The Okavangodelta – natural wonder in Botswana
As one of the largest inland delta in Africa, the Okavango Delta in Botswana includes some of the most fascinating and diverse ecosystems in the world. The alluvial cone was formed by the Okavango, which divides into numerous tributaries. The approximately 1,700 kilometre long river rises in the highlands of Angola, flows through Namibia and finally does not flow into the sea, but seeps away and evaporates in the Kalahari Basin in the North West District of Botswana.
In annual floods that depend on the rainy season, the Okavango regularly floods the inland delta over an area of over 20,000 square kilometres, creating a unique landscape of swamps, lagoons, islands and floating islands, canals, lakes and large grasslands in the midst of a dry, desert-like environment. Some rivers are permanently water-bearing, others only after the rainy season. The ever-changing landscape of the Okavango Delta is home to an extremely diverse range of flora and fauna and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014 because of its importance.
Impressive animal abundance in the Okavango Delta
The Okavangodelta owes its grandiose animal wealth to the fact that, due to the long distance that the Okavango, which swells during the rainy season, travels to the delta, it arrives there exactly when the dry season reaches its peak in the surrounding countryside. The water level in the channels, water arms and lakes in the alluvial cone is now at its highest level. While there is a lack of water and therefore food in the surrounding areas, the Okavangodelta is characterized by lush vegetation – this leads to an increased immigration of grass eaters, which in turn attract a large number of predators. The already enormous animal population in comparison to the semi-arid surrounding countryside increases significantly.
The Okavangodelta is known for its large lion population. Other predators such as jackals, hyenas, cheetahs and leopards are also common. During the dry season, herds of wildebeest, buffalos and elephants from the surrounding areas visit the delta. The permanent water courses are home to Nile crocodiles and hippos. The Okavango Delta is also home to waterbucks, giraffes, zebras, warthogs, baboons and monkeys. With more than 350 bird species, the area is a paradise for ornithologists – among the species common here, there are also such rare ones as the Brown-throated Egret, which can hardly be found outside the Okavango Delta.
Adventure Wilderness: Safaris in the Okavango Delta
A safari in the Okavango Delta guarantees spectacular game viewing. The Okavangodelta is also the ideal destination for nature lovers for two further reasons: Firstly, the Okavangodelta is easily accessible via Maun Airport, which is served by Windhoek in Namibia and by Johannesburg, Gabarone and Cape Town in South Africa. A safari in the Okavango Delta can therefore be wonderfully integrated into a round trip through southern Africa and combined with a visit to other national parks. On the other hand, the Republic of Botswana does not focus on mass tourism, but promotes an exemplary ecological tourism in which nature conservation has top priority. In the Okavangodelta there are both rustic bush camps and luxurious lodges that are committed to the principle of nature-preserving tourism. In the midst of the wilderness you don’t have to do without any comfort and yet you are still very close to the impressive nature. Many accommodations are approached by helicopter or light aircraft, so that you can easily reach different destinations and admire the fantastic landscape from a bird’s eye view.
A stay in the Moremi Game Reserve, one of the most beautiful and animal-rich wildlife sanctuaries in southern Africa, is particularly worthwhile. The landscape is determined by water, land and alluvial plains. Dense forests provide shelter for the endangered African wild dog, in the savannah you can observe lions, leopards and cheetahs hunting for antelopes and along the waterways nest a variety of birds. Moremi Game Reserve makes your dream of a safari in the heart of the Black Continent come true.
Due to the special geography of the Okavango Delta, you should not limit yourself to the classic game drive with the all-terrain vehicle. The most authentic way to experience the fascinating water, swamp and island worlds of the alluvial area is on a safari with the traditional mokoro, a kind of canoe or dugout boat. You can also explore remote canals, watercourses and islets and get to know the birdlife of the Okavango Delta. Get even closer to the heart of the wilderness on a bush walk led by experienced rangers that will take you to many secret wildlife hideaways and routes. If you want to observe nocturnal animals such as the African wild dogs, a night game drive is recommended.