Wildlife & Animals – Nxai Pan NP

Anthony Ham
Expert
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the 'Botswana & Namibia' guide.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the 'Botswana & Namibia' Lonely Planet guide.

Anthony is the author of the 'Botswana & Namibia' Lonely Planet guide.

Nxai Pan is not a conventional safari destination. The arid environment doesn’t support a huge variety of animals. Small groups of springbok are resident throughout the year, as are lion. After the rains, large herds of herbivores arrive at the scene, many of them giving birth. Burchell's zebra and blue wildebeest are the most numerous, but others include eland, red hartebeest and oryx.

Abundant
Common
Occasional
Rare
None
ElephantOccasional
GiraffeCommon
HippoNone
ZebraAbundant
WildebeestAbundant
LionOccasional
LeopardVery Rare
CheetahOccasional
HyenaOccasional

Wildlife Highlights

Cheetah and wild dog sometimes follow the herds of herbivores giving birth at the pan. Spotted hyena are often heard at night, and the elusive brown hyena can be found scurrying around looking for food. Other small predators that are present, but difficult to see, are aardwolf and honey badger. Bat-eared fox are more active in the daytime and thus easier to spot. The woodland supports a lot of tree squirrels.

Best Time for Wildlife Viewing

Nxai Pan NP has very seasonal wildlife viewing. As opposed to most African parks, the best wildlife viewing months are in the Wet season, from December to March, when animals are attracted to the green grasses around the pans. This is also when many new animals are born. At this time, the roads can be difficult to navigate.

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