Botswana Animals and Plants

What animals are there in Botswana?

Most mammals can be found in Botswana in nature reserves and protected areas. Here they can best survive under human protection. Giraffes, zebras and various antelope species live in the Okavango Delta. The Zebra way, is the emblem of the country. The big hunters like lions and cheetahs can also be found here. There are also kudu, buffalo and elephants.

By the way, Botswana has the most elephants in all of Africa. Most of it lives in the northeast of the country. The Chobe National Park in Botswana has the largest elephant population in the world.

Next to it are the hippos who look very cozy due to their mass, but you shouldn’t get too close because they can be dangerous.

The last white rhinos live in the Makgadikgadi salt pans. Hyenas, springboks, warthogs and baboons can also be found.

Who are the Little Five?

Botswana is not only home to the famous Big Five, namely lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalo and leopards, which used to be particularly hunted. There is also the “small five”, the Little Five. These include the elephant shrew, which is an insect eater and has a long nose. The buffalo weaver bird that lives with the buffalo is one of them.

In addition, there is the rhinoceros beetle, which is not that small at all, but can reach a length of six centimeters and that’s pretty big for such a small beetle. Now all that is missing is the leopard turtle, whose shell has similar patterns to the fur of leopards, and the ant lion. This is the larva of a flying insect that likes to suckle ants.

What reptiles are there in Botswana?

In addition to mammals, several species of reptiles have a home in Botswana. These include the Nile monitors, which are not only found on the River Nile. This also applies to the Nile crocodiles.

The smart geckos also love Botswana’s climate. They exist in large numbers, but they are completely harmless and also very important as insects are part of their diet.

But there are also many dangerous species of snake in Botswana, such as the African tree snake or various species of cobra. The black mamba is also sighted. However, these species of snakes are very shy and snakes usually hide when a person approaches them.

The thick-tailed scorpions are dangerous and their stings can be dangerous, especially for children. In addition to the poisonous animals, you can also come across many non-poisonous snake species such as the South African python.

Botswana Animals


And another very important animal species can be found underground: the termites. Especially in the Kalahari – a semi-desert in Botswana – they build their buildings and dig passages in the hard ground, which is better ventilated as a result. Rainwater can also seep into the ground better this way. This creates good conditions for plants to grow in which animals can live again.

Paradise for birds: the Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta is not only a paradise for large animals, birds also live here. Bird species include clinker cranes, saddle storks and bee-eaters. Ospreys, cormorants and ibises can also be found in the areas that become marshland due to flooding during the rainy season. Pelicans and flamingos can be found on the lakes created by the rain. A total of 600 bird species have been counted in Botswana.

Danger to animals: poaching

The large animals of Africa in particular are threatened by poaching. These include above all elephants and rhinos. Many animals are hunted for their meat, but these two also for the horn. The price for a gram of rhinoceros nasal horn is higher than for a gram of gold or diamonds.

The population of large animals continues to dwindle and that worldwide. They only find protection in the reserves set up for them and even there they are still illegally hunted. Some populations are recovering, but the danger of extinction is far from over.

What is actually growing in Botswana?

The landscape of Botswana is very diverse, so the flora is also diverse, depending on where you come to. In Botswana, for example, 2,500 plants and 650 tree species have been counted.

The savannah dominates a large part of the country. Acacias and thorn bushes primarily grow here. The savannah covers about two thirds of the country. Fewer and fewer plants grow from north to south, as the south is becoming increasingly dry and hostile to life.

The northern areas of Botswana are covered by forests. Forest takes up almost 20 percent of the country. Most of the plants grow in the fertile Okavango Delta. Most of the animals live here. Here you will find vast grasslands, papyrus, reeds and especially aquatic plants in the areas that have water all year round. There are also regions that are only filled with water during the rainy season. During this time, however, a rich flora can develop. Palm trees and water figs grow here.

What is a liver sausage tree, please?

Liver sausage trees also grow in Botswana. Yes, they are actually called that. The liver sausage tree gets its name from its fruits, which are actually reminiscent of liver sausage. Elephants love to eat these fruits and they can weigh up to seven kilograms. In Africa one recommends never to sleep under such a tree, as there is a risk of being killed by the heavy fruits. You can see exactly what this fruit looks like in the photo on the left.

In the Chobe region in northern Botswana there is a special type of forest, the miombo forest. During the dry season, the trees shed their leaves in order to quickly produce a large number of new leaves when it first rains. Teak trees also grow in the Chobe National Park, the wood of which is often used to make furniture because it is very hard and durable.

There are also plants in the Kalahari. The white trunk Boscia, for example, grows here. It is also called stink tree because it gives off a very unpleasant odor. The Batswana brew beer from the brandy bush and the Mongongo tree bears nuts that the Bushmen eat as food. The buffalo thorn bears small berries as fruit, which are also edible.