BOTSWANA

Okavango
Delta
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Botswana: Wildlife Destinations

Okavango Delta

Okavango's star species: Red lechwe • African wild dog • African elephant • African fish eagle  

 

Reaching like a green-fingered hand into the Kalahari, the Okavango is a water-wilderness of floodplains, reedbeds, papyrus swamps and wooded islands – a unique inland delta laced with a vein-like network of channels. Expanding and shrinking with the seasonal ebb and flow of floodwaters from Angola, the Okavango is one of Africa’s most enigmatic wildlife destinations. From tiny frogs perched on reed stems to herds of lechwe splashing through the shallows, the delta supports a plethora of species. You’ll find abundant birdlife, the big five (rhino were reintroduced in 2001) and one of the continent’s largest surviving populations of African wild dog. 

Moremi Game Reserve protects the core of the delta. A wonderfully diverse area, it has a little bit of everything that the delta can offer, from permanent lagoons to a dry peninsula covered in mopane trees. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded here, including the secretive Pel’s fishing owl. Moremi is also excellent for sightings of wild dog, lion, elephant and buffalo. Two of the reserve’s most rewarding areas are the floodplain of the Khwai River and the Xakanaxa Lagoon, where the dry Mopane Tongue meets a beautiful mosaic of pools and channels.

The Okavango also has a patchwork of private reserves – exclusive concessions that promise just as good wildlife as Moremi, but with the added bonus of walking safaris and night drives.

Although accommodation in the delta tends to be expensive, many private reserves are part-owned by local communities. By staying in Vumbura or Duba Plains Reserves, for example, a large part of your fee goes towards wages for local staff, supplies from the communities and the development of projects like medical clinics and schools.

Getting there Moremi Game Reserve is around 95km north of Maun. Many camps in the delta are reached by light aircraft.
Getting around 4WD vehicles essential.
When to go Dry season (May to November) is best for game viewing. Floodwaters arrive in June.
Things to do Mokoro (dugout canoe) rides, game drives, walking safaris, elephant back safaris.
Places to stay Numerous camps and lodges. Key operators include Wilderness Safaris.

 

Read the latest posts on African wildlife travel

wildlife travel essentials: Botswana

GETTING THERE

The easiest way to reach Botswana is to fly to Maun or Livingstone via Johannesburg.

TOURS

WHEN TO GO

Dry season (May to November) best for game viewing, except in the Central Kalahari.

GMT+2

WHERE TO STAY

Safari camps and lodges tend to be remote, exclusive and expensive.

Further information: botswanatourism.co.bw

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Wildlife Wishlist was founded by zoologist, conservationist and award-winning travel writer and photographer William Gray. Sharing his passion for wildlife and recommendations for responsible travel, Will has spent around 30 years tracking down the world's best wildlife holiday experiences.

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