The Okavango Delta is the heart of northern Botswana and is one of the world’s most beautiful and pristine wilderness areas. During the year the landscape of the area undergoes dramatic periods of flood (May to September) through dry periods into the summer rains. An abundance of different animals has adapted to the changes in this environment, making it a top safari destination year round.
Every year, generally in early May, the Okavango Delta bursts into life as the waters from the summer rains in the Angolan Highlands reach the neck (known as the ‘panhandle’) of the delta. Seeping into the papyrus swamps and over the plains, it transforms the land into a wetland paradise. The annual flooding creates a network of channels creating over 150,000 islands covering just over 15,000 square kilometres – about the size of Wales!
The Okavango boasts astounding numbers and diversity of animal life with no fewer than 160 different mammal species. This includes all the major predators, wild dogs, huge herds of elephants and some rare species such as the Sitatunga. It is also a brilliant place to birdwatch with over 530 recorded species.
As both the timing and the extent of the annual floods that cause this rebirth are highly unpredictable, this vast area of land has remained largely untouched. Access to many parts of the Okavango during the flood is solely by light aircraft leading to a low number of visitors. Although May to September spans Botswana’s late autumn and winter it is the most popular time of year offering beautiful scenery and incredible wildlife.