Hunting Botswana

Page Updated: Mar 2020

Botswana had always been a premier big game hunting destination, particularly for elephants, until 2014 when hunting was totally banned in the Controlled Hunting Areas of the Okavango and on all public land. This ban even includes the traditional subsistence hunting done by the San Bushmen of the Kalahari who had a legally binding right to hunt on their ancestral land.

The Return Of Elephant Hunting In Botswana

In June 2019, Botswana's newly elected president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, requested a review of the ban on hunting elephants. His study group recommended "regular but limited elephant culling," in addition to establishing elephant meat canning for pet food and other products. Among other conclusions, it recommended the government expand Botswana's safari hunting industry.

The Government assessed all these recommendations and accepted all but one recommendation - regular culling of elephants and establishing an elephant meat canning including production of pet food. This was rejected because culling was not considered acceptable given the overall continental status of elephants. Rather, a more sustainable method such as selective cropping should be employed.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi announced the Government would lift the hunting moratorium and issue "fewer than 400" licences for elephant hunts each year. They say it will control herd numbers, reduce human-elephant conflict and create jobs in areas where opportunities are scarce.

The elephant hunting quota of of 272 was published in December 2019 to allow for the preparation of the 2020 hunting season. Foreign hunters will be allowed to hunt 202 elephants and export trophies and 70 licences are reserved for Botswana nationals. The auction took place in February 2020.

2020 Botswana Hunting Areas Map

Click map to enlarge

Botswana Hunting Areas
2020 Botswana Hunting Areas

2020 Hunting Areas Elephant Quota


  • NG - 55
  • CT - 15
  • CH - 25


  • NG - 22
  • CT - 20


  • NG - 30
  • CT - 30
  • NE - 10


  • NG - 40
  • CT - 30

NG = Ngamiland District, CT = Central District, CH = Chobe District, NE = North East District

10 elephant licences were auctioned for each of the following 6 areas...

  • CT4
  • NG9
  • CT7
  • NG8
  • NG11
  • NG35
  • CT29 - failed to sell, not reaching reserve price

As yet in March 2020, it will still take some time for Botswana outfitters to organize and re-implement hunting these areas. It is unclear as yet the quota and species of other animals may be hunted.

Even though hunting elephants is now legal in Botswana, American hunters may not go there if USF&W does not issue the permits to enable them to bring their trophies home.

Botswana Hunting Season

  • Apart from private hunting areas, the Botswana hunting season usually runs from the beginning of April until possibly the end of November.
  • In a private hunting areas, such as game ranches in Tuli Block or Kalahari regions, a stipulated hunting season does not apply and you can hunt all year round.

Botswana Climate

The best time to hunt public and private game areas is March through to September as the climate is most comfortable - dry, warm days and cold nights.

  • Daytime temperatures generally reach 20°C and can drop as low as 5°C at night.
  • From November, the temperature rises and can reach 38°C during the day.

Botswana Current Weather Forecast

Maun weather with the forecast for Selebi Phikwe, a town close to private game farms of the Tuli Block.


Botswana Map

Botswana Private Hunting Areas Map

This land use map of Botswana shows the location (marked in brown) of private game farms and ranches in the Tuli Block and the Kalahari.

Click map to enlarge
Botswana Hunting Areas
Botswana Hunting Areas

Getting To Your Hunt Area

  • To reach the 2020 newly opening public and CHA hunting areas in the north you will usually have to fly to Maun from Johannesburg.
  • If you are hunting a Tuli Block game ranch, you will usually land in Johannesburg and take an onward domestic flight to Polokwane (previously, Pietersburg) then have about a 3 hour drive to one of the Botswana border posts. Alternatively your outfitter may collect you from O R Tambo Airport, Johannesburg and drive all the way, in about 5 hours.
  • If you are hunting on private land in the Kalahari region you can either fly to Maun, Botwana or Windhoek, Namibia as the starting point of your road trip to the hunt area.

Hunting Accommodation In Botswana

The newly opening public and CHA hunting areas may be traditional tented accommodation in wilderness camps.

Most private hunting accommodation is in permanent camps with chalets with all mod-cons. Some even have swimming pools and air conditioning. A few outfitters do offer semi-permanent safari tent accommodation with permanent dining areas.

Botswana Hunting Terrain

The Tuli Block is mainly bush-savanna with low hills. There is dense bush with big trees along the Limpopo river but generally the terrain is easy to move about in on foot.

The Kalahari is a semi-arid region and the predominantly flat terrain consists mainly of sandy savanna with acacia or mopane forest, thorn bush and grassy plains.

Botswana Game Laws

At the moment, these game laws now only pertain to hunting on private game farms.

  • All non-resident hunters must hunt under the supervision of a licenced professional hunter and the hunt must be outfitted by a licenced outfitter.
  • Hunting may be done at night on private land.
  • There is no restriction on hunting females or animals of a certain age on private land.
  • Shooting from a vehicle is not permitted, though the vehicle can be used to reach the area from where hunting on foot can begin. A vehicle should not approach nearer than 200 metres to any animal, if hunting.
  • Clients are only permitted to hunt animals for which a permit is issued.
  • All animals are subject to quota availability, even on private land. For example, a maximum of 10 zebras may be taken on private land.
  • There is no official minimum number of days for a hunting safari based upon the species being hunted. Minimum hunt lengths for some species may be set by outfitters.
  • Hunt permits must be issued prior to the hunt commencing.
  • A separate permit must be issued for each individual hunting client.
  • Minimum calibre for dangerous game is .375
  • Minimum calibre for any game, excluding dangerous game, is .222
  • Maximum calibre for any game is .577 Nitro Express
  • The principal wildlife protection legislation of Botswana is the Wildlife Conservation and National Parks Act (Chapter 38:01)

Botswana Hunting Species

Now big game hunting is being re-implemented in the Controlled Hunting Areas and on public land, the hunting quota of species other than elephant, have not been published yet.

The following list only applies to only to private hunting areas...

Hunting Botswana Recommended Reading

Hunting In Botswana

Hunting In Botswana by Tony Sanchez-Arino (1994) is an anthology of big game hunting in Botswana with contributions from numerous famous sportsmen including Oswell, Leyland, Holub, Gillmore, Baldwin, Farini, Stevenson-Hamilton, Bryden, Chadwick, Selby and many others.

The Hunting Blackbeards Of Botswana

The Hunting Blackbeards Of Botswana edited by Brian Marsh (2007) is the story of three generations of Blackbeards who have hunted and guided in Botswana.

More Hunting Botswana Resources

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