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

Popular Okavango Delta Safaris

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

 | Classic Botswana Family Safari (9 days)

Classic Botswana Family Safari (9 days)

Connect as a family while tracking wildlife and incredible landscapes through some of the most remote stretches of Botswana....

 | Highlights of Northern Botswana (8 days)

Highlights of Northern Botswana (8 days)

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

Wildlife  | Best of the Okavango Delta Safari (6 days)

Best of the Okavango Delta Safari (6 days)

Explore Botswana's Moremi and Selinda reserves on foot, in a safari vehicle or a mokoro for unforgettable wildlife encounters with big game and rare birds...

 | Botswana Premium Safari Collection (8 days)

Botswana Premium Safari Collection (8 days)

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

 | Best of Namibia, Botswana & Victoria Falls

Best of Namibia, Botswana & Victoria Falls

Travel from enigmatic red sands and surreal pans to rugged coastline and open plains, before exploring pristine waterways and scenic rivers - Kwando, Chobe and lastly, the mighty Zambezi River...

 | Makgadikgadi Pans and Okavango Delta Safari Adventure (7 days)

Makgadikgadi Pans and Okavango Delta Safari Adventure (7 days)

From desert to delta, this safari will show you the two stunning contrasts of beautiful Botswana...

 | 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 ...

 | Botswana Okavango Delta safari adventure

Botswana Okavango Delta safari adventure

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

 | Enchanting Moremi Mobile Camping Experience (7 days)

Enchanting Moremi Mobile Camping Experience (7 days)

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

 | 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...

You might also like

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.…

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…

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 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…

Moremi Game Reserve in Okavango Delta

Moremi Game Reserve covers the central and eastern edges of the Okavango Delta and is one of Botswana’s most famous parks. In the central region, dominated by Chief’s Island, a couple of beautiful luxury lodges provide fly-in safaris to one of the most pristine wildlife havens in the world. East of Chief’s Island, a roughly triangular wedge incorporates expansive mopani and riverine…

Western Okavango Delta

Along the western edge of the Okavango, just below the Panhandle, the deep-water channels and surrounding floodplains are some of the most beautiful to be found anywhere in the Delta. Three main concession areas cover this stunning region and there are only a handful of exclusive camps and lodges. Concession NG24 is the most northerly and currently has no safari operation at all, while…

Ready to start your adventure?

+27 (0)21 422 3498
   discover.africa
    info@discoverafrica.com
    Mon - Fri: 8AM - 9PM GMT+2