Wildlife in Okavango Delta

Okavango Delta wildlife

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.

Okavango Delta supports at least 2000 species flora and fauna

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.

Up close in the channels, beneath the waving papyrus, painted reed frogs can be seen clinging to the stems.

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.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Best of the Okavango Delta Safari (6 days)

day 1

Unforgettable safari
  • Best of the Okavango Delta Safari (6 days)
  • Best of the Okavango Delta Safari (6 days)
  • Best of the Okavango Delta Safari (6 days)
  • Best of the Okavango Delta Safari (6 days)
  • Best of the Okavango Delta Safari (6 days)
  • Best of the Okavango Delta Safari (6 days)

day 2

Getting to grips with nature

day 3

Luxury meets eco-consciousness
  • Best of the Okavango Delta Safari (6 days)
  • Best of the Okavango Delta Safari (6 days)
  • Best of the Okavango Delta Safari (6 days)
  • Best of the Okavango Delta Safari (6 days)
  • Best of the Okavango Delta Safari (6 days)
  • Best of the Okavango Delta Safari (6 days)

day 4

Lions with attitude

day 5

Canoe the Delta

day 6

We know you'll be back

View Full Itinerary

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Luxury safari in the Okavango Delta

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Okavango Delta in January

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Okavango Delta in October

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Okavango Delta Panhandle

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Popular Okavango Delta Safaris

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

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....

 | 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...

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Luxury Safari in Botswana and Victoria Falls (7 days)

Experience the paradise of Botswana and enjoy game viewing as well as exciting activities in Zambia ...

 | Highlights of Northern Botswana (8 days)

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

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

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

 | 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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Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta and Chobe Safari (7 days)

This three-in-one journey will show you the majestic Victoria Falls, the massive elephant bulls of Chobe and the natural wonder that is the Okavango Delta...

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This exclusive African honeymoon through East and Southern Africa is the perfect way to celebrate the start of your new journey together...

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

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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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