Birding Sites in Botswana

Birding Sites in Botswana

There are numerous excellent birding sites across the country. For visitors to Botswana who are not familiar with the country, a few sites, which provide a representative selection of birds species

found in the country, are recommended here.

Kgoro Pan is in the southeast of the country near the village of Goodhope. It is a good place to see Short-clawed Lark; several pairs are resident on the open sloping sides of the large pan. A good variety of other birds are present in the area, including notably Sociable Weaver and Pink-billed Lark.

Bokaa Dam to the north of Gaborone is the best site, in terms of numbers of birds and variety of species, to see waterbirds in the south of Botswana. When water levels are dropping it is very good for waders, including, notably, Black-winged Pratincoles. A permit, obtainable for a small fee from the Water Utilities headquarters in central Gaborone, is necessary to visit this site.

Moremi Gorge in the Tswapong Hills to the east of Palapye, is a deep gorge through which a stream flows, with a breeding colony of Cape Vultures. Both African Black Swift and Alpine Swift should be looked for here in summer and Boulder Chats are present on the steep sides of the gorge. A good variety of other species are found in the area.

The Limpopo River in the east of Botswana has a distinctive avifauna. Birding in the riverine woodland along the river is very good. There several camps or lodges along the river which provide access to the river and excellent bird-watching, including Stevensford, near Martin’s Drift, Limpopo River Lodge, near Platjan, and Tuli Lodge, near Pont Drift.

Khutse Game Reserve, 200 km northwest of Gaborone is an excellent area to see a great variety of raptors, bustards and other bird species typical of the Kalahari.

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the southwest of the country, though far from the main population centres, is well worth a visit. The Mabuasehube section of the park is well known for its raptors. The Nossob Valley has an avifauna, including species like Sociable Weaver, Pygmy Falcon, Dusky Sunbird and Ludwig’s Bustard, which is quite different to the rest of the country.

Nata is one of the best localities in the whole country to look at birds. Within the Nata Sanctuary, saline lagoons, the Nata River delta, the open waters of Sua Pan and dry grassland all provide different habitats to look for a great variety birds. Both species of flamingo are found at Nata Sanctuary in large numbers when water levels in Sua Pan are favourable. The vicinity of Nata Lodge is also a good locality to look for birds.

Rysana Pan, to the west of Orapa, though somewhat difficult of access, has large numbers of waterbirds when it is inunadated with water. The grass and dry bush surrounding the pan are also very good for birds, particularly species like Pink-billed Lark and Rufous-eared Warbler.

Lake Ngami is an outstanding site for birds. Access, however can be difficult especially when water levels are high, when access is probably best by boat. Huge numbers of birds, especially waterbirds, and a great variety of species can be found here. Some 30 km west of Lake Ngami, along the road to Kareng, the dry grasslands of the Dautsa Flats also provide good birding, with a quite different range of species to that found at Lake Ngami.

shakawe on the Okavango River is an excellent locality to look for birds. The Okavango River, the extensive reedbeds along the river and the well-developed riverine woodland all provide different habitats to look for birds. Species such as Pel’s Fishing Owl and White-backed Night-Heron are easily located here. Most birders stay at the camps along the river to the south of Shakawe.

Savuti Marsh, between Maun and Kasane, has, with the exception of a few years in the early years of the 21st century, generally been dry. Nevertheless is an outstanding locality to look for raptors, notably Bateleurs and vultures, and also other species such as bustards and pratincoles.

The Kasane area probably provides the best birding, in terms of species variety, in the whole of the country. The Chobe floodpains west of Kasane, the Chobe River between Kasane and Kazungula and the teak woodlands to the south of Kasane all provide different habitats to look for a great variety of bird species.