The Okavango Delta, the world's largest delta, is located at the mouth of the Okavango River. This expanse of water in the midst of the Kalahari Desert acts as an oasis for wildlife and inhabitants in this harsh, arid climate. During the flooding season the delta can expand to cover 15,000 square kilometers. The average annual rainfall of the area is around 450 mm. However, with the arrival of the dry season, the delta shrinks to about 9,000 square kilometers. With the transformation of the Delta, the concentration of water forms a haven for large numbers of wildlife.
When water levels subside, a higher concentration of wildlife can be seen. Animals that are rare in other parts of the world are found in abundance in this sanctuary. While many of them are not native to this land year round, during the dry season more than 200,000 animals can be found in concentrated areas around the delta. Large herds of African bush elephant attract tourists eager to walk with the elephants or even ride on their backs. There are many different species that call the Okavango Delta home, including rare Nile crocodiles, African buffalo and the endangered species of African wild dog. There are many species of antelope in the region such as the lechwe, which is the most populous animal in the delta. Ornithologists also enjoy an abundance of over 400 species of birds, including the African fish eagle, sacred ibis and ostrich.
Okavango Delta is unique in the various methods it offers for exploring the wildlife on safari. Guides take tourists through the waterways of the delta in a traditional mokoro, or dug out canoe. Stalking and tracking wildlife with the help of a guide on the walking safaris is another exciting and popular way to experience the delta first-hand. Chief's Island is a popular landmark for tourists since it is the largest island in the delta and core refuge for wildlife. Historically, this island was used exclusively for hunting grounds by Chief Moremi of the Batawana tribe.
The outskirts of the delta are inhabited by five major ethnic groups, each with their own unique culture and language. Major forms of subsistence include agriculture, fishing, hunting, pastoralism, and collection of wild plant foods. The Batawana people, who have been in political power since the 1700s, established the Moremi Game Reserve, the first wildlife sanctuary to be established by an African tribe, on the outskirts of the delta in 1963 to prevent further destruction by hunting and cattle grazing. The Moremi Game Reserve is now managed by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, which ensures a protected wildlife reserve for unforgettable outdoor experiences.
Visit the Okavango Delta on all our Wildland Botswana adventures.