Pans.

US$7,770 - US$12,280 per person

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Black-faced Impala Guided Safari

13 days • 6 locations

A unique mix of luxury and adventure in our original, and perhaps most varied, destination on a privately guided Namibian overland safari. Perfect for families, friends or couples travelling together.

US$9,810 - US$12,920 per person

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Goshawk Fly-in Safari

12 days • 6 locations

Discover Namibia’s remarkable landscapes, fascinating wildlife and unique cultures on this luxury adventure flying between a selection of the very best camps and lodges in the country.

US$11,760 - US$19,440 per person

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Quiver Tree Self-drive Safari

14 days • 7 locations

An offbeat Namibian self-drive adventure exploring the epic Fish River Canyon and fascinating Kolmanskop ghost town in the south, before turning north via the classic highlights of Sossusvlei, Swakopmund and Damaraland.

US$2,390 - US$3,290 per person

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Our top destinations for meerkats

Click below for detailed information about meerkats in these countries, including our latest sightings data from the camps and lodges there.

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