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.


Popular Okavango Delta Safaris

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

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...

Sunset at Camp Xakanaxa  | Affordable Makgadikgadi Pans and Okavango Delta Safari (7 days)

Affordable Makgadikgadi Pans and Okavango Delta Safari (7 days)

Game viewing by land and water come together at Makgadikgadi, Moremi and the Okavango Delta, treating you to a varied Botswana safari ...

 | 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...

 | 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 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. ...

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....

 | Exciting Family Safari in Botswana and Namibia (11 days)

Exciting Family Safari in Botswana and Namibia (11 days)

Enjoy both Botswana's Okavango Delta and Namibia's Caprivi Strip on a safari holiday filled with fun ...

 | Botswana and Zimbabwe’s World Wonders (7 days)

Botswana and Zimbabwe's World Wonders (7 days)

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...

 | 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...

 | Camping in Moremi Game Reserve (5 days)

Camping in Moremi Game Reserve (5 days)

Watch the Okavango Delta come alive with the sounds of bird calls, the roar of lions in one of the most beautiful reserves in Botswana...

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