Botswana: From Desert to Delta Apr 11—22, 2017

Posted by Geoff Lockwood


Geoff Lockwood

Geoff Lockwood's interest and involvement with birds dates back to his early years at school and forms part of a wider interest in the biodiversity of the Southern Afri...

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The three camps used on this itinerary were specifically chosen to provide an insight into the spectacular variety of habitats and wildlife that Botswana offers. Each offered a different facet of this amazing country—from the semi-desert of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve to the mixed woodland, floodplains, and seasonal channels in the Vumbura Concession. We wrapped up the tour in the Jao Concession, located in the northwest of the permanently flowing section of the Okavango Delta system.

Pel's Fishing-Owl

Pel’s Fishing-Owl— Photo: Geoff Lockwood


Our stay in the Kalahari Plains camp in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve produced wonderful sightings of a variety of larks, pipits, and cisticolas, along with great sightings of a variety of raptors—Secretary-birds, Pale Chanting Goshawks, Tawny Eagles, Lanner Falcon, Greater Kestrel, and both White-backed and Lappet-faced vultures.  Birding color came in the form of the striking Crimson-breasted Shrike (or Gonolek), plus a succession of brightly-colored small finches, waxbills, and whydahs. Our first night in camp brought incredible views of a pair of Barn Owls almost touching us as they flew around outside the dining area. However, the mammals, and particularly the carnivores, made for the most memorable viewing during our stay!

Who will forget sitting quietly next to a coalition of three young male Cheetahs lolling in the grass? . . . or the incredible, vehicle-vibrating power of a pride of 11 Lions roaring right next to our vehicle? 

Sightings of smaller, less common predators were also a highlight, with an African Wild Cat facing down three Black-backed Jackals, followed only minutes later by a stunning Caracal (or lynx) standing up out of the grass next to our vehicle before bounding gracefully away, making for special sightings of two small felids in a few minutes! A family of delightful Bat-eared Foxes industriously digging for beetles in the track in front of our vehicle provided yet another indelible memory of our stay.

Read Geoff’s full report in his Field List.