Aside from being an outstanding safari destination, Botswana boasts an impressive bird list, hosting nearly 600 bird species, including over 500 regularly seen varieties, offering fantastic opportunities for birdwatching enthusiasts.
Dominated by semi-desert landscapes, the country is primarily draped in dry tree, shrub, and grass savanna. Notably, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve exemplifies this terrain. Tropical woodlands, however, thrive in the wetter north (Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve) and northeast regions (Chobe National Park and Kasane Forest Reserve). In the extreme southwest, the windblown sand dunes form a transition zone between the Kalahari and Namib-Karoo zones, notably seen in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
While Botswana lacks endemic bird species, the Short-clawed Lark represents its near-endemic variety, primarily found in the grasslands of the southeast (Gaborone – Ramatlabama area). Notable populations of globally threatened species like the Wattled Crane and Slaty Egret in the north hold international significance. During periods of flooding, Sowa Pan, situated east of the Makgadikgadi Pans, attracts considerable numbers of Lesser and Greater Flamingos. Breeding occurrences in this saline lake are sporadic, influenced by water levels, such as the substantial breeding congregation of over 200,000 flamingos after the rainy season of 1999-2000.
Approximately 80% of the country falls within the Kalahari sandveld ecosystem, characterized by low shrubs, bushes, and intermittent woodland patches. This habitat hosts a diverse array of species like the Arrow-marked Babbler, Bradfield’s Hornbill, Bateleur, and Ant-eating Chat. The arid central and southwest areas, including the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, provide habitats for distinctive species such as the Ostrich, Gabar, and Pale Chanting Goshawks, alongside Kori Bustards and Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters.
Botswana boasts some of Africa’s premier safari lodges, offering unparalleled experiences amidst its stunning wilderness. With over 30 years of collective expertise in curating tours within this region, Sustainable Birding by Far & Wild is dedicated to ensuring your stay at the finest lodges. Whether nestled near the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, or other remarkable reserves, our knowledge allows us to handpick accommodations that elevate your birding experience, providing comfort and an authentic immersion into Botswana’s breath-taking landscapes.
At Sustainable Birding, we don’t offer ready-made, off-the-shelf birding tours. Our approach is deeply personalised—we meticulously craft each of our tours in Botswana from scratch, ensuring every detail aligns with your unique preferences. Whether exploring the beauty of the Okavango Delta, the diverse habitats of Chobe National Park, or the gorgeous Makgadikgadi Pans, our team of seasoned birding specialists have extensive local knowledge to make you a perfect a birding holiday.
All our birding tours in Botswana are expertly guided by our passionate, knowledgeable and experienced Botswanan tour leaders. They are some of the best guides on the planet! So, give us a call or drop us an email and let’s talk Botswana!
Reasons to go on a Tailor-made Birding Tour
• Select the exact dates that suit your schedule.
• Choose the ideal time of year for your birding adventure.
• Travel alongside your preferred companions—be it family, friends, or fellow birders.
• Set your pace—whether fast or brisk.
• Customise within your personal budget, from luxurious to budget accommodations or a mix.
• Craft a tour that matches your specific interests—whether intense birding, leisurely exploration, photography, culture, music, wine, botany, butterflies, herpetology, geology, diving, hiking, and beyond.
• Our team is here to cater to your interests and ensure a fulfilling birding holiday.
Explore our selection of Scheduled Group Birding Tours in Botswana. These groups tours have been designed to fit different birding preference and time restraints. Typically, our group tours are more affordable, and allow people to meet up and make lifelong memories with fellow birders. All our group tours are small and come with an expert Tour Leader, having groups no bigger than 6 individuals, so you still get that intimate feeling and the full attention of the Tour Leader.
Please refer to our Birding Calendar for tour schedules, dates, and fixed prices.
High season for safari enthusiasts in Botswana predominantly flock to Botswana between May and October, with peak visitation occurring in October. This dry season facilitates overland travel, particularly in areas typically flooded during other times. Big game and other wildlife concentrate around permanent water sources, making wildlife viewing more accessible due to shorter grass. Additionally, there are fewer mosquitoes and insects compared to the rainy season.
However, the rainy season from November to March presents prime opportunities for birding as birds showcase their vibrant breeding plumage. The heaviest rains typically occur in January and February, necessitating more boat travel in the Okavango Delta. Even during this period, rainfall is sporadic, often arriving in late afternoons. Central Botswana, notably the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, holds appeal primarily during the rains. Outside this period, the area remains hot and desolate, lacking significant bird or game animal sightings except near permanent water sources.
The Makgadikgadi Pans are accessible by land during the dry season, offering a somewhat desolate yet intriguing landscape. However, the rainy season unveils a spectacular sight: approximately 30,000 flamingos, best viewed from the air. Adjacent areas surrounding permanent water sources thrive during the dry season, providing glimpses of grassland birds.
For avid birders, the optimal months in Botswana are November, December, and March. These months experience less rainfall than January and February, offering exceptional birdwatching opportunities against a backdrop of stunning landscapes.
Botswana’s weather highlights a distinctive pattern shaped by its location in southern Africa. The country experiences a semi-arid climate, characterized by hot, dry conditions for a significant part of the year. From May to October, Botswana welcomes the dry season, marked by minimal rainfall and clear skies. Daytime temperatures often soar, averaging between 35-40°C, while nights provide relief with temperatures dropping to around 26°C. This period is the peak season for tourism allowing for easier overland travel, wildlife congregating around permanent water sources, and enhanced game viewing due to shorter grass.
Conversely, the rainy season spans from November to March, ushering in occasional heavy rainfall, particularly in January and February. Daytime temperatures during this time drop to approximately 27°C, with nights becoming notably cooler at around 6°C. Despite the rains, they’re not an everyday occurrence and often occur in late afternoons. This season highlights lush landscapes, vibrant vegetation, and an ideal time for birding as species flaunt their striking breeding plumage. The increased rainfall transforms certain areas, like the Okavango Delta, requiring more travel by boat. This period also offers a unique spectacle at the Makgadikgadi Pans, where thousands of flamingos gather, creating a stunning aerial view worth witnessing.
Preparing for a birding tour in Botswana requires strategic packing to ensure comfort and readiness for the diverse environments encountered. Essential items include lightweight, neutral-coloured clothing suitable for both warm days and cooler evenings. Long-sleeved shirts and trousers aid in protection against the sun and potential insects, particularly during dawn and dusk excursions. Sturdy, comfortable hiking or walking shoes are crucial for walking through various terrains, from floodplains to savannahs. A wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are recommended for shielding against intense sunlight, as well as a light rain jacket or poncho in case of downpours
Equipment such as high-quality binoculars tailored for birdwatching is essential and if you have a good working camera and lens, then please bring it with you! A comprehensive field guide specific to the country’s birds, such as Field Guide to Birds of Greater Southern Africa would be recommended.
*Remember that when you book a Botswana birding tour with us over 10 days, we will send you a new complementary field guide!
The Sustainable Birding Company is a subsidiary of Far and Wild Travel, a tailor-made tour company based in Cumbria, UK. Far and Wild Travel offer sustainable, luxury, tailor-made tour itineraries throughout Africa and around the world.