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.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Mobile Camping Safari in Botswana (7 days)

day 1 to 2 to 3

Welcome to magnificent Moremi Game Reserve

day 4 to 5 to 6

Khawi Community Area

day 7

Day of departure

View Full Itinerary

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Okavango Delta in November

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…

Okavango Delta in July

Climate 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…

Okavango Delta in December

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…

Okavango Delta in March

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…

Northern Okavango Delta

Region explained Outside of Moremi Game Reserve the Okavango Delta is divided into a number of unfenced concession areas, each managed by a local community or private safari operator. In north-western Botswana, the concessions are designated ‘NG’ – an acronym for the broader municipal area, known as Ngamiland. Along the Delta’s northern edge, you’ll find NG12, NG18, NG19, NG20,…

Okavango Delta in August

Climate 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.…

Popular Okavango Delta Safaris

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

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Experience two of Botswana's best safari destinations; the Savute region and Okavango Delta ...

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

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Choose our Botswana premier collection and experience a traditional big game wildlife safari in one of Africa’s top destinations. ...

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The ideal safari to capture Botswana's unrivalled beauty and abundance of flora and fauna through the lens...

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 | Enchanting Moremi Mobile Camping Experience (7 days)

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Moremi Game Reserve in the beautiful Okavango Delta is well-known for self-drive camper vanning. Explore this exciting way of travel with us ...

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

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Experience the best of Africa, from the Okavango Delta – to the diverse game viewing at the Chobe National Park and ending at the thundering Victoria Falls...

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