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What is the Okavango Delta?

Botswana’s Okavango Delta is one of the most amazing natural wonders of the world and THE wildlife destination in Botswana! A safari in the Okavango Delta ranks among the top experiences for seasoned safari-goers in Southern Africa. The Delta is formed seasonally when the rain-fed Cubango River flows out from the highlands of Angola, becoming the Okavango River in Botswana. It spills close to 3 cubic miles of water onto a tectonic depression in the middle of the Kalahari Desert transforming this arid land into a massive wetland oasis. Across its nearly 6,000 square miles the Delta varies in height by no more than about 6 feet making it one of the flattest places on the continent. 

Wildlife in the Okavango Delta

Some 400 bird species and 70 species of fish make this place home but the larger wildlife are the real stars. Elephant, buffalo, wild dog, lion, leopard, hyena, and giraffe are all found at home in this place. Unusual and rare antelope like the tsessebe, roan, sable, lechwe and sitatunga are also frequently spotted. Rhino have also begun to stage a comeback thanks to a translocation program.

 

The Moremi Reserve vs. Private Concessions

The heart of the Delta is the Moremi Game Reserve which encompasses about a third of the total Okavango Delta area. In the Moremi, guests can see an amazing array of wildlife from 4x4 safari vehicles and by boat. However, night drives and mokoro activities (a dug-out canoe that glides silently through the channels) are not allowed in the Reserve. Adjacent to the Moremi are private concessions where safaris are more exclusive and often include off-road drives, walking, mokoro, and night game drives.

 

When to visit the Okavango Delta

Flooding of the Delta begins in late March/early April and wildlife numbers begin to surge at this time. The flood peaks from June to August, Botswana's dry "winter" months. Since the waters of the Delta attract wildlife from all over the region, this is a particularly good time to go. As the water recedes, the wildlife increasingly concentrates around dwindling water resources. By late October, the Delta really heats up, pushing into the triple digits. If you can handle the heat, this is peak wildlife viewing season as water is increasingly scarce with the Delta rapidly drying, predation is high and grasses and leaves all but gone.

 

Where to stay in the Okavango Delta Region

Shinde and Kanana are beautiful camps with a variety of activities and excellent guides. Sable Alley is well-positioned for excellent wildlife and you can even do a sleepout under the stars at the Sky Beds! For a touch of luxury in a remote corner of the Delta, you cannot beat Xaranna Okavango Camp (I certainly did not want to leave). A bit further afield are the lesser-known Linyanti and Savute wetlands that form the western edge of Chobe National Park - well worth considering a visit if you are in the neighborhood!

 

Extend your stay beyond the Delta

The Delta combines well with the Victoria Falls are of Zimbabwe and Zambia. Namibia or South Africa can link up well too. Let me know when you are ready to explore this magical place!

Your friendly safari expert,

Chris Moriarty

 

 

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