The Okavango Delta, now designated as a World Heritage site, is a vast swamp-like fertile expanse of floodplain, riverine forest, reed and papyrus bed, lagoons and waterways that embrace more than a thousand wooded islands. In a good year when water levels are high, the Okavango Delta can cover an area of 15,000 square kilometres! The Okavango River, which feeds the Delta, rises in Angola and makes its long journey 1,600 kilometres southeastwards. The islands – giant mounds of sandy earth or larger expanses of dry, forested land – vary in texture and vegetation. The largest of the islands is known as Chief’s Island - 100 kilometres long and 15 kilometres wide – and is flanked by two rivers which eventually meander into the main Thamalakane River that flows through Maun, the gateway town into the Delta. The volume of the rivers and the flood in the Delta are dependent on the rains in Angola and northern Botswana.
The waters usually reach the uppermost part of the Delta in February/March and then – in a good year – will flow through Maun in about June/July. The heated discussions and bets among Maun residents as to when the waters reach 'town' are a annual topic!
Apart from the natural beauty of the Delta’s flora, it is a paradise for bird watchers. 500 species of bird life have been recorded in the area. The Delta is also magnificent for game viewing – especially in the winter months when the grasses are yellowing and the islands become home to elephant, lion, leopard, various types of antelope (including red lechwe), hyena, giraffe and many others. Chief’s Island, in particular, is home to a vast array of wildlife as it borders the Moremi Game Reserve.
Lodges and camps are usually reached by light aircraft from Maun as road transport to some is arduous and lengthy or, in some cases, they are not accessible by road at all. There are many small airstrips which serve these lodges and transfers from airstrip to lodge can take minutes in some places and up to an hour in hours. Activities vary at the lodges: some offer water-based activities only as they may be situated with little access to dry land. Others offer game drives (and in some cases night drives, if they are located in private concessions), fishing activities and guided bush walks with trained and experienced guides.
Most offer fully inclusive stays which include transfers, accommodation in either luxury ensuite tents on platforms or wooden chalets, all meals and drinks, activities and laundry. Some offer air-conditioned tents and mini-bars, powered by generators; others offer more intimate bush Delta experiences with paraffin lamps and no generator power. Most lodges have now moved onto solar systems as a more eco-friendly way of providing power. So there is a vast array of choice to suit all tastes. It should be noted that although accommodation, meals and refreshments and the experience is of a luxury or high class standard, these are still primarily bush sites. The surroundings to your accommodation are, in most cases, natural, indigenous bush, shrubs and grasses. Some lodges have a swimming pool for their guests; some have satellite phone facilities. But as a general rule, they are not hotels so you will not encounter manicured lawns, hairdressing salons, hydrotherapy clinics, masseurs, telephone or internet facilities. The prime interest, after all, is to experience a pristine wilderness of charm, beauty and abundant game.
- Abundant wildlife
- Prolific bird life
- Spectacular delta waterways and fascinating flora
- Rest and relaxation
- Excellent horseback safaris at tented and fly camps deep in the Delta
- A get-away holiday experience
- Light aircraft transfers 30-50 minutes depending on destination
- Vast range of luxury to up market lodge accommodation. Typically, fully inclusive of transfers, accommodation in ensuite tented accommodation on raised platforms, all activities as determined by the lodge, laundry and local beverages.