Africa - Botswana
Frogging, snakes & other reptiles; plants; stars ...
There is a growing interest in frogs in southern Africa, and this is often combined with an interest in other aspects of wildlife. There are many interesting frogs in Botswana - more than 40 species - but not much research has been done on them. It is still possible to discover new distributions of known species, or even new species of frogs in this region.
“Frogging” is a seasonal activity: most species can be seen and heard (mostly at night with a head torch, but sometimes during the day) during the rainy season (November-March).
Among them are such fascinating species as toxic rubber frogs, sand frogs, bullfrogs, rain frogs, shovel-nosed frogs, reed frogs and many other species.
Special frogging expeditions can be arranged, and can be included as part of bigger safari package.
From the succulent plants and desert-adapted acacias of the Kalahari Desert to the palms and ebonies of the Okavango Delta and the endless teak and mopane forests and the giant, prehistoric baobabs of the far north, Botswana’s vagetation is varied, sometimes bizarre, always fascinating.
Shortly after the first heavy rains (mid November to early December) many bulbous plants, dormant throughout the long, dry months, burst forth in showy and wild exuberance in a celebration of the season of plenty.
Botswana has crystal clear skies over the Kalahari Desert, a perfect opportunity to look at the stars and planets. Great naked-eye and binocular views may be had of the nocturnal southern sky which is richer in celestial objects than the northern sky. Northern hemisphere observers marvel at southern specialities – e.g. the Southern Cross, the Magellanic Clouds, Omega Centauri…. The luminosity of objects seen from Botswana is truly extraordinary. As in other parts of the world, the clearest skies are generally in the cool to cold months (May to August), though the viewing in summer after rain has cleared away the haze and dust and when there is no cloud cover can be awesome. Bona Safari Services can arrange to take you to suitably wide open spaces, with a guide conversant with the southern constellations and other celestial objects. Enjoy the riches of the southern sky without the hindrance of light and industrial pollution.
Observers may want to bring their telescopes, but these are normally too bulky to transport by air to Botswana along with other luggage. Very satisfactory views may be had with good binoculars.
Star-viewing trips may easily be integrated with game-viewing safaris as a package.
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24 species of scorpions are recorded so far in Botswana. There might be many more species in the vast wilderness. Very little research was done on this fascinating animals in Botswana. We use UV light - scorpions glow green - during the night. You can be surprised how many scorpions are actually there. Once we found 18 scorpions in just one m2. Sometimes we were lucky to see the most venomous scorpion of Southern Africa - barabuthus granulatus.
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Many (more than 150 species) of these fascinating animals occur in Botswana:
-more than 70 snake species (several of them very venomous)
-at least 5 tortoises and terrapins, crocodiles (up to 5-6m long)
-more than 64 lizards (among them, skinks, plated lizards, geckos, agamas, chameleons and the huge

At least 7 snake species in Botswana can be deadly to humans, a few are non-lethally venomous; the majority, however, are harmless. The largest, a non-venomous constrictor growing up to 5½ m/18 ft and one of the largest snakes in the world, is the rock python, at home in dry savannas, rocks, rivers and swamps.
The most feared snakes are: black mamba (the world’s fastest and second longest venomous snake growing up to 4m /13 ft), cobras (Mozambique spitting, snouted, Cape), adders (especially the puff adder) and boomslang. Except during the cold months (especially June and July) they can be seen all year round. Many of them are nocturnal.
Given the nature of snakes, snake sightings cannot be guaranteed: snakes occur pretty much everywhere in Botswana, but are wonderfully adept at remaining undetected. It is a real challenge seeking them out!

If you visit the Okavango Delta or the Chobe River end of the Chobe National Park for at least a couple of days you are highly likely to spot Nile crocodiles in the water or sunning themselves on sand banks.
Reptile-watching can be arranged with experienced guides, and can also be arranged as part of bigger safari package.
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