This untamed, untouched and unique great wilderness is a World Heritage Site in the heart of Botswana and the Kalahari. The Okavango supports an abundance of animal and birdlife. Known as the Jewel of the Kalahari, this astoundingly beautiful river moves between palm and papyrus lined waterways and thick woodland islands and is home to rich wildlife and thriving vegetation.
The Okavango River has its source in the highlands of Northern Angola, travelling through into Namibia’s Caprivi Strip and into Botswana and the fan shaped delta. As Botswana’s dry season starts and the last of the water starts drying up, the river starts flooding upstream in Angola. These flooded waters travel over 1300km’s to reach the Delta in time to revitalise the ecosystem. Only about 3% of this water reaches the town of Maun in the Thamalakane River, and then onwards to the Makgadikgadi Pans or Lake Ngami.
The Okavango Delta has three clear areas. The Panhandle begins at the northern reaches and extends down for about 90km’s. The river is deep and wide, with papyrus beds and phoenix palms. The big tourist attractions here are fishing and birding.
The fan shaped Delta emerges at Seronga, where the river rejuvenates the land, creating a beautiful array or channels, lagoons, ox bow lakes, flooded grasslands and thousands of islands of all sizes.
Perennial Swamps give way to seasonal swamps and the drylands. There are three major landmasses, the Matsebi Ridge, Chief’s Island and Moremi Tongue. It is here that the large numbers of animals are seen, generally by traditional mokoro. The Big 5 is to be found here, after the successful introduction of white and black rhino. This is also a bird lover’s paradise, with over 400 species of birds, some of which are migratory species. There are also herds of buck like kudu, waterbuck and impala.