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Overview

One of southern Africa’s most remarkable natural phenomena, the Okavango is a vast perennial inland delta formed by the Kavango River, which rises in Angola, as it fans out and drains into the sandy soils of the Kalahari. Part of the delta is accorded official protection within Moremi National Park, but most of it is composed of exclusive concessions that effectively function as private conservancies. In the central part of the delta, the most exciting way to get around is in dugout canoes, which are known locally as mokoros, and are steered by experienced local polers. It's not for the faint hearted, with crocodiles and hippos lurking ...

One of southern Africa’s most remarkable natural phenomena, the Okavango is a vast perennial inland delta formed by the Kavango River, which rises in Angola, as it fans out and drains into the sandy soils of the Kalahari. Part of the delta is accorded official protection within Moremi National Park, but most of it is composed of exclusive concessions that effectively function as private conservancies. In the central part of the delta, the most exciting way to get around is in dugout canoes, which are known locally as mokoros, and are steered by experienced local polers. It's not for the faint hearted, with crocodiles and hippos lurking menacingly in the waters, and elephants also conspicuous and occasionally cantankerous. However, it is also an incredibly peaceful and atmospheric way to explore this pristine wetland, and to get close to aquatic wildlife, as well as birds such as the lily-trotting African jacana and near-endemic slaty egret. Most concessions also offer guided 4x4 game drives, an altogether less singular experience (but similar to that offered by most other private reserves in the region, with lion, leopard, African hunting dog, eland and sable antelope all common in some areas). Each of the concessions offers a different balance of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife and activities, so to make the best of the delta, it's important to research your options properly or consult a specialized operator with your requirements.

Philip Briggs
About the Expert

Philip Briggs has written or contributed to 50-plus editions of Bradt, Insight, AA and Berlitz guidebooks to African destinations.

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Philip Briggs for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Okavango Delta (or Okavango Swamp), in Botswana, is a large inland delta, formed where the Okavango River reaches a tectonic trough in the central part of the endorheic basin of the Kalahari.
  • Language: Setswana, Kalanga, Sekgalagadi and English
  • Currency: Botswana Pula
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The best time to visit is the dry southern winter, from May to October, with conditions for poling and wildlife viewing improving towards the end of the season. The rainy season has its advantages too, with bird activity being highest, and camps generally being much quieter and cheaper.