Botswana is a unique and magical African destination. One of the greatest destinations for African safaris, Botswana wildlife is unique and abundant. Here are just a few quick facts about this amazing place: there are more elephants in Botswana than any other country, 39% of the country is protected and provides safe haven for 85 species of mammals and 1075 species of birds! From deltas to deserts, the ecosystems of Botswana and their inhabitants are awe-inspiring.
A lone oryx on the grasslands of the Kalahari. Image: Kalahari Plains Camp
While in Botswana make sure you get to visit and spend time at Okavango Delta, one of Africa’s most iconic landscapes. During the rainy season, this area provides spectacular nature sightings. The Okavango River, begins in Central Angola, which is a unique natural occurrence as it never actually reaches the ocean, instead the river ends in a 15,000 sq km maze of lagoons and channels- the Okavango Delta. Here loads of amazing and diverse Botswana wildlife congregate. If you get the chance, enjoy a ride in a mokoro- a traditional wooden dug-out canoe that usually accommodate two guests and a poler. While the poler does all the paddling, you can focus on the wildlife around you- so be sure you have your camera ready! Other great ways to experience this magical place include self-driving, safaris, or the luxurious fly-in lodges- though pricey it’s something you’ll never forget, spending your nights deep in the inner delta. No matter what you chose to do, the Okavango Delta is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Lechwe crossing the floodplains of the Delta. Image: Vumbura Camp
Another iconic African landscape found only in Botswana is the Kalahari Desert. Covering 85% of the Central and Southwestern areas of Botswana, you’ll find a semi-arid sandy red and brown region. Despite being a desert, you’ll be surprised to find some really lush areas. The locals here are one of the oldest cultures, the San, a bushmen culture, have called the Kalahari home for over a millennia.
The San embarking on a hunting trip. Image: Kalahari Plains Camp
As we’ve touched on before, much of Botswana is protected and home to an awe-inspiring amount of wildlife. One of the best places to take it all in is Chobe National Park in Northeastern Botswana, and is the first national park ever established in Botswana- established as a wildlife reserve in 1930 and national park in 1968. Covering 11,000 sq km, you’ll find an enormous elephant population as well as loads of other animals. It’s no wonder that it’s the epicenter of Botswana’s safari industry.
Elephants heading towards the lodge after a swim. Image: Chobe Savannah Lodge
Check out one of our handcrafted itineraries featuring 2-nights in Chobe national park- click here!
The best time to view Botswana wildlife viewing is between May and August, this is the Dry Season. Loads of animals gather around the waterholes, creating a picture like no other. The weather is also generally nice this time of year. Not to say you can’t visit during other times of the year, just keep in mind that September through October is extremely hot, and December through April is the rainy season- fewer tourists but more difficult to view wildlife.