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.
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.
COMMUNITY MANAGED AREAS
CITIZEN HUNTING AREAS
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...
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.
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.
Maun weather with the forecast for Selebi Phikwe, a town close to private game farms of the Tuli Block.
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.
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.
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.
At the moment, these game laws now only pertain to hunting on private game farms.
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 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 edited by Brian Marsh (2007) is the story of three generations of Blackbeards who have hunted and guided in Botswana.