Okavango Delta

Okavango Delta

Things to do - general

The Okavango Delta (or Okavango Grassland) in Botswana is a very large inland delta formed where the Okavango River reaches a tectonic trough in the central part of the endorheic basin of the Kalahari. All the water reaching the Delta is ultimately evaporated and transpired, and does not flow into any sea or ocean. Each year approximately 11 cubic kilometres of water spreads over the 6,000-15,000 km² area. Some flood-waters drain into Lake Ngami. The Moremi Game Reserve, a National Park, is on the eastern side of the Delta. The scale and magnificence of the Okavango Delta helped it secure a position as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, which were officially declared on February 11, 2013 in Arusha, Tanzania. On the 22nd June, 2014, the Okavango Delta became the 1000th site to be officially inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The area was once part of Lake Makgadikgadi, an ancient lake that mostly dried up by the early Holocene. Although the Okavango Delta is widely believed to be the world’s largest inland delta, it is not. In Africa alone there are two larger similar geological features: the Sudd on the Nile in South Sudan, and the Inner Niger Delta in Mali.

Country Botswana

Sports & nature

Extensive pristine wetland with a wide diversity of wetland types in a continuous state of flux. The delta extends over an area half the size of Belgium, with 6,000km2 of permanent swamps and 7-12,000 km2 of seasonally flooded grassland. Remarkably, it remains in a largely pristine condition, unaffected by any major developments either within the delta itself, or anywhere along the course of its inflowing rivers and their tributaries. The wetland ecosystem is in a constant state of flux as channels change their course, fires determine short-term grazing cycles and elephants impact trees and other vegetation. The red lechwe is a wetland-adapted species abundant in the Okavango Delta world heritage site (Botswana)Rich diversity of species across many taxa, with significant populations of African mega-fauna. The delta supports a high diversity of natural habitats including permanent and seasonal rivers and lagoons, permanent swamps with reeds and papyrus, seasonal and occasionally-flooded grasslands, riparian forest and woodlands, dry woodlands and island communities. Each of these habitats has a distinct species composition with strong representation of aquatic organisms across most taxa. A total of 1061species of plants (belonging to 134 families and 530 genera), 89 fish, 64 reptiles, 482 species of birds and 130 species of mammals has been recorded. The Okavango supports significant populations of wetland-adapted mammals such as sitatunga, red lechwe and southern reedbuck, and serves as a core habitat for part of Africa’s largest elephant population (with 200,000 individuals ranging across northern Botswana). Habitat for important populations of rare and endangered species. The delta provides a refuge to globally significant numbers of rare and endangered large mammals, including white and black rhinoceros, wild dogs, lions and cheetahs. It is also recognized as an Important Bird Area, harbouring 24 species of globally threatened birds, including six species of vulture, Southern Ground-Hornbill, Wattled Crane and Slaty Egret. Thirty-three species of water birds occur in the Okavango Delta in numbers that exceed 0.5% of their global or regional population. Area of exceptional natural beauty with outstanding wilderness qualities. The natural beauty of the emerald-green ‘Jewel of the Kalahari’ in its red-sand desert setting is legendary. Its crystal clear waters meandering through the ever-changing channels of the delta, its islands and waterways teeming with wildlife create an unparalleled range of vistas of exceptional beauty. Furthermore, the size and difficulty of accessing the area (except by light aircraft) ensure that it maintains exceptional wilderness qualities with very little development or management infrastructure.Sports and nature image

Culture and history info

History: The Okavango Delta is a large low gradient alluvial fan or ‘Inland Delta’ located in north-western Botswana. The area includes permanent swamps which cover approximately 600,000 ha along with up to 1.2m ha of seasonally flooded grassland. The inscribed World Heritage property encompasses an area of 2,023,590 ha with a buffer zone of 2,286,630 ha. The Okavango Delta is one of a very few large inland delta systems without an outlet to the sea, known as an endorheic delta, its waters drain instead into the desert sands of the Kalahari Basin. It is Africa’s third largest alluvial fan and the continent’s largest endorheic delta. Furthermore it is in a near pristine state being a largely untransformed wetland system. The biota has uniquely adapted their growth and reproductive behaviour, particularly the flooded grassland biota, to be timed with the arrival of floodwater in the dry, winter season of Botswana. Culture: The Okavango Delta peoples consist of five ethnic groups, each with its own ethnic identity and language (Bock 1993, 1995). They are Hambukushu (Mbukushu, Bukushu, Bukusu, Mbukuschu, Ghuva, Haghuva), Dxeriku (Dceriku, Diriku, Gceriku, Giriku, Niriku), Wayeyi (Bayei, Bayeyi, Bakoba), Bugakwe (Kxoe, Kwengo, Barakwena, G/anda) and Xanekwe (Gxanekwe, //tanekwe, River Bushmen, Swamp Bushmen, G//ani, //ani). The Hambukushu, Dxeriku, and Wayeyi are all Bantus who have traditionally engaged in mixed economies of millet/sorghum agriculture; fishing, hunting, and the collection of wild plant foods; and pastoralism. The Bugakwe and Xanekwe are Bushmen who have traditionally practiced fishing, hunting, and the collection of wild plant foods, Bugakwe utilized both forest and riverine resources while the Xanekwe mostly focused on riverine resources. The Hambukushu, Dxeriku, and Bugakwe are present along the Okavango River in Angola and in the Caprivi Strip of Namibia, and there are small numbers of Hambukushu and Bugakwe in Zambia as well. Within the Okavango Delta, over the past 150 years or so Hambukushu, Dxeriku, and Bugakwe have inhabited the Panhandle and the Magwegqana in the northeastern Delta (Barnard 1992, Tlou 1985). Xanekwe have inhabited the Panhandle and the area along the Boro River through the Delta, as well as the area along the Boteti River (Barnard 1992). The Wayeyi have inhabited the area around Seronga as well as the southern Delta around Maun, and a few Wayeyi live in their putative ancestral home in the Caprivi Strip (Larson 1988). Within the past 20 years many people from all over the Okavango have migrated to Maun, and in the late 1960's and early 1970's over 4,000 Hambukushu refugees from Angola were settled in the area around Etsha in the western Panhandle. Small numbers of people from other ethnic groups such as Ovaherero, Ovambanderu, and Batawana now live in parts of the Okavango Delta, but since the majority of the members of those groups live elsewhere and the habitation is recent they are not included in the Okavango Delta peoples. There are also several Bushmen groups represented by a handful of people. These groups were decimated by diseases of contact in the middle part of this century, and most of the remaining members have intermarried with the Xanekwe. Culture and history image
Camp Okavango

Camp Okavango

, Okavango Delta
Botswana’s magnificent Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland delta, is a maze of deep lagoons, More info
Eagle Island Lodge

Eagle Island Lodge

, Okavango Delta
Eagle Island Lodge enjoys a privileged position on a private island at the heart of the Okavango Del More info
Guma Lagoon Camp - Camping

Guma Lagoon Camp - Camping

, Okavango Delta
Guma Lagoon Camp is situated along the banks of the Guma Lagoon on the northwestern side of the Okav More info
Gunns Camp

Gunns Camp

, Okavango Delta
Gunns Camp, Okavango Delta Overlooking the legendary Chiefs Island and bordering the Moremi Game Res More info
Jao Camp

Jao Camp

, Okavango Delta
Jao Camp – Providing the ultimate Delta water experience in the heart of the Okavango, luxurio More info
Kana Kara Camp

Kana Kara Camp

, Okavango Delta
Kana Kara Camp, which is situated in the Okavango delta, is characterised by multitude of waterways More info
Kanana Camp

Kanana Camp

, Okavango Delta
Kanana Camp – A hidden jewel on the Xudum River, Kanana Camp is located in the southwest of th More info
Little Vumbura Camp

Little Vumbura Camp

, Okavango Delta
Little Vumbura Camp is situated on a beautiful island in a private concession in the northern reache More info
Machaba Camp

Machaba Camp

, Okavango Delta
Machaba Camp is situated in the game rich Khwai area, on the eastern tongue of the Okavango Delta, c More info
Nguma Island Lodge

Nguma Island Lodge

, Okavango Delta
Nguma Island Lodge offers peace and tranquility with a spectacular and exclusive view over one of th More info
Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp

Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp

, Okavango Delta
Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp combines more than just two worlds – the remote and wild game vie More info
Nxamaseri Island Lodge

Nxamaseri Island Lodge

, Okavango Delta
Enjoy a unique island experience in the permanent waters of the spectacular Okavango Delta. A small, More info
Oddballs' Enclave

Oddballs' Enclave

, Okavango Delta
Oddballs’ Enclave is a small, secluded off-shoot of the Okavango’s most famous destination, set on t More info
Pelo Camp

Pelo Camp

, Okavango Delta
Pelo Camp – The word Pelo in Setswana means ‘heart’ – a fitting name inspired by the distinct More info
Pom Pom Camp

Pom Pom Camp

, Okavango Delta
Pom Pom Camp is located on Pom Pom Island in a private concession situated in the heart of the Okava More info
Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge

Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge

, Okavango Delta
Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge Inspired by one of the Okavango Delta’s most secretive inhabitants, ri More info
Shinde Camp

Shinde Camp

, Okavango Delta
Nestled on a lush palm island in the heart of the northern Okavango Delta, Shinde is an intimate, cl More info
Stanley's Camp

Stanley's Camp

, Okavango Delta
A classic tented camp located on a private concession in the Okavango Delta, Sanctuary Stanley’ More info
Tuuthebe Lodge - Camping

Tuuthebe Lodge - Camping

, Okavango Delta
Situated between Letlhakane and Orapa, Tuuthebe Lodge is the ideal stopover on your way to the Okava More info
Vumbura Plains Camp

Vumbura Plains Camp

, Okavango Delta
Vumbura Plains Camp – A retreat of contemporary and unique design, Vumbura Plains Camp compris More info
Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp

Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp

, Okavango Delta
Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp nestles deep in the heart of the game-rich Okavango Delta. This intimate More info
Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge

Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge

, Okavango Delta
Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge – Experience the freedom and exhilaration of the lodge, with its un More info
Xugana Island Lodge

Xugana Island Lodge

, Okavango Delta
Xugana Island Lodge is situated on a private concession and takes full advantage of this magnificent More info
Zarafa Camp

Zarafa Camp

, Okavango Delta
Zarafa Camp is an intimate eco-lodge that offers privacy, comfort, and a spectacular view of the cry More info

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