If you’re looking for the authentic African safari experience, pack your bags and head straight for the Okavango Delta. Located in the heart of Africa’s untouched landscape, the Okavango Delta in Botswana covers more than 15,000km² of lush pastures and wilderness and offers its visitors stunning views of its papyrus swamps and shallow reed-beds.
What makes the Okavango delta such a desired destination is its unmatched variability. The journey from wetland to dryland offers visitor the amazing opportunity to observe Africa’s diverse wildlife and to catch a glimpse of some of the unique species, inhabiting the largest intact inland delta in the world.
Often referred to as the “jewel of the Kalahari,” the Okavango delta is fed by the Okavango River, which rises in the Angola highlands and continues southeast into the Kalahari. The delta comprises permanent marshlands and plains that get seasonally flooded, and its wetland ecosystem is almost intact. From vividly-colored tropical fishes, traversing the crystal clear waters to iridescent malachite kingfishers and larger animals, like the red lechwe, the Okavango delta is packed with unique species that make it a network of excellent private “safari reserves” and one of the best luxury safari destinations.
The Okavango is known as the river that never reaches the sea, and the water in its delta simply evaporates or transpires, without flowing into any ocean or sea. Each year, approximately 11 cubic kilometers of water spread over the entire area of the delta. The delta region varies between 15,000 square kilometers during the dry season to up to 22,000 square kilometers during the wetter periods. When its level lowers, the swamps give way to flooded grasslands.
Thanks to its stunning beauty, the Okavango delta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. Its hot climate makes it a suitable destination for luxury safari tours and packages all year round, and frequent flight connections between Johannesburg, Gaborone, Maun and Kasane - the gateways to the national parks and the surrounding wildlife areas - make reaching the Okavango delta easier than ever.
Even though most of Africa’s large animals don’t usually inhabit watery areas, visitors of the Okavango Delta can expect some stunning face-to-face meetings with Africa’s striking wildlife. The Delta and the dryland areas of Okavango river are home to the staggering 122 species of mammals, 71 species of fish, and more than 1300 species of flowering plants. The area is an excellent breeding ground for elephants, lions, wild dogs, spotted hyenas, leopards, as well as sable and roan antelopes. The elephant and buffalo occur here year-round in immense numbers, and giraffes, zebras and impalas are also not a rare view to see. Most of Africa’s wildlife has thriving populations in the Botswana area, and the Okavango Delta in particular is a breeding ground for the African’s wild dog. In addition, the area is also home to more than 400 different bird species.
With its intact wildlife and stunning ecosystem, the Okavango delta is one of the best places for an authentic luxury safari experience. The tranquility of the area is combined with nearby tourist attractions, including rural areas and villages that line its western fringes. Tourists can indulge in some of the local activities, such as game drives, boating and fishing, or spend a relaxing day, traversing the area and enjoying some of Africa’s amazing wildlife.