Okavango Delta in Botswana

Botswana’s world-famous Okavango Delta, also known as the “Jewel of the Kalahari,” may be the world’s most untouched oasis, perfect for African safaris.

The Okavango River originates in the Angolan highlands, with a catchment area of about 112,000 km2.

From here, it starts a twisting 1,900-kilometer path before branching out into a complex network of rivers spanning 22,000 kilometres of Kalahari sand in the Kalahari desert; a phenomenon that astronauts can experience from space.

The Okavango Delta from the air

While the river may have once met the ocean, it is now swallowed up by a thirsty basin of white Kalahari sand, causing an impact that resembles an outstretched emerald hand, or as scientists call it, an “alluvial fan.”

Unlike other rivers, the Okavango Delta’s waters are remarkably free of mud, and by the time they enter the farthest lagoons and marshes, they have been filtered through sand and reeds for months.

The Okavango Delta hits its highest water levels in the winter/dry season, drawing a massive concentration of wild species whose biological rhythms of life are based on this annual flooding.

The perfect time for game viewing or the perfect safari experience on a Botswana Safari.

Hippos enjoying The Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta is home to approximately 160 mammals (including the newly reintroduced black rhino and the globally endangered African wild dog), 155 reptiles, 30 amphibians, 80 fish species, 1500 plant species, and 500 bird species, 22 of which are globally threatened.

Every year, scientists uncover new animals, and expeditions like National Geographic’s Okavango Wilderness Project, led by Dr Steve Boyes, are critical to our ongoing knowledge of the Okavango’s complex ecosystems. The project has played a role in the Okavango Delta being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014.

Moremi Gamme Reserve is home to amazing wildlife

Moremi Game Reserve was proclaimed in 1963 and incorporates a large proportion of the Okavango Delta.

The idea to create a reserve in the Okavango region came from Robert Kay (a crocodile-hunter turned conservationist) and his wife June (a writer).

Locals from Botswana

However, it was the local BaTawana people who pioneered the project (with assistance from the San/BaSarwa), most notably Mohumagadi Pulane Moremi, the wife of deceased Chief Moremi II and the BaTawana’s Queen Regent.

They called the reserve “Moremi” after the BaTawana Royal title.”.

Moremi Game Reserve covers 5,000 square kilometres and is made up of floodplains, woodlands, dense forests, savanna grasslands, and a plethora of rivers that surround thousands of islands.

The smaller islands were created by termite bioengineering, while the larger ones, such as the prominent Chief’s Island, are the result of wrinkled fault lines deep underneath the Kalahari.

The Gunn's Camp overlooks the legendary Chief's Island

Moremi Game Reserve covers 5,000 square kilometres and is made up of floodplains, woodlands, dense forests, savanna grasslands, and a plethora of rivers that surround thousands of islands.

The smaller islands were created by termite bioengineering, while the larger ones, such as the prominent Chief’s Island, are the result of wrinkled fault lines deep underneath the Kalahari.

There are excellent game watching areas, and there are many excellent camping and lodge options inside the park (as well as on nearby neighbourhood concessions such as Khwai) from which to explore.

Wildlife in Moremi

As the floodwaters recede and the first rains fall in November/December, wildlife disperses, including breeding herds of elephants that move into mopane forests where natural water holes fill with rain.

Summer holds its own allure, making the russet veld a bright green for grazers like zebra, wildebeest, and impala antelopes to feast on. It’s baby season, and the plains are teeming with newborn plains game, tottering alongside their parents on wobbly legs.

This creates stunning photo opportunities on game drives as there’s lots of easy prey for wild dog packs and leopards. It may be more difficult to detect predators in the freshly sprouted vegetation, but the dazzling show of migrating bird species filling the air with bright trills and hues is enough to encourage any nature lover.

The Okavango Delta is a magical place

To explore Okavango’s deepest mysteries, visitors must visit one of the isolated island camps hidden away in the Delta’s water-rich inner regions, which can only be reached by light aircraft.


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