Safaris Botswana

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Our most popular Safari:
Botswana Family Safari
10 nights/11 days Botswana Safari
starting at $2850 per person
sharing accommodation

African Crocodile in Botswana, Chobe River Chobe National park

Chameleon on safari in Botswana

Flap neck Chameleon - Chamaeleo dilepis

With its distinctive shape, ponderous movements and tiny eyes at the ends of conical turrets, the chameleon is an unmistakable reptile. Its ability to change colour is very well known, but this is not done to match its background as commonly believed - although that may happen coincidentally - but as a means of communication and to regulate body temperature.

If you surprise a chameleon, it will inflate its body, open its mouth to reveal it bright orange palette, hiss, and lunge forward. Such behaviour is intended to surprise and confuse any attacker, giving the chameleon time to make an escape and utilise its superb camouflage against the foliage of a shrub or tree. Although slow-moving when under observation - they walk slowly to avoid detection - chameleons are actually able to scamper quite quickly when being pursued. The ferocious defensive behaviour of these little lizards led to the ancient Greeks naming them 'Dwarf Lions' - 'Chamai leons'.

Over most of Africa, the Flap-necked Chameleon is the most widespread and commonly encountered species, ranging from the dry Kalahari and temperate Gauteng Highveld, to the warm savannas of Zululand and the Lowveld, north to Tanzania and Kenya. This fairly large chameleon is usually bright green in colour, but may also be seen in shades of brown and yellow, and typically turns blueish-white after dark (when it is most easily found with a torch or spotlight). It is strictly solitary, but several males may court a female during the mating season in mid-summer. Mating is an energetic - and one might say passionate, affair - and, after two or three months, the heavily gravid (pregnant) female will search for a suitable nest site. Egg-laying usually takes place in late summer (March to April in southern Africa) when the ground is at its softest after the rains. Between 20 and 35 eggs (rarely as many as 65) are deposited in a burrow of between 15 and 30cm - excavated and then closed up by the female over a period of several hours. The eggs may hatch within 150 days (5 months) in captivity, but take up to 12 months in the wild, when development slows up during the cold winter months. The hatchlings dig their way to the surface and immediately go their own way - fully independent and able to catch tiny insects with their elastic tongue.

Chameleons prey on insects such as grasshoppers, flies, mosquitoes and beetles which are caught with the amazing elastic tongue that can be projected to a length equal to that of the chameleon itself; a spring mechanism and a suction tip combine to surprise and retrieve the prey.

Snakes are the main predators of chameleons - particularly the Boomslang and Vine Snake - but birds such as shrikes, coucals and hornbills take a good number, and the rare Cuckoo Hawk is something of a chameleon specialist. Man is the by far the greatest threat, however, as garden and agricultural pesticides kill or contaminate the insect prey of chameleons causing them to die of poisoning or starvation. The destruction of natural habitats and too-frequent grass fires are responsible for the death of thousands of chameleons.

Safaris Botswana































Safaris Botswana


Lodges and Camps in Botswana: Audi Camp - Camp Moremi -Camp Okuti - Camp Okavango - Chief's Camp - Chitabe Camp - Chobe Game Lodge - Chobe Marina Lodge - Crocodile Camp - Deception Valley Lodge - Delta Safari Camp - Duba Plains Camp - Duma Tau Lodge - Elephant Camp Victoria Falls - Footsteps Camp - Gunn's Camp - Grassland Safari Lodge - Jacana Camp - Kanana Camp - Kings Pool - Kubu Safari Lodge - Kwara Camp Okavango Delta - Leroo-la-Tau - Linyanti Camp - Little Mombo Camp - Mariolina's Victoria Falls - Mapula Lodge - Mombo Safari Camp - Motsentsela Tree Lodge - Nxabega Okavango Safari Camp - Pom Pom Camp - Sandibe Safari Lodge - Santawani - Savute Safari Lodge - Savuti Camp - Semetsi Camp - Xakanaxa Camp - Xigera Camp - Xugana Lodge

Botswana Destinations: Chief's Island - Chobe National Park - Gemsbok National Park - Kalahari - Khwai - Linyanti - Makgadikgadi Pans - Maun - Moremi Game Reserve - Nogatsaa/Tchinga - Nxai Pan - Okavango Delta - Savute - Tsodilo hills - Tuli Block - Xakanaxa

Zimbabwe Destinations: Victoria Falls

Birds of Botswana: Crowned Plover - Blue Waxbill - Cormorant - Egyptian Goose - Fish Eagle - Grey Lourie - Kingfisher - Kori Bustard - Lilacbreasted Roller - Ostrich - Saddlebilled Stork - Secretary Bird

Mammals of Botswana: African Wild Dog - African Elephant - Baboon - Bat-Eared-Fox - Brown Hyena - Buffalo - Bushpig - Cheetah - Eland - Genet - Giraffe - Hartebeest - Hippo - Impala - Jackal - Kudu - Leopard - Lion - Oryx - Puku - Red Lechwe - Roan Antelope - Sable Antelope - Sitatunga - Slender Mongoose - Spotted Hyena - Springbok - Squirrel - Surikate - Tsessebe - Warthog - Waterbuck - Wildebeest - Zebra

Reptiles of Botswana: African Rock Python - African Crocodile - Black Mamba - Cape Cobra - Chameleon - Gecko - Leopard Tortoise - Monitor Lizard - Mozambican Cobra - Puff Adder