Okavango Delta

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Okavango Delta

Okavango Delta Botswana: The Africa with a Difference

Do you want to explore a very different Africa? Don’t you want to visit a place that neither has the dust and sand nor the fiery sunsets that are a trademark of the continent? Then the Okavango Delta of Botswana could be your next safari destination.

Wikipedia mentions

“The Okavango Delta (or Okavango Swamp), in Botswana, is a large inland delta, formed where the Okavango River reaches a tectonic trough in the central part of the endorheic basin of the Kalahari. All the water reaching the Delta is ultimately evaporated and transpired, and does not flow into any sea or ocean. Each year approximately 11 cubic kilometers of water spread over the 6,000-15,000 km² area. Some flood-waters drain into Lake Ngami. The Moremi Game Reserve, a National Park, spreads across the eastern side of the Delta.”

The Okavango Delta looks like a natural wonder as the crystal clear water comes streaming into the Kalahari Desert and creates a lively oasis of wildlife and plants once a year. After a long and dry summer in the desert, the Okavango River will be completely drained by the end of February. But come March, and the rainwater that fell in Angola a month earlier will have made it’s way down to Botswana and the Okavango Delta. From March till June the Okavango River will increase in size and eventually it forms the largest inland delta in the world!

Wildlife in the Okavango Delta

During the dry season, most of the wildlife in the region will have migrated elsewhere. But as the water starts flooding in, the animals will follow. And there is a huge variety of species that live here during the wet season, including Elephants, Hippos, Buffalos, Lechwe Antelopes, Crocodiles, Lions, Cheetas, Leopards, Rhino, Hyena, Zebra and so on. The list seems never ending and also features over 400 different bird species.

The total count of animals during the wet season exceeds 200 000 large mammals, which should provide enough wildlife for even the pickiest safari tourists!

Safaris in the Okavango Delta

The delta forms a huge labyrinth of slow moving rivers and can be a confusing place to navigate through on your own. But with experienced safari guides, you will be able to see the most beautiful scenery and amazing wildlife either by foot, boat, game drives, horse back or even elephant back!! If you choose to go on your own, you will have to go by car and stick to the roads, but still you will be guaranteed to see lots and lots of wildlife if you travel at the right time of the year!

How to Reach
Okavango Delta

You can easily reach Okavango Delta by taking a flight from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Maun International Airport. Maun is the doorway to the Okavango Delta. From there you can either hire a car or fly to your destination on a private airplane, provided that it has an airstrip.

Best Time to Visit

If you visit Okavango Delta for game viewing, the best time to go there is between the months of May and October. Since this is Botswana’s dry season, vegetation dries out and this makes it easier to see wildlife. During the wet months from November to April, birds return from their migration, which makes it the right time for birdwatchers to visit.

What to See:
The Okavango Delta is home to a wide variety of animals like:

  • White and black rhino,
  • The Nile crocodile,
  • African buffalo
  • African bush elephants
  • Zebra
  • Hippos,
  • Antelopes,
  • Giraffe
  • Tsessebe
  • Lechwe
  • Sitatunga
  • Blue wildebeest,
  • Nile crocodile
  • Lion
  • Cheetah
  • Leopard,
  • Spotted hyena,
  • Brown hyena
  • Springbok,
  • Greater kudu
  • Chacma baboon
  • Sable antelope
  • Plains zebra and
  • Warthog

Moreover, about 400 species of birds inhabit this delta. Some of them are:

  • African Fish Eagle
  • Ostrich
  • Sacred Ibis
  • Crested Crane
  • Lilac-breasted Roller
  • Hammerkop and
  • Pel’s Fishing Owl.

The fish species you will see in this deltaic region are:

  • Tilapia
  • Tigerfish, and
  • Catfish

Activities: A number of rivers and channels flow through the delta. The water level of the entire region becomes highest during the wet months from May to September.During this time water based recreations, like exploring the waterways in the traditional canoe, mokoro becomes one of the primary activities at most lodges.Where to Stay?

There is no dearth of comfortable accommodations in Okavango delta. Some of the best tourist lodges in the area are:

  • Kanana
  • Island Safari Lodge
  • Tshima Bush Camp
  • Delta Belle Houseboat
  • Royal Tree Lodge
  • Thamalakane River Lodge
  • Lawdons Lodge
  • Ngwesi Houseboat
  • Pom Pom Camp
  • Oddballs’ Enclave
  • Delta Camp
  • Oddballs’
  • Okuti Camp
  • Camp Moremi
  • Shinde Camp and many more

Okavango

If you want to know more about Okavango, then you should take a look at the book Okavango: Africa’s Last Eden by Frans Lanting. The author is a Dutch photographer specializing in wildlife photography and in his book you will find125 extraordinary photographs that he took during his excursion in Botswana. A treasure for shutterbugs, this book prides itself at having a perfect 5 out of 5 rating at Amazon.com.

So, will Okavango Delta be your next safari destination?

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