Latest Big Cat Sightings in Botswana

From Kruger to Botswana, our guide and tracker chatter is buzzing with big cat sightings. Botswana and Kruger are two sought-after safari destinations in Southern Africa, one offers an easily accessible Big 5 bushveld experience and the other a remote land and water based safari experience. We’re lucky enough to represent five camps and lodges in popular safari destinations throughout the Botswana circuit. Today we’re shining the spotlight on three of our properties who’ve reported a plethora of big cat sightings. Below are of the highlights that have come through on our chatter. We’ve got leaping leopards in the Okavango Delta, the Savuti lions on an elephant kill, and burly beasts in the Kasane region.

Lion climbing tree with leopard in background

Latest Big Cat Sightings in Botswana

Mboma Island Expeditions

The leaping leopard and the lion king

Mboma Island Expeditions is stylish mobile camp set in the heart of the Okavango Delta. With endless views of floodplains, waterways and wildlife; Mboma has cemented its reputation as being one of the finest mobile camps. Offering boating and mokoro activities, and game drives into the Moremi Game Reserve; Mboma knows how to provide abundant game viewing opportunities.

While the Mboma team was driving past the Mboma Island Boat Station office, a massive burly lion strutted past. He is one of the local legends and king of the area. Lion sightings aside, what impressed us most from last week’s sightings was this sequence of leopard images taken by owner Chase. Leopards enjoy elevated positions where they can scan their surroundings for imminent danger. They stash their kill in the tops of trees to avoid it being stolen by opportunistic predators and scavengers. This leaping leopard was either descending to replenish its thirst, or find a meal for the next few days.

Mboma Island Expeditions Leopard

Mboma Island Expeditions Leopard

Mboma Island Leopard Descends

Mboma Island Leopard Spotted

Boteti Tented Camp

The well-documented Savuti lions on an elephant kill…a leopard on elephant carcass…a lion in a tree

Boteti Tented Camp is a quaint owner run and managed camp on the outskirts of Maun. Everything about this camp embodies the spirit of the community, and offers visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in the authentic Maun way of life. The focus at Boteti is on day excursions and activities outside of the camp. In-camp, visitors can experience an introductory mokoro trip on the river in front of camp. Because there is one activity per day at Boteti, a 4-day stay means you’ll get to experience everything from the Moremi to Nxai Pan, the Okavango Delta and more.

While out on a day trip in the Moremi Game Reserve, owner Kavi said they spotted the burgeoning Xakanaxa Pride tucking into a buffalo kill. This is a pride that moves between Moremi and Khwai, and is 15 members strong. Because it’s a large pride, the pride is often seen in two groups.

One of the top sightings over the past few weeks was that of a lion climbing tree, which is always unusual. Lions do clamber up to lower level branches, but it’ quite rare to see. What makes this situation even rarer is the fact that there’s a leopard in the background. See if you can spot both cats in the tree!

Another noteworthy sighting was that of the Savuti lions, a notorious pride of savage lions who take down elephants. Seeing them in action was yet another notch in terms of Botswana big cat sightings. These lions are well-documented and are the ultimate survivors of the lion kingdom. They can be spotted while traversing through the Savuti on one of Boteti’s full day drives.

…A mega-pride of 30 lions in the Savuti region of Chobe National Park were forced to adapt and survive when the Savuti channel dried up and caused mayhem in one of the wildest regions of Africa. The lack of water and succulent abundant greens led to a rapid decline in ungulate population numbers, which drastically affected the supply of food for predators.  Combined with the lack of water, was the double-blow of the harsh and unforgiving winters of the Savuti. This mega-pride of lions knew that they had to survive against all odds, so they targeted a species in abundance in Botswana : elephants. And so the elephant killing lions of the Savuti were born out of necessity for survival.

Lions of the Savuti on an Elephant Kill

Male lion tucking into a buffalo kill on the Moremi

Lion climbing tree with leopard in background

Chobe Mopani Forest Lodge

Lion takes down massive kudu bull and lioness spotted at waterhole in front of lodge

Set deep in the heart of the Kasane Forest Reserve lies Chobe Mopani Forest Lodge. The reserve is in an enviable location bordering the Zambezi National Park, yet is only a short drive away from Chobe National Park. There is a thriving waterhole in front of the lodge, which is visited regularly by herds of elephant and other general game.

However, there are predators that also visit the “drinking hole”. While guests were spending their downtime at the lodge, a lone lioness came down to drink from the waterhole. She didn’t seem to be in a hurry, so she hung around while guests snapped a few photos. Chobe Mopani Lodge’s concession is a relatively unexplored concession, which means there’s abundant opportunity to spot a variety of species from the comfort of the lodge.

While a rewarding sighting, the lion sighting at the lodge didn’t take centre stage in terms of recent sightings. The highlight of the week was spotting a lone lioness taking down a huge kudu bull in the Chobe National Park! Luckily, one of the guides was there to film it (see video below). When you stay at Chobe Mopani Forest Lodge, there are two activities included in your stay. One of these activities is a game drive into the national park, which is either a 3-hour morning drive or 6-hour full day drive.

The full day safaris include a picnic stop at a scenic location in the park. The other activity includes a boat cruise along the Chobe River where it’s common to spot bloats of hippo on the banks of the river and predatory Nile crocodiles in search of their next victim.