Okavango Delta

Okavango Delta

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About Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta is one of Botswana’s Top Tourist Attractions. It is a unique pulsing wetland that covers between 6 and 15 000 square kilometres of the Kalahari Desert. It owes its existence to the Okavango (Kavango) River which flows from Angola into Botswana. It is a big bucket list item for many travellers that want to go on a Botswana Safari. The beauty of the delta does not only attract humans alike but is also a great source of life for the wildlife that comes to the delta. It has an average of 100 000 people that visit the 60 or so lodges and camps in the area.

The Okavango Delta is one of Botswana’s top tourist attractions and it has so much to offer. It is ideal for families, solo travellers and groups as well. Let’s get in through this amazing Botswana Destinations.

Okavango Delta Tours and Safaris

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Best time to visit

To experience the peak of the floodwaters in the Delta, the best time to visit would be between June and September. The weather around these months is ideal, there is a very slight chance of rain with the days warm and the evenings slightly cooler. Peak season is between July and October,keep this in mind when booking as this is also the bussiest and most expensive so book early to avoid any disappointments.


Animals of the amazing Okavango Delta include many species including Elephant, Buffalo, Hippopotamus, Lechwe, Topi, Blue Wildebeest, Giraffe, Nile crocodile, Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, Brown Hyena, Spotted Hyena, Greater Kudu, Sable Antelope, Black Rhinoceros, White Rhinoceros, Plains Zebra, Warthog and Chacma Baboon. Wild dogs can also still be found here, there are some large packs around.

What To Experience

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Travel Guide For Okavango Delta

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Getting To The Okavango Delta

There are so many ways to get to the Okavango Delta and it all depends on where you are coming from.

From Maun
Maun is the closest town to the Okavango Delta. When coming from Maun, the Okavango Delta is about 65 kilometres away. Travellers have the option to drive or fly into the Delta depending on their itinerary, travel package or final destination. To get to Maun, there are flights from neighbouring countries, such as Cape Town and Johannesburg. Many safari companies usually arrange transport for travellers to the Okavango Delta from Maun.

From Gaborone
FromGaborone, it is not recommended to drive as the distance is nearly 20 hours long. Instead it is better to take a short domestic flight from the regional airport in Gaborone (GBE) to Maun International Airport, which is much closer to the Okavango Delta.

From Johannesburg
From Johannesburg, the best way to get to the Okavango Delta is to fly from the Johannesburg International Airport. The flight is about one and a half hours long into Maun International Airport which is the closest to the Okavango Delta.

From Cape Town
From the city of Cape Town, it's approximately a two and a half hour flight to Maun.

Flights to Okavango Delta
From Maun, you can either choose to drive or fly into the delta. For those hat want to fly into the delta, there are several options available. Popular airstrips include Camp Okavango Airport, Mapula Airstrip and Seronga Airstrip. The choice of airstrip will vary depending on your final destination or safari itinerary.

Facts You Should Know About The Okavango Delta

  • The Okavango Delta was designated as the 1,000th UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014. It was also named one of Africa's Seven Natural Wonders the previous year.
  • Between March and August, the delta nearly triples in size. It ranges from 6,000 to approximately 15,000 square kilometres.
  • The Okavango Delta is regarded as one of the world's most beautiful wilderness areas. Animals that you might see include elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, hippos, antelope, leopards, hyenas, zebras, and crocodiles. Around 260,000 mammals congregate around the delta during the dry season.
  • Many visitors to the delta enjoy water-based safaris on traditional mokoro canoes, which traverse the waterways. These traditional boats were once made from a single piece of wood.
  • Animals aren’t the only inhabitants of the delta. The BaSarwa live in the Moremi Game Reserve on the eastern side. The five tribes use the area for fishing, growing crops and hunting.
  • The Okavango Delta consists of so many islands, around 150,000 of them. Some are a few metres wide while some are big and can be longer than 10 kilometres.
  • The Okavango Delta is very flat across its 15 000 square kilometres.
  • The Okavango Delta is home to a large variety of birds including the rare Pel’s Fishing Owl which is one of the few fish-eating owls in the world. There are about 530 bird species alone in the Okavango Delta.
  • It's a tragedy that some of the animals in the Okavango Delta are endangered. There are just 5 black rhinos and approximately 35 white rhinos that remain in the delta.
  • The Okavango delta receives an average of 100,000 people at the 60 lodges and campsites in the area and this contributes greatly to the economy of the country.

Best Time To Visit The Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta is overall a good destination to visit regardless of the season or time of year that you decide to visit. Wildlife is abundant and the conditions are generally good all year round. The high season however is between June and August, when the delta is full and flooded. This is the perfect time to experience a mokoro ride (a dugout canoe). Wildlife sightings are good during this time as animals migrate into the delta and are also numerous in September and October. Below is a breakdown of a month by month guide to visiting the delta.

January to April
This is the low season, with rainfall being common and temperatures ranging around 30 degrees. Most of the migratory wildlife would have left the delta but there is still so much to see. Water levels during this time are very low and water-based safaris are only possible in permanent channels. During this period you can take advantage of discounts being offered by camps and lodges.

May to June
This period is the Shoulder season characterised by floodwaters that surge into the delta from the Angolan Highlands. In May, grass levels are at their highest making it difficult to spot wildlife at times.

July to September
This is referred to as the High season where the flood waters move across the delta from the panhandle through to the delta fan. There is wildlife in abundance, clear blue skies, and cool temperatures. Grass levels will have died down by now, making for it a good time to spot wildlife.

October to December
This is also a shoulder season with hot and humid weather. Migratory wildlife and birds leave the area, but for the wildlife that stays, it’s birthing season. This is also a great chance for Botswana Safaris and game viewing. In November the rains come and it’s just after the floodwaters in the delta start to dissipate.

The People Of The Okavango Delta

The people of the Okavango Delta consist of five major separate ethnic groups and each group has its own language and ethnic identity...

The Five Ethnic Groups Are:

  • Bugakwe (Kxoe, Bugakhoe, Kwengo,)
  • Dxeriku (Dceriku, Diriku, Gceriku, Niriku, Vamanyo)
  • Hambukushu (Mbukushu, Bukushu,
  • Wayeyi (Bayei, Bayeyi, Yei)
  • Xanekwe (Gxanekwe, Bushmen, Swamp Bushmen, Banoka)

For each of these groups, there are different spellings as well pronunciations due to corruptions or misinterpretations. Many outsiders have come and have contributed to the written history of the groups. Since the late 18th century, the Okavango Delta has been under the political control of the Batawana (a Tswana sub-tribe). However, most Batawana have traditionally lived on the outskirts of the Delta.

Small numbers of people from other ethnic groups, such as Ovaherero and Ovambanderu, now live in the Okavango Delta, but because the majority of those people live elsewhere and the habitation is new, they are not considered Okavango Delta peoples. Several Bushmen groups are also represented by a small number of people.

Reasons To Visit The Okavango Delta

The Thrill Of Flying In Over The Delta
Most camps require you to fly in on small bush planes to simple airstrips due to the sprawling nature of the complex waterways and the remote camps that dot the region. Though in some cases this is a necessity rather than a luxury, it's an adventure you'll be grateful for because it will allow you to take in a breath-taking aerial view.

The Beautiful Complex Ecosystem
The Okavango Delta is a natural wonder. It consists of marshlands and seasonally flooded plains and is one of the few delta systems that is completely cut off from the ocean. It's a wonder that a place exists where seasonal rains can support such lush vegetation and wildlife. The area also varies greatly depending on the season, resulting in incredible landscapes.

It’s An Epitome Of Luxury
Apart from wild camping, there isn't much roughing it in the Okavango Delta. Private camps dotted throughout the region provide exclusive comfort, ranging from tented camps to luxurious five-star lodges. Sanctuary Chief's Camp, for example, has large suites with plunge pools, outdoor terraces, private housekeepers, and seasonal mokoro experiences. Although budget accommodation is scarce, the total luxury you'll experience in the private lodges and camps elevates this safari above the ordinary.

It has Beautiful Sunsets And Sunrises
Few experiences compare to the Okavango's cool early mornings and warm night falls. Beautiful sunrises will be greeted with a warm cup of coffee, and glowing sunsets will be accompanied by a cold gin and tonic.

Going On A Safari In The Okavango Delta
We consider a number of important details when planning your Okavango Delta Safari, such as when you want to travel, who is travelling, your preferred comfort levels, how long you want to be on safari, and what pace of safari you prefer. What is the purpose of the safari, and are there any special interests to consider? Are there any particular activities that you enjoy? How can you include Okavango in your overall itinerary? Of course, your budget will be an important consideration when planning your safari.
'The best' Okavango Safari does not exist. The most well-known camps do not always provide the best Botswana Safari experience for you. Forget about awards and glossy magazine articles. We collaborate with you to plan your safari by matching our expert knowledge of the area with your personal interests so that you can have an unforgettable safari.

Most Popular Okavango Delta Safaris

Honeymoon Safari
A safari is inherently romantic and the ideal setting for a honeymoon. Botswana possesses all of the unique characteristics that distinguish it as the top honeymoon destination. Aside from superb game viewing and breath-taking scenery, the Okavango Delta is known for its intimate camps, crowd-free safaris, and truly one-of-a-kind experiences. From private candle-lit dinners afloat in a lily-covered lagoon to helicopter safaris with champagne stops on palm islands and sleeping beneath the stars on private star beds, there's something for everyone.

Family Safaris
Family safaris will help you make the most of your safari experience; specially designed itineraries will pair specialist guides with custom facilities in the delta. Family safaris to the Okavango Delta are becoming increasingly popular, with the delta being an ideal environment for children to learn about nature, wildlife and conservation.

Walking Safaris
The Okavango Delta Walking Safari continues to operate in a remote area of the Okavango Delta with few roads. This tranquil wilderness is characterised by plains dotted with palm-covered islands, river processes that fill with water during the Delta flood and after heavy rains, and tranquil lagoons. Elephant, buffalo, giraffe, and other plains game are common in the area, and lion, leopard, and wild dog are occasionally seen.
You'll explore this area on foot, led by an experienced and fully qualified expert guide and accompanied by a Bushman tracker, interpreting the tracks, looking for the generator of a morning alarm call, explaining animal behaviour, observing big game, and more. If water levels permit, tranquil mokoro (dug-out canoe) expeditions are also available.

Mobile Safaris
The original safari goers would use light mobile safari camps to explore the African wilderness before camps were built as permanent structures, as most are now, where daily safari activities take place from one established base. A mobile safari provides a wonderful sense of continuity because you will be escorted on your safari by the same professional safari guide and camp staff. In contrast to the traditional safari itinerary, each camp has a different guide.

Riding Safaris
We provides riding safaris in Botswana's Okavango Delta wilderness. You can trot, canter, and gallop through the Delta's wetlands and bushland while taking in the breath-taking scenery. This is open country with excellent terrain for riding alongside zebra, giraffes, or buffalo, providing an excellent opportunity to see wildlife up close. Experienced guides will take you through on the safaris to ensure your safety.

Wildlife in the Okavango
Cheetah, wild dog, lion, leopard, and hyena are the top predators in the Okavango Delta. Large herds of elephants also roam the area in search of water and food. The Okavango Delta is an ideal habitat for Cape Buffalo. Some herds can contain over a thousand buffaloes.
Buffaloes are the third most abundant antelope in the Okavango and have a reputation for being extremely dangerous, so the ever-elegant antelopes are well represented in the Okavango Delta: springbok, tsessebe, impala, and the rare red lechwe are frequently seen. The Okavango Delta has over 560 recorded bird species, which thrive in Botswana's undisturbed natural vegetation.

Best Month to Visit Okavango Delta

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Safari in January

January is the Okavango Delta’s wettest month, with regular spectacular thunderstorms that usually arrive in the late afternoon. Mornings in January often begin bright and clear, turn suddenly violent and then clear again overnight. It’s rare in the Okavango to see consecutive days of persistent rain, but in January and February there’s always that chance. In general, however, you can expect brief, heavy downpours with a few days of partly-cloudy weather mixed in between. The northern concessions and Panhandle tend to see the biggest storms, but it’s impossible to be precise except to say that some rain will fall. Daytime temperatures in January average over 30°C (86°F), and can climb above 36°C (97°F) when the sun comes out. Night-time minimums are seldom below 20°C (68°F) and humidity is high all across the Delta.

Safari in February

February is another wet month in the Okavango Delta, but like January, the rain and clouds are usually interspersed with a few fine, bright days. These summer months are always highly unpredictable however – there may be sunshine for over a week and then four or five days straight of cloud and afternoon storms. A thunderstorm over the Delta is one of Southern Africa’s most awe-inspiring sights: incredible towering clouds and sudden jagged lightning; reflections bouncing off the water towards the wild, distant horizon. It’s almost worth the risk of a rained-out safari, which is always a possibility, even though persistent rain is unusual. When the clouds do clear, the temperature can easily hit 36°C (97°F), though it’s typically closer to 30°C (86°F), and around 20°C (68°F) at night.

Safari in March

March is a transition period in the Okavango Delta and although it can still see some heavy rain, the change in seasons is usually apparent by the end of the month. This is most obvious in the gradual drop in night-time temperatures, down to 15°C (59°F) on the coldest mornings. Daily highs, however, are slower to move – 30°C (86°F) to 35°C (95°F) remains the norm until well into April. Although the chance of rain is still high, the risk of consecutive overcast days is much lower than in January and February. It’s still a risky period to visit the Okavango, but as the humidity drops so does the threat of a rained-out safari and late March can see some of the year’s clearest, most pleasant nights around the campfire.

Safari in April

Throughout April the autumn gradually sets in, and cooler, drier weather steadily creeps across the Delta. As with March it’s the nights that cool more rapidly than the days. The coldest evenings can drop to around 12°C (54°F), but daytime highs are usually still over 30°C (86°F). Although the first few weeks of April may see some scattered showers, clearer skies are more and more common and the clouds all but vanish by the end of the month. April is a wonderful time to be in the Okavango Delta, with moderate to warm temperatures, little chance of rain, and the opportunity to see the flood work its magic as the waters fan out into the central and northern regions.

Safari in May

As May unfolds, the Okavango Delta gets cooler and the bright, cloudless days begin to dip below 30°C (86°F). Along the rapidly filling waterways the nights tend to be milder, but on the open plains away from the channels it may drop as low as 5°C (50°F). It’s safe to say that no rain ever falls in May and you’ll seldom see more than the odd wisp of cloud. The deep blue sky remains crisp and clear, not yet as dusty as it can get later in the year.

Safari in June

June is mid-winter in the Okavango Delta and one of the coldest, driest months of the year. Daily average temperatures are around 25°C (77°F), although some hot days will still get up to 30°C (86°F). It’s the nights, however, that can get particularly cold – close to freezing at times, but more usually around 5°C (41°F). Early morning excursions can be very chilly in the wind, especially on motorboats and open game drive vehicles. June marks the start of the hard, dry winter season – after two months without rain, the Kalahari vegetation is thinning fast. There’s more pressure on the animals as they cluster closer to the waterways, which are now nearing maximum levels as the flood moves further east.

Safari in July

July is the coldest month in the Okavango Delta, with daytime highs around 25°C (77°F). Although the days are mild, the nights cool quickly, dropping close to freezing on a few mornings each year. By now the annual flood has percolated across the Delta, and water levels usually reach their peak around the end of the month. Even lodges quite far from the main central channels can now offer mokoro trips through the submerged floodplains. July is another clear, dry month in the northern Kalahari, the third straight month without a drop of rain. The Delta is therefore an increasingly important source of water and attracts thousands of animals from the surrounding plains.

Safari in August

Temperatures climb steadily through August and daytime highs once again top 30°C (86°F). At the beginning of the month the mornings can still be close to freezing, but lows of 10°C (50°F) are more common as September approaches. By August no rain has fallen in the northern Kalahari for at least four months and the only fresh grazing is along the Delta’s flooded waterways. Predator and prey alike are forced to gather along the fringes and wildlife viewing is excellent all over the Okavango.

Safari in September

The long, dry winter continues into September and by now there’s been no rain for about five straight months. The Okavango Delta is now an essential source of grazing and water, and as the annual flood gradually recedes, the pressure builds and competition increases along its drying waterways. Both night and daytime temperatures rapidly increase, averaging 15°C (59°F) to 35°C (95°F), with some hot days up to 40°C (104°F). The shallow pools and floodplains evaporate quickly in the heat and the surrounding vegetation thins out even further, with the only strips of greenery sitting tight against the channels.

Safari in October

January is the Okavango Delta’s wettest month, with regular spectacular thunderstorms that usually arrive in the late afternoon. Mornings in January often begin bright and clear, turn suddenly violent and then clear again overnight. It’s rare in the Okavango to see consecutive days of persistent rain, but in January and February there’s always that chance. In general, however, you can expect brief, heavy downpours with a few days of partly-cloudy weather mixed in between. The northern concessions and Panhandle tend to see the biggest storms, but it’s impossible to be precise except to say that some rain will fall. Daytime temperatures in January average over 30°C (86°F), and can climb above 36°C (97°F) when the sun comes out. Night-time minimums are seldom below 20°C (68°F) and humidity is high all across the Delta.

Safari in November

Early November is usually hot and stifling as the Okavango holds its breath for the coming of the rains. The exact start date varies considerably from year to year, but when the clouds do break the relief is palpable. Although daily highs of over 40°C (104°F) are the norm at the beginning of the month, the temperature gradually drops as the rains become more frequent. Localised showers evolve quickly into massive afternoon storms, with thunder and lightning flashing across the Delta.

Safari in December

December marks the start of the rainy season proper. It’s the second wettest month of the year and afternoon thunderstorms become increasingly regular and violent. As the rains intensify the dusty atmosphere clears and between the storms the skies are bright and fresh. The usual pattern is a few days of cloud and rain, followed by another few days of hot, sunny weather. This builds and builds until the next storm breaks and as the month progresses the gaps between storms lessen. It’s unusual to have more than two or three days without sunshine, but if two storm systems run into each other there may be persistent cloud cover for over week. When the sun does come out, temperatures can rise to 40°C (104°F), although the rains cool things somewhat and the December average across the Delta is around 33°C (91°F).

Frequently Asked Questions

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May to October is the best time to visit Okavango Delta. As the water level is at its highest in these months, it becomes ideal for game viewing. The Okavango Delta is the world’s largest inland delta and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Being the largest inland in the world, Okavango Delta is worth visiting. Located in the heart of the Kalahari Desert, this is the place where you can explore the vast wildlife and serene nature in a canoe ride. Okavango Delta is also a perfect place for birding.

Visiting Okavango Delta on a budget is possible if just have to do careful planning, here are some tips that can help you

  • Choose a local tour operator/ local guide instead of an International tour operator.
  • Travel in rainy or shoulder season
  • Join a group safari instead of booking a separate one.
  • Choose a low accommodation option.

$150, Okavango Delta Tour costs you around $150 per day per person. This includes pick and drop service from your hotels and lodges, accommodation, game viewing, and meals.

Yes, you can visit Okavango Delta, by self-drive. The south gate of the Moremi game reserve is the entry point to the Okavango Delta. From Maun city, it takes a two-hour drive to the South Gate of Moremi game reserve.

There are plenty of options to get to the Okavango Delta. If you want to come by air, the nearest airport is Maun airport, located in the north of Botswana. Air Botswana operates its daily flight from Johannesburg to Maun Airport. After arrival at Maun Airport, all visitors are transferred to their respective lodges and hotels by light aircraft.

Okavango Delta, located in the heart of Kalahari Desert, is a perfect place for those who want to witness authentic wildlife and surreal nature. The special thing about Okavango Delta is here you can go on a canoe ride (traditionally known as mokoro).

Botswana, the Okavango Delta is located in western Botswana. Covering an area of 16,000 s q km, Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you can its vast flora and fauna on a canoe ride.

Yes, a small number of people from Ovaherero and Ovambanderu live in the parts of the Okavango Delta. Along with these people, some other groups of people that live are Hambukushu, the Bayei, and the Ba.

A truly beautiful sight to behold, the Chobe National Park is one of the most popular attractions in Africa and makes Botswana a must-visit destination.

Yes, you can directly fly to Okavango from Maun International Airport by light aircraft or charter plane. The Maun Airport is also known as the gateway to Okavango Delta.

Okavango Delta is famous for being the world’s largest inland delta and a UNESCO world heritage site. This delta is known as the river that never finds the sea. Tourists can easily spot the big five roaming around the waterways.

Okavango is a river in the southwest of central Africa, originated from central Angola, and flows towards the south-east. Okavango River flows on the border between Angola and Namibia. Following across the Caprivi Strip it enters Botswana. In Botswana, it forms the world’s largest delta known as Okavango Delta.

The unique thing about the Okavango River is it never reaches the oceans and it forms the largest inland delta in the world known as Okavango Delta. What makes it more unique is this river floods in the dry season in Botswana.

Located in northern Botswana, the Okavango Delta is the finest safari destination in Africa. What makes it special, is the canoe ride. You can see its vast wildlife and wilderness on a canoe ride. It is also home to the big five and over 400 bird species.

28, Okavango Delta has 28 camps and lodges. All the lodges and camps range from budget to mid-range and luxury. Based on the activities the lodges are categorized into water, land, and mixed camps.

28, Okavango Delta has 28 camps and lodges. All the lodges and camps range from budget to mid-range and luxury. Based on the activities the lodges are categorized into water, land, and mixed camps.

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