One of the world’s unique natural wonders, the Okavango Delta in Botswana is the world’s largest inland delta. With 15,000 square kilometres of lush wetland, game–rich safari, flourishing eco-system and amazing birdlife – it really is a must-see destination for wildlife lovers seeking an adventure.
Sourced by southern Africa’s third largest river, the Okavango, the Delta contains over 150,000 islands. Many of these islands are just a few metres wide while some of the larger islands can be up to 10 km. The largest is Chief’s Island, at around 70km long and 14km wide.
The annual flood that feeds the area typically comes between March and June, originating from the Angola Mountains, 1.600 km further west, the Okavango River flows into Botswana but never makes it to the ocean, instead the water fills the delta before sinking in to the Kalahari Desert.
The Moremi National Park protects around 40% of the Okavango Delta area. Surrounding the National Park there are a number of conservancies with small, private safari camps to protect the rest of the area and its delicate balance. These low–impact lodges and camps leave only a small footprint ensuring the area is preserved in the most natural and unspoiled way possible for future generations of both wildlife and visitors to enjoy.
The Okavango Delta is home to a wealth of game from the ‘big five’ to a great many animals you may never have heard of. It’s also home to over 500 species of bird with numbers boosted by the migratory birds that join the locals around November each year – a must for all bird watchers. Other bird species found in the area include the Pel’s fishing owl, African fish eagle, the lilac-breasted roller and the hamerkop.
November to March is breeding time with lots of the Delta’s animals giving birth to their young. As a result, there are also lots of predators around at this time, attracted by the venerable new residents of the Delta – giving visitors even more opportunity to witness the magic of Okavango Delta.
5 Facts about the Okavango Delta
- In 2014, the Okavango Delta became the 1,000th place to be enlisted as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- The Seven Natural Wonders of Africa were announced in 2013 and named the Okavango Delta alongside the River Nile, the Ngorongoro Crater, the great Serengeti migration, the Sahara Desert, Mount Kilimanjaro and the Red Sea coral reef.
- Mokoro (dug-out) canoes are still used in the area. These traditional boats were once made from a carved out tree trunk, however, now many are made out of more environmentally-friendly fibreglass but still offer a great way to get around and enjoy a water-based safari.
- There are strong numbers of Lechwe (antelopes found in wetlands of south central Africa) with around 60,000 living in the delta.
- Five tribes still use the area for fishing, growing crops and hunting.