Landscapes Of The Okavango Delta
Okavango Delta is about 55,000 square kilometers in size in the sands of the Kalahari. Okavango is called a swamp, but its waters are clear. In good years, a fraction may remain to flood Lake Ngami in the south and feed the Boteti River, which runs into Lake Xau in the west and eventually into the huge depression of the Makgadikgadi Pan. The vegetation includes groves of wild date palm, papyrus, forest and lagoons covered with floating water lilies where you will spot more than 400 species of birds and about 200,000 large mammals.
Animals in this park include: Hippos, buffaloes, lechwe, Chobe bushbuck, African Bush Elephant, African Buffalo, Tsessebe, Sitatunga, Blue Wildebeest, Giraffe, Nile crocodile, Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, Hyena, Greater Kudu, Sable Antelope, Black Rhinoceros, White Rhinoceros, Plains Zebra, Warthog and Chacma Baboon, mongoose, spotted genets, monkeys, bush babies, wild dog and tree squirrels. Bird species include: African Fish Eagle, Pel's Fishing Owl, Crested Crane, Lilac-breasted Roller, Hammerkop, Ostrich, and Sacred Ibis.
Facts About The Okavango Delta
- The Okavango Delta is a large inland delta formed where the Okavango River reaches a tectonic trough in the central part of the endorheic basin of the Kalahari.
- All the water reaching the Delta is ultimately evaporated and transpired, and does not flow into any sea or ocean.
- Each year approximately 11 cubic kilometres of water spreads over the 6,000-15,000 km² area.
- Some flood-waters drain into Lake Ngami. The Moremi Game Reserve, a National Park, is on the eastern side of the Delta.
- The Okavango Delta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa
When To Travel To The Okavango Delta
The best time to visit the Delta is when the floods come. Fuelled by the rains that fall in the Angolan mountains, they arrive just when they are needed most – in the middle of Botswana’s dry season, in the winter months of July and August.
Don’t think of them as the sort of life-threatening floods we endured in Britain last year. The Okavango floodwaters are far more benign because the land is so flat. Filtered through the papyrus swamps, they emerge crystal-clear, creeping down old hippo trails, replenishing the lagoons and lapping around the grassy floodplains. The floods not only benefit the wildlife (elephants and hippos, big cats, buffaloes and all the other herbivores), but also make this the best time to explore the Okavango by mokoro – the traditional Delta dugout canoe.
Poled along by an African gondolier, the mokoro is a unique and not-to-be-missed experience. Just sit back and go with the flow, soundlessly gliding among the reed beds and water lilies of a pristine wilderness teeming with frogs, dragonflies, bee-eaters and kingfishers.
If you’re an angler you may have heard of the barbel run. It’s one of nature’s great events and it happens every year from August to October, when shoals of barbel pour down the river with voracious tiger fish, making the Okavango a world-class sport-fishing hotspot.
Although the winter nights are cold, the days are sunny and mostly cloudless, and from September onwards become increasingly warm as October approaches, with temperatures of more than 104F (40C) in the shade heralding the onset of Botswana’s “green season”. The rains that fall now tend to do so as sporadic late-afternoon storms with fine spells of sunshine in between, making the Delta a year-round destination.