The wilds of Northern Botswana safeguard the largest elephant population in the world. Huge breeding herds and large solitary bulls traverse the landscapes of Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve. Chobe’s broad-leaved woodlands and riparian forests are home to the endemic Chobe bushbuck and other lesser-known antelope species like puku, sable and roan. Chobe also boasts the highest bird species diversity in Botswana (468 species), including birds found nowhere else in the country like the Schalow’s and Purple-crested turacos, Trumpeter and Crowned hornbills and the Crested guinea fowl.Savute, in the western Chobe region is notorious for its large lion prides, historically numbering up to 30-odd individuals. The unpredictability of Savuti’s water supply has been known to set the scene for dramatic feats of survival, including hibernating crocodiles and bold lions preying on adult elephants. Savuti’s vast savanna plains are perfect for enjoying sightings of Burchell’s zebra, tsessebe, giraffe, and impala.

Botswana’s commitment to safeguarding its wildlife heritage is unparalleled in Africa. The country covers a total area of 581,730 sq km, and approximately 40% of this land falls within a wildlife-protected area. These areas are a sanctuary for the world’s largest concentration of elephant, and a stronghold for other endangered large mammals such as the black rhinoceros, African wild dog, cheetah and lion. For avian enthusiasts, there exists no better place in the world to view the Slaty Egret and Wattled Crane, and seeing the illusive Pels Fishing Owl for the first time has been known to bring bird-watchers to tears! In 2014, Botswana consolidated its position as a conservation leader by banning commercial hunting, paving the way for former hunting areas to be transformed into photographic safari destinations. The government’s decision to opt for a high-quality, low-impact tourism model means that safari-goers can generally avoid congested game drives, especially when staying in one of the many privately operated concessions, which commonly have their visitor density limited to around one guest per 50 sq km. These concessions, licensed out to top safari companies, boast some of the most luxurious yet eco-conscious lodges and camps in Africa. In order to lease the land, lodge owners must show commitment to uplifting local communities by providing jobs for people in close proximity to concession boundaries. Today wildlife and tourism employs around 45% of adults in Botswana, making it the country’s’ second largest income earner after diamonds.

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