Most Likely Animals You’ll See in Botswana

Most Likely Animals You’ll See in Botswana

Are you heading to the beautiful Botswana, for a safari adventure? If you are, don’t forget to pack your camera, because you’ll encounter almost every wild animal you can think of, and you’ll want to keep the proof! There is an abundance of animals in Botswana, boasting a prosperous number of bird species, fauna, and flora.

The surroundings emit a deep feeling of presence, even though you’re in a desolate location, and this is attributed to the amount of life that is out there. From the world’s most popular beasts, to the rare, endangered species; you’ll be in for a treat when you visit this prime location!

It’s no wonder, the likes of Prince Harry frequently return to this magnificent part of the world. Not only do the sights leave you speechless, but the experiences found here are unlike any other place, on earth. The surroundings are majestic, the sunsets are breathtaking, the wildlife and bird species are spectacular, and the feeling of peace and tranquility is utterly priceless. Nothing can prepare you for an adventure such as this. It’s a place that overwhelms every one of your senses, and you’ll leave feeling deeply fulfilled.

But, still, one of the most attractive features, that cause people to flock to Botswana from all around the globe; is the wildlife. If you interested to know more about the animals in Botswana then read our list of the most likely animals you’ll see during your safari experience.

Animals in Botswana

Leopard

Leopard are one of the animals in Botswana seen on safari
Leopards are very solitary animals who spend the majority of their time alone and each have their own territory.

You’ve probably seen plenty of footage on TV, and many beautiful photos in wildlife photography books, of leopards. That’s because they’re the most photogenic, charismatic animals, you’ll find in the wild. They live a lonely life, which makes them challenging to spot but when you do, you don’t want to leave!

Leopards are one of Africa’s iconic Big 5 and are usually found in dense riverine bush or around rocky hills, emerging in the afternoon or at night to hunt.

Did you know?

Leopards are the next-biggest cat after a lion, with an average body mass of between 60kg and 70kg. These cats prefer to stalk or ambush their prey, getting close enough before making a brief explosive charge. Leopards are able to carry animals heavier than themselves and will often drag their prey into high trees. This enables them to protect their food from scavengers like hyena.

Where to find these animals in Botswana: They are usually found perched upon a branch of a large, shady tree, or wondering about in the sands of the Kalahari, or deep in the Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve. They are also seen on the banks of the Chobe River which is the only permanent source of water in Chobe National Park.

Elephant

Two elephants caressing - animals in Botswana
Elephants have a very structured social order, with females spending their entire lives in family groups made up of mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and daughters.

Elephants are the gentle giants of the wild and they’re always a hit with the tourists! They usually live in large herds and enjoy being close to the water where they can take an afternoon bathe and freshen up when the African sun gets a little uncomfortable. Elephants are one of the Big 5 and are incredible to watch.

Did you know?

Elephants are the world’s largest land mammal, weighing up to 6 000 kgs (6.6 tons) and measuring up to 3.3 m (10 ft.) at the shoulder.

An African elephant’s trunk is extremely versatile, using it to smell, breathe, detect vibrations, suck up water, grasp grass and branches, and caress their young.

The tusks, which elephants are sadly poached for; are used for digging, foraging, fighting, an a resting place for their very heavy trunks.

Where to find these animals in Botswana: Chobe National Park is the best place in the world to see the largest herds of wild elephant. Elephants can also be seen in the Okavango Delta.

Lions and Lionesses

Male African lion - animals in Botswana
The role of male lions involves establishing and maintaining dominance, along with fathering cubs.

Lions and lionesses live in abundance, in Botswana. If you’re lucky, you may even see the incredible spectacle of these beasts going —in for the kill on an unsuspecting victim. When they’re not feasting on the likes of Buffalo and Impala, these big cats love to laze under a shady tree and roam the open plains of the desolate land.

They are often referred to as the kings and queens of the African bushveld as they face no real threats on land, other than a charging elephant and human poaching. They are one of the Big 5 and are the second largest cats in the world.

Did you know?

Male lions spend most of their time guarding their territory and their cubs, whilst female lions are the primary hunters in the pride.

They are the laziest of the big cats, spending as much as 16-20 hours of their day sleeping or resting.

It is believed that the darker the mane of a male lion, the more attractive the male is to lionesses. Male lions with darker manes tend to have higher levels of testosterone.

Where to find these animals in Botswana: Lions could be found in most places across Botswana! From the outskirts of the Okavango Delta to the dry areas near the Kalahari which is well-known for its tree-climbing lions. Lions aren’t fussy about the terrain, as long as there’s a good supply of food.

Giraffe

Sighting of three Giraffe - animals in Botswana
Giraffes are the tallest mammals on earth – approximately 6 feet taller than the average human.

Giraffes are stunning, long-necked creatures, who make for rather good ‘models,’ considering their strange structure. They don’t mind visitors coming up fairly close to them, so you’re sure to get some beautiful shots of these gorgeous creatures.

Did you know?

Giraffes are the tallest mammals on the planet. Their legs alone are about 1,82 meters long and they can run as fast as 56 kilometers per an hour over short distances.

Giraffes spend most of their lives standing up; they even sleep and give birth standing up.

Calves stand up and walk after an hour of being born.

A giraffe’s spots can be compared to human fingerprints, no two giraffe having the same pattern.

Where to find these animals in Botswana: Giraffe are seen throughout northern and central Botswana, particularly Central Kalahari, the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park.

Hippo

Hippo with its mouth open - animals in Botswana
Hippo are only territorial while in the water and has the fourth most powerful bite in the world.

Hippos, although dangerous, are interesting fellas. Most of the time they live with a multitude of friends, but sometimes you’ll see one living a solitary life. This is because male hippos who exude dominance, are often kicked out of the herd, as they’re seen as a threat to the other males. Hippos love spending time in the water, and you may not even realize it’s a hippo; all you’ll see is two glaring eyes, on the surface of the water.

Did you know?

Hippos bask on the shoreline and secrete an oily red substance which looks like blood but is actually a skin moisturizer and sunblock.

An adult Hippo needs to surface every 3 to 5 minutes in order to breathe.

Hippo calves weigh approximately 45 kilograms at birth and suckle under water by closing their ears and nostrils.

Hippos can travel on land for up to 10 kilometers and tend to spend four to five hours grazing. They can consume as much as 68 kilograms of grass in one night.

Where to find these animals in Botswana: Seeing as they enjoy swimming during the day, you’ll find them in abundance, in the Okavango Delta and the Chobe River.

Wild Dog

Wild dogs on a hunt - animals in Botswana
Wild dogs sneeze to initiate a hunt and use their bushy white tails as a flag. They are very successful hunters.

Wild dogs are endangered, so you’ll want to get a good sighting of them before it’s too late! They have a brindle-like coloring, and look very much like household dogs, but don’t be fooled; these predators give the Lions a run for their money. They are one of the most strategic animals, and they almost never fail at catching a kill.

Did you know?

Female wild dogs are bigger than males and are better at hunting.

Only the alpha pair are allowed to have pups and the rest of the pack help look after them.

They have unique coats, rounded ears, and four toes on each foot – unlike other dogs.

They are called painted wolves because they can never be tamed and do not interbreed.

Where to find these animals in Botswana: Wild dogs can be seen in Moremi Reserve and in Northern Botswana (Okavango Delta, Linyanti, Savuti, Kwando & Selinda)

Zebra

Lone zebra grazing in the bush - animals in Botswana
Although related to horses, zebra have very different temperaments and can be far more aggressive and a lot more dangerous. There have been accounts of zebra killing lions.

The Zebra is the national animal of Botswana, and you’ll see a multitude of them, wherever you go. From a distance, they look like a blur, due to their black and white stripes; and this confuses their predators, too!

Did you know?

There are three different species of Zebra: the plains zebra, Grevy’s zebra and mountain zebra.

Like horses and donkeys, Zebra are part of the equidae family.

Zebras run from side to side when being chased by a predator and and can reach speeds of up to 65 kilometers per hours when galloping.

Newborn Foals can start running with the herd within a few hours of being born.

Where to find zebra in Botswana: During the rainy season, zebra migrate to the Makgadigadi Game Reserve and are commonly found in the Chobe National Park, Okavango Delta, and Savute.

Wildebeest

Two wildebeest roaming the bush - animals in Botswana
Main predators of wildebeest are lion, hyena, cheetah and African wild dog. It is for this reason that wildebeest gather in groups of about 150 during mating and breeding season.

Wildebeest and Zebra co-exist, which means if you see the one, you’ll most likely see the other! the name Wildebeest means “wild beast” which derived from their appearance and tempered nature. Wildebeest live in large herds as a means of protecting themselves from predators and both males and females are equipped with a lengthy set of horns.

Did you know?

Wildebeest are often found in areas where there is dense bushlands, open grasslands or woodland floodplains.

At approximately the age of one year, males tend to leave their herd and join a “bachelor” herd. When they are around 4 or 5 years old, them become extremely territorial and then leave the group.

Female wildebeest give birth to one calf in the center of the herd and once calves are born they are able to stand on their feet after six minutes.

Where to find these animals in Botswana: Makgadigadi Game Reserve and the Okavango Delta

African Buffalo

African buffalo - animals in Botswana
Buffalo weigh anything between 300 kilograms and 860 kilograms and have horns that grow up to 1,5 meters long. Buffalo are known to kill more hunters than any other species.

The African buffalo roam in large herds throughout Botswana. They’re usually the chosen meal for lions, so keep your eyes peeled for the big cats lurking about when you come across herds of buffalo. Buffalo are part of the iconic Big 5 that people around the world seek out on safari.

Did you know?

Buffalo are four times stronger than ox and have an exceptional memory. They are known to attack those who have previously threatened them and will even target cubs of lions who tried to hurt them.

When predators are about, the buffalo herd form a circle around the young, old or weak animals, showing off their large and sharp horns to predators.

Buffalo have poor eyesight and sense of hearing, but their sense of smell is excellent.

Where to find buffalo in Botswana: Chobe National Park and Okavango Delta.

Rhino

Rhino mom and calf - animals in Botswana
Rhino are an endangered species in Africa as poachers take their horns which are made primarily of Keratin, with the Chinese belief that it cures a number of ailments and is commonly used as a status symbol to display success and wealth.

Rhino’s, as we know are extremely endangered. Many of them have been moved from South Africa to Botswana, away from potential poachers. You won’t want to miss these majestic creatures, especially because they may not be around, in the distant future. But, we’re staying positive, as the nature conservationists of Botswana are doing a great job at keeping them safe from danger.

Did you know?

Rhino horns are not bone but made of keratin which is what you find in your hair and fingernails.

Rhino love the mud as it acts as a sunblock and protects them from insects.

A group of rhinos are called a crash of rhinos.

Where to find these animals in Botswana: The Concessions surrounding the Okavango Delta.

Meerkats

Meerkat on the lookout - animals in Botswana
Meerkats are incredibly cute and average about 50 centimeters in length, including their tail. There is always one meerkat that stands on its hind legs – on the look out for predators. 

Meerkats are by far the cutest animals you’ll see, in the wild (unless you see cubs and wild dog puppies). They’re inquisitive creatures, and pretty friendly, too! If you’re lucky, they may even climb onto you! Not because they want to make friends, but rather because they’re always looking for higher ground.

Did you know?

Meerkats live in family groups called gangs or mobs and are led by an alpha pair.

The alpha female is most dominant.

Meerkats are able to eat poisonous scorpions, pulling off their deadly stinger in the blink of an eye.

Where to find Meerkats in Botswana: Makgadigadi National Park.

 

Not sure where to travel to in Botswana or when is the best time for a safari?

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