Okavango Delta

Why Go

Okavango Delta Safari in Botswana

A shimmering oasis at the heart of the Kalahari, the Okavango Delta is one of the world’s greatest wildlife destinations. Hippos and crocodiles fill its waterways while herds of antelope, elephant and buffalo graze the rich floodplains. Big cats and wild dogs patrol the delta’s islands for prey. And with over 400 bird species, the bird watching is simply superb.

Fed by floodwaters from faraway Angola, the Okavango Delta is a seasonally-driven environment. Paradoxically, water levels here are at their highest during Botswana’s crushing dry season (May to October). The delta doubles or triples its size, sometimes more. Animal densities are at their greatest at this time of year, especially on the delta fringes. Regions such as the Khwai River and Xakanaxa offer some of the best dry-season game viewing in Botswana.

Choose your destination carefully. Fluctuating water levels mean the Okavango Delta differs in appearance and experience throughout the year. Its papyrus-fringed Panhandle region is where the Okavango River runs deep and wide all year round – perfect for anglers and birders. The permanent northern and central wetlands offer a more diverse delta experience: you’ll explore by mokoro (a traditional canoe), motor boat and even on foot.

The best game viewing however is found at the edge of the delta in the Moremi Game Reserve and on its biggest land mass – Chief’s Island. Here you’ll enjoy 4X4 game drives as well as water activities though some camps may not offer water activities at certain times of year, if at all.

Many Okavango Delta camps lie in Moremi. You’ll enjoy prime position at the delta’s wildlife hotspots but there’s also great benefit in staying at a private concession. Activities not permitted in Moremi such as spot-lit night drives and walking safaris are offered in these privately-run reserves, greatly adding to the experience. Read more about Okavango Delta activities.

A World Heritage Site, the Okavango Delta falls largely under the protection of the Moremi Game Reserve and adjoining privately-run concessions. Accommodation is widely available throughout the delta and you’ll have the luxury of choosing between different kinds of lodges – family-friendly, value-for-money, honeymoon-perfect and super-exclusive. Shared charters in small aeroplanes are the best – and usually only – way in and you’ll enjoy mesmerising views as you fly over the delta.

Browse our recommended accommodation and suggested itineraries for an Okavango Delta safari. Usually combined with Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls, the Okavango Delta is served by Maun airport, Botswana’s travel hub. This means easy connections with South Africa and beyond, putting the Okavango Delta at the heart of an unbeatable Southern Africa itinerary.

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Top Experiences

Various Activities offered in the Delta

1. Sit Back in a Mokoro

Steered by a local guide, your flat-bottomed mokoro (canoe) takes you into the delta’s shallow wetlands – great for birding & photography. Contact us for more info about lodges and high water seasons.

2. Walk the Delta

Guided nature walks on the islands of the Okavango Delta are a highlight for many visitors – you’ll learn about medicinal trees, look for rare birds, identify animal tracks & get to see some animals.

3. Cruise the River

Swop an afternoon game drive for a motor boat safari, a great way to discover the delta. You’ll spot hippos & crocodiles plus dozens of different birds & finish the day at the best sunset spots.

4. Get Romantic

Breathtaking scenery, stunning sunsets plus super-exclusive accommodation: the Okavango Delta is one of the most romantic destinations in Africa. Honeymooners can expect private dining, spa pampering & plenty of romantic surprises.

5. Go Bird Watching

An amazing birding destination in general & always great for raptors, it’s during the summer months that Savuti explodes with colour & noise as migrant species such as carmine bee-eaters arrive.

6. Go on a Game Drive

Led by a professional guide, 4X4 game drives give you the best chances of seeing big game in the drier areas of the delta. Several lodges have a great reputation for vehicle-based game viewing; private reserves offer night drives & off-road driving too – ask us for the best ones.

7. Search for Wild Dogs

The delta’s grassy floodplains are packed with antelope, making them classic hunting territory for the highly endangered wild dog, one of the most sought-after sightings on an African safari. Head for the drier margins of the delta or ask us for recommendations.

8. Drop a Line Overboard

Whether you are a keen angler or just fancy trying your luck, many lodges offer fishing as an activity. It’s mostly catch-&-release but you can fish for your supper too. Serious fishermen will want to experience the delta’s infamous catfish run – get more info.

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