The Okavango Delta is world renowned and easily lives up to its notoriety. Situated in the Kalahari Basin, it is one of the largest intact inland deltas in the world and its diverse panhandle, wetland and dryland landscape are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. The deltas floods are fed from the rains in Angola which make their way over the border into Botswana. During the peak of the flooding the delta can cover an area of up to 16,000km², shrinking to less than 9,000km² in drier times. Wildlife is spectacular here, with over 120 mammal species, over 400 bird species and nearly one hundred species of fish and reptiles. With more than 1300 species of flowering plants, the scenery is stunning.
As well as game viewing and birding, visiting the villages that are dotted around the area is a great way to build up a better understanding of how the local people interact with their surroundings. It’s also possible to learn more about the conservation and research activities that are being undertaken in this area, including rhino reintroduction and African wild dog projects.
As well as traditional game drives, you can also explore the Delta in a mokoro (a type of canoe), on foot, from above or even from the back of an elephant.
The friendly town of Maun is the gateway to the Okavango Delta. Most people will tend to pass through here to pick up supplies before heading out on safari. If you do decide to stay a little longer, there are a couple of nearby attractions to keep you entertained.
Situated just on the outskirts of Maun, the Maun Wildlife Educational Park offers visitors the chance to enjoy a stroll amongst antelope and other small mammals. It’s a very pleasant way to spend a few hours!
A visit to Sixaxa, a Bayei village located around half an hour from Maun gives visitors an insight into day to day life as well as the opportunity to watch demonstrations of local trades such as tool-making and craft creating.
Moremi Game Reserve
The only officially protected area of the Okavango Delta, the Moremi Game Reserve covers an area of around 3,000km². The Reserve was established in the early 60’s by local Batawana people of Ngamiland who were concerned about depleting numbers of wildlife due to hunting and cattle farming.
The network of waterways making their way through the reserve offer visitors a great opportunity for amazing bird watching and game viewing. The diverse range of habitats is home to an astonishing array of species – from hippo and crocodile to lion and elephant. The reserve is especially important from a scientific, environmental and conservation point of view due to its protected status.
© ecoTravel Africa 2011