Botswana is home to vast areas of savannah teeming with wildlife, making it an animal-lover’s dream. Holidays to Botswana offer an unrivalled chance to see a fantastic range of animals in their natural habitat.
You can find many of ‘the big five’ animals in the country – including lions, elephants and rhinos – in addition to numerous other iconic species.
The Kalahari Desert covers most of Botswana, making it mostly semi-arid and very sandy. In the country’s north-west, the Okavango River meets the sand and forms the Okavango Delta, and the Chobe River in the north-east runs through the Chobe National Park. The differences in landscape provide a wonderful variety of habitats for African wildlife.
The Chobe National Park is home to the world’s largest population of African elephants, and northern Botswana has a large population of endangered African Wild Dogs. The grasslands provide homes to Blue Wildebeest and antelopes, and there are even specialised animal sanctuaries like the Khama Rhino Sanctuary and the Makgadikgadi Sanctuary for flamingos.
Botswana is a haven for endangered species, and alongside the African Wild Dogs, pangolins, aardvarks and mountain reedbucks are some of the other species protected in the national parks. As well as Chobe National Park, head to Morenmi Game Reserve to see some these animals.
Botswana is especially noted for its bird life – 550 species live in the country – so definitely bring binoculars to get an up close view. In the rainy season, between September and March, the Okavango Delta is home to hundreds of species of bird, including African skimmers, pygmy geese, wattled cranes, African jacanas and bee-eaters.
Even in the drier months you will able to see a fantastic array of colourful and unusual birds. Mannyelanong Game Reserve is home to many endangered species of birds and definitely worth a visit.
Throughout Botswana you will see reptiles, such as snakes and all sizes of lizard, from leguaans to geckos. The Okavango Delta is also home to threatened Nile crocodiles, which you will hear as you travel through the Delta in traditional dug-out canoes.
If you want to sample some of Botswana’s culture, don’t miss visiting sites like Old Palapye, a historical site containing artefacts from the Stone Age and Iron Age, the Supa Ngwao Museum in Francistown, the Gcwihaba Caves and the Aha Hills. They all offer a different side to Botswana aside from the wonderful variety of animals.
The best way to explore the wildlife of Botswana is staying in a lodge or on a guided camping safari. Either option will give you knowledgeable local guides to take you around and show you the best spots to see wildlife, and share their knowledge of the wildlife.
There are also options to travel through the savannah in four-wheel drives and see these majestic animals up close in their natural habitat.
In short, Botswana is the ideal location for safari holidays – the country is a great place to see the variety of wildlife supported by the savannah and the nature reserves.