The biggest wetland in Africa
The Okavango Delta is a truly magnificent place, a stunningly beautiful and vibrant wetland in the heart of the Kalahari Desert. As the forests and grasslands of the surrounding Kalahari start to dry out, vast numbers of animals migrate into the delta. Luckily for these animals, it is during this dry season (May-November) that the Delta's water levels are at their highest. In this season the wildlife viewing is simply epic in many areas. But even during the green season (December - April) the quality of safari remains much higher than most areas can ever reach.
Safari operators have one or more concessions that they do not own but rather lease directly from the Botswana government. These concessions are huge, and cost quite a lot to lease, as they are granted to the highest bidder. Typically they only harbour one to maximum four lodges; the government sets stringent rules with regards to how many visitors are allowed, and what type of dwellings can be built. Moreover, most camps can only be reached by light aircraft.
All the above are the main reasons why a safari to Botswana doesn't come cheap. But there certainly are advantages to this safari travel style; the pureness of nature, the remoteness and solitude, the feeling of being in an ecosystem that feels virtually no influence from mankind …except perhaps the engine noise of the occasional bush plane. But to be honest; hopping around the country by light aircraft has become an integral part of the safari experience. It is extremely convenient and can provide some fabulous low altitude wildlife viewing.
At the heart of the Okavango Delta lie a number of camps that focus mainly on ‘wet’ experiences; motorboat safari and mokoro canoe safaris. These tend to be subtle and relaxing experiences.
During these boat rides the focus is mainly on the abundant birdlife and on water-dwelling animals such as hippos and crocodiles. If you are lucky you may come across an elephant that wandered far into the heart of the delta, to feed on the soft vegetation. Or you might see a sitatunga, which is a species of antelope that has adapted to this marshy environment; it has split hooves as to not have it's legs sink as deep in the mud.
While the safari experience in a "wet" camp may be very relaxing, we feel it is not sufficient in itself, because of the absence of lots of dry land species and the predators who are after them. For an excellent safari experience a "wet" camp must be supplemented with at least one "dry" camp.
On the outskirts of the Okavango Delta lie a number of lodges that focus on the regular vehicle safaris,. These provide more intense wildlife actions. A few camps are even more hard hitting, with a pronounced focus on predators and their hunting exploits.
Which doesn't mean that your experience there will be entirely consisting of land-based activities. Some lodges offer a good mix between land- and water based activities. There are also camps which concentrate on specialist activities such as walking safaris, balloon safaris and horse-back safaris.
If you want to get the best result out of your visit to Botswana and to the Okavango Delta, then we advise to combine a "dry" camp with at least one "wet" camp. After all; it is the pureness of the wetland that gave the Okavango it's popularity.
Our Favourite Camps