The Okavango Delta in Botswana is a incredible travel destination. Spanning more than 16,000 square kilometres, this aquatic wilderness is the world's largest inland river delta. Fed by the Okavango River, the Delta is a watery labyrinth of narrow canals that are best navigated by Mokoro.
A Mokoro is a traditional dugout canoe and really is the most fantastic way to experience the Delta. Wildlife here does not reach the concentrations found in Chobe, but the real appeal of the Okavango is the blissful isolation and serene nature. When game is spotted, it's usually an up-close-and-personal encounter.
The Delta is home to some of the most exclusive luxury camps in Botswana - and all of Africa for that matter.
Planning your Okavango Safari with Rhino Africa
Due to the seasonality and dynamic nature of the Okavango Delta we always recommend discussing your itinerary with your Rhino Africa consultant. As a general rule we recommend spending at least four nights in the Delta. This should be two nights in a land activity or combination camp - and two nights in a water activity camp so that you can experience the full range of activities that the Delta has to offer.
Understanding the Okavango
The Okavango Delta is fascinating. In a country which is 80% arid, the Delta is a permanent life giving waterway. An essential understanding when planning your Okavango Safari is that it is a highly dynamic environment, which changes from year to year and even from month to month.
Rising in the Angolan Highlands, the Okavango River enters Botswana below Namibia's Caprivi region. Here, in the so called 'pan-handle,' it is still a wide, fairly swift, flowing river, but due to the overwhelmingly flat landscape and a series of geological faults, it soon starts to meander forming graffiti-like bends that wind sinuously through dense beds of Papyrus. Below the pan-handle, the Okavango River splits into three main channels, each one carrying water in a different direction. The headwaters of each of these channels are situated in the permanent swamp (water based camps), but further along their course, each penetrates into what is known as the 'seasonal swamp' (land and combination camps).
Life in the Delta ecosystem is governed by two events: the summer rains and the winter floods. Summer rainfall fills seasonal pans and helps keep the channels full, but towards the end of summer the waters recede, only to rise again when the floodwaters from the Angolan Highlands eventually reach the lower delta. The Okavango Delta fluctuates in size according to a complex relationship between the annual flood from Angola and local rainfall. Not all the 13 000km² is flooded and at the driest time of the year, perennial flood plains amount to only 6 000km².
Get to grips with Moremi Game Reserve
Moremi Game Reserve is the only section of the Okavango Delta that has been cordoned off for wildlife. The Moremi Game reserve is safari country par excellence and rivals even Chobe. Lying on the central and eastern side of the Delta, Moremi is a mix of both aquatic and terrestrial landscapes, the latter of which is comprised of savannas and riparian woodland.
The Okavango Delta supports the most diverse habitat and animal populations in Botswana, with possible sightings of wild dog, cheetah, leopard and much more! Resident species include lion, elephant, buffalo, hippo, giraffe, hyena, zebra, kudu, lechwe, sable and roan antelope.
Camp Moremi is built on the edge of a lagoon and provides fantastic panoramic views. The exceptional location of Khwai River Lodge makes it a regular host to Elephant, Buffalo, Lion, Leopard, Cheetah and Wild Dogs. Birdlife can also be viewed in abundance near the lodge.
We are Botswana experts at Rhino Africa and many of our consultants have lived in the Okavango Delta and even managed camps there. So if you have any questions or needs, just get in touch and we will be more than happy to help out.
A Map of the Okavango Delta
Getting to the Okavango Delta
Air Botswana flies daily from Johannesburg to Maun. By combining a trip to the Okavango with Chobe & Victoria Falls, many people fly into Victoria Falls or Livingstone.
To get to the Okavango Delta most people travel through Maun which acts as the gateway to the Delta. Maun receives daily flights from Johannesburg and flights three times a week from Cape Town and Windhoek. From here you are usually met by a representative and transferred to a small Cessna 206 flight. These ‘puddle hoppers’ fly between the various camps like taxis and drop off guests, luggage and even camp supplies.
The small planes means that there is a very strict luggage limit. Limited to 12kg per person in soft sided duffel bags. Most of the lodges have laundry facilities, hairdryers, guest amenities, and very relaxed dress codes which means that there is no need to pack the kitchen sink. Speak to your Rhino Africa consultant as we often recommend leaving luggage in Johannesburg Airport.
Combine the Okavango with Chobe & Victoria Falls
Many itineraries combine an Okavango Safari with Chobe and Victoria Falls. This usually means flying into Maun and flying out of Victoria Falls or flying into Victoria Falls and flying out of Maun.
Want to book your place? Contact us to tailor-make your trip!