10 Best Botswana Game Parks

Last updated on June 6th, 2023 at 09:47 pm

The abundance of wildlife in Botswana is unmatched by many other safari destinations. With 50,000 elephants, Botswana has the biggest population of elephants in the entire world. The country is also home to numerous other animal species.

In addition, there are plenty of giraffes, springboks, wildebeest, zebras, antelopes, kudu, and lechwe antelopes, as well as big cats like cheetahs and hyenas, oryxes, hippos, crocodiles, bat-eared foxes, baboons, and vervet monkeys in Botswana. 

More than 500 species of birds, including ostriches, storks, flamingos, vultures, herons, and cranes, can be found in the humid areas of the country and lake environments.

The parks of Botswana are also home to more than 150 different species of reptiles and amphibians, including several species of tortoises, turtles, Nile crocodiles, long-tailed thread snakes, and black mamba snakes.

Visitors can see this wildlife in any of the many stunning parks and reserves that dot the nation, and the top ten game parks in Botswana are:

1. Okavango Delta

okavango delta Botswana
Okavango Delta

Okavango Delta, one of Africa’s last great natural sanctuaries and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to enormous concentrations of wildlife.

The fact that the annual flooding of the River Okavango takes place during the dry season is one of the delta’s distinguishing features.

Some of the most threatened species in the world, including the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog, and lion, can be found in the Okavango Delta.

It is home to 500 species of birds, including 22 that are globally threatened, along with 160 mammals, 155 reptiles, 30 amphibians, 80 fish species, 1500 plant species, and a large number of amphibians.

Absolutely, yes! The Okavango Delta is a significant wildlife area that is renowned for its exceptional wildlife and abundant wildlife and birds.

The Okavango Delta is a year-round safari destination due to its permanent wetland and plentiful wildlife. But for the finest experience, plan to visit from June to August or from September to October.

2. Chobe National Park

Chobe River Botswana
Image by Tati Halabi from Pixabay

Undoubtedly one of Southern Africa’s top national parks, Chobe National Park is a haven for wildlife. The Chobe River is breathtaking at first sight and is home to a variety and concentration of wildlife unrivaled outside of Botswana.

The elephant population in Chobe is estimated to be approximately 50,000, which is more than anyplace else on the continent. This area is home to Kalahari elephants, which have the greatest herd sizes of any known elephant population.

All throughout the year, Chobe is one of the best sites in Africa to witness wildlife in large numbers, but this is especially true from April to October when the animals are drawn to the river.

The best time to see lions and spotted hyenas are during early morning game drives. Also very popular are boat excursions and walking safaris and the park’s natural setting makes for fantastic photo opportunities.

Given that this park has over 450 kinds of birds, birdwatching is another popular activity.

The best months to visit Chobe National Park are May through October because this is when one can expect to enjoy the most intense game viewing along rivers and waterholes. The greatest time to travel if you enjoy birdwatching is from August to December because migrating birds come during this time.

3. Tsodilo Hills

Tsodilo hills Botswana
Rock drawings at Tsodilo Hills

The Tsodilo Hills are a range of hills that have one of the world’s largest numbers of rock carvings. The Tsodilo Hills were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001 because of the extraordinary uniqueness of these artworks.

Over 4,500 rock drawings can be found at Tsodilo, which is thought to have been created more than 2,000 years ago.

The San people of the Kalahari desert attach a special religious and spiritual significance to the Tsodilo Hills and the site is revered by the locals as a location of devotion by ancestor spirits.

The hill frequently evokes a fascinating sense of spirituality among visitors. While some tourists become so disturbed by this that they wish to leave the hills, others find the hills to be utterly enchanting and entrancing.

The Tsodilo Hills are home to 500 distinct sites that together indicate thousands of years of human occupation, making them one of the most important rock art sites in history. The actual age of the paintings is unknown, but some are considered to be over 20,000 years old while others are only a century or two old.

There are several walking paths in the area, such as the Rhino Trail, Lion Trail, and Cliff Trail, which are great for tourists to enjoy the scenery and see the rock art.

The Tsodilo Hills are a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of their distinctive spiritual and religious importance to the locals as well as their exceptional record of human settlement through many millennia.

4. Moremi Game Reserve

Moremi Game Reserve Botswana
Moremi Game Reserve

Botswana’s Moremi Game Reserve is a protected region located on the eastern side of the Okavango Delta.

Even the most seasoned tourists to Africa will find surprises at every turn at the Moremi Game Reserve, one of the most diversified reserves. The reserve, which makes up around 25% of the Okavango Delta, features a beautiful panorama of islands, woodlands, lagoons, and floodplains.

All seasons offer good opportunities for viewing wildlife, such as lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, African wild dogs, zebras, red lechwe, and many other species.

More than 400 of the Okavango’s bird species, including the African fish eagle, crested crane, and sacred ibis, can be found in the Moremi Game Reserve. This enormous variety of animal, bird, insect, plant, fish, and reptile species have adjusted to the swampy conditions of the Okavango Delta.

Although the Moremi Game Reserve is open all year round, the greatest time to see wildlife is from July through October during the dry season.

5. Central Kalahari Game Reserve

black maned lion Botswana

Central Kalahari Game Reserve is the largest game reserve in Botswana and the second largest in the world. It is situated in the heart of the Kalahari Desert.

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is the most remote in Southern Africa and is home to stunning game species like the rhino, black-maned lion, and elephants that have adapted to the desert.

It’s fascinating to learn how these animals have evolved to deal with the lack of water in order to survive.

The Kalahari desert is thought to be the best venue in Africa to see cheetahs in the wild. You can easily see the cheetah, black-maned lion, leopard, and the endangered African wild dog in action thanks to the Kalahari’s open terrain.

This game reserve is well-known for its thrilling game drives, close encounters with bushmen, birding, nature walks, night drives to see Kalahari nocturnal animals, and stargazing.

6. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park Botswana
Game drive at Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

With roughly 70% of the park located in Botswana, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a vast wilderness that is shared and cooperatively maintained by Botswana and South Africa. The entire park is unfenced, allowing wildlife to wander freely along prehistoric migration patterns that promote survival in the hard desert climate.

Game drives are a great thrill because of all the stunning landscape and numerous wildlife in the arid, open spaces.

In addition to hyenas, bat-eared foxes, yellow mongooses, suricates, jackals, meerkats, and big cats, the park is home to huge numbers of lions, cheetahs, and leopards. The desert-adapted springbok and gemsbok are the main antelope species.

With over 300 different bird species in the area, including raptors, migrating birds, the tawny eagle, bateleur, white-backed and lappet-faced vulture, and black-chested snake eagle, there are also excellent photo opportunities for birdwatchers.

The greatest time to see animals is during the transition from the wet season (October to April) to the dry season (May to September). There will be enough water in the rivers for a large number of animals to congregate there after the worst of the heat has passed.

7. Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

Makgadikgadi Pans National Park Botswana

The Makgadikgadi Pan is one of the biggest salt flats in the world and is located in the middle of a dry savannah in northeastern Botswana.

This expanse of white sand and salt is home to one of Africa’s largest zebra herds.

Here, you can find palm groves and amazing Baobab trees, whose branches resemble roots more than leaves, giving them the nickname “upside down tree.”

The best time to watch birds is from November to March, and from April to October is when animals like springbok, gemsbok, wildebeest, and zebra migrate from the park’s pans region in the southeast to the Boteti River on the western side.

Game viewing, guided tours of historical sites, bird watching, quad-bike excursions to the impassable Makgadikgadi salt pans, and guided walks.

8. Nxai Pan National Park

Nxai Pan National Park Botswana

The Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is located to the north of the Nxai Pans National Park. Enormous salt pans dominate the park and attract large herds of animals, particularly during and after the wet season.

The Nxai Pans National Park’s principal attractions are the interesting landscapes, a cluster of seven enormous baobab trees known as the Baines Baobabs,/ and a watering hole frequently frequented by a pride of lions.

Nxai Pan is accessible all year round, during the dry season (April to October) when animals migrate to other areas in search of water and don’t expect to encounter much wildlife. The region comes to life in December after the rains when large herds of zebra and wildebeest, along with other wildlife, arrive to feast on the new grass.

It’s very common to take a day trip to Baines’ Baobabs, which usually includes a picnic lunch. A walk with one of the bushmen trackers, an educational tour that takes place within the camp’s perimeter, is another well-liked activity at Nxai Pan.

Discover how the San bushmen used to live their nomadic lifestyle, including how they hunted, gathered food and water, and which plants they used as medicines. Their depth of authentic bush knowledge is unmatched, and many visitors enjoy learning from them.

9. Savuti National Park

Botswana

Botswana’s Savuti National Park is a popular safari location in southern Africa and has served as the setting for numerous renowned documentaries.

One of the highest concentrations of wildlife on the African continent can be found in Savuti, which is southwest of Chobe National Park. Visitors can view a wide variety of game year-round, including giraffes, elephants, zebras, and buffalo, as well as big cat predators like lions, cheetahs, and hyenas.

It is well-known for the region’s yearly zebra migration and the pursuing lions, hyenas, and cheetahs that accompany it.

Popular activities in Savuti National Park include bird watching, safari walks, and extreme sports like skydiving, sandboarding, and white water rafting.

10. Selinda Reserve

Botswana
Image by Josiane Boute from Pixabay

Selinda Reserve is a 300,000-acre private wildlife sanctuary in Botswana’s north.

Due to the few camps in the reserve, guests may enjoy a private and intimate safari with the added benefit of night drives, during which you might spot wild cats, honey badgers, or springhare.

In the reserve, which is home to enormous herds of elephants, buffalo, leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, wild dogs, lions, hyenas, jackals, and leopards, wildlife viewing is superb. Although leopard sightings are uncommon, wild dog sightings are extremely good.

More than 300 different species of birds visit the area during the rainy season.

Off-roading, nighttime wildlife drives, fishing, guided hikes, water and photo safaris, and the Selinda Canoe Trail are among the activities available in Selinda.

The best months to visit are from June to October because of the pleasant weather and the presence of wildlife.

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