Okavango Delta: Wildlife, Wetland, and Perfect Wilderness

C. Fraser Claire

Paradise Found: Okavango Delta

Okavango Delta: Wildlife, Wetland, and Perfect Wilderness

Paradise Found in the Okavango Delta

The waterways of the Okavango Delta are a shimmering definition of wilderness. This alluvial fan or inland delta is a magnificent maze of wild wetland, impermeable marsh, viridescent islands, and perfect lagoons. If the natural pull of rivers is to go to the sea, the Delta shows the beauty of the anomaly – what happens when the earth has other plans.

Botswana is one of the most amazing countries – and the Delta is the jewel in the crown of what’s on offer. If you’ve driven through it or viewed it from the air, Kalahari sand, dusty donkeys, and encrusted salt pans as far as the eye can see are some of the more typical scenes. In 1848, David Livingstone called it a ‘country of rivers’. You could drive through parts of this country during the dry season and be forgiven for thinking he’d dreamed this up in a malarial haze.

Okavango Delta Travel Tips >

Elephant in the Okavango Delta by The Safari Store
The Delta is a feature of the landscape that has been remarkably altered by geology over the years. We are lucky enough to bear witness to the exquisite progress of Africa’s growing pains.

Before the shift that created the Delta, the Okavango River drained into an enormous inland lake near Makgadikgadi. Today, to travel Southern Africa is to get a cross-section of utopian natural history – wrinkles on the Earth’s surface that tell ancient stories.

This is one of the world’s most famous wildlife areas. As the flood waters move, so wildlife and birds follow in a feathered, fanged, tusked, and hoofed perfect echo. As the course of legendary rivers bleeds into desert sands, the landscape and all its abundance are gloriously decorated temple walls to worship water. Throughout the course of these rivers, the seasonal arrival of the flood and the coming of the rains are a cause of celebration. Pula!

In fact, if you are going to celebrate the miracle of rainfall and the Okavango Delta, it’s necessary to extend your geographical reach. Rainfall in the highlands of Angola affect the Delta flood, which flows through into Namibia and finally into Botswana. From the air, you can see the trails of ancient floodplains like stories of the area written in Kalahari sand.

Read our destination stories for travel inspiration, get quick travel tips for exploring the Okavango Delta, and find out what to pack so you're prepared for your Delta adventure.

What To Pack For the Delta >

Lechwe on a Botswana safari to the Okavango Delta by The Safari Store
Botswana safari to Moremi, Okavango Delta, by The Safari Store

Expedition Tested – The Okavango Delta From North to South

At The Safari Store, our safari clothing has been shaped around the results of our expedition testing adventures. Everything available online has been worn and tested in wild African destinations. On the Okavango Delta expedition, a group of five explorers poled mekoros along the length of the Delta, ending in Maun.

From sharing deep channels with crocodiles and hippos to portaging over the shallows, this immersive trip into the Delta was a true adventure.

Read the Okavango Expedition Story >

Okavango Delta Expedition by The Safari Store

The Okavango Panhandle

The further north you go in the Delta, the more the river becomes arterial – a main channel that takes you to the Namibian border. From high papyrus walls that channel swallows to walks with Pel’s Fishing Owl, we explored the area around Sepupa by boat, mokoro, and on foot.

Read About the Okavango Panhandle >

Botswana safari to the Okavango Panhandle by The Safari Store

Mokoro Okavango: Into the Gauntlet

From the northern Delta, the main channel breaks apart like party streamers. It becomes a maze of smaller channels darkened by high papyrus, verdant floodplain, and a network of wild, largely unpopulated islands. Four people on two mekoros, we poled our own dugout canoes on a multi-day adventure – wild camping and exploring on foot and by water.

Read the Mokoro Okavango Story >

Mokoro Okavango Delta by The Safari Store

Moremi Game Reserve

Proclaimed to preserve this incredible wildlife area, Moremi Game Reserve covers almost a third of the Delta’s north-eastern side. This area is an awe-inspiring showcase of the areas famed bird and wildlife populations. We travelled there at the height of the tourist season – and had an astonishingly exclusive experience of an extraordinary part of the Delta.

Read About Moremi >

Moremi Game Reserve elephant, Okavango Delta, by The Safari Store

Khwai Community Concession

Bordering Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park and linked to Linyanti, the Khwai Community Concession is a community-led conservation success story. During our time there, I don’t recall a moment that didn’t include elephants in the view. We camped on the bank of the Khwai River, overlooking Moremi Game Reserve – a base to explore this extraordinary wildlife area.

Read About Khwai >

Botswana safari to the Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta, by The Safari Store

Steve's Off The Beaten Track Safaris

The Okavango obviously featured in our 'Off the Beaten Track Safaris' series. If you're looking for a trip that gives the real expedition feeling, get the details from Steve on what to do, where to go, how to get that pioneer feeling - and what to wear. Beware: you'll have your wanderlust stoked with this story!

Read Off The Beaten Track Stories >

Botswana safari to the Okavango Delta - lechwe by The Safari Store
Zebras in the Okavango Delta by The Safari Store

Preparing For Your Botswana Safari. Travel Tips and Packing Advice For the Okavango Delta.

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