Game viewing in Botswana offers the ideal landscape for an African safari, as a large proportion of the landscape is dedicated to national parks and for the conservation of the wildlife. As the country’s overlapping regions are of vastly diverse habitats, it is the quintessential domain of a variety of wild animals and migratory birds. The Big Five – so named because they are notoriously elusive – include the African lion; African elephant; Cape buffalo; African leopard; and the white and black rhinoceros, and can all be found in Botswana. One of only eleven countries in the world where the big five can all be found, game viewing in Botswana thus offers an incomparable safari experience.
Situated in southern Africa, seventy-percent of the region is of the Kalahari Desert, and the land is mostly flat. There are few places in the world where there is as large a number of animal species to see, as compared with those observed while game viewing in Botswana. This is because of the varied habitat, which is divided by delta; desert; grasslands; and savannas. Each regional habitat draws different animals to its unique vegetation at different times of the year, so those planning to go game viewing in Botswana may want to safari in a specific region at a certain time of year if they are hoping to observe a specific animal. However, many animals congregate near water sources, meaning that parks located near any of the main rivers are perfectly situated for a magnificent safari for most of the year.
Game Viewing in Botswana by Region and Animal
- Chobe – Bordered by the Chobe River, the Chobe National Park is located in the north-east of Botswana. 460 bird species roam the sky, and during the dry season there are great herds of elephants drawn to the river. Chobe has four main areas – the Savuti; the Linyanti; the Nogatsaa; and the Serondella. Lion, hyena, zebra, wildebeest, buffalo, and impala are most commonly seen in Savuti, whereas hippo and crocodile frequent the Linyanti. There are many camps and lodges in and near the national park, and activities include game viewing, birdwatching, and spectacular cruises on the Chobe River.
- Moremi and the Okavango Delta – The Okavango Delta is an exceptionally lush and beautiful oasis in the Kalahari Desert. The Moremi Game Reserve is part of the Okavango Delta, where a large concentration of animals can be seen. The region is made of rivers, grasslands, and woodlands, and thus fosters over 1000 types of plants and many animals. A rare, large group of endangered wild dogs populate the area, preferring the north of Botswana. Here one will see elephant; buffalo; giraffe; zebra; hippo; antelope; and many bird species. Along with game drives and trail hikes, one can get the chance to wade through the water of the Okavango on a mokoro, which is a type of canoe uniquely used in this region. Accommodation options range from the luxurious to the simple, and several lodges have designed specialty hides (hide-outs) from which one is masterly camouflaged so as to watch the goings about of the animals silently.
- Kalahari Desert – The Kalahari spans several countries and stretches across the centre of Botswana, where the Kalahari Game Reserve is situated – which is the second largest game reserve in the world. Although the Kalahari brings to mind an endless expanse of dry land (which for the most part it is!), it also consists of grasslands and bush in Botswana, and is the habitat of a surprisingly large number of game. Lion, leopard, giraffe, cheetah, hyena, wildebeest and gemsbok can all be seen here, having adapted to the desert.
These three major regions offer spectacular opportunities for game viewing in Botswana, although the vast country has a seemingly limitless list of incredible places, including the Khama Rhino Sanctuary for those wanting specifically to see the Rhinoceros of the Big Five. While travellers may choose to go game viewing in Botswana predominantly because of the sensational beasts that walk there, they will also be exploring a land that is exquisitely ancient and majestic.