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

Big Five safari combining Moremi Game Reserve and Selinda Reserve

day 1

Unforgettable safari
  • Big Five safari combining Moremi Game Reserve and Selinda Reserve
  • Big Five safari combining Moremi Game Reserve and Selinda Reserve
  • Big Five safari combining Moremi Game Reserve and Selinda Reserve
  • Big Five safari combining Moremi Game Reserve and Selinda Reserve
  • Big Five safari combining Moremi Game Reserve and Selinda Reserve
  • Big Five safari combining Moremi Game Reserve and Selinda Reserve

day 2

Getting to grips with nature

day 3

Luxury meets eco-consciousness
  • Big Five safari combining Moremi Game Reserve and Selinda Reserve
  • Big Five safari combining Moremi Game Reserve and Selinda Reserve
  • Big Five safari combining Moremi Game Reserve and Selinda Reserve
  • Big Five safari combining Moremi Game Reserve and Selinda Reserve
  • Big Five safari combining Moremi Game Reserve and Selinda Reserve
  • Big Five safari combining Moremi Game Reserve and Selinda Reserve

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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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…

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…

Why should you come back to Okavango Delta?

Why should people come back? The Okavango Delta is one of the world’s best wildlife regions, not just for its great game viewing, but as a general triumph in conservation. Much of its success is down to tireless, careful management and an overriding conviction that successes must be shared. Botswana has long operated a low-density tourism model, allowing a limited number of camps and…

Okavango Delta in April

Throughout April the autumn gradually sets in, and cooler, drier weather steadily creeps across the Delta. As with March it’s the nights that cool more rapidly than the days. The coldest evenings can drop to around 12°C (54°F), but daytime highs are usually still over 30°C (86°F). Although the first few weeks of April may see some scattered showers, clearer skies are more and more…

Khwai Community Concessions

Barely touching the Delta’s north-eastern edge, the Khwai Community Concession runs along the Khwai River, just beyond Moremi Game Reserve’s North Gate. This small concession (number NG19) is owned and run by the community in nearby Khwai Village. About half a dozen midrange to luxury lodges operate here, as well as a couple of very basic campsites, all along the north bank of the…

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…

Popular Okavango Delta Safaris

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

 | 8-day Botswana premier safari collection

8-day Botswana premier safari collection

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

Family | Passage Through Southern Africa in a Luxury Train, Houseboat and Okavango Delta (SA 10 days)

Passage Through Southern Africa in a Luxury Train, Houseboat and Okavango Delta

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....

 | Affordable Okavango Delta and Chobe Safari

Affordable Okavango Delta and Chobe Safari

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

 | Safari in Zimbabwe and Botswana

Safari in Zimbabwe and Botswana

Explore the thundering Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and the wildlife rich Okavango Delta...

 | 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 ...

Wildlife  | Big Five safari combining Moremi Game Reserve and Selinda Reserve

Ultimate Botswana safari

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...

Campfire | Popular Botswana Safari Through the Delta

Popular Botswana Safari Through the Delta

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

 | Botswana Photographic Scheduled Safari

Botswana Photographic Scheduled Safari

Let us take you one the adventure of a lifetime through the Chobe National Park, Khwai Community Area and Moremi Game Reserve. ...

 | 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...

 | Nature, Romance, Exclusivity and Luxury - A Complete African Honeymoon

Nature, Romance, Exclusivity and Luxury - A Complete African Honeymoon

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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