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Best places to see elephants in Botswana

Botswana is home to some of the largest herds and populations of Elephants in Africa - read on to find out some of the best places to see them.

Richard

Richard

African Specalist
Published on

23 Dec 2020

Read time

3 minutes

Migration Expeditions Nxai Pan Botswana Shaun Stanley 2015 11

If seeing elephants is high up your agenda, then a Botswana safari holiday will not let you down!

With numbers thought to be in excess of 130,000 Botswana is home to roughly a third of Africa’s overall elephant population.

Since a hunting ban in 2014, the elephant number in Botswana have been gradually increasing and their efforts have received praise from conservationists around the world. Recently however a lift in the ban has created much discussion and divided opinion. On one hand elephant numbers have increased to a point where the government is now stating that the populations are causing growing conflict between humans and elephants resulting in destroyed conflicts and on the other hand you have Botswana as one of the elephants final population strong holds and almost a talisman for the rest of Africa.

That being said, do not let this news deter you from visiting. Wildlife tourism accounts for almost a fifth of Botswana’s economy and the more people that travel to this incredible environment, the more importance the countries wildlife holds.

Elephants In  Chobe  National  Park
Elephants in Chobe national park
Muchenje Safari Lodge Elephant Splash
elephants love to swim

Where to see elephant

Elephants are predominantly found throughout Northern Botswana including the Okavango Delta, Chobe, Linyanti and down the Eastern Border into the Tuli Block, However numbers do venture down into the Nxai Pan National Park and into the Northern part of the Makgadikgai during certain times of the year.


Chobe National Park

River Safari At  Chobe  Game  Lodge
Chobe Rive, Botswana

Chobe National Park is the home of the elephant in Botswana, and rightly so. Its year-round population made up of huge herds bring in large numbers of visitors.

Although elephants can be seen on the banks of the Chobe River all year round, the best time to witness this spectacle is during the summer months from late May through to mid-November. At this point, many of the surrounding water holes have dried up and the Chobe River is many of the animals only remaining water source.

Due to its location, The Kasane/Chobe area can be a lot busier than other parts of Botswana so its important to take this into account when looking for the right camp or lodge for you.

From my own experience I can recommend Ngoma Lodge and Muchenji Safari Lodge, which are located away from the hustle and bustle, these are also great for a Botswana family holiday.

& Beyonds Chobe Under Canvas is a personal favourite of mine as it is one of the only camps inside the national park and its luxury tented style means it is moved every 5 days.

Finally, located slightly close the main gate and on the banks of the Chobe River, I would also recommend Chobe Game Lodge or Chobe Savanna lodge which is run by Desert & Delta. Chobe Game Lodge is a romantic, luxury lodge and is particularly popular as a treat on a Botswana honeymoon or luxury Botswana safari.

Ngoma Safari Lodge Main Deck
Ngoma Safari Lodge - Chobe National Park
Muchenje  Safari  Lodge  Fire Deck At Night
Muchenje Safari Lodge - Chobe National Park

& Beyonds Chobe Under Canvas is a personal favourite of mine as it is one of the only camps inside the national park and its luxury tented style means it is moved every 5 days.

Finally, located slightly close the main gate and on the banks of the Chobe River I would also recommend Chobe Game Lodge or Chobe Savanna lodge which are run by Desert & Delta.

All of these lodges and camps also have sister properties the Okavango Delta and surrounding areas so some brilliant tailor-made trips can be designed.

Our best of Botswana with Victoria Falls trip starts from £11,467pp including flights for 16 days and includes two nights at Chobe Game Lodge, as well as visiting Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta and Central Kalahari. Find out more here...

Chobe  Under  Canvas Campfire
&Beyond Chobe Under Canvas
Rooms At Chobe Game Lodge
Chobe Game Lodge

Linyanti

Heading west along the Botswana/Caprivi Strip border you will reach the Linyanti and the Kwando Linyanti concession.

Linyanti Bush Camp Boat River Safari
enjoy a mokoro safari in linyanti

From my experience this area rivals Chobe but also provides an even more exclusive experience with the addition of a higher number of predators and carnivores.

There are a few camps up here which really tick all of the boxes for game viewing, one of which is Kwando Lagoon Camp. Located in the huge, private Kwando Reserve between the banks of the Chobe and Okavango Rivers this area is home to thousands of elephants. On a recent 2 night stay we were treated to leopard sightings, lion, the illusive brown hyena and to top it off the daily visit of mega herds of 300+ elephant drinking from the lagoon in front of our rooms on a daily basis.

Okavango Delta

Wynand Uys 4 Zca3Xuk Iso Unsplash
explore the waterways of the okavango delta

The Okavango Delta is literally full of elephants all year round. Being a permanent home for huge populations you would actually be very unlucky to go on a game drive from any of the camps without seeing a large number. Maybe not quite the huge herds you would see up in the Chobe and the Linyanti but usually small family herds ranging from 5-30 elephants or large loan bulls.

Some of my favourite encounters in the Okavango Delta have been during walks or just stopping by a waterhole and sitting and waiting. In particular whilst on a self-drive in North of Moremi in the Khwai Community Concession. With friends we had decided to put down a blanket under a tree for lunch and sit and watch a water hole, over the next 2 hours we watched a constant flow of elephants coming into to drink as one group interacted with the next. I think this is the perfect way to observe elephants. Thinking back to some of my favourite elephant encounters these all have something in common. I am usually relaxing on the porch of my tent going through photos from the morning game drive or watching over a waterhole with a sundown in the evening.

Elephants are plentiful throughout the Okavango and Northern parts of Botswana so you will never have any issues seeing them, I think what makes a sighting a great elephant sighting is being able to relax whilst watching them, being slow, graceful creatures its good to sit and spend a decent amount of time watching their behaviour and seeing how they interact with each other.

Our Botswana active safari from £4,947pp for 11 days gives you the chance to get our on foot and stretch your legs giving you a new way to experience safari as well as traditional 4x4 game drives. Find out more

Wynand Uys C8 Wih0H Ks Ya Unsplash
elephants playing in the water
Felix M Dorn Niz P9 Lwl2R M Unsplash
male elephant, Botswana

Botswana is essentially full of incredible areas to view elephants, the difficult part of planning your trip is picking areas and camps that work well with each other and that will allow you to have fantastic elephant sightings but also provide sightings of other species. This is why it's important to contact a specialist and speak to someone who knows what each camp has to offer and how the wildlife works in that area at the time of year you wish to travel.

To start planning your Botswana safari holiday, call our experts on 01768 603 715. Whether you are looking to see specifically elephant or the full big five, we can help.

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    Richard

    African Specalist

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