Where to see meerkats
Meerkat, For such a small animal, meerkats are fully of personality! If you are fascinated by meerkats and always wanted to be up close and personal with them then there are a few places in Botswana and South Africa that are perfect for you. While you can see unhabituated meerkats on game drives throughout Southern Africa, at Tswalu in South Africa’s Southern Kalahari and in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans at Jack’s Camp, San Camp and Camp Kalahari you can get up close and personal with groups of habituated meerkats. These groups of meerkats have been studied for years and are accustomed to people. So accustomed in fact that if you sit still they might use your head as perch to keep an eye out for predators! You are sure to be charmed by these fun loving creatures!
Did you know?
- Meerkat family groups are sometimes called gangs or mobs and are led by an alpha pair, with the female being the most dominant.
- They recognize each other voices. A 2011 study showed that meerkats can distinguish between the calls of different members of their clan (read more here).
- Meerkat burrows are an extensive tunnel-and-room system that remains cool even in the midday heat.
Meerkats are not currently endangered and fall into the “Least Concern” category on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. They are listed as “Least Concern” because meerkats are relatively widespread within southern Africa including in several protected areas. That said they play an important part in maintaining ecological balance in the desert; they provide food for predators like jackals and eagles, and curb pest infestation by eating insects.