Botswana Safari | Exploring Okavango

Dusk in Okavango. Leigh KempDusk in Okavango

The Okavango Delta in Botswana is a true wonder of nature and a must for all true African safari aficionados, with fascinating wildlife and wilderness.

A buck in the Okavango.The Okavango, a lush delta in a harsh desert environment, should be one of the natural wonders of the world, so fascinating is the ecology of the place. Here is a place where the water on the floodplains is at its highest at the peak of the dry season and at its lowest levels during the rainy season.

The Okavango is a place where the behaviour of the animals that inhabit the area is unlike anywhere else in Africa. It is a place where lions do not avoid water, instead using the waterways to move and hunt.

One of the greatest shows on earth

Aerial view of Elephants in the Okavango.

There are many wonders in the natural world but few can match the drama of the annual flooding of the Okavango Delta, a time when water from thousands of kilometres away moves slowly over the sands of the Kalahari - at the height of the dry season.

In the wilderness areas of southern Africa there are two seasons - the dry season and the wet season. Winter is generally the dry season and mid to late summer the wet season - and so it is in the vast wilderness of northern Botswana.

In the Okavango Delta the rains begin in earnest well into the hot summer months and may last into April. This then is logically when the waters in the delta should be at their highest - but not everything works according to our logic in the Okavango.

Changing landscapes

Exploring the Okavango Delta.The Okavango Delta does not rest. It is a place that is been reshaped every moment of the day. Hippos cut new paths, blocking others through a build-up of earth and vegetation in the old channels. Floodwaters are not forceful enough to push these blockages aside - the waters will simply flow around them, creating new channels.

Over time detritus will build up against a blockage and as the seasons pass the build up may become sufficient enough to form a small island - which will expand over the years. Termites, however, are responsible for more physical changes to the features of the delta than anything else, and are responsible for most of the small island dotted across the delta landscape.

Experiencing Eden - Weekend getaway

Sunset.There is a perception that the Okavango Delta is a difficult destination to access and that time is needed for a safari in the region. This may have been true some years ago, but today it is possible to leave home in the morning and be having lunch overlooking the floodplains of the delta within a few hours.

It is also possible to spend just two nights at a lodge in the delta and experience the best of what this natural wonder has to offer - an ideal long weekend getaway.

Fly out of Johannesburg first thing Friday morning. Fly Back on the first flight out of Maun - which would be around 11:00am
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