Okavango Delta Safari Guide for Single or Family

(Last Updated On: April 8, 2021)

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Website in June 2014, the Okavango Delta is recognized for its distinctive annual flood and adventurous safari. 11 trillion liters of water pour south down the Okavango River annually, a deluge from Angola that by no means reaches the ocean. This article will give a description and review of the Okavango Delta Safari guide.

Okavango Delta Safari guide

As a substitute, it spreads southeast into the Kalahari inside saturating some 20,000km2 of sand. That is the final vestige of what was as soon as an unlimited inland lake, which over millennia has dried and steadily retreated, till solely the immense Makgadikgadi Salt Pans stay.

Sitting on the geographical coronary heart of southern Africa, Botswana’s Okavango Delta is the closest factor to Eden left on the planet.

Amid the sandy thorn-scrub of the Kalahari Desert, its 15,000 sq. kilometers of champagne-colored rivers, papyrus-choked reed beds, and lily-covered lagoons symbolize one of many largest wetland wildernesses on this planet − a spot the place basic African wildlife thrives unmolested and the safari expertise is second to none.

What’s the Okavango Delta?

When most individuals consider a delta, they consider the Mississippi, the Nile, or the Rhine. Mighty rivers that meander seawards and, exhausted, dump their silt-laden waters as soon as they attain the coast.

However right here in Botswana, the Okavango River by no means reaches the ocean – after traveling over a thousand kilometers from the rain-soaked highlands of Angola, it merely spills onto Botswana’s Kalahari sands and slowly dies.

However, the life that it generates and fosters within the course is one thing each traveler should behold sooner or later of their lifetime.

When the floods arrive in Might, the principal channels of the Okavango Delta – residence to hippos, crocodiles, tigerfish, and bream – braid their means round lush grasslands, reed beds, palm groves and galleries of mopane forest.

At its widest level the delta’s fan is 170km, and between July and September over 200,000 animals migrate from the baking desert to this gigantic oasis.

For not like different inland seas, the waters of the Okavango are candy to drink, filtering by way of Kalahari sands and evaporating off its fast-running streams earlier than they have got an opportunity to stagnate.

What makes it so particular?

In addition to the surreal surroundings, the Okavango Delta helps 164 mammalian species, 157 species of reptiles, and 540 species of bird.

Key predators similar to lions, leopards, cheetahs, and endangered African wild canine discover sanctuary right here alongside enormous herds of wildebeests, buffaloes, zebras, and varied antelope species.

The world hosts virtually half the continent’s elephants in the course of the flood when migratory herds head for the delta.

Rhinos are even making a comeback as conservationists, afraid of their survival in South Africa, relocate them right here.

Take a look at a map of the delta and also you’ll see an outstretched hand with its fingers reaching all the way down to Maun from the northern Namibian border. The wrist – the 70km strip between Shakawe and the delta – is called the Panhandle.

It’s in style for its affordability and fishing camps, similar to Nxamaseri (nxamaseri.com) and Drotsky’s Cabins, and houseboats just like the Kubu Queen (kubuqueen.com), which drift down the waterway beside riverine forests full of birds.

To the east, the Moremi Game Reserve covers 40% of the delta, together with Chief’s Island – 1000 sq. kilometers of predator-friendly thorn scrub and mopane woodland the place the Massive 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo) abound.

The remainder of the delta is split into 18 concessions run privately or by group trusts, with every being restricted to between one and 6 camps – all are distinctive in character.

The perfect ‘moist camps’ providing water-based actions, similar to quintessential mokoro (a standard African dugout canoe) journeys that glide peacefully down the delta’s papyrus-lined channels, are Jao Flats, Kwara Concession and Xigera Camp in Moremi.

Whereas standard land-based wildlife viewing is greatest skilled on the ‘dry camps’ Vumbura Plains Camp, Chitabe Camp (wilderness-safaris.com), Kwara and Duba Plains, the latter being well-known for its lion hunt sightings.

Different much less widespread actions embody strolling safaris (Footsteps Camp in Shinde and Motswiri Camp in Selinda South) and horseback safaris (Macatoo Camp in Abu Concession and Motswiri).

Sanctuary Stanley’s camp

The Okavango’s waters might now not feed a lake, however, they’re nonetheless important to wildlife throughout the area. Central Botswana is the center of the Kalahari, a semi-arid desert that sees little or no rain.

What makes the Delta significantly particular is that its flooding coincides with the bone-dry winter months. Because the summer season rains fade in March and April, the waters start their surge down the north-western ‘Panhandle’.

As they hit the Delta, they gently fan out and might take as much as 4 months to percolate south to Maun. This seasonal movement supplies a year-round supply of water, a life-bringing reservoir for 1000’s of species of animals and vegetation.

The Okavango Delta is among the world’s greatest wildlife areas, not only for its nice recreation viewing, however as a common triumph in conservation.

A lot of its success is all the way down to tireless, cautious administration and an overriding conviction that successes have to be shared.

Botswana has lengthy operated a low-density tourism mannequin, permitting a restricted variety of camps and lodges who then function at a premium.

This could shortly ramp up the price of a safari to Botswana, however, native communities are included and important income is shared.

Within the Delta, you’ll discover a number of the world’s wildest and most spectacular recreation lodges and though costs will be excessive, it’s the value of success.

When you go to the Delta, the encompassing communities see worth, which retains poaching low and common encroachment at a minimal.

Khwai Camp

There are additionally methods to see the Delta which don’t contain luxurious lodges – from houseboats on the Panhandle to Moremi and Khwai’s easy campsites.

However, wherever you go, park charges and tourism levies be certain that whenever you contact one of many world’s final nice wilderness areas you understand that in some small means you’re serving to it survive.

Up shut within the channels, beneath the waving papyrus, painted reed frogs will be seen clinging to the stems.

Around 30 amphibians have been recorded within the Delta plus 60-odd reptiles and round 70 species of fish. In actual fact, many guests come particularly for the fishing and ‘catch and launch’ fishing lodges are in style alongside the Panhandle.

The ferocious-looking tigerfish is essentially the most wanted prize, plus bream and big catfish, as much as a meter-and-a-half in size.

The Okavango Delta by no means drains fully and the easiest way to expertise it’s by boat. Whether or not you’re fishing or not, a ship tour is crucial, both by flat bottomed motorboat or native dugout canoe.

Referred to as ‘mekoro’, these canoes are polled by way of the slim waterways – a really perfect solution to uncover the Delta’s 400-plus species of birds.

Professional guides will skirt across the pods of hippos, as you silently soak in one of many world’s final nice open-air aviaries.

On the islands and floodplains, Africa’s iconic megafauna awaits – over a 3rd of the continent’s elephants transfer by way of the Delta annually.

All the Massive 5 are discovered right here in good numbers, together with black and white rhino which have been not too long ago reintroduced.

Whereas predator sightings are by no means assured, there are few locations left the place so many come collectively.

Lion, leopard, and cheetah are comparatively widespread, in addition to wild canine, hyena, jackal, and the smaller wild cats.

These prey on the various 1000’s of herbivores who’re drawn to the Delta’s water and considerable meals. The uncommon sitatunga and pink lechwe are each tailored to the swamplands and also you’ll additionally discover the gorgeous roan and sable antelope with their scimitar-curved horns.

Wildlife of the Okavango Delta

Official counts differ, but it surely’s typically thought that the Okavango Delta helps not less than 2000 main species.

Over half of those are vegetation, from big hardwoods to waterlilies, with enormous reed beds and grasslands and thick riverine forests.

Within the midst of the Delta, you’ll discover the wild date and fan palms, clustering on low islands between the fig and Waterbury timber.

Check out satellite tv for pc picture and also you’ll see simply what an anomaly that is – a lush hand of vegetation reaching south into the sand.

What sort of traveler are you?

Solo journey in Okavango Delta

Solo journey is uncommon within the Okavango Delta, largely as a result of experiences like this beg to be shared. Solo 4×4’ing additionally carries some threat, particularly within the moist summer season from December to March.

That stated, there’s no cause to not discover the Delta by yourself. Most lodges are more than pleased to welcome solo visitors.

Through the shoulder and off-seasons, you could have the complete camp to your self and it’s usually attainable to get a piece of non-public, devoted information and customize your expertise as a lot as you want.

This presents some great alternatives for photographers, and in addition to eager ornithologists seeking particular birds.

The Okavango Delta’s lodges are typically small, intimate affairs, and plenty of providing communal eating and shared campfires within the evenings.

There’s normally the prospect to satisfy fellow travelers over dinner, however, in lots of circumstances actions are organized privately per reserving.

That is clearly splendid in the event you’re after peace and solitude, however, in the event, you’d like to satisfy and journey with different individuals then your only option is to move for Maun.

In Maun, you’ll discover a vibrant nightlife within the handful of campsite bars and pubs. Right here you’ll be capable of being a part of group recreation drives and mokoro excursions and break up the prices on in any other case pretty dear sightseeing flights over the Delta.

Romantic vacation within the Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta might be the world’s premier safari vacation spot for {couples}, with stunningly designed, intimate lodges and a number of the greatest wildlife viewing in Africa.

Okavango lodges have a repute for distinctive, private service and plenty of caters, particularly for romantic holidays and honeymoons.

Right here you’ll discover tented suites like villas, with glowing plunge swimming pools, outside showers, and candle-lit baths.

And at evening, raised walkways lined with heat, glowing lamps as you make your means all the way down to dinner below the celebrities.

Not all Okavango camps provide an identical degree of luxurious, however, requirements are excessive nearly all over the place you look.

The main target is firmly on small-scale, private experiences. High quality, not the amount is the emphasis right here.

There’s nobody area that’s particularly good for {couples}, it’ll rely completely on your funds and what you wish to do.

There are stunning, intimate camps and lodges scattered all through the Okavango, however, remember that native circumstances differ extensively and the identical camp will be very completely different at completely different occasions of yr.

Arrive from late April to the tip of August and also you’ll discover the Delta flooded and inexperienced. Many camps and lodges might be surrounded by open water, perched excessive on picket stilts over a countless magical lagoon.

However, a couple of months later and the identical space could also be dry and naked, nice for recreation viewing, and an extra conventional safari, however very completely different from earlier within the yr.

That stated, many lodges will provide a spread of actions whatever the season, even when transfers or different preparations might be made.

Ensure you’re conscious of what’s obtainable whenever you go to. You might want to choose your season fastidiously to suit your most popular actions.

Family vacation within the Okavango Delta

An African safari is an unforgettable expertise for youths, however, lengthy transfers and hours within the automobile could be an actual problem, particularly for youthful youngsters.

One resolution is to choose a single camp or extra manageable space and keep away from day by day journey as a lot as attainable.

Within the Okavango Delta, this method is good as a result of there’s such an excessive focus of wildlife and actions in such a small space. From a lodge within the Okavango, you’ll be able to organize boat rides and mokoro journeys, in addition to recreation drives and bush walks with specifically skilled guides.

There’s a minimum age restriction for all safari actions within the Delta, and though it varies from lodge to lodge, it’s normally set between eight and 12.

A handful of lodges additionally provide camp-based actions for youths, similar to primary bushcraft, animal identification, and fishing.

Previously the Okavango has been a troublesome place for households, however increasingly lodges are actually welcoming youngsters.

You’ll now discover family-friendly lodges scattered all through the Delta, though services differ significantly so it’s price trying round. Some camps have been exceptionally nicely set up for youths, with personal suites and household models, set to 1 aspect with their very own lounge and play areas.

Others merely have bigger family-sized tents or interconnecting tents/rooms that may be booked as a unit so the entire household can sleep collectively.

Extra perks might embody specifically skilled guides for kids, separate eating areas, and staggered meal occasions – be aware, nonetheless, that child-minding companies are hardly ever obtainable and only a few lodges cater for infants and really younger youngsters.

Budgeting for the Okavango Delta

A lot of the lodges within the Okavango Delta fall someplace between mid-range and ultra-high-end luxurious.

It’s a deliberate technique by the Botswanan authorities to maximize conservation income whereas conserving customer numbers low.

It’s straightforward to be cynical about this sort of method, however, funds do appear to go the place they’re wanted and native communities get to see the worth of their useful resource.

The outcomes have been spectacular, with very low poaching ranges and points round human-wildlife battle are much more manageable than in different components of the continent.

All that is to say {that a} safari to the Okavango isn’t low cost, however, there may be some consolation realizing that funds are getting used properly.

And whereas the central Delta is basically off-limits to funds travelers, there are nonetheless great, reasonably priced campsites in Moremi Game Reserve, alongside the Khwai River and the Panhandle.

A lot of the lodges within the Okavango Delta fall someplace between mid-range and ultra-high-end luxurious. It’s a deliberate technique by the Botswanan authorities to maximize conservation income whereas conserving customer numbers low.

It’s straightforward to be cynical about this sort of method, however, funds do appear to go the place they’re wanted and native communities get to see the worth of their useful resource.

The outcomes have been spectacular, with very low poaching ranges and points round human-wildlife battle are much more manageable than in different components of the continent.

All that is to say {that a} safari to the Okavango isn’t low cost, however, there may be some consolation realizing that funds are getting used properly.

And whereas the central Delta is basically off-limits to funds travelers, there are nonetheless great, reasonably priced campsites in Moremi Game Reserve, alongside the Khwai River and the Panhandle.

Reasonably priced Okavango Delta safari

Between the self-drive tenting and ultra-luxury lodges, there are two principal routes for an extra reasonably priced Okavango vacation.

The primary is to discover a ‘cellular safari’ operator – a mid-range journey bundle that fits your funds. ‘Cell safaris’ are basically organized, guided tenting journeys and vary from group funds ‘pitch your personal tent’ excursions all the best way as much as full service luxurious.

Someplace within the center, you’ll discover a reasonably priced, snug choice, normally heading into Moremi Game Reserve and generally, Chief’s Island.

Usually, the excursions contain mekoro or maybe some strolling, and a willingness for the journey is usually required.

The opposite principal choice is to hunt out a mid-range tented camp; there is a handful of those scattered all through the Delta. Most, nonetheless, lies on the Delta’s forested fringes, whereas the central Okavango lodges are usually extra unique.

okavango delta safari

Luxurious safari within the Okavango Delta

Botswana units the usual for low density, low impression tourism in Southern Africa, and the Okavango’s luxurious lodges are a number of the best on this planet.

There are great tented camps and lodges in each nook of the Delta, many so elaborate and fantastically constructed that it’s onerous to think about how they had been constructed in any respect.

Located in a number of the Okavango’s most distant, secluded areas they usually appear to develop organically, instantly from the earth.

Ecological development and administration practices are an indicator of many lodges and most use timber and different pure supplies to mix in as a lot as attainable.

Relying on the lodge and the time of yr, it’s possible you’ll gaze out onto huge, open, game-rich plains, or sit excessive on stilts over a countless, lapping lagoon.

What occurs when?

The delta is a year-round vacation spot, though most individuals journey right here to see the wetlands in full flood throughout Botswana’s dry season between July and September.

January to April – Off-season within the delta. Rainfall is typical though not extreme and temperatures sit around 30°C.

Most migratory animals have dispersed from the delta, however wildlife viewing stays fairly spectacular.

Water-based safaris are solely attainable on the everlasting channels placing wetter camps at a premium. Most different camps provide reductions as much as 40%.

May and June – The floodwaters begin to arrive within the delta, hitting the Panhandle first the place wildlife initially concentrates. Grass cowl is highest in Might, making it presumably the worst month to go to the delta.

July to September – Excessive season within the delta with excellent daytime temperatures (20°C to 30°C), clear blue skies, and massive numbers of animals.

Grass cowl dies again so visibility is nice. Because the flood spreads from the northwest to southeast, contemplate the timing of your go-to and the situation of your camp fastidiously. Fishing season is August to October when barbel and tiger fish run the rivers.

October to December – Temperatures construct to over 35°C, making October sizzling and sticky. Wildlife begins to depart from the delta and the floodwaters dissipate by the point the November rains break. Though the migratory wildlife has gone, a lot of resident wildlife stays, and the birthing season begins.

The way to make it occur

Maun, located on the southeastern tip of the delta, is the principal gateway to the Okavango. Nevertheless, flights additionally function from Kasane, a small city set subsequent to the Chobe River on the busy overland route from Victoria Falls.

Whereas Maun is chock-full of safari corporations and journey companies, it is nonetheless greatest to do your analysis earlier than you attain Botswana, particularly as many camps are small and get booked up months upfront.

Given the extremely particular person character of the camps, it’s a good suggestion to try to expertise a mixture of two or three in several areas.

To get from Maun to your camp you’ll seemingly journey by gentle plane, which is an excellent introduction to the delta.

The overland various is a two-hour drive from Maun to Moremi’s south gate. A 4WD is crucial as soon as inside Moremi because the roads differ from delicate and sandy to moist and muddy within the floodplains.

Through the wet season (November to March) the park might near self-drive guests, so telephone forward to test. In case you don’t fancy tackling the driving by yourself, contemplate a cellular safari, which will be organized in Maun.

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