Listed here are some of Botswana's most sought after mammals and where best to see
them. Obviously this list will be limited to areas that I have been to and will exclude
some of the private concession areas which are without doubt the best places to see
most of Botswana's wildlife. You will notice that two areas crop up time and time
again in this list - Khwai in Moremi Game Reserve and Savuti in Chobe National Park
- these two places offer, in my opinion, some of the most consistent wildlife viewing
within the National Parks.
Chobe National Park - specifically the Chobe riverfront and Savuti offer the best
Elephant watching in Botswana. Not to be missed is a trip on the Chobe River at sunset
when these magnificent animals come down to drink. Moremi Game Reserve has a large
population of Elephants and during late summer they can be found as far south as
Nxai Pan. The Tuli Block has a herd of over 1,000 Elephants and these are regularly
encountered in this area.
Lions numbers have been severely depleted in Botswana due to the demand by trophy
hunters for males in their prime - this has led to a ban on all lion hunting in Botswana
which has enabled the lion population to stabilise. Chobe National Park is a good
place to see them - the Chobe riverfront provides regular sightings of the buffalo
hunters as does Savuti. In Moremi Game Reserve the two prime locations within the
reserve are Khwai and Third Bridge. Both Nxai Pan and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve
have stable lion populations and Mabuasehube and Khutse provide sightings of the
renowned Kalahari Lions.
Leopards are found throughout Botswana and due to their secretive habits can survive
in close proximity to humans. The Leopard population is hard to estimate though they
are not considered threatened and are still on the hunting quota. Savuti in Chobe,
Khwai and Xakanaxa in Moremi are the best places to see these secretive cats. The
CKGR and Nxai Pan also can be rewarding. Elsewhere they are are most often encountered
on night drives where these are permitted.
Cheetah are a threatened species and are protected in Botswana. Their numbers have
been severely reduced due to a number of factors including hunting, disease and habitat
loss. In my view the CKGR is particularly good for seeing these beautiful cats -
specifically the northern section with its vast open plains. Sightings of cheetah
are common in Khwai and Savuti and they are seen in Nxai Pan.
The last few wild White Rhinos were translocated to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary in
1993. The KRS remains the best place to view these animals in the wild however in
the last few years a program of reintroduction into Mombo near Chief's Island, Moremi
Game Reserve has begun. It is hoped that this will facilitate the reintroduction
of Rhino into the rest of Moremi Game Reserve and into Chobe National Park in the