Mokoro Through the Okavango Delta Botswana

There are some magnificent places in the world, and one which is relatively less known is the tremendous Okavango Delta in Botswana.

This is the world’s largest inland delta. Most deltas occur on the coast, where major rivers enter the sea, but the Okavango has no connection with the sea, so the water stays around for a while, until it evaporates, supporting an abundance of wildlife simply because it has nowhere else to go.

Its headwaters start in Angola’s western highlands, with numerous tributaries joining to form the Cubango river, which then flows through Namibia (called the Kavango) and finally enters Botswana, where it is then called the Okavango.

The water takes almost nine months to get from the source to the bottom. This slow meandering pace of the flood is due to the lack of drop in elevation, which drops a little more than 60 metres over a distance of 450 kilometres. The delta’s water ends in the Kalahari Desert – via the Botetle River, with over 95 per cent of the water eventually evaporating.

The Okavango, because of its abundance of water, is home to a superb collection of wildlife which includes elephants, buffalo, hippopotamus, topi, wildebeest, giraffes, lions, cheetahs, rhinoceros and much more. Over 400 species of birds call the delta home and the waters teem with both fish and crocodiles.

There are a number of lodges dotted throughout the Delta, which comply with rules that ensure there is a low environmental impact on the delta. In order to achieve an atmosphere that is at one with the surroundings most of the lodges accommodate their guests in tents. However, the more expensive lodges do supply tents that are quite luxurious and which come complete with private facilities.

During the times when the water is at its most abundant, one of the best ways to travel through the delta is by mokoro, which is a dugout canoe. It is a wonderful experience to be perched in a mokoro exploring the lily covered lagoons and palm fringed islands. Other forms of touring are also popular including elephant safaris 4X4 treks and guided walks.

The best time for game viewing in the delta is during the May-October period, as the animal life is concentrated along the flooded areas and the vegetation has dried out.

Five different ethnic groups of people live in and around the Okavango, which includes several bushmen groups. The Okavango Delta is certainly a wonderful place in which to enjoy the grandeur of Africa and its extraordinary variety of wildlife.

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