African Safari blog

Top African Destinations Part 4 – the Okavango Delta

Destinations

Back to the wildlife world again for our next top African destination, the Okavango Delta which is said to be the most pristine wetland in Africa (probably in the world.) This is the reason it is close to the top of the list of “top African destinations”.

The Delta is an oasis largely created by rain that falls in the highlands of Angola thus causing seasonal flooding. The flood waters drain surge inland along the Okavango River for about 1 200 kilometers and dissipate in the Kalahari Desert. These life giving waters, augmented by the Delta’s own 450 millimeters of rain, extend their reach to an area about 16 000 square kilometers (ie an area slightly larger than Belgium).

In July 2014 the Okavango Delta was nominated UNESCO’s 1000th World Heritage Site. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) include on their list places 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.

 

Botswana (the place made famous by Alexander McCall-Smith’s Ladies Detective Agency) 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. The result of that initiative is to render Botswana a relatively expensive destination, particularly during high season (June to October.) Since November and December can be uncomfortably hot and January and February are in the rainy season, the best/most cost effective months to travel to the Okavango Delta are probably April and May. 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.

Obviously being a wetland, it attracts an abundance of birds (reported to be over 400 species) but this enormous body of water in an otherwise parched area it also, unsurprisingly, attracts a large variety of the animals that one normally associates with an African safari including the water-loving lechwe antelope. But for me it is the proliferation of different coloured water-lilies that carpet the shallows with which I identify this particular top destination and is a place where you can enjoy as part of a package holiday to africa.

Relevant Tag: Botswana Safari Specialists

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Top African Destinations Part 5 - the Ngorongoro Crater