The Okavango Delta inspires images of herds of dainty antelope dashing through floodwaters, of lion hunting large herds of Cape buffalo, leopards lazily surveying the terrain from the branches of a tree and of elephant standing waist deep in the floodwaters. The reality is that the Delta offers this and much more besides, it truly is one of the world's most extraordinary ecosystems and offers an unparalleled game viewing experience.
The Okavango is the largest inland delta in the world, fed by the waters descending from Angola, reaching their peak, paradoxically, in the middle of the dry season (July/August). The floodwaters transform the Delta from its dry, desert state (it lies in the heart of the Kalahari basin) to a beautiful oasis, supporting a remarkable variety of animal, bird and plant life and is home to Africa's most exclusive safari lodges.
The Delta is made up of the Moremi Game Reserve, the private concessions further West and The Panhandle, which is the main part of the Okavango River before the channels fan out. This section concentrates on the private concessions and The Panhandle, discussing the features of various camps and areas and giving one a better idea of what can be done in the Delta.
The game viewing here is truly outstanding, with lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and a huge variety of antelope and plains game species found year round. It is also a bird watchers paradise, with rare species such as the Pel's fishing owl often found close to specific camps. The plains game tend to give birth to their young during the rainy season, meaning large herds can be seen grazing, with the adults staying alert to the constant threat of predators who are never far away.
The vastness of the Delta means that there are many different styles of camps to choose from, with them being loosely grouped as follows. "Dry" camps tend to focus solely on game drives and walking, with "wet" camps further into the Delta offering activities such as mokoro canoe safaris, fishing, motorboat trips and guided walks. There are also "mixed" camps that offer a bit of both, but these do tend to be more seasonal and are dependent on water levels.
The camps we recommend do depend on your interest and how you want to enjoy your game viewing, whilst there are some camps that offer very specific game viewing experiences. Duba Plains, for instance, offers guests the chance to see the lion hunting buffalo, as featured on the National Geographic series "Relentless Enemies", whilst birding enthusiasts are drawn to camps such as Xigera to see the resident Pel's fishing owl. All of the camps in this area of the Delta are on private concessions, meaning a truly wild safari experience, uninterrupted by other vehicles and visitors.
However you choose to enjoy the Delta, by mokoro canoe, in game viewing vehicles or on foot, you will be assured of the most amazing safari experience you could wish for. Animals big and small are all around and the incredible guides really bring the magic of the whole area to life. An experience not to be missed.
The Delta is famed for its water levels and water-based activities, however, paradoxically, the water levels are inversely proportional to the rainfall in the Delta, as the floodwaters come from the far-off highlands of Angola.
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