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Okavango Delta in Botswana

Image - Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta in Botswana is one of the last totally unspoiled Wildlife areas in Africa.


The Okavango Delta is Botswana's most famous and popular tourist attraction. It is a unique wetland system in the middle of the Kalahari Desert, and is one of the largest inland deltas in the world. The Okavango Delta is a place of extraordinary beauty and an exceptional diversity of wildlife which includes predators, antelope, birds and fish. From the air, the rich mosaic of land and water looks like a perfectly constructed puzzle. The Okavango is one of Africa's greatest wilderness areas.

The Okavango is a labyrinth of lagoons, lakes and hidden channels covering an area of over 17,000 square km and the largest inland delta in the world. Trapped in the parched Kalahari sands it is a magnet for the wildlife who depend on the permanent waters of this unique feature.

The Okavango's water is remarkably clean and pure and this is almost certainly due to the fact that it passes through very sparsely populated areas on its journey from Angola. Despite this, a staggering 660 000 tons of sediment a year are delivered to its great alluvial fan.

Wildlife

In the lush indigenous forests of the delta and its islands, and along the floodplains spawned by this great marriage of water and sand, more than 400 species of birds flourish.

The Delta birdlife is intensive even by southern Africa standards, with a full array of both bushveld and water species. It is one of the only places in Africa where you might spot the rare wattled crane, pels fishing owl, the palm-nut vulture, or gymnogene, bee-eaters, crowned crane, red ibis, sunbird, malachite kingfisher, and lilac-breasted, fish eagle, betaleur, snake eagle.

On the mainland and among the islands in the delta, lions, elephants, hyenas, wild dog, buffalo, hippo and crocodiles congregate with a teeming variety of antelope and other smaller animals - warthog, mongoose, spotted genets, monkeys, bush babies and tree squirrels.

Although fishing can take place anywhere in the Delta, if one wants it 'big, mean and fierce', the deeper and faster waters of the major fishing camps in the north of the Delta, in the Panhandle, are probably a better area.

Best Time to Visit

The winter is paradoxically, the most watery time of year to visit the Delta though Chobe gets very dry from April to October. The drier it becomes, the more animals one usually sees near permanent water. Between May and September, the floodwaters from the Okavango Rivers. During the summer rainy season the waters recede, despite the heavy storms, from all. During this time the area filled by water in winter months becomes a vast lawn of emerald-green grass cropped short by game.

Access By Air

There are daily scheduled flights from Johannesburg to Maun. There are also regular flights from Gaborone, Windhoek, Kasane, Harare and Victoria Falls Western panhandle There are number of air strips along the western panhandle.

By Road

Coming from Namibia, one enters at Mohemba Gate and the road is tarred all the way to Maun. At Mohembe there is a ferry, which takes one across the Okavango River and to the eastern side of the panhandle.

Accommodation

A number of safari lodges and camps have been established in and around this watery wilderness. This wilderness and the game-rich Moremi Game Reserve (bordering the Delta) and nearby Chobe National Park and Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, offer the visitors the best of several worlds, appealing variously to the game-viewer and bird-watcher, the sporting fisherman, the explorer of hidden places and the lover of Africa in its least spoilt state.

Very few of these camps can be reached by road and visitors will be flying by light aircraft from Maun (or Kasane) to the the camp of their choice.

Fishing, bird watching, game viewing, photography or simple relaxation; indulging any of these in the Okavango are experiences without parallel and the safari camps specialise in these pursuits.

Last Updated on Tuesday 8th December 2009