Big Cats Forever
They come in a variety of Black, Brown or Blonde Manes; Black Rosettes; Black Spots; Black-Tipped Ears, Whiskers, Paws, Camouflage, Stealth, Agility, Speed, Intelligence, High Senses, Coalition, Individualism, Survivalist, basically sums up all the splendid nature of Big Cats.
As you all know, major reasons that led to the dramatic decrease in Big Cat Population in Africa since the beginning of the 20th Century is habitat loss with increasing human population and settlements and poaching.
Botswana and Namibia within Kalahari Basin and Namib Coast are the least populated areas in not only Southern Africa but the whole continent as well, which means that the problem of human conflict is considerably less compared to the neighbouring states as well as East African countries. In addition to that, Botswana with its conservation policies, has gained powerful grounds among its population. They have known and appreciated the value of co-existing with wildlife and the country shows ‘Zero Tolerance’ to poaching.
We often say, ‘Kalahari can be unforgiving’; however, She can be abundant at the same time, depending on seasonal changes. Water as the main life source is plenty, trillion thanks to the presence of the Kavango, Chobe and Zambezi Rivers that turn Northern Kalahari into lush lands. On the other hand, Fossil Rivers which are believed to be still running underground, with the great help of rainfall between January-February to May, flourish Central Kalahari, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, and even Salt Pans in Central Botswana to healthy habitats for sustainability of wildlife.
No one knows how many Big Cats live within the boundaries of Kalahari Basin since most of the land is yet inaccessible due to the extremely low density of human settlements, which is a very good thing.
What we know by experience is that Big Cats are healthy because of a healthy, sustainable habitat. In fact, you would see the healthiest Big Cats in Central Kalahari and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park where the Survival of the Fittest’ prevails.
As a summary:
Black-Maned Kalahari Lions are majestic superb hunters; Marsh Prides of Chobe, Savuti-Linyanti, and Okavango come in large numbers; Etosha Lions are plenty, but choose to be divided into small groups as the land is of enormous size;
Leopards need higher grounds to exist and thanks to healthy forests and savannah in and around Okavango and Chobe they offer just that.
Cheetahs like open plains to show off their speed, and Kalahari Basin has many of those;
Caracals, African Wild Cats, Nocturnal Genets, Servals; all have their place here under the sun and the moonlight.
There is no guarantee in Wildlife Sightings, especially Big and Smaller Wild Cats; but, we know where they are, and we will do our best to find them. However, only spotting one or a pride of Namib’s Desert Lions is challenging considering that there are only 140-150 of them living in and around Skeleton Coast and inlands of Erongo (Damaraland) and Kunene Regions, an area larger than most of the countries in Europe.
Oh, one more thing; sometimes they come to you when you are camping in the wild bush. They are territorial and curious animals. It is certainly possible that they watch you from a distance which is the magical side of living in the bush.