About the Okavango Delta
If you’re planning a safari to Africa the Okavango Delta has to be up there on your bucket list. This is one of the last untouched wilderness areas remaining on earth. Situated in the northern parts of Botswana, the Okavango Delta is a beautiful, wild safari destination, unique in the water and land based safari activities on offer.
To many travellers this is a once-in-a-lifetime safari experience, but you might just get hooked and return again and again like many have experienced.
We explore the experiences on offer, the seasonality of the annual flood and most suitable ways to discover the Okavango Delta.
These aspects are important to consider while planning your Okavango Delta safari.
Map drawn by Michael Francis Reagan www.mreaganmaps.com/
The Okavango Delta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Okavango Delta offers a unique water-based safari experience that allows you to get close to nature like no other destination. The ideal combination is water- and land based activities. Photography forms part of all activities, and for dedicated photographic safaris, nothing beats the Okavango Delta!
Water Levels of the Okavango Delta.
A major part of an Okavango Delta safari is the water activities on the waterways and lagoons. The delta water levels fluctuate during certain times of the year as the water level is dependant on the rains that fall in the main catchment area of the Okavango Delta – the Angolan highlands 1200km away – which makes its way down the Rio Cubango/Okavango River and into the alluvial fan of the delta.
The fluctuating water levels leave many areas dry (mostly the southern parts) where land based activities are then conducted, with some areas in the north offering year-round water access.
This will influence your choice of where you want to visit in the Okavango, as some activities are not available in the south during the low water season. Since popular activities such as a mokoro trip or a boating safari might not be possible in certain areas it is important to take the seasonal flood waters into consideration when choosing your Okavango destination. The northern parts don’t usually dry completely so this area is ideal for a water- and land based safari combination in the Okavango Delta. This is due to its proximity to the main channel (known as the pan handle) feeding the rest of the Okavango Delta.
SEASONS of the Okavango Delta.
The warmer season stretches from September to October where temperatures range from the high 20°C to as high as 40°C. During the months of November & December dramatic thunderstorms can occur. These normally last for a few hours and then clear up. It brings a welcome relief to the warm summer temperatures and provides much needed moisture for the vegetation.
Cloud formations are spectacular. The birdlife is prolific and the wildlife has an abundance of water sources.
During the winter months from May to August (sometimes into September) the daytime temperatures vary between 20°C and 30°C. Days are mild but evenings and early mornings can be cold and temperatures can drop to single digits, so pack accordingly.
The vegetation is dry during the colder months. Wildlife viewing is magnificent as large numbers congregate around the remaining pools of water which allows for amazing wildlife viewing opportunities.
HIGH WATER SEASON
The seasonal flooding of the Okavango Delta starts in the north around late March and April. Waterlevels depend on the annual rainfall in Angola, so the flood is highly unpredictable. The delta gradually fills up with waters reaching the south as late as June or July. The water levels start to drop from October onwards as summer approaches.
It’s important to note that certain parts of the northern delta has year-round access to water.
ACTIVITIES IN the Okavango Delta.
Let’s have a look at some of the must-do activities while visiting the Okavango Delta:
Hot air ballooning
Community Cattle Project
Adopt A Baobab
TRAVEL IN the Okavango Delta.
There are two ways to travel around the Okavango Delta – by road and by air. The road option is popular with self-drive enthusiasts but there are limitations to driving as certain areas can only be reach by small plane.
The fly-in option allows you to reach smaller camps inaccessible by vehicle – even a 4×4. These camps are situated on remote islands in the delta and within private concessions. Some camps offer only water- or only land based activities. This is dependant on their location and the level of the Okavango’s flood water.
Some camps (like Okavango Elephant Camp) are ideally situated to offer both water- and land based experiences year-round. These are mostly situated in the northern reaches of the Okavango with access to deep channels that feed the rest of the delta further south.
GETTING TO the Okavango Delta.
The main access points to the Okavango Delta are the towns of Maun (on the southern tip of the Okavango) and Kasane (on the Chobe River in the north). Both have international airports that is serviced by Air Botswana and SA Airlink from Johannesburg in South Africa.
The easiest way to get into the Okavango when visiting a camp or lodge is by light aircraft. A short flight from Maun will allow you to see the beauty of the Okavango Delta from the air. These air transfer are made in small planes so strict luggage restrictions apply. It’s important to pack light, so speak to us or your agent for a useful packing list.
If you choose to drive you will require a fully equipped 4×4 vehicle. Conditions are rough with thick sand, water crossings and long muddy stretches (during wet season). A self drive safari is not for the faint of heart.
How to prepare for a Botswana safari
The Okavango Delta in Botswana is arguably one of the most sought-after safari destinations in the world. A visit to the Okavango allows visitors to experience the world’s largest inland delta that is completely surrounded by dry arid desert-like habitat. This...
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Follow our stories from the Okavango Delta. Life in the African bush is exciting and there are always something interesting that takes place. Read about sightings, changes at camp, stories from the guides and feedback from our conservation partners on their wins to conserve the Okavango's habitat and beautiful wildlife.