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Where the Okavango River meets the Kalahari Desert, a green oasis sprawls amid the sands and parched savanna. The maze of channels sustains a profusion of wildlife in permanently flooded lagoons and on land. Explore the marsh by poled mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe, and wildlife drives on higher ground. Islands and wetlands are home to prolific birdlife, hippo and red lechwe, while elephant, lion, leopard, zebra and more thrive beyond the water’s reach.
The Safari Experience
The primary experience while on safari in the Okavango Delta is wildlife viewing in open 4x4 vehicles in the early mornings and late afternoons, often continuing into the evening. In the private concessions where we operate, there are no paved roads. All driving is done responsibly on dirt tracks and off-road, getting close to wildlife. An activity unique to the Okavango Delta—gliding through shallow channels in a traditional dugout canoe called a mokoro—is also possible from many camps, as are guided bush walks, fishing for the famed tigerfish, and night wildlife drives. A typical daily African ritual is to have a “sundowner,” or a sunset cocktail, while watching a stunning Africa sunset. The Okavango Delta has both semi-permanent luxury tented camps as well as mobile dome-tented camps. Telling stories around the campfire is a classic way to end the day in this vast oasis.
The Okavango Delta is famed for prolific and diverse wildlife. Home to an estimated 200,000 or more large mammals, this enormous inland delta provides drinking water and food sustenance for great masses of animals, making it Botswana’s premier wildlife-viewing area. Large mammals, such as elephant, hippo, buffalo, giraffe and zebra, are abundant, while predators such as lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog and hyena are also resident in many areas. The delta is home to many species of antelope as well, such as lechwe, roan, sable, eland and tsessebe. The delta’s birds, numbering more than 400 species, are spectacular, and comprise some of Africa’s most beloved: the lilac-breasted roller, grey-hooded kingfisher, carmine bee-eater, crested crane and African fish eagle, to name but a few. Many of the mammals do journey outside the delta to find new grasses for grazing during the green season, from December through March.
How to Include the Okavango Delta in Your Safari Itinerary
Recommended Number of Nights
Nature travelers: 5 (3 at land-based camp, 2 at water-based or combination camp)
Photography enthusiasts: 6 (4 at land-based camp, 2 at water-based or combination camp)
Families: 5 (3 at land-based camp, 2 at water-based or combination camp)
Active travelers: 6 (3 at land-based camp, 3 at water-based or combination camp)
Other Regions to Include
From May through October the wildlife-rich wetlands of the delta complement perfectly the dry savanna of the Linyanti region, just a short flight to the north, where tens of thousands of elephants move between Chobe National Park and the Linyanti’s private reserves. During the green season from November to April, Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve to the south is an ideal complement, as many mammals migrate to this dry region to follow the new grasses at this time. For multi-country routes, many travelers elect to add Namibia or South Africa to see rhinoceros, since the delta has few resident rhinos. Zimbabwe offers many active options and outstanding game viewing in Hwange National Park, which is just to the northeast. From May through November, Zambia is an excellent addition for those who enjoy walking safaris. Victoria Falls is always a natural add-on for any Botswana safari.