Usually when one visualizes a river delta, the image is of a broad expanse of intricately woven waterways leading to open water, like the deltas of the Mississippi or Nile. In Botswana, the Okavango’s delta empties inland, fanning out through palm groves and papyrus swamps onto open land. Its rare beauty, exceptional landscape, and ecological resilience was recognized by inclusion as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014, a move which also helps protect it.
Originating 1,000 miles away in the Angolan Highlands, the Delta is comprised of permanent marshlands and seasonally flooded plains, covering up to 15,000 square kilometers of the Kalahari Desert. Water from seasonal flooding reaches the Okavango Delta in Botswana’s dry season, peaking in July to create vibrant wetlands and feeding grounds. Huge migrations of game animals arrive in search of food and water in the otherwise parched plains.
Some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammals, such as cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog, and lion, have adapted to living in this continually transforming land. In total, 130 species of mammals call this area home. Others who are attracted here to feed and splash and play in its clear waters include large herds of African elephants, buffalo, red lechwe, and zebra.
Access to the inner delta is closely monitored to ensure minimal environmental impact. Arrival is primarily by air, where you can get a birds-eye view of the floodplains, acres of reed beds, water lilies, and palm-tree islands. Accommodations are limited to small, temporary tented camps.
A visit to what is considered one of the most beautiful places on earth is available on the Waterfalls and Wildlife Safari.