Okavango River, additionally known as Kubango River, fourth longest river system in southern Africa, working mainly southeastward for 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from central Angola, the place it is called the Kubango, to the Kalahari (desert) in northern Botswana, where the river terminates in an immense inland delta generally known as the Okavango Delta.
In this article, I am going to talk about the Okavango river delta, basin, map, Namibia, Botswana, etc.
What are the Okavango River and Delta?
The Okavango Delta is a vast, level marsh that extends across hundreds of square kilometers of the Kalahari Desert in northern Botswana. One of the finest areas in Africa to see enormous concentrations of animals is the Okavango Delta, which receives 11 cubic kilometers of water per year from the Okavango River.
Okavango River: At A Glance
- Length: 1,700 km
- Basin area: 530,000 km²
- Discharge: 475 m³/s
- Basin size: 530,000 km2 (200,000 sq mi)
- Source: Cubango River
- Mouths: Lake Makgadikgadi, Lake Ngami
Okavango River and Delta: Overview
The Okavango Delta is one of Africa’s seven natural wonders and has been referred to as “the river that never meets the sea” since it lacks a sea entrance. At its biggest during the rainy season, this vast flood plain covers 18,000 km2, making it the largest inland delta in the world. The Okavango, which is situated in northern Botswana in the Kalahari Desert, experiences flooding once a year.
Its waters provide a special wetland habitat with a diverse range of wild flora and wildlife for five months, turning the area into an aquatic paradise. Naturalists see the Okavango Delta’s marsh and tiny streams as having some of the world’s most varied biotopes and habitats.
10 Facts about the Okavango Delta
- The Okavango Delta, known as the gem of the Kalahari Desert, is stunning.
- Elephants, zebras, buffaloes, antelope, wildebeest, giraffes, leopards, cheetahs, lions, African wild dogs, rhinoceroses, hippos, monkeys, crocodiles, and reptiles may all be seen in great numbers during the dry season, which lasts from May to October.
- The region becomes a bird lover’s dream from November to April during the rainy season, with species like the African fish eagle, egret, cormorant, kingfisher, white stork, Marabou stork, African jacana, African sacred ibis, and Pel’s fishing owl among others.
- The Xakanaxa Lagoon, the huge Linyanti marshes, the semi-arid Kalahari Desert, and the Moremi reserve—a sizable island and protected area inside the delta.
- The amazing biodiversity of the Okavango Delta, the contrast between marshes and drylands, the abundance of islands and islets (particularly Chief’s Island in the southeast of the delta), and the canals carved out by hippos.
- Fishing, tours in vintage mokoro dugout canoes, and tourist plane flights over the area.
- A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Tsodilo Hills’ archaeological site, and rock art.
- A region of Africa where human influence is minimal.
- The delta’s waterways and its luxuriant vegetation, include palm trees, acacias, thick woods, papyrus, reeds, water lilies, mangroves, and aquatic plants.
- The Kalahari Desert, a semi-arid region, the Xakanaxa Lagoon, and the Moremi reserve (a sizable island and protected area inside the delta)
How was the Okavango Delta formed?
It is quite unusual to discover a wetland of this size and breadth in the middle of a desert, which is why the Okavango Delta is special. When an enormous earthquake in Southern Africa caused the Okavango River to discharge 11 trillion liters of water into the desert, the Okavango Delta was established some 50,000 years ago. Since then, animals have made the area their home, turning it into the sanctuary it is today.
When does the Okavango Delta flood?
The Okavango Delta often floods from July through September. Wildlife is attracted to the region in large numbers as a result of the new drinking hole appearing in the middle of the Kalahari Desert. Game drives on the water or exploration of the outlying dry sections on land are typically included in trips to the inundated Okavango Delta.
Okavango Delta: Ecosystem
The Okavango Delta in Botswana is one of the world’s largest inland deltas with a massive ecosystem.
Whereas most river deltas often result in an ocean, the Okavango River empties onto open land, flooding the savanna and creating a unique and ever-changing inland delta. The delta swells nearly three times in measurement between March and August.
The Okavango River (previously spelled Okovango or Okovanggo) is a river in southwest Africa. It’s the fourth-longest river system in southern Africa, working southeastward for 1,600 km (990 mi).
It provides a natural home for 450 different bird species, 70 different fish species, 60 different reptile species, 122 different animal species, and more than a thousand different plant categories, including reeds, palm trees, papyrus, and water lilies. The Okavango River creates an unusual inland delta because, in contrast to typical deltas, it empties itself onto the Kalahari Desert instead of ending its voyage at the ocean.
It begins in Angola, the place it’s recognized by the Portuguese title Rio Cubango. Farther south, it types a part of the border between Angola and Namibia, after which flows into Botswana, draining into the Moremi Game Reserve.
Okavango Delta: Basin
Earlier than it enters Botswana, the river drops four m in a sequence of rapids generally known as Popa Falls, seen when the river is low, as in the course of the dry season.
The mighty Okavango River feeds the delta, which is located in shallow water and small canals. It begins in the highlands of Angola’s Bié Plateau, travels through Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, and finally completes its journey in the Kalahari Desert, converting the dry plains into an oasis of lagoons, channels, and islands.
Discharging to an endorheic basin, the Okavango doesn’t have an outlet to the ocean. As a substitute, it empties right into a swamp within the Kalahari Desert, generally known as the Okavango Delta or Okavango Alluvial Fan.
Within the wet season, outflow to the Boteti River in flip seasonally discharges to the Makgadikgadi Pans, which options an expansive space of rainy-season wetland the place tens of 1000’s flamingos congregate every summer season.
A part of the river’s movement fills Lake Ngami. Famous for its wildlife, the Okavango space comprises Botswana’s Moremi Game Reserve.
Throughout colder durations in Earth’s historical past, part of the Kalahari was a large lake, generally known as Lake Makgadikgadi. At this time, the Okavango would have been one in every of its largest tributaries.
During every wet season, Angola receives three times more rainfall than Botswana, discharging the next than traditional movement into the Okavango, turning swathes of the outlying desert into an enormous wetland.
When to visit Okavango Delta?
No of the season, animals will abound in the Okavango Delta, and circumstances will normally be favorable. Travelers should be aware that the peak season is between June and August when the delta is flooded, and that September and October are particularly good months for animal observations.
Okavango Delta Wildlife
A maze of innumerable permanent wetlands, plains that occasionally flood, marshes, river arms, and lagoons make up the Okavango Delta. The many wild animals in this area of Botswana depend on its beautiful wetlands as a source of food. Numerous huge species, including wildebeest, elephants, giraffes, and zebras, travel in enormous herds to the rich Okavango Delta every year in search of new pastures.
The animals travel several hundred kilometers during their migration from the east during the dry season. Tens of thousands of wild animals may be seen moving from the Makgadikgadi Salt Pan’s arid regions toward the Boteti River’s delta gates, which is an amazing sight.
How big is the Okavango Delta?
There are 6,000 square kilometers in the Okavango Delta (2,316 square miles). However, the delta triples in size to nearly 15,000 square kilometers during the winter months of March to September when the floodwaters arrive (5,791 square miles).
Is it safe to travel to the Okavango Delta?
The Okavango Delta is not only a fantastic safari location, but it’s also a lovely and secure area to travel to. The Okavango Delta experience should be safe and pleasurable as long as visitors take appropriate safety precautions, including paying attention to their guides and not taking unwarranted risks.
Okavango Delta Safari guide
Botswana, which continues to be one of our favorite safari places, delivers never-ending adventure. With this selection of six unique activities in the Okavango Delta, you may fully immerse yourself in its charm.
One of the most famous parts of Botswana is the Okavango Delta. One of the most remarkable ecosystems on earth may be found within the enormous UNESCO World Heritage site.
Between June and October, the area may become dry due to the continuous heat, however, because of flooding from neighboring Angola, the Okavango Delta is flooded during this period. At this time of year, huge rains fall throughout the nation’s highlands, and the runoff travels hundreds of kilometers into northern Botswana to form the biggest inland delta on Earth.
Numerous thirsty creatures from all over the world, including large herds of elephants and more than 500 different bird species, are drawn to the remarkable occurrence. Being there for this phenomenon is a sensory joy. There are several methods to do this as well, such as a traditional expedition in a dug-out canoe or a traditional game drive in the bush.
Six fantastic safari excursions have been compiled for you to incorporate into your custom trip to Botswana.
1. Take a helicopter ride in the air
The vast vastness and incredible diversity of the Okavango Delta’s vegetation and animals are best appreciated from a helicopter tour. You’ll undoubtedly be in awe of the sights whether you keep your helicopter doors closed or decide to leave them open to allow for even greater photo possibilities mid-flight. Your pilot will even lower the chopper to the ground if you’d prefer a closer look so you can see elephant families by the river or lions pursuing herds of antelope across the plains.
A helicopter safari is a fantastic educational experience. Your pilot will be telling you intriguing details about the delta and the animals that live there as you listen through your headset.
2. Take a game drive with a guide
During a wildlife drive, see regal wildebeest dipping their heads in the refreshing waters of the Okavango Delta. Most of our Botswana excursions, like our Luxury Botswana Safari, include 4×4 safaris and closed vehicle drives, giving you lots of chances to take morning and evening game drives through the untainted wilderness of the delta.
Cruising over kilometers of difficult terrain while searching the huge horizon for signs of life is unquestionably fascinating. Fortunately, your game drive guide is good at spotting wildlife, whether it’s through pointing out vultures circling a potential hunt or successfully differentiating an approaching lion from the baboons’ cries.
Safaris in the Okavango Delta are rare in addition to being exciting since you may view animals in their native habitat. If you’re seeking a vacation without crowds, the region’s luxury hotels and campgrounds are many and many of them are located on private reserves. Prepare to have a front-row seat to the action as you embark on a thrilling trip through breathtaking scenery.
3. Take a walking safari
A bush walk is undoubtedly a once-in-a-lifetime event because all that is in front of you is the vast nature. Follow your guides as they disclose the numerous mysteries and interesting behaviors of the creatures that inhabit the area around your camp while also ensuring your safety. Your guides will educate you on the nuances of this remarkable environment, from detecting big cat footprints to discovering mud holes where hippos have spent the night.
4. As you soar over the delta, look out for animals.
Take a tiny charter flight over the delta to get a bird’s eye view of its spectacular canals, which seem to sparkle in the African sun. During your trip, you could see some amazing animals, including zebras sprinting over the lush grasslands or tracks of elephants leisurely moving between drinking holes.
Up to an hour can pass on a flight across the Okavango Delta, giving you plenty of time to take it all in. Additionally, when you fly over vast tracts of dry savannah that gradually give way to the thriving floodplains of the Cubango River, you will see how the color of the terrain changes. Air travel is also essential because so many lodgings are tucked away in remote areas.
5. Explore the magic of a mokoro ride
Using a mokoro to navigate the canals and swamplands of the Okavango Delta is one of the most memorable ways to experience it. These customary boats are frequently used to travel the area’s waterways and are exquisitely carved from African sausage tree logs.
Join us on our Botswana Victoria Falls Adventure Tour for a tranquil mokoro ride and up-close encounters with the abundant wildlife of the Cubango River. Pass enormous lily pads while keeping a lookout for various species, such as Egyptian geese and African skimmers. As you cruise along, look out for wildebeest, zebras, and giraffes beside the river.
Elephant families are frequently seen splashing water from their trunks at one another to keep cool. Your mokoro guide will always ensure that you feel at one with your environment while maintaining a safe distance from the animals that live in the river.
6. Ride a boat across the marshes
While you may explore the vast grassland of the delta on foot or by vehicle, it’s also highly recommended to reserve a boat safari along the Okavango River.
The major canal of the delta, also known as the Cubango River, is a vital source of life for multitudes of hungry and thirsty species, many of whom must trek hundreds of kilometers through the harsh Kalahari Desert to get there. A guided boat tour will take you through innumerable waterways that are surrounded on all sides by dense papyrus vegetation and tall reeds.
By the river, nature is most varied. Keep an eye out for crocodiles softly slithering past in search of prey or hippos peeking out from the water. During the dry season, catfish frequently move to the delta, causing certain areas to become quite active as dozens of egrets and herons hover above in the hopes of catching anything.
How much should you tip on a Botswana safari?
Even though it is not required, leaving a tip is always appreciated and may have a significant influence on the lives of nearby service providers. For good service, the standard tip for a group guide should be $10 USD per visitor per day, for a private guide it should be $20 USD per guest per day, for trackers, it should be $5 USD per guest per day, and for general staff, it should be $5 USD per guest per day.
What makes the Okavango Delta special?
Many things make the Okavango Delta special. The Okavango is not only the biggest inland delta in the world—also it’s in a desert! Due to a geological occurrence that took place more than 50,000 years ago, the Okavango Delta may be found in the center of the Kalahari Desert with its flowing waterways and rich vegetation.
Where to eat
- Sports Bar & Restaurant
(popular and animated)
- Marc’s Eatery
(good food in a quiet place)
- Hilary’s Coffee Shop
(dietetic and fresh)
Where to go
- Tsodilo Hills
(the Louvre of the desert)
- Helicopter Horizons
- Makgadikgadi Pan
Where to stay
- Modisa Wildlife Project
(in the wild)
- Dombo Farm
(comfort in the bush)
- Nxamaseri Lodge
(inside the nature of the delta)
In addition to the several wildlife concessions located within Ngamiland, the Moremi Game Reserve on its eastern border protects the Okavango Delta, which is a significant region for wildlife. But the Delta is renowned for its incredible nature, including its abundant population of animals and great birdwatching, especially during the nesting season.
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