Go by Mokoro - a dug out canoe perfect for exploring the
nature of the Delta silently
Where it's at
The Okavango river flows for over 1000 miles from the
Angolan highlands through Namibia before entering Botswana
where it bursts into the formations of the Okanvango Delta,
an exhuberant display of green swamps spanning around 250
miles. The Okavango Delta is a shifting web of crystal clear
channels, lagoons and palm studded islands.
What wildlife is found here?
The best way to explore the islands is by mokoro -
a traditional African dug-out canoe. The vast waters lie on
the edge of the great Kalahari Desert, which just shows
that Africa is a continent of extremities. It is often called
a swamp, although it is actually a winding broad channel concealing
other tiny water channels, behind a wall of papyrus reed.
These tiny networks of passages form a succession of lagoons,
islands and islets, grasslands and flooded plains. Depending
on rainfall locally and in the Angola region where the river
flow starts, anything between half and all of the Delta can
be flooded during any season.
The water in the delta is amazingly clean and pure and is
a great place for fishing. The deeper water of the fishing
camps in the Panhandle region in the north of the Delta
is your best bet for bigger, meaner fish. August to February
is the best season to fish.
But the Delta is most famous for its birds and game,
home to 350 species of birds year round. Spring and summer
are great times for birdwatching, and October to March is
the time to see the birds of Europe prior to migration. Theres
plenty of large game to see in the Delta, and travelling on
horseback is a great way to get closer to the wildlife than
on foot. Canter alongside giraffes and you will hear the cry
of the fisheagle, hyena screams and hippos grunts.
Wealth of Habitats
The Delta boosts three main habitats: The Panhandle
around the river is one of the biggest river in South
Africa during the flooding and an amazing site for birds.
Lush riverine forests line the river with papyrus and phragmites
dominating the flora. In the Panhandle you can see many species,
like the Bat Hawk and Carmine Bee-eater to name
a few, or you can follow a barbel run from August
to October when the barbels swim upstream to breed
followed by numerous birds stalking them!
The permanent waters of the Delta are situated in the
North and are characterised with fast flowing rivers and islands.
Waterlife to spy includes crocodiles, hippos, red lechwe,
buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and antelope.
Birds include the pinkbacked pelicans, brown firefinch,
western banded snake eagle, swamp warbler, pygmy goose and
the slaty egret.
The drylands are around many of the areas and border
the Delta. The regions are a combination of grasslands, rich
forests, mature woodland and palm fringed islands. Chiefs
Island is a large arid island in the centre of the river.
These islands are great spots to view birds from. Here you
can see birds including the Wattled Crane, Rufous bellied
Heron, Chirping Cisticola and the Redwinged Pranticole.
Many dams are being proposed by the Angolan government to
water a thirsty population in Windhoek, which threatens
the future of the Delta, although sustainability environmental
projects have been started to protect the nature in the region.