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.