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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

 | 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. ...

 | Botswana Green Season Safari (7 days)

Botswana Green Season Safari (7 days)

Experience three of Botswana's highlights – the Central Kalahari, Okavango Delta and Kwando Linyanti – wilderness areas that take you from arid desert to lush wetlands...

 | 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 ...

 | 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....

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...

 | 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...

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....

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

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...

 | Luxury Safari in Botswana and Victoria Falls (7 days)

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 ...

 | 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...

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