Located in northwest Botswana, the Okavango Delta comprises a 6,000km2 area of swampy marshland and 12,000km2 of grassy plains. It is one of the few delta systems that do not flow into a sea or ocean; instead water is evaporated. Its wetland system makes Okavango Delta a leading safari destination in Botswana – supporting a wide range of animal life, including many endangered mammal species such as the Cape wild dog, the cheetah and the white rhinoceros.
Chief’s Island is the largest island in the Delta, formed by a fault line that pushed up an area over 70km long. Historically, the island was used as a private hunting area for the local chief. It’s now part of the Moremi Game Reserve and boasts a high concentration of wildlife.
Archaeological evidence discovered in the Okavango Delta has shown that local tribes have inhabited the area for over 100,000 years. Today, local villages make a living through agricultural practices and tourism.
In 2013, the Okavango Delta was declared as one of Africa’s Seven Natural Wonders and in 2014 it was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These two distinguished awards have propelled the Delta to extreme popularity, attracting visitors from all corners of the world to experience the premier safari destination in Botswana.
The wildlife in the Okavango Delta is incredibly varied, comprising of mammals, birds and fish. The Big Five – elephants, rhinoceros, buffalo, lions and leopards – can be spotted here, as well as hyenas, zebras, giraffes and African wild dogs. There are also over 450 species of bird living in the Delta. The African fish eagle and Pel’s fishing owl are expert predators that feed on some of the 89 fish species, such as tigerfish, tilapia and catfish residing in the Okavango River and surrounding swampland. Other birds include the crested crane, sacred ibis and lilac-breasted roller.
The Wings Over the Delta is a popular itinerary to enjoy an Okavango Delta safari holiday where you will fly into the Delta on a light aircraft and go on multiple game drives. A definite highlight of the trip is venturing into the Moremi Wildlife Reserve which is renowned for frequent sightings of lions, leopards and cheetahs. At Somak, we can customise this trip to meet your exact requirements too.
A great alternative for epic wildlife spotting is joining the eight-night Botswana Focus tour where you will visit the legendary Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park, before spending four days enjoying a fun-filled Okavango Delta safari with our local guides.
The Okavango Delta offers exciting safari holidays all year round. Whenever you go, there will be an abundance of wildlife to spot.
Dry season – May to October
During the dry season, the Okavango is, paradoxically, flooded. Because the waters are so high you’ll have the best opportunity to see wildlife during a boat safari. Animals will congregate around water sources, allowing you to take epic safari photos from the safety of a boat.
The dry season is also the peak season. This means that accommodation may be more expensive than in the wet season. However, the Okavango Delta rarely gets crowded so you’ll always be able to grab a bed at a lodge. The evenings and early mornings will be cold at this time of year, so be prepared and pack warm clothing.
Wet season – November to April
There is still a lot to see during the wet season, especially migratory birds and newborn animals. As an added bonus, accommodation rates are lower at this time, allowing you to grab a bargain! Bear in mind, though, January and February are the wettest months, while October and November are the hottest.
One of the best ways to see the nature in the Okavango Delta is on a boat safari. Traversing the river on a boat, with our expert guides, will give you the best animal viewing experience and will allow you to learn more about the local wildlife. To add a traditional twist to your safari, head out on the river in a traditional canoe called a mokoro.
The popular Wings Over the Delta itinerary sees you enjoy an Okavango Delta safari holiday where you will fly into the Delta on a light aircraft and go on multiple game drives – including game activities on mokoro. The trip also includes adventures into the Moremi Wildlife Reserve which is renowned for frequent sightings of lions, leopards and cheetahs.
Catch-and-release fishing is a popular past time in the Delta. With fish reaching over a metre in length, hooking one of these beasts can be an incredibly thrilling experience. Just remember to release your catch back into the water once you’ve caught him.
Local villages near the Okavango Delta are well worth a visit as they add a great cultural element to your safari. Once there, you can learn about how the local people interact with nature and observe their unique way of life.