Okavango Delta on a budget

enter image description here Credit: Unfamiliar Destinations

Most of the lodges in the Okavango Delta fall somewhere between mid-range and ultra-high-end luxury. It’s a deliberate strategy by the Botswanan authorities to maximise conservation revenue while keeping visitor numbers low. It’s easy to be cynical about this kind of approach, but funds do seem to go where they’re needed and local communities get to see the value of their resource. The results have been impressive, with very low poaching levels and issues around human-wildlife conflict are far more manageable than in other parts of the continent. All this is to say that a safari to the Okavango is not cheap, but there is some comfort knowing that funds are being used wisely. And while the central Delta is largely off limits to budget travellers, there are still wonderful, affordable campsites in Moremi Game Reserve, along the Khwai River and the Panhandle.

Highlights

Most of the lodges in the Okavango Delta fall somewhere between mid-range and ultra-high-end luxury. It’s a deliberate strategy by the Botswanan authorities to maximise conservation revenue while keeping visitor numbers low. It’s easy to be cynical about this kind of approach, but funds do seem to go where they’re needed and local communities get to see the value of their resource. The results have been impressive, with very low poaching levels and issues around human-wildlife conflict are far more manageable than in other parts of the continent. All this is to say that a safari to the Okavango is not cheap, but there is some comfort knowing that funds are being used wisely. And while the central Delta is largely off limits to budget travellers, there are still wonderful, affordable campsites in Moremi Game Reserve, along the Khwai River and the Panhandle.

Travel tips

If you don’t have a 4x4 then hiring can be expensive, but it’s often still the most affordable route if you can share with a few people. For solos, a budget group tour is another reasonable option and these can be booked with a reputable company in advance, or head to Maun, and play it by ear. Maun has a couple of low-key camps and a backpackers, a good place to meet fellow travellers and make plans together. Even the tightest budget should find space for a flight over the Delta and these are much more affordable if you can find other people to share costs.


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