Everything you need to know about your Okavango Delta safari
Welcome to Discover Africa’s Okavango Delta safari guide. Botswana’s world-famous Okavango Delta, also known as the “Jewel of the Kalahari”, could easily be the most pristine oasis in the world. The Okavango River finds its origins in the highlands of Angola, in a catchment area of about 112,000 km2. From here it begins a winding journey of 1,900 km before fanning out into an intricate system of waterways covering 22,000 km of Kalahari sand; a phenomenon that can be observed by astronauts in space. Although the river would have once reached the ocean, today it is swallowed up by a thirsty basin of white Kalahari sand, creating an effect that resembles an outstretched emerald hand, or more correctly referred to by scientists as an “alluvial fan”.
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Botswana Okavango Delta safari adventure
This Botswana Okavango Delta safari adventure will take you to the tip of Africa’s most amazing and unique inland deltas. Travellers have the chance to experience this magical world of islands and waterways from land, air, water - through activities such as game viewing, birdwatching and sighting the elusive Sitatunga antelope.
When you arrive at Maun International Airport, you will be transported to the Kanana Camp, which will be your home for the next two days with all your meals and drinks included …Kanana Camp is a hidden gem located on the banks of the Xudum River. Here, you’ll experience a true water paradise, and gives you a great chance to explore delta’s beautiful waterways by boat. Here, you will experience magnificent game sightings, including - morning and afternoon game drives in open safari vehicles, boat safaris via a mokoro or motorboat, guided bush walks, fishing as well as enjoy the magnificent variety of birds species that are found are in the area.
After spending two nights at the Kanana Camp, you’ll be transferred to Shinde Camp, a classic, intimate camp based on the edge of the Shinde Lagoon. You will stay on an all incluisve basis for two nights …Shinde is situated in a private concession which allows guides to explore guided walks, mokoro excursions, game drives, motorboat trips and fishing. Experience the incredible birds, plants, the variety of wildlife such as the elusive sitatunga antelope and reptile species found in the wetlands of the Okavango Delta.
Enjoy your final morning activities followed by a leisurely breakfast before you will be collected at the camp and transferred through to the airstrip for your scheduled flight back to Maun Airport, where you board your connecting flight back home.
This is your last day of your safari …
Your bespoke safari awaits …
When to visit the Okavango Delta?
January is the Okavango Delta’s wettest month, with regular spectacular thunderstorms that usually arrive in the late afternoon.
- Mornings in January often begin bright and clear, turn suddenly violent and then clear again overnight. It’s rare in the Okavango to see consecutive days of persistent rain, but in January and February there’s always that chance. In general, however, you can expect brief, heavy downpours with a few days of partly-cloudy weather mixed in between. The northern concessions and Panhandle tend to see the biggest storms, but it’s impossible to be precise except to say that some rain will fall. Daytime temperatures in January average over 30°C (86°F), and can climb above 36°C (97°F) when the sun comes out. Night-time minimums are seldom below 20°C (68°F) and humidity is high all across the Delta.
- Although the rains are at their peak, the Delta floodwaters have yet to arrive and January sees some of the lowest water levels across the Okavango. Motorboat and, especially, mokoro trips may not be possible in certain areas and only lodges with deep-water access are able to offer water-based activities. In fact, most Okavango Delta lodges used to close completely during January, but many now stay open year-round, offering motorboat transfers to the deeper channels or more traditional land-based activities such as walking safaris and game drives. Driving, however, can be difficult at this time of year as the heavy rains turn the dirt tracks to mud. Moremi Game Reserve is especially notorious and although off-roading in the mud can be fun, some experience is required and it’s essential to travel with more than one vehicle.
- Because of the rain, January is seldom recommended as the best month in the Okavango, but nevertheless it is a beautiful time to visit. The birdlife is excellent and the Delta comes alive with their song – it seems there’s always something calling out, throughout the day and deep into the night. As so few people visit during January the camps and lodges also tend to be very quiet. Guests are treated to an even more intimate experience than usual, with the added benefit of significant discounts – as much as 50% off the standard rates.
- The major disadvantage in January is the rain. Some rain will almost certainly fall, but if you get unlucky a whole week may be drowned out. January is also not the best time for water-based activities – not just because of the weather, but for the low water levels too. If you visit in January, then keep your expectations realistic. If you go for the overall ambiance you won’t be disappointed.
February is another wet month in the Okavango Delta, but like January, the rain and clouds are usually interspersed with a few fine, bright days.
- These summer months are always highly unpredictable however – there may be sunshine for over a week and then four or five days straight of cloud and afternoon storms. A thunderstorm over the Delta is one of Southern Africa’s most awe-inspiring sights: incredible towering clouds and sudden jagged lightning; reflections bouncing off the water towards the wild, distant horizon. It’s almost worth the risk of a rained-out safari, which is always a possibility, even though persistent rain is unusual. When the clouds do clear, the temperature can easily hit 36°C (97°F), though it’s typically closer to 30°C (86°F), and around 20°C (68°F) at night.
- In Moremi Game Reserve, and all around the Delta, the frequent heavy downpours take their toll on the dirt roads. February is perhaps the muddiest month in Moremi and you’ll need two or more vehicles in case one gets stuck. If the rains have come early, the Panhandle may already be filling as the first surge of floodwater pours down from Angola. The rest of the Okavango will still be very low, however, and water-based activities may not yet be available further east. Lodges on the deeper channels – in the central Delta and northwest – can be great for birding at this time of year. Many species will be in their breeding plumage and the reed beds and vegetation in general is at its verdant best.
- February is not known as a great time to see predators, but just because it’s raining they don’t disappear. The thicker vegetation tends to make animals harder to spot, but when you do see them the lush bush and stormy backdrops can make for some wonderful and unusual photographs. Like January, February is usually fairly quiet in terms of visitors, despite many lodges offering up to 50% off their usual rates.
- Although the vegetation is at its greenest and most beautiful, the birdlife at its best, and the herbivores well-grazed and in excellent condition, the risk of rain still keeps many people away. With water levels still at their lowest across most of the Okavango, water-based activities are also not always possible and the dirt roads everywhere are at their muddiest at this time of year.
March is a transition period in the Okavango Delta and although it can still see some heavy rain, the change in seasons is usually apparent by the end of the month.
- This is most obvious in the gradual drop in night-time temperatures, down to 15°C (59°F) on the coldest mornings. Daily highs, however, are slower to move – 30°C (86°F) to 35°C (95°F) remains the norm until well into April. Although the chance of rain is still high, the risk of consecutive overcast days is much lower than in January and February. It’s still a risky period to visit the Okavango, but as the humidity drops so does the threat of a rained-out safari and late March can see some of the year’s clearest, most pleasant nights around the campfire.
- By March, the floodwaters are usually in full flow down the Panhandle and it’s not a great time for fishing while the channels are turbulent and muddy. Further south and east the flood can take another month to reach the central Delta, but the lodges in the northwest can be excellent at this time of year. Exploring the northwest Delta by motorboat or mokoro is wonderful in any season, but March can be particularly special. It’s the last month before many migrant birds return north, the vegetation is lush and green, and the channels are slowly rising and changing with the coming of the flood. Across the rest of the Okavango, conditions are rather more hit and miss. Water-based activities will still be hampered by low water levels further east, but the increasingly sunny days and clear, rain-washed atmosphere produces some beautiful landscapes, dotted with well-fed, healthy animals.
- Although there’ll still be some rain, the weather in March can be gorgeous. And with many lodges still offering up to 50% off, it’s not a bad time to take a gamble. Those who do visit in March will find the Delta lush and vibrant, full of migrant birds and fat antelope, under steadily clearing, deep blue skies.
- March is the last month until November that sees significant rain, and water-based activities in the eastern Delta won’t be at their best until the flood arrives in May/June. Driving off road remains a challenge until the rains abate in April, and the roads through Moremi are still little more than a succession of muddy pools.
Throughout April the autumn gradually sets in, and cooler, drier weather steadily creeps across the Delta.
- As with March it’s the nights that cool more rapidly than the days. The coldest evenings can drop to around 12°C (54°F), but daytime highs are usually still over 30°C (86°F). Although the first few weeks of April may see some scattered showers, clearer skies are more and more common and the clouds all but vanish by the end of the month. April is a wonderful time to be in the Okavango Delta, with moderate to warm temperatures, little chance of rain, and the opportunity to see the flood work its magic as the waters fan out into the central and northern regions.
- April is a beautiful month to be anywhere in the Okavango, with fresh, rain-washed skies dotted here and there with fluffy clouds. It’s a magnificent time to be out on the water, and motorboat and mokoro trips are at their best in the north and west. It will take another month or two before the waters filter east, but lodges on the deeper channels should have good boating conditions. In the Panhandle, anglers can start casting for bream (tilapia), but the best fishing is usually later in the year. April marks the start of the antelope breeding season and the shallow floodplains on the Delta’s fringes come alive with competing males. Across the Okavango all life seems to thrive, with tall, green grass and fruit-laden trees as far as the eye can see.
- April is a magnificent month for photography and an idyllic time for mokoro trips under crisp, white clouds. The Okavango is glorious as the floodwaters rise, full of life and energy before the dry season begins.
- The eastern concessions still have low water in April and water-based activities may be limited away from the deep channels. In Moremi the roads usually dry out quite quickly, but it can still be very muddy at the beginning of the month. On the whole, there are few disadvantages of visiting the Okavango in April, although predator sightings tend to be better later in the year once the vegetation thins out.
As May unfolds, the Okavango Delta gets cooler and the bright, cloudless days begin to dip below 30°C (86°F).
- Along the rapidly filling waterways the nights tend to be milder, but on the open plains away from the channels it may drop as low as 5°C (50°F). It’s safe to say that no rain ever falls in May and you’ll seldom see more than the odd wisp of cloud. The deep blue sky remains crisp and clear, not yet as dusty as it can get later in the year.
- As surface water evaporates on the surrounding Kalahari plains, more and more animals are drawn to the Okavango’s rising floodwaters. This is especially true along the Delta’s northern concessions which attract elephant and plains game from the increasingly dry Chobe and Linyanti regions. If your primary goal is wildlife – especially lion and other predators – then the northern concessions and Khwai region are a good choice this early in the season, as is Chief’s Island which has excellent game year-round. In general, however, May is prime time across the Okavango, an excellent mix of rising water levels and drying grasslands, when the wildlife gathers along the Delta’s deepening pools, and there’s still plenty to eat around the floodplains. By late May the elevated water levels allow extensive motorboat and mokoro activities and the early mornings aren’t yet as cold as they can get in June and July.
- Those who visit the Okavango Delta regularly often cite May as their favourite month. It’s true that predator sightings are not as prolific as later in the season (September and October are usually best), but May brings its own rewards. Moderate temperatures, clear blue skies, rising floodwaters and an abundance of well-fed, healthy herbivores all combine to make the Okavango particularly special in May.
- If you’re desperate to see predators, then your chances are slightly better later in the year, when the vegetation is drier and thinner and the animals easier to spot. That said, most lodges and camps have very experienced trackers and guides and although wildlife sightings are never guaranteed, they’re usually able to find animals for their guests in just about any season.
June is mid-winter in the Okavango Delta and one of the coldest, driest months of the year. Daily average temperatures are around 25°C (77°F), although some hot days will still get up to 30°C (86°F).
- It’s the nights, however, that can get particularly cold – close to freezing at times, but more usually around 5°C (41°F). Early morning excursions can be very chilly in the wind, especially on motorboats and open game drive vehicles. June marks the start of the hard, dry winter season – after two months without rain, the Kalahari vegetation is thinning fast. There’s more pressure on the animals as they cluster closer to the waterways, which are now nearing maximum levels as the flood moves further east.
- The Delta’s south-eastern fringes are the last to see floodwaters, but by the middle of June they have usually arrived. By now there’s good, deep water across the Okavango, a magnet for wildlife from all over the Kalahari. It’s hard to single out any one region in June – it’s a very special time to be anywhere on the Delta. Those looking for predators and large plains game should perhaps still head to the northern concessions, but wildlife concentrations are increasing everywhere. The central Delta is always excellent, but with the floodwaters now at their highest, mokoro and motorboat excursions can depart directly from many of the lodges, which raised up on stilts seem to hover magically over the water.
- By June the thinning vegetation makes predator spotting easier and all manner of activities are possible across the Delta. June is an excellent time to visit the Okavango, especially if you want to try a mix of water and land-based activities.
- June is a popular month in the Okavango Delta and you’ll need to book your safari fairly far in advance. Most lodges and camps are small and intimate, however, and are spaced well enough apart that it never feels crowded.
July is the coldest month in the Okavango Delta, with daytime highs around 25°C (77°F). Although the days are mild, the nights cool quickly, dropping close to freezing on a few mornings each year.
- By now the annual flood has percolated across the Delta, and water levels usually reach their peak around the end of the month. Even lodges quite far from the main central channels can now offer mokoro trips through the submerged floodplains. July is another clear, dry month in the northern Kalahari, the third straight month without a drop of rain. The Delta is therefore an increasingly important source of water and attracts thousands of animals from the surrounding plains.
- The Okavango’s peak season begins in July and there’s no one region that stands out from another. Water-based activities are possible nearly everywhere and the thinning vegetation makes wildlife spotting ever easier. Along the Delta’s northern fringe, elephant and buffalo gather in numbers, but large herds can also be found to the east and south. If this is your first and perhaps only visit to the Okavango, then July and August are perhaps the best months to arrive. Although September and October are arguably even better for game viewing, July’s high floodwaters are particularly special and the surrounding forests and grasslands still retain some of their summer green.
- July to October is a good time to see African wild dogs, especially in the northern concessions and along the Khwai River. Now is the time to see the Delta at its fullest as it spills its main channels into the Kalahari sand.
- July to October is the Delta’s busiest period and the camps and lodges charge peak season rates. Mornings in the Delta can get very chilly in July so be sure to pack warm clothes for early morning boat trips and game drives.
Temperatures climb steadily through August and daytime highs once again top 30°C (86°F). At the beginning of the month the mornings can still be close to freezing, but lows of 10°C (50°F) are more common as September approaches.
- By August no rain has fallen in the northern Kalahari for at least four months and the only fresh grazing is along the Delta’s flooded waterways. Predator and prey alike are forced to gather along the fringes and wildlife viewing is excellent all over the Okavango.
- August is an ideal month to be anywhere on the Delta, so pick your region based on what you’d most like to see or do. In the Panhandle and western concessions, the floodwaters begin their slow withdrawal, sparking the annual catfish run and heralding the start of prime tigerfish angling season. Along the northern Okavango, the game viewing is excellent as large numbers of herbivores gather along the waterways. Predators, especially lion, leopard and African wild dog are regularly sighted during this period. In Moremi Game Reserve, the wildlife viewing is also superb and boating trips are at their best with the high floodwaters. These have now reached as far southeast as Maun, allowing motorboat excursions up the Thamalakane River and into the Delta. In the southern concessions, horseback safaris are ideal in August, while the weather is still relatively cool and the vegetation thin and easier to negotiate.
- August is known as a great month for wildlife and the game viewing only improves as the dry season continues. Like July, August is ideal for first-time visitors, when both water and land-based activities are possible nearly everywhere. Keen birders should head to Moremi’s Gcodikwe Lagoon as thousands of herons, storks and egrets arrive and start building their nests. And, even if you’re not interested in fishing, the catfish run is impressive – a roiling feeding frenzy that whips up the main channels and attracts a number of opportunistic predators and fishing birds.
- The only disadvantage of visiting the Okavango in August is that it’s peak season and the camps and lodges charge their highest rates. It’s also one of the most popular times to visit the Delta and bookings need to be made far in advance.
The long, dry winter continues into September and by now there’s been no rain for about five straight months.
- The Okavango Delta is now an essential source of grazing and water, and as the annual flood gradually recedes, the pressure builds and competition increases along its drying waterways. Both night and daytime temperatures rapidly increase, averaging 15°C (59°F) to 35°C (95°F), with some hot days up to 40°C (104°F). The shallow pools and floodplains evaporate quickly in the heat and the surrounding vegetation thins out even further, with the only strips of greenery sitting tight against the channels.
- The floodwaters recede in the northern and western regions first, triggering the annual catfish run which starts in the Panhandle and spreads southeast. It’s a wild feeding frenzy that’s a sight to behold and well worth a visit even if you’re not interested in fishing. For those who are keen anglers it’s an ideal time for tigerfish and many come to the Panhandle specifically for this reason. Elsewhere in the Delta, September is one of the best months for wildlife viewing and a good time for walks in the northern concessions and horseback safaris in the south. As the month progresses, the ebbing flood can have an impact on mokoro trips. The southwestern regions tend to dry up first so head north and east for the best conditions.
- As the shallower waterways slowly dry up, they strand thousands of fish in ever decreasing pools. These attract hundreds of storks, herons and birds of prey, who squabble among themselves over the easy meal. September and October are traditionally the best months for predators, which are much easier to spot through the now very dry vegetation. Both predators and prey congregate on the channels, the only source of water for miles in any direction.
- September is still peak season, which means peak rates across the Okavango, and bookings need to be secured up to a year in advance. It also gets quite hot and dusty by the end of the month and boating and mokoro safaris may not be optimal along the Delta’s fringes.
January is the Okavango Delta’s wettest month, with regular spectacular thunderstorms that usually arrive in the late afternoon. Mornings in January often begin bright and clear, turn suddenly violent and then clear again overnight.
- October is an excellent month for fishing along the Panhandle, especially for tigerfish as they hunt the deeper channels. Along the Delta’s northern waterways, and especially around Khwai, the waters tend to linger longer, attracting thousands of thirsty elephants. Wildlife viewing is at its best in October and it’s the perfect time of the year for spotting predators all over the Delta. For water-based activities, however, conditions vary from year to year, depending on the strength and timing of the floods. On the whole the eastern and north-eastern Delta tends to have good deep water throughout October and the heron rookeries of Gcodikwe Lagoon are teeming with birdlife. That said, any lodge or camp that lies near the deeper channels will offer boating activities even if a vehicle transfer is required.
- Predator spotting is undoubtedly the main highlight in October and the birdlife is also excellent around the deeper lagoons. Hot, exciting wildlife-filled days become long, warm nights, chatting around the campfire. Visit in October for the best chance of unforgettable encounters, and plenty of stores to tell when you get back home.
- Although October is perhaps the best month for wildlife (and especially predators), the receding flood waters do change the Delta’s ambiance. Many lodges will now be quite far back from the water, and miss that special magic that comes with floating above the flood.
Early November is usually hot and stifling as the Okavango holds its breath for the coming of the rains.
- The exact start date varies considerably from year to year, but when the clouds do break the relief is palpable. Although daily highs of over 40°C (104°F) are the norm at the beginning of the month, the temperature gradually drops as the rains become more frequent. Localised showers evolve quickly into massive afternoon storms, with thunder and lightning flashing across the Delta.
- It’s impossible to say where the rains will fall first, or whether they’ll even arrive at all. Some years some areas may not see significant rainfall until December and until that happens game viewing continues to be excellent. The Khwai River, in the northeast, has good water year-round, and wildlife, especially elephants, tend to congregate along its banks late into the dry season. Chief’s Island has permanent game and good, deep-water access as well, as does the rest of the central Delta and the north-western concessions. When the rains do arrive, the pressure is released and the animals start to move back into the surrounding bush. November is an interesting time to be anywhere in the Delta as the animals and plants begin to recover from more than half a year without rainfall.
- Once the rains arrive, the antelope birthing season begins, and all over the Delta there are new signs of life. Many lodges and camps offer shoulder season prices, and it’s an excellent time to get a good deal before the rainy season starts in earnest in December.
- November is an unpredictable month weather-wise and if the rains arrive early your safari may be washed out. The wildlife may also begin to disperse, although sightings – especially of newborns – are usually still very good until the end of the month.
December marks the start of the rainy season proper. It’s the second wettest month of the year and afternoon thunderstorms become increasingly regular and violent.
- As the rains intensify the dusty atmosphere clears and between the storms the skies are bright and fresh. The usual pattern is a few days of cloud and rain, followed by another few days of hot, sunny weather. This builds and builds until the next storm breaks and as the month progresses the gaps between storms lessen. It’s unusual to have more than two or three days without sunshine, but if two storm systems run into each other there may be persistent cloud cover for over week. When the sun does come out, temperatures can rise to 40°C (104°F), although the rains cool things somewhat and the December average across the Delta is around 33°C (91°F).
- As the rains fill the Kalahari’s seasonal pans and pools, the herbivores begin to disperse from the Delta. With surface water now more readily available they can roam further afield in search of fresh grazing. New buds and shoots are appearing everywhere and the riverine forests and surrounding plains teem with life. Although still a good time of year for game viewing, the early rainy season is not ideal for motorboat and mokoro trips. You may get lucky with a few bright days, but it could just as likely be overcast and raining, and the Okavango water levels are also very low. The central, northern and north-western lodges will have the best access to deep water, but if you’re especially interested in water-based activities, it’s best to visit the Okavango between May and August.
- December is all about the rejuvenation of the bush, a brief, stormy springtime after months of heat and dust. All around the Delta, and across the Kalahari, new grass is sprouting and young lambs and calves take their first tentative steps. December also means low season rates and it’s a great time for discounts while the game viewing is still good.
- There’s always the risk of heavy rain in December and if you’re unlucky you may not see much sunshine at all. Though wildlife viewing is usually still good until the vegetation thickens in January, it’s still not at the same level as September/October. December is also not the best time for mokoro and motorboat trips, with low water levels all across the Delta.
Imagine a vast wilderness of reeds and channels, of towering jackleberry and giant sausage trees. A place where bulrushes hide huge herds of buffalo, where elephants wallow and lions roam. This is the oasis of the Okavango Delta, the jewel in Botswana’s magnificent crown. A wildlife wonderland, it’s been called the last Eden of Africa – both a tribute to its splendour, and an indictment on the decline elsewhere. Its maze of swamps and lagoons form a unique refuge for vulnerable species, with hidden regions so remote that even the acutely threatened rhino can thrive. In the Okavango, you’ll find one of the richest and most bio diverse ecosystems on the continent, a conservation success story and arguably the best wildlife destination in the world…
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in June 2014, the Okavango Delta is recognised for its unique annual flood. 11 trillion litres of water pour south down the Okavango River each year, a deluge from Angola that never reaches the sea. Instead it spreads southeast into the Kalahari interior saturating some 20,000km2 of sand. This is the last vestige of what was once an enormous inland lake, which over millennia has dried and gradually retreated, until only the immense Makgadikgadi Salt Pans remain.
The Okavango’s waters may no longer feed a lake, but they’re still critical to wildlife across the region. Central Botswana is the heart of the Kalahari, a semi-arid desert that sees very little rain. What makes the Delta particularly special is that its flooding coincides with the bone-dry winter months. As the summer rains fade in March and April, the waters begin their surge down the north-western ‘Panhandle’. As they hit the Delta, they gently fan out, and can take up to four months to percolate south to Maun. This seasonal flow provides a year-round source of water, a life-bringing reservoir for thousands of species of animals and plants.
The Okavango Delta is one of the world’s best wildlife regions, not just for its great game viewing, but as a general triumph in conservation. Much of its success is down to tireless, careful management and an overriding conviction that successes must be shared. Botswana has long operated a low-density tourism model, allowing a limited number of camps and lodges who then operate at a premium. This can quickly ramp up the cost of a safari to Botswana, but local communities are included and significant revenue is shared. In the Delta, you’ll find some of the world’s wildest and most spectacular game lodges and although prices can be high, it is the price of success. W hen you visit the Delta, the surrounding communities see value, which keeps poaching low and general encroachment at a minimum.
There are also ways to see the Delta which don’t involve luxury lodges – from houseboats on the Panhandle to Moremi and Khwai’s simple campsites. But wherever you go, park fees and tourism levies ensure that when you touch one of the world’s last great wilderness areas you know that in some small way you’re helping it survive.
Wildlife of the Okavango Delta
Official counts vary, but it’s generally thought that the Okavango Delta supports at least 2000 major species. Over half of these are plants, from giant hardwoods to waterlilies, with huge reed beds and grasslands and thick riverine forests. In the midst of the Delta you’ll find wild date and fan palms, clustering on low islands between the fig and waterberry trees. Take a look at a satellite image and you’ll see just what an anomaly this is – a lush hand of vegetation reaching south into the sand.
Up close in the channels, beneath the waving papyrus, painted reed frogs can be seen clinging to the stems. Around 30 amphibians have been recorded in the Delta plus 60-odd reptiles and around 70 species of fish. In fact, many visitors come especially for the fishing and ‘catch and release’ fishing lodges are popular along the Panhandle. The ferocious-looking tigerfish is the most sought after prize, plus bream and huge catfish, up to a metre-and-a-half in length.
The Okavango Delta never drains completely and the best way to experience it is by boat. Whether you’re fishing or not, a boat excursion is essential, either by flat bottomed motorboat or local dugout canoe. Called ‘mekoro’, these canoes are polled through the narrow waterways – an ideal way to discover the Delta’s 400-plus species of birds. Expert guides will skirt around the pods of hippos, as you silently soak in one of the world’s last great open-air aviaries
The Okavango Delta never drains completely and the best way to experience it is by boat. Whether you’re fishing or not, a boat excursion is essential, either by flat bottomed motorboat or local dugout canoe. Called ‘mekoro’, these canoes are polled through the narrow waterways – an ideal way to discover the Delta’s 400-plus species of birds. Expert guides will skirt around the pods of hippos, as you silently soak in one of the world’s last great open-air aviaries.
On the islands and floodplains Africa’s iconic megafauna awaits – over a third of the continent’s elephants move through the Delta each year. All of the Big Five are found here in good numbers, including black and white rhino which have been recently reintroduced. While predator sightings are never guaranteed, there are few places left where so many come together. Lion, leopard and cheetah are relatively common, as well as wild dog, hyena, jackal and the smaller wild cats. These prey on the many thousands of herbivores who are drawn to the Delta’s water and abundant food. The rare sitatunga and red lechwe are both adapted to the swamplands and you’ll also find the stunning roan and sable antelope with their scimitar-curved horns.