There are several activities that you ca carry out while in the Okavango delta and these normally flow with the seasons that are experienced in the Delta. The Delta experiences two seasons that is the green season and the dry season and these have different activities that are carried out within their happening.
Go for day and night drives through the Okavango delta
Botswana is well known for her wild nature and huge numbers of animals that habitate within the Park and some of the best ways that you can see all these animals is by going for a night drive either during day or night. The day game drives will give you a chance to see animals like zebras, elephants, elands, lions, antelopes, leopards and many more others whereas the night drives around the Delta will give you a chance to see the nightjar and many more other interesting nocturnal animals.
When driving through the Okavango Delta Park, you should be able to stay on the clearly marked routes especially if you are on a self-drive because there are areas where you are not supposed to drive from while within the Delta and that is why you need to follow the rules that govern the delta.
Enjoy the bush walks through the Delta
The bush walks in the Okavango delta are what we can call entertaining as long as you know where to go. These walks are normally carried in the morning or evening and with the help of a tour guide because as you are taking these walks, you need to avoid the animals but can spot them from a distance if you are well hidden. As you walk through the Okavango Delta, the tour guide will tell you fun stories about Africa and other bush stories. And if you have any second thoughts about taking a bush walk in the Okavango, then just imagine getting a close up look at one of the many animals in the Park especially the big five.
Enjoy a hot air balloon ride
Hot air balloon rides are part of what will make your stay in the Okavango Delta. The hot air balloon rides normally take place in May but the weather also highly determines the time they are to be taken and the good thing about them is that they give you an opportunity to take photographs of the animals from a different angle and it also feels good to be flying over some elephants and zebras as they run around the Delta.
Even though the hot air balloon is exciting, you must be ready for anything especially for those who are afraid of heights but you still need to go with a tour guide and someone who knows how to operate the balloon.
A Mokoro looks like a canoe and many locals use them to transport tourists on the swampy areas that are located in the Okavango Delta. The lodges found in the Delta offer Mokoro safaris and it is one way to view the different bird species that habitate within the swampy areas but the Mokoro safari also depends on the level of the water because some of them are seasonal. You can carry out fishing here as you watch some birds catching fish too, take photos of the vegetation, spot a few animals that come too cool off from the water especially when the weather is too hot and since there is little or no noise on the Mokoro, you enjoy a serene peace and quiet on your exploration of the Okavango Delta.
Mobile Camping Safari Botswana
This is one of the safaris that can help you easily explore the delta at length. A mobile safari refers to when tourists camp at different spots on their planned journey that is you plan to explore the whole area while camping at different intervals. The mobile safari normally depends on your budget but all you need to know is that it is one of the best ways for one to explore the whole Delta and experiencing all it has to offer.
A fly-in safari to the Okavango delta
The Okavango Delta has numerous safari camps where you can land when you fly into the Park. This method is about expensive but if you want to get to Delta fast and easy, this is the right method for you to use in order to fully explore the Delta. It is a great way for one to connect to the different camps within and outside the Delta and other near the Delta like the chobe National park.
A fly-in safari over the Okavango delta gives you a chance to observe the animals from above and take photos without having the fear of being attacked by any of the predators that habitate within the Delta.
Visit the locals
After exploring the delta feel free to walk to the nearby villages and get to know the locals who live in the area. You will get to learn more about the locals, their culture and the traditions and you also get a chance to taste their good food, buy souvenirs that are locally made by them and also enjoy the cultural dances and songs that are presented by locals especially in the evenings. You will also need a tour guide while visiting the locals for translation as some of the older locals do not understand English and they can also help you when it comes to bargaining in the markets within the different villages.
Enjoy a boat cruise on the Okavango River
Boat cruises on the Okavango River are mostly carried out during the green season and it is the best way for one to do birding. Many birds can be seen along the River and a boat cruise is the fastest way that one can go from one birding spot to the next and all you will need are binoculars and a camera to spot them. You will also be able to spot the numerous wild life that habitates within the water for example the crocodiles and the hippos. Before you get on the boats for a cruise, make sure that you have a life jacket on you and the reason as to why the boat cruises are carried out in the green season is because the water levels during this time are conducive for such an activity unlike the dry season.
When to visit the Okavango delta
The Okavango Delta can be toured all throughout the year because all the seasons that are experienced in the Delta come with different exciting activities.
The green season which is experienced from November to April is best for birding, watching baby or infant animals and it is considered as the rainy season in the delta. Many migratory birds can be seen flying to the pans and the Okavango River both endemic and migratory. This is also the time that many animals breed therefore you get the chance of seeing them in infancy and this is also the time that many predators can be spotted as they target the clueless young animals and it is also a good time to visit because the prices go down on everything from accommodation fees to transport fares and food.
The dry season that is experienced between the months of May to October is one of the best times to explore the Okavango Delta. This is the peak season which means that prices will be hiked on everything and some of the activities carried out during this season include boat rides, wild life viewing and many more others.
Every journey needs proper planning and so does this one so that your journey is extremely well catered for with only a few or no glitches. The different tour operators have different packages for the trip to the Okavango delta and if you contact one a bit early, you will be able to choose your package and you will be able to enjoy your stay in Botswana.
The river course starts in Angola’s western highlands, with numerous tributaries joining to form the Cubango river, which then flows through Namibia where it is called the Kavango and finally enters Botswana, where it is then called the Okavango.
Facts about Okavango Delta
Millions of years ago the Okavango River flowed into the huge Lake Makgadikgadi that dried up over the year to form now Makgadikgadi Pans. The river is trapped in the sands of Kalahari Desert making a unique system of lagoons dotted with lilies, narrow channels fringed by papyrus reeds, swamps, islands and shallow lakes that glisten in the sun supports a vast array of animal and plant life in what would have otherwise been a dry Kalahari open savanna.
This slow meandering pace is due to the lack of drop in elevation, little more than 60 meters over a distance of 450 kilometers. The Delta’s water ends in the Kalahari – via the Botetle River, over 95 per cent of the water has evaporated along the way.
Okavango Swamps are fed by Angolan rains, which start in October and finish in April. The floods only cross the border between Botswana and Namibia in December and only reach the bottom end of the delta at Maun sometime in July. The flooded delta covers close to 16,000 sq km after the rains and reduces to 9,000 sq km in the dry season.
Naturally this bounty attracts a huge variety of mammals and bird species, though on occasion they are almost secondary to the sheer wonder of the setting. The water moves into the Delta as the surrounding land dries out (winter months are dry in Botswana) and so huge populations of wildlife congregates on the edge of the newly flooded areas – May through October.
Okavango Botswana safari
Botswana Okavango Delta safaris and tours include walks in lush forested islands, game drives to the main islands and canoe rides using a dug out canoe from Sausage tree often poled by a local guide. Other Okavango safari ideas include horse rides and elephant rides particularly good for birding adventures.
Okavango Delta wildlife safaris
The Okavango Swamps and Delta are home to large numbers of animal populations including crocodile, the amphibian red lechwe, shy sitatunga antelopes, African elephant, wild dogs, wildebeests, bushbabies, warthogs, mongoose, spotted genet monkeys, tree squirrels, buffalo, white and black rhino, zebras and many other. Many of the animals are migrants from neighboring parks like Chobe National Park and Moremi Game reserve. Herds of elephants and buffalos arrive in Okavango delta around the summer and often return to their homes on the onset of summer rains with the search of fresh greener pastures and just in time to escape Okavango seasonal floods.
There are more than 500 different species of birds, many of these migrant birds that visit the delta during the annual floods. Regular bird sights on safaris Okavango delta include wattle and created cranes, African fish eagles, Lilac breasted roller, ostrich and Sacred Ibis.
Okavango delta camps and accommodation
There are a number of Okavango safari lodges and camps built in and around the delta area, bordering Moremi Game reserve in the west, Chobe National park and Linyanti wildlife reserve. Each of the Botswana Okavango game lodges offers iconic views, some of the best game sightings, bird watching, fishing and photographic spots.
Some of the popular camps include Abu camp located on the western side of the delta and popular with elephant back rides through Okavango delta. Book Xakanaxa camp if you are looking forward to boating and canoe rides. Kwara camp near Moremi game reserve is renowned for good game sights and carefully guided game drives or safari walks.
Other safari camps include Mapula lidge, Okavango House Boats, camp Okavango, Pompom camp, Macatoo camp, Xugana Island camp, eagle island camp, Nxabega safari camp, Stanley camps, Xaranna tented camp and mobile camping safaris from public camp sites. Botswana Okavango safaris don’t have to strain and worry you on where to stay… you could spend the whole day trying to pick which safari and game lodge have the finest facilities given several to choose from!