Botswana

Such is the filtering effect of the millions of papyrus plants in the Okavango Delta that one can dip in and drink from the limpid waters in most places in perfect safety. While doing so a visitor may suddenly hear a sound like an express train roaring by—it is a herd of lechwe, a marsh-dwelling antelope, fleeing wild dogs or other predators.

Wildlife reserves make up nearly one-sixth of this landlocked country about the size of France in mid-south Africa. Famed among them is the Okavango Delta, largest inland river delta in the world and a wildlife paradise. Most of the Delta (except for the Moremi Reserve) has no formal protection; however, except for persistent proposals to divert its water for mining and agriculture uses, it has not been developed. Botswana’s economy is largely supported by mineral resources, especially diamonds— but development of a modern livestock industry has in some places threatened wildlife areas. As its wildlife resources have become increasingly better known, their economic advantages as a tourist destination have strengthened the country’s will to protect them.

Botswana’s gentle, easy-going people, who have a 70 percent literacy rate, have generally supported wildlife protection, especially where wise policies have given communities an economic stake in it. There remain great pressures on the country—among them one of the world’s highest AIDS rates, and neighbors who also covet the water that brings life to Okavango.

MOREMI on the Delta’s southeast edge was set aside by tribal landowners concerned about their dwindling wildlife resources as the result of safari hunters. CHOBE NATIONAL PARK, the country’s other world-class reserve, partly adjoins Moremi to the east and shares much of its wildlife. Herbivores include large herds of elephants (an estimated 50,000) as well as buffalo, impala, and kudu. Watery areas attract hippos and crocodiles as well as spectacular birds, including rare wattled cranes, African fish eagles, colorful bee-eaters, kingfishers, and others.

 Water in the Okavango, world’s largest inland river delta, is purified to drinking quality by its waving expanses of head-high gold-green papyrus reeds. It is so clear that hippos can be seen walking along the bottom. Many animals that forage in these vast, nutritious marshes of the “river that never reaches the sea” have special adaptations, such as splayed hooves for better footing.

Water in the Okavango, world’s largest inland river delta, is purified to drinking quality by its waving expanses of head-high gold-green papyrus reeds. It is so clear that hippos can be seen walking along the bottom. Many animals that forage in these vast, nutritious marshes of the “river that never reaches the sea” have special adaptations, such as splayed hooves for better footing.

Click on image for description.

The best times to visit are during May–October dry season, but see below for individual variations. May skies are clear and blue, with lush vegetation, and young wildlife families grazing. Later, as vegetation dries, animals are attracted to scarcer water, making for better wildlife viewing (although October can be hot, windy, and dusty). Most rain falls between December–March and in the north can make roads impassable. Winter nights in July–August can be well below freezing (remember, seasons are reversed north and south of the equator).

Small lodges and camping facilities are available in and around many reserves; most visitors use safari operators for guidance.

Driving in the national parks requires 4WD. Fuel, water, and other supply points are few and far between.

Botswana

CHOBE NATIONAL PARK

MOREMI WILDLIFE RESERVE

OKAVANGO DELTA as well as...

Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Khutse Game Reserve

Mabuasehube Game Reserve

Makgadikgadi Pans Game Reserve

Mashatu Game Reserve

Nxai Pan National Park

Stevensford Private Game Reserve


More about the Reserves in Botswana

Each button selection will take you to a site outside the Nature's Strongholds site, in a separate window so that you may easily return to the reserve page.


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 Botswana Predator Conservation Trust For over two decades, the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust has been working to study and preserve wildlife in Africa.

Botswana Predator Conservation Trust
For over two decades, the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust has been working to study and preserve wildlife in Africa.

 Cheetah Conservation Botswana (CCB) aims to preserve the nation’s cheetah population through scientific research, community outreach and conservation education, working with rural communities to promote coexistence with Botswana’s rich diversity of carnivore species.

Cheetah Conservation Botswana (CCB) aims to preserve the nation’s cheetah population through scientific research, community outreach and conservation education, working with rural communities to promote coexistence with Botswana’s rich diversity of carnivore species.

 Tusk's approach to conservation recognises that the long term future for wildlife and Africa's other natural resources is dependant on sustainable rural development. more... Tusk believes that if conservation is to succeed and environmental degradation to be reversed then education needs to be promoted at an early age.

Tusk's approach to conservation recognises that the long term future for wildlife and Africa's other natural resources is dependant on sustainable rural development. more... Tusk believes that if conservation is to succeed and environmental degradation to be reversed then education needs to be promoted at an early age.