Okavango Delta Panhandle

Region explained

The Okavango Delta is fed by the Okavango River, which flows southeast from Angola, through Namibia’s Zambezi Region, and enters Botswana at the small border village of Mohembo. Here it spreads out into a strip roughly 11km wide, a thick green mass of twisting channels, dense papyrus and reed beds. This long, green ‘Panhandle’ continues for roughly 100km before fanning out into the Okavango Delta proper. Along its western edge you’ll find a number of self-drive safari and fishing camps and the area is, on the whole, much more low key and affordable than elsewhere in the Delta. Although there’s excellent fishing, good birding and plenty of crocs and hippos, the Panhandle is not known for big game and traditional wildlife safaris are not an option. However, unique to the area, are a selection of fully-crewed houseboats, ideal for larger groups looking to kick back on the water.

Highlights

Fishing: Angling is undoubtedly the Panhandle’s biggest attraction and there’s good fishing to be had throughout the year. Catfish and bream are common in the area, but tigerfish are the main prize, especially between August and November. Tigers up to 10kg have been caught in the northern channels and just about every lodge and camp offers guided fishing trips to find them.

Cat fish are common during August-November, but Tiger fish are the main prize

The annual catfish run: This part of the Okavango sees the annual catfish run when thousands of predatory catfish, some up to 1.5m in length, swarm up the channels as the water levels start to drop (roughly August to November). As they go they hunt smaller fish and are in turn hunted by birds and tigerfish – an incredible feeding frenzy that’s a sight to behold!

Practical advice

Unlike much of the Delta, the Panhandle is easily accessible, with a generally good, although in places badly potholed, tarmac road running along its western edge. Reaching some of the camps and lodges will still require a 4x4, however, as many of the access tracks are either extremely sandy or seasonally waterlogged. The eastern edge of the Panhandle is high-clearance only, with a single sandy track running south from Mohembo to Seronga. If you’re visiting the region a detour to the nearby Tsodilo Hills is recommended. It’s one of the world’s oldest inhabited sites, with archaeological evidence dating back 60,000 years.

Tsodilo Hills is one of the world’s oldest inhabited sites, with archaeological evidence dating back 60,000 years.


Popular Okavango Delta Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | Mobile Camping Safari in Botswana (7 days)

Mobile Camping Safari in Botswana (7 days)

One week of wild camping in Botswana's Moremi Game Reserve, arguably one of the most beautiful areas in the Okavango Delta...

 | Wilderness and Wildlife in Northern Botswana (7 days)

Wilderness and Wildlife in Northern Botswana (7 days)

From the Okavango Delta to the Chobe, this one-week journey is the perfect balance of wildlife and wilderness wonders...

 | Delights of Moremi Game Reserve Safari

Delights of Moremi Game Reserve Safari

Explore the secrets of Botswana's famous Moremi Game Reserve in this short and affordable safari ...

Family | Passage Through Southern Africa in a Luxury Train (10 days)

Passage Through Southern Africa in a Luxury Train (10 days)

Weave your way through a safari medley that introduces you to the mighty Victoria Falls, a remote slice of the Okavango Delta and the African gems in between....

 | Botswana Okavango Delta safari adventure

Botswana Okavango Delta safari adventure

Experience the jewel in Botswana's safari crown - the Okavango Delta....

 | Sabi Sands and Okavango Delta Big Five Tour (8 days)

Sabi Sands and Okavango Delta Big Five Tour (8 days)

Explore the famous reserve that offers exceptional game viewing and sight the elusive Sitatunga antelope in the Okavango ...

Campfire | Popular Botswana Safari Through the Delta (5 days)

Popular Botswana Safari Through the Delta (5 days)

Experience the remote wilderness of Botswana on a safari that offers you luxurious game viewing like no other....

 | Affordable Okavango Delta, Chobe and Victoria Falls Journey (8 days)

Affordable Okavango Delta, Chobe and Victoria Falls Journey (8 days)

Spent three nights at Chobe safari Lodge, two nights at Rra Dinare, two nights Moremi Crossing, as well as a full day visit to Victoria Falls...

 | Best of Africa Safari (16 days)

Best of Africa Safari (16 days)

Experience the best of Africa, from the Okavango Delta – one of Africa's Seven Natural Wonders – to the endangered mountain gorillas and East Africa's Great Migration...

 | Okavango Delta Tour (4 days)

Okavango Delta Tour (4 days)

Moremi Private Game Reserve is home for 4 days on this safari. Highlights are a helicopter flight to the Delta, boat and foot safari's and en-suite tented accommodation...

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