African Safari blog

Top African Destinations Part 4 – The Okavango Delta

Destinations

Okavango Delta African holidays from Australia

In our blog series featuring Africa’s top wildlife destinations, let’s now explore the Okavango Delta.

Botswana’s Glorious Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta is said to be the most pristine wetland in Africa (probably in the world). It is located in Botswana (the place made famous by Alexander McCall-Smith’s, Ladies Detective Agency). Botswana is the most politically stable of all the African countries.

In recent years, because of the sensitivity of the various eco-systems, authorities have endeavoured to reduce the tourist footprint while maintaining the tourist dollar. As a result, Botswana can be a relatively expensive destination, particularly during high season (June to October).

In terms of travelling to the Okavango Delta, the best time is probably April and May. This is generally when it’s most cost effective and comfortable weather wise, since November and December can be extremely hot, and January and February are in the rainy season. As well as travelling in the off-season, it is possible to reduce the cost of a safari to this unique top African destination with a mobile camp.

The Rains that Created a Delta Oasis

The Okavango Delta is an oasis that has been largely created by rains that fall in the highlands of Angola. These rains cause seasonal flooding. The flood waters surge inland along the Okavango River for about 1 200 kilometres and dissipate in the Kalahari Desert.

These life-giving waters, augmented by the Delta’s own 450 millimetres of rain, extend their reach to an area of about 16,000 square kilometres (that is, an area slightly larger than Belgium).

Obviously being a wetland, the Okavango Delta attracts an abundance of birds (reported to be over 400 species). However, being an enormous body of water in an otherwise parched area, it’s also not surprising that it’s home to a large variety of the animals that one normally associates with an African safari. One of the must-see animals to experience while travelling Africa is the water-loving lechwe antelope.

Another highlight is the proliferation of different coloured water-lilies that carpet the shallows; truly breathtaking.

A World Heritage Site

In July 2014, the Okavango Delta was nominated the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO’s) 1000th World Heritage Site. UNESCO include on their list places deemed as having special cultural or physical significance to humanity.

It would seem that UNESCO were very slow in adding the Delta to its list of top African destinations considering that it has been on the Ramsar site list since about 1996. (Ramsar is an intergovernmental treaty that provides a framework for national action for the conservation and use of wetlands of international significance.) The Delta is the largest site on the Ramsar list.

Experience the wonders of the Okavango Delta and Botswana as part of one of our extraordinary package holidays to Africa. We are specialists in Australian custom-made trips of a life-time to Africa; see what we can do for you.

previous

The Ebola outbreak

next

Top African Destinations Part 5 - the Ngorongoro Crater