The unique and winding waterways known as the Okavango Delta is a large wetland area surrounded by the Kalahari Desert. The area comprises 16 000 km sq of permanent marshlands and seasonally flooded plains. The Okavango Delta’s floods are fed from the Angolan rains, which start in October and finish in April. The Delta’s water ends in the Kalahari – with over 95% of the water eventually evaporating – hence sometimes referred to as ‘the river that never finds the sea’.
Its meandering waterways, palm-fringed islands, ox-bow lakes, and lagoons give the area an exquisite beauty, as well as an abundant ecosystem. A wide variety of species live off their varied habitats. This diversity also secured the delta a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. The annual flood-tide revitalises ecosystems during the peak of the dry season, an extraordinary contrast between arid landscape and vibrant wetland. The transformation results in a large variety and number of wildlife, approximately 200,000 animals. Some species leave during the rainy seasons and return during the drier winters.
When you embark on a Botswana safari through the Okavango Delta, you will explore an environment that supports large herds of elephant, antelope, and buffalo, as well as hippopotamus, giraffe, crocodile, lion, cheetah, leopard, wildebeest, rhinoceros, zebra, baboon and countless others. An Okavango Delta safari will bring you in close contact with over 400 species of birds, including the African Fish Eagle, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Crested Crane, Lilac-breasted Roller, Ostrich, and the Sacred Ibis, among others.
Whether experienced by boat, vehicle, or air – the Okavango Delta is an ecological wonder – abundant in habitat and life – a must for the safari seeker.
The Mokoro Experience
The mokoro canoes are made from the dug-out trunk of a large and straight Ebony or Kigelia tree. As one can imagine, making a mokoro takes a lot of time, effort and skill, and it is this craftsmanship that is so unique to this area of Botswana! The indigenous people that hand-make these mokoros have become experts in this local craft, making it their main source of income. Supporting this venture and travelling on hand-made mokoros are recommended for a Botswana Safari and support our efforts to provide a high level of responsible tourism.
The mokoros are guided by a ‘poler’ who is sourced locally and steers the canoe along the Botswana Okavango River. He uses a method of propulsion (pushing a pole into the area beneath the mokoro) to navigate along the river. This method of propulsion decreases any negative impacts on the sensitive water environment below. The mokoro experience on your Botswana Safari is not to be missed; it is a great way to explore the Okavango Delta, Botswana National Parks, the beautiful surroundings and a great variety of African wildlife. It is a peaceful, comfortable, eco-friendly and unique cultural experience.