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 guide to Botswana.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Lonely Planet guide to Botswana.

Anthony is the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Botswana.

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. With all the newborns around, cheetah are sometimes spotted as well. Occasionally a pack of wild dog also turns up.

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

Wildlife Highlights

Spotted hyena are often heard at night, and the elusive brown hyena can be found scurrying around the pan 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 mopane woodland supports a lot of tree squirrel.

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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