Navigation Menu

A landlocked country in Southern Africa surrounded by Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia, Botswana offers some of the most spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities in the world.

With its vast, sparsely populated wilderness areas, Botswana is an incredible place to see wildlife in their natural habitats, and is home to a number of unique and diverse ecosystems, each with its own set of species.

From the Okavango Delta, with elephants, lions, hippos, crocodiles, and over 500 species of birds, to Chobe National Park, which is one of the largest national parks in Africa and is famous for its large elephant population, Botswana is a fantastic safari option.

And the country has taken great strides in conserving its natural resources; Botswana has a low human population density, and the government has implemented policies that prioritize conservation over exploitation. As a result, the wildlife you see is protected and preserved for future generations.

Wildlife You Can Expect to See in Botswana


Uganda Elephant Safari Africa RF

Botswana is home to one of the largest elephant populations in the world, with an estimated 130,000 elephants living in the country. The elephants in Botswana are an important part of the country’s ecosystem, playing a vital role in maintaining the balance of the natural environment.

Elephants are often referred to as “the gardeners of the forest” due to their ability to shape the landscape through their eating and browsing habits. They are also known for creating important water sources, as they dig holes in riverbeds to reach groundwater, which other animals can then utilize.

The elephants in Botswana face a number of threats, including poaching and habitat loss due to human encroachment. However, the Botswana government has implemented policies to protect these majestic creatures.

Many of the country’s national parks, including Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve, offer elephant viewing opportunities, which provide income for local communities and contribute to the conservation efforts.


Africa safari lion RF

Botswana is home to a significant population of lions, with an estimated 3,000 living in the country. They can be seen in the Savuti region of Chobe National Park and in the Moremi Game Reserve.

These areas provide ideal habitat for lions, with plenty of prey, water sources, and areas for resting and shelter.

While Botswana’s lion population is relatively stable, they still face threats from habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, and illegal hunting.

The Botswana government has implemented policies to protect lions, including measures to mitigate human-wildlife conflict and conservation efforts to protect lion habitats.

Responsible tourism practices, such as limiting vehicle numbers and adhering to ethical wildlife viewing guidelines, can help minimize the impact of tourism on lion populations.


Leopard RF

Leopards are elusive creatures, but Botswana is known to have a high population. They can be seen in the Moremi Game Reserve and the Khwai Concession.

Leopards play a vital role in the ecosystem as top predators, helping to regulate the populations of prey species. They are also important cultural symbols in many African cultures, representing strength and agility.

While leopards in Botswana are not as heavily targeted by hunters as lions or elephants, they still face threats from habitat loss, poaching, and human-wildlife conflict.

Tourism can also play a role in the conservation of leopards in Botswana. Many safari operators offer leopard viewing opportunities, which can provide income for local communities and support conservation efforts.

However, it is important that these practices are conducted responsibly and with respect for the animals’ welfare, to minimize disturbance and stress.


African Safari Cheetah RF

Botswana is also home to a significant population of cheetahs, which can be seen in the Kalahari and in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

Leopards and cheetahs are both big cats that can be found in Africa, but there are some key differences between the two species.

Leopards are more muscular and compact, with a stocky build and distinctive spots that form rosettes. They are strong climbers and can drag prey weighing three times their own body weight into trees.

Cheetahs, on the other hand, have a slender and streamlined body, with distinctive black spots on a golden coat.

They are known for their incredible speed, capable of running up to 70 miles per hour in short bursts, but are not as strong or agile as leopards.


Giraffe african safari serengeti RF

Giraffes are a common sight in Botswana, with populations found particularly in the northern regions, such as Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta.

Giraffes play a vital role in the ecosystem, acting as important seed dispersers and contributing to the health and diversity of plant communities.

While giraffes in Botswana are not currently considered endangered, they do still face threats from habitat loss, poaching, and human-wildlife conflict.


Botswana’s rivers and waterways are home to large populations of hippos, which can be seen in the Okavango Delta and the Chobe River.

And while you may be more worried about your chances of a run in with a lion, or a cheetah, you should be very cautious when viewing or close to hippos.

Hippos are considered one of the most dangerous animals in Africa, responsible for more human fatalities each year than any other large mammal, including lions and elephants.

Despite their seemingly placid demeanor, hippos are known to be highly territorial and aggressive, especially when threatened or provoked.

Hippos are herbivores and spend much of their time in water, emerging at night to graze on vegetation. They are capable of running up to 20 miles per hour on land and have large teeth and powerful jaws that can easily crush human bones.

They have been known to attack boats and canoes, sometimes flipping them over, and can also attack humans who venture too close to their territories on foot.

While hippos are a key part of the African ecosystem, their unpredictable and dangerous behavior means that caution is essential when in their presence. Always follow local guidelines for wildlife viewing and avoid any actions that could provoke hippos or other wild animals.


Zebra Africa RF

Botswana has a large population of zebras, which can be seen in the Okavango Delta, the Makgadikgadi Pans, and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.


African buffalos can be seen in large herds in Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta but one particular event to note is the Great Migration.

While the Great Migration of wildebeest and zebras in Tanzania and Kenya is more well-known, Botswana also hosts its own migration of buffalo, which is an awe-inspiring event for those lucky enough to witness it.

Each year, around the start of the dry season in April, up to 20,000 buffalo migrate from the Linyanti Marshes in the north of Botswana to the Savuti Marsh in the south, in search of fresh grazing land and water.

This migration takes the buffalo through a variety of landscapes, from riverine forests to open plains, and offers a spectacular opportunity to witness one of nature’s greatest spectacles.

The migration is not without its dangers, as the buffalo must navigate treacherous river crossings and confront predators such as lions and crocodiles along the way. However, the sheer size of the herd and the cooperative behavior of the buffalo help to ensure their survival.

You can view the migration by visiting the Linyanti and Savuti regions during the dry season, and there are many safari operators who offer guided tours to witness this incredible event.

What Type of Traveler Visits Botswana?

African safari elephants RF

Botswana is a popular African safari tours destination that attracts a diverse range of travelers from all over the world. The type of traveler that can be expected to visit Botswana can be broadly categorized into several groups.

Firstly, Botswana is a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. They visit Botswana to see the big five animals – lions, leopards, rhinoceros, elephants, and buffalos, and are often interested in wildlife conservation, willing to pay a premium for eco-friendly and sustainable tourism options.

Botswana is also a popular destination for adventure travelers. The country is known for its wide range of outdoor activities, including safari tours, hot-air balloon rides, quad biking, canoeing, and hiking.

Botswana is lastly popular destination for luxury travelers who seek exclusive and high-end safari experiences.

With luxury lodges and camps situated in remote locations, these travelers are willing to pay a premium for personalized service, fine dining, and lavish accommodations.

They are often interested in high-end safari experiences that are focused on exclusivity, privacy, and indulgence.

Notes For Your Safari in Africa

African safari elephant RF

Preparing for a safari in Botswana requires careful planning and preparation to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some tips on how to prepare:

Choose the right time of year: Botswana has a dry and wet season, and the best time to visit depends on what you want to see and do.

The dry season (April to October) is the best time for wildlife viewing, while the wet season (November to March) is ideal for bird watching and lush scenery.

Pack appropriate clothing: Pack light and comfortable clothing that is suitable for the weather conditions. It is also advisable to pack neutral-colored clothing for game drives, as bright colors can scare off wildlife. Don’t forget to pack a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

Choose the right gear: Consider the type of safari you’ll be going on and pack accordingly. If you’re going on a walking safari, you’ll need comfortable walking shoes and a backpack. If you’re going on a game drive, binoculars, and a camera with a good zoom lens will come in handy.

Follow safety guidelines: Always follow safety guidelines provided by your tour operator or guide. Do not venture off on your own, and always stay in designated areas for your safety and the safety of the wildlife.

Respect the wildlife and environment: Remember that you are a guest in the wildlife’s natural habitat, and it is important to respect the environment and the wildlife. Follow the “leave no trace” principle and ensure that you do not leave any litter or disturb the natural habitat.

Which of the above listed wildlife are you looking forward to seeing the most?

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 100+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.


Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *