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Meerkats in Botswana

Small, desert-adapted mammals, meerkats are found throughout the Kalahari, which covers much of Botswana. The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans are one of the top locations for seeing meerkats in Africa.

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Quick facts about Meerkat

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

There are three subspecies of meerkats, and Botswana is home to just one, the southern African, or slender-tailed meerkat, Suricata suricatta suricatta. Meerkats are fairly widespread across much of central and southern Botswana, around the Kalahari Desert. The rolling, vegetated sand dunes provide an ideal habitat for them, with hot, dry conditions and plenty of food.

Arguably the best place to see meerkats in Botswana, indeed anywhere in Africa, is around the Makgadikgadi Pans in the Kalahari Desert. This vast complex of salt pans covers around 10,000km2 and is home to numerous meerkat families – known as clans or mobs. Alternatively, spend time around the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park spanning the border with Namibia and South Africa.

25-35 cm


10-14 days





identifiable VOCALISATIONS

Botswana's top camps for seeing meerkats

Based on 33 reports since June 2018, the camps below have the best chance of seeing meerkats. Simply follow the key below.

Best chances to see

Good chances to see

Some sightings

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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 Botswana

While meerkats are found in good numbers in Botswana, they are elusive and rarely seen in the wild. To maximise chances of seeing them consider visiting a habituated mob.

Top tips for viewing meerkats in Botswana

Seeing wild meerkats requires a lot of time and patience; they are naturally wary of humans and are easily spooked. Spend time around the central Kalahari and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and you may be able to spot a clan foraging for food while sentinels stand guard. Look for them at burrows or running across the road.

The Makgadikgadi Pans is one of the best locations for spotting meerkats in Botswana, with many camps, such as Jack’s Camp and Camp Kalahari, offering a meerkat experience with habituated families. Visit a known burrow for photographic opportunities at close quarters, often at first light. Watch them emerge and follow them as they forage. These meerkats are not shy, and it’s not uncommon for them to jump on you as you sit still, seeking a high location from which to guard.


Holiday ideas to see meerkats in Botswana

These trip ideas include places that will give you a good chance of seeing meerkats in South Africa

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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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Porcupine Safari

11 days • 4 locations

Visit dramatically contrasting landscapes boasting a variety of species during this exploration of Botswana’s top-safari destinations. A combination of national parks and private reserves allows for a range of activities.

US$10,710 - US$16,860 per person

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Honey Badger Safari

6 days • 2 locations

Two smart sister camps offer access to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the heart of the Okavango Delta. Experience a spectacular range of habitats and wildlife through diversely exciting safari activities.

US$5,790 - US$10,150 per person

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Rock Hare Self-drive Safari

20 days • 12 locations

An in-depth look at Namibia from the Namib Desert to the Caprivi, with additional stops in Botswana and Victoria Falls. This three-week adventure includes an unrivalled mix of environments and is great value.

US$5,200 - US$7,390 per person

View all holidays to Botswana

Our top destinations for meerkats

Read tips for spotting meerkats in these countries and the best camps and lodges for sightings

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