The watery tendrils of the Okavango Delta snake out, weaving a watery web filled to the brim with exciting game-viewing opportunities in this wildlife-rich pocket of biodiversity. Home to the Big 5 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Delta consists of endless floodplains, patches of higher ground, riverine woodland as well as forest, and the cloud-strewn Botswana sky reflecting in the still waters of the Delta below.
Known as “the river that never finds the sea”, this wetland of winding oxbow waterways is a bucket-list expedition for anyone fuelled by a love of Africa and its striking array of wildlife. Like most countries across Africa, Botswana is a vast, largely undiscovered portion of land.
Many of the safari activities in the Okavango centre around the water, and travellers will find themselves exploring marshy waterways by boat and even traditional mokoro (a dugout canoe). Visitors aren’t only limited to the water, however, and they can explore higher ground in traditional game-viewing vehicles and on foot – or even take to the skies to get a bird’s-eye view of the passing game from the heights of a helicopter.
Marvel at the seasonal ebb and flow of mother nature as she inundates the plains and grassland, supporting a myriad of wildlife from birds and large herds of elephant to numerous antelope species such as roan and sable. Predator sightings can include lion, leopard, spotted hyena, and the African wild dog. The Delta is an astounding safari destination due to its fascinating and ever-changing landscape and the array of wildlife that it supports.
We've taken the liberty to answer everything you may need to know about visiting Okavango Delta
Accessing the Okavango Delta and its private safari lodges is relatively simple, and most often, guests will fly in. There are private airstrips located nearby most of the lodges so that you can fly via light aircraft straight from either Maun or Kasane airport. From there, someone will collect and transport you to your lodges by either vehicle or boat.
Direct flights to Maun are possible from Cape Town, Johannesburg and Kasane. Direct flights to Kasane are only possible from Johannesburg.
The eastern part of the Delta can also be accessed directly from Maun by 4x4 without a chartered flight.
Based on your lodge of choice, time and cost, our Travel Experts will gladly advise you on the best way to get to the Okavango Delta or the surrounding reserves.
The Okavango Delta's ever-changing landscape means that it will look vastly different at various times of the year. The peak time to visit the Okavango Delta is during the dry winter season, running from May to September. This is when the skies are clear, although, ironically, it is the wettest season with the Delta fully flooded. The vegetation is also sparse for better wildlife sightings, and there will be fewer mosquitoes bugging you.
September - October
Referred to as the 'green season', September to October is outside of peak season. During the time, the water recedes (and with it the lodges' rates decrease). Moremi Game Reserve usually thrives during this time.
November - April
From November to April, you can expect the dry and hot 'rainy season'. Keen birders, or twitchers, will enjoy visiting during this period as the Okavango Delta transforms from an excellent bird watching destination to a spectacular one.
September - October
September and October is a period we refer to as “green season”. As the water recedes, so do the animals and the lodge rates, but choosing where to stay during these “green season” months will either add or detract from your experience. Moremi Game Reserve is particularly rewarding at this time of year, as animals are concentrated in large numbers in and around the reserve.
November - April
Keen birders, or twitchers as we like to call them, will enjoy the dry and hot summer months from November to April. This period represents “the rainy season” and sees the Okavango Delta transform from an excellent bird watching destination to a sensational one.
Botswana is one of the few African countries that have adopted a high-value, low-volume tourism strategy in an effort to minimise the negative environmental impact people have on its pristine wildlife areas, while maximising socioeconomic benefits for its population. This has resulted in a highly sustainable tourism development model, as the Okavango Delta remains undoubtedly the premier wildlife destination on the planet.
Botswana’s high-value, low-volume tourism strategy, simply translated, means there is limited availability, as lodges are small and intimate with little accommodation. Much like any big city, the ebb and flow of the Okavango Delta floodwaters means “real estate” or lodge positions are a key consideration when booking your Okavango Delta safari. Add seasonality to the mix, and front row seats, which generally imply the ability to enjoy both land and water-based activities, sell out first, and long in advance.
Given limited availability due to Botswana’s overarching tourism strategy, it is highly recommended that when adding the Okavango to your bucket list, it is imperative you start planning and booking your Okavango Delta Safari some 12 to 18 months in advance.
With over 17 years experience, as Africa’s Leading Safari company, Rhino Africa is an African-based specialist tour operator arranging tailor-made wildlife safaris and holidays throughout Africa, including Botswana. Our understanding of the guest experience, combined with extensive first-hand knowledge of the lodges, makes us experts in creating magical and memorable African holidays.
Unfortunately not, it is located in a malaria area. We are not doctors, so please note that you should always speak to your doctor about malaria prevention before travelling. However, on that note, it is entirely possible to have a safe, malaria-free holiday in Africa by using prophylactic drugs.
Tip 1: Repel the Mosquitoes
The female mosquito responsible for transmitting malaria is a silent mossy, so you will have to ensure you repel them. They can strike at any time of day but are most active at dusk as well as dawn. Always wear repellent as well as long-sleeved shirts and long trousers in the evenings and mornings. Please note that clothes alone won't protect you, as they can bite through the material. Most of our lodges will have screened windows and doors, air conditioning systems, and mosquito nets to further protect you.
Tip 2: ALWAYS Take Anti-Malaria Tablets
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself against malaria is taking Prophylactic tablets. Please note that you have to speak to your doctor before taking these tablets to ensure that you take the right one, as well as the correct dosage when entering the malaria area.
Tip 3: Keep an Eye Out for Symptoms and Finish Your Course of Meds
If you start to notice any flu-like symptoms, you must get a malaria test to be safe and catch it early because malaria reacts well to early treatment. Also, don't stop taking your meds until the course is complete!
Activities on offer will vary from lodge to lodge, as well as the time of year. However, popular activities include your traditional game drives, hot air balloon rides, walking safaris, photographic safaris, and horseback safaris. An activity true to Botswana is the mokoro safari. A dugout canoe, sometimes referred to as Africa's gondolas, are the traditional method of travelling across the Delta's shallow wetlands.
Look, we're not going to beat around the bush here (get it?). An Okavango Delta safari is more expensive than in South Africa, Zambia or Namibia. But there's a very good reason for that! Because it is such a high value, low-volume and unique destination, lodges must charge higher prices to help preserve the wilderness area. Your flights will also add to this coat.
However, the value of this experience is priceless and is unique in so many ways that it cannot really be compared to other safari destinations. We also suggest that you visit for at least ten days, giving you enough time to experience the area. If you book during the flood or peak season, a 10-day holiday of visiting three destinations in Botswana will cost you around 11,500 USD per person, excluding international and regional flights.