A safari is an excellent way to observe the fascinating wildlife in Botswana for a variety of reasons. The most significant reason is that its natural features help to concentrate large quantities of animals when the dry season intensifies between June and October and water becomes increasingly limited. The country’s low population density and the high proportion of protected areas also ensure that habitats critical to the survival of lions, leopards, cheetahs, caracals, rhinos, hippopotami, crocodiles, giraffes, zebras, primates, bat-eared foxes, wild dogs, and antelope such as the kudu, impala, and lechwe populations are not encroached upon.
Northern Botswana’s wilderness protects the world’s greatest elephant population. The landscapes of Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve are traversed by enormous breeding herds and large lone bulls. The rare Chobe bushbuck and other lesser-known antelope species including puku, sable, and roan can be found in Chobe’s broad-leaved woodlands and riparian forests.
Savuti, in the western Chobe region, is known for its enormous lion prides, which have numbered up to 30 individuals in the past. The unpredictable nature of Savuti’s water supply has been known to inspire extraordinary survival feats, such as hibernating crocodiles and brazen lions preying on adult elephants. The huge savanna plains of Savuti are ideal for seeing Burchell’s zebra, tsessebe, giraffe, and impala.
Red lechwe, hippopotamuses, and lions swimming across water channels are just a few of the stunning wildlife sightings that safari-goers to the Okavango Delta may encounter. During the winter months, when precipitation from Angola’s highlands fans out over temporary floodplains teeming with wildlife, the Okavango comes alive. From a mokoro, visitors might be able to observe a semi-aquatic sitatunga antelope lurking in the papyrus.
Although the arid Makgadikgadi Salt Pans do not appear to be the type of place that would attract a great number of animals, looks can be deceiving. These bleak, dry stretches develop delicious patches of grass in the summer, drawing springbok, wildebeest, and zebra, as well as lion and cheetah. Thousands of flamingos flock to shallow waters that flow across seemingly unending pans. Along the Boteti River, you may see Southern Africa’s largest zebra migration, as well as the secret lifestyles of lively bat-eared foxes and quiet brown hyenas at night.
Chobe National Park boasts the most diverse bird species in Botswana, with 468 species, including Schalow’s and Purple-crested turacos, Trumpeter and Crowned hornbills, and the Crested guinea fowl, all of which are found nowhere else in the country. On perches overlooking deep lagoons where they fish for huge bream, Pels Fishing Owls take the place of their daylight rivals, fish eagles. The Delta is also home to the near-endemic Slaty Egret, Wattled Crane, and a variety of waterbirds including the Lesser Jacana, White-backed Night Heron, and African Skimmer.