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Botswana

Botswana

Botswana Locator MapBotswana is one of the few unspoiled wildernesses left in the world, with up to 70 percent of the country's landmass being covered by the sands of the Kalahari Desert. Botswana’s jewel is the Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta system in the world. It floods during the dry season because of seasonal rains from Angola’s highlands, which results in a spectacular display of wildlife returning to the area. Within the vast area of the Okavango Delta is the Moremi Game Reserve, one of the most beautiful reserves in Africa. In the north-east of the country is the spectacular Chobe National Park, home to the single largest concentration of elephants in Africa and all the major predator species including the endangered Cheetah and African Wild Dog. The most revered area of the park is a short 15 km (9.3 mi) stretch of the Chobe River, where huge numbers of animals and bird life congregate on its banks. Botswana offers the ultimate in safari destinations — where the spirit is ignited and the traveler's reward is solitude, nature and abundant African wildlife.

Location: Southern Africa, north of South Africa

Border countries (4): West (Namibia), South (South Africa), North (Zambia), North-east (Zimbabwe)

Area: 581,730 sq km

Comparative: Slightly smaller than Texas

Botswana Wildlife

Mammal Species: 169 (26th in Africa)

The Big Nine (9 of 9): Includes the 'Big Five' (Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino, Lion, Leopard) plus Cheetah, Giraffe, Hippo and Zebra (Burchell's). The 'Big Nine' refers to the nine most sought after animals to see while on safari. The 'Big Five' refers to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot.

Carnivores: Aardwolf, Caracal, Cat (Black-footed and Wild), Civet, Fox (Bat-eared and Cape), Genet (Common and Panther), Honey badger, Jackal (Black-backed and Side-striped), Meerkat, Mongoose (Banded, dwarf, Egyptian, Marsh, Selous', Slender, White-tailed and Yellow), Otter (Clawless and Speckle-throated), Serval, Spotted hyena, Striped polecat, Striped weasel, Wild dog

Other Animals: Aardvark, Antelope (Roan and Sable), Blue & white-bearded wildebeest, Bush hyrax, Bushbuck, Bushpig, Cape hare, Cape pangolin, Cape porcupine, Common rhebok, Gemsbok, Greater kudu, Grey duiker, Hartebeest, Impala, Jameson's red rockhare, Klipspringer, Lechwe, Marshbuck, Mountain reedbuck, Oribi, Puku, Rock dassie, Sharpe's grysbok, Southern reedbuck, Springbok, Steenbok, Tsessebe, Waterbuck, Warthog

Bird Species: 600 (26th in Africa) Bird lovers will enjoy Botswana with a recorded 600 bird species calling this southern African country home.

Wildlife Areas in Botswana

Legend:  Excellent   Good   Fair   Poor   None 

The Okavango Delta

Okavango Delta Map

 The Okavango Delta is Botswana's jewel and one of the last totally unspoiled wildlife areas in Africa. It's the single largest inland delta system in the world, an area filled with water channels, lagoons, swamps and islands. The delta floods from seasonal rains from Angola's western highlands, with the water reaching the western boundaries of Botswana in December and the eastern boundaries of the delta in July. Water dead-ends at the Kalahari, and over 95 per cent of the water eventually evaporates. During the peak of the flooding the delta's area can expand to over 15,900 sq km (6,139 mi sq), shrinking to less than 9,000 sq km (3,479 sq km) in the low period. As the water travels through the delta, the wildlife starts to move back into the region, which becomes home to large numbers of animals and bird life.

 

Best time to visit:  Jan ¹ 
 Feb ¹ 
 Mar   Apr   May   Jun   Jul   Aug   Sep   Oct ²   Nov ²   Dec ¹ 
Chance of spotting the Big Nine:  Elephant   Hippo   Giraffe   Zebra   Buffalo   Lion   Leopard   Cheetah   Rhino

 ¹ These months make up the wet rainy season with heavy afternoon downpours

² Temps begin to heat up in October reaching as high as 35°C/95°F. The humidity can make it uncomfortably hot.

 

Moremi Game Reserve

Moremi Game Reserve Map

Located in the central and north-eastern regions of the Okavango Delta, the Moremi Game Reserve offers some of the best wildlife opportunities in all of Botswana. Chief's Island is nearly 1000 sq km (386 sq mi) and is the largest land mass in the Okavango Delta. All the habitats found in the Okavango Delta including seasonal floodplains, permanent delta and dry mopane woodland are present here. The waterways surrounding the island are home to a wide array of bird species and wildlife. There is even an opportunity of seeing the Big Five, as Rhinos were reintroduced to the area over the last decade. There are also many activities to enjoy in the area including walking safaris, mokoro 'traditional canoe' trips and sunset cruises.

 

Best time to visit:  Jan ¹   Feb ¹   Mar   Apr   May   Jun   Jul   Aug   Sep   Oct ²   Nov ²   Dec ¹ 
Chance of spotting the Big Nine:  Elephant   Hippo   Giraffe   Zebra   Buffalo   Lion   Leopard   Cheetah   Rhino 

 ¹ These months make up the wet rainy season with heavy afternoon downpours

² Temps begin to heat up in October reaching as high as 35°C/95°F. The humidity can make it uncomfortably hot.

 

Chobe National Park

Chobe National Park Map

Chobe National Park is Botswana's second most popular conservation area after the Okavango Delta. The most revered area is a short 15 km (9.3 mi) stretch of the Chobe River. During the dry season (May - October) the water dries up inland, resulting in animals and bird life congregating in huge numbers along the river and its banks, especially hundreds of hippopotamuses and crocodiles. Elephants epitomize this park more than any other animal, with upwards of 120,000 individuals making it the single largest concentration in all of Africa. Kalahari elephants that roam here are the largest in size of all known elephant populations in the world. The only subject more photographed in Chobe is the exquisite sunsets sinking slowly over the water.

 

Best time to visit:  Jan ¹   Feb ¹   Mar   Apr   May   Jun   Jul   Aug   Sep   Oct ²   Nov ²   Dec ¹ 
Chance of spotting the Big Nine:  Elephant   Buffalo   Hippo   Zebra   Lion   Giraffe   Leopard   Cheetah   Rhino 

¹ These months make up the wet rainy season with heavy afternoon downpours

² Temps begin to heat up in October reaching as high as 35°C/95°F. The humidity can make it uncomfortably hot.

Botswana Travel Options

Botswana Destination | Botswana Tours | Women Only Botswana Safari Tours | Couples Only Botswana Safari Tours | Custom Botswana Safari |Botswana River Cruising

 

Sources: CIA 2017, UNESCO 2017, World Conservation Monitoring Centre of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP-WCMC), 2004. Species Data (unpublished, September 2004)