Viewing the Wildlife
Parks and reserves have been established for the protection of the wildlife. Here, in the wilderness of Botswana, it is you who are the intruder and your presence is a privilege.
Game viewing is usually at its best during the dry season - in winter (May to August) and in the hot springtime months of September and October, when the animals are concentrating near rivers, pools and waterholes. The chances of spotting lions are better just after sunrise then at other times. In summer, most of the game tends to lie up during the heat of the day, so the recommended times to set out on drives are the early mornings and late afternoons. Elephants, though, are wide-awake and active in and around the rivers in the hotter hours.
Approach big game with caution; don't make any unnecessary movement or noise, and be prepared to drive on quickly if warning signs appear (if, for instance, an elephant turns head-on to you and flaps its ears). Keep down-wind if possible; remember that just about any wild creature can be dangerous if startled, irritated or, most importantly, cornered. Do not under any circumstances cut off an animal's line of retreat.
Binoculars are an essential part of the birdwatcher's equipment (7x30, 8x35 or 10x40 are recommended - the first figure is magnification and second is diametre of the front lens).
Certain areas of Botswana are renowned for large populations of Elephants, specifically Chobe National Park. During the wet season, countless animals including elephants can be seen heading down to the Chobe river in the National Park for a drink. More and more Elephants have been sighted drinking from private plunge pools at lodges that are situated along the Chobe River instead of the river itself. This is one of the most spectacular close encounters one can experience while on vacation in Botswana.
Below are photographs of Elephants spotted by Garth Thompson at Ngoma Safari Lodge in Botswana.