The Okavango Delta is formed when the Okavango River flows into the Kalahari Desert from the Angolan Highlands forming a unique wetland, a huge oasis setting the regions rhythm with its annual pulses.
Approximately 11 cubic kilometres flow into the delta each year. The water flows continously into the delta and drains the summer (January to February) rainfall from the Angolan highlands. A surge, that flows 1200 kilometres in a month occurs between March and June. It is during this time that the Okavango Delta is at its largest. Rapid transpiration and evaporation occur caused by the high temperatures in the region result in a cycle of rising and falling water levels. One of the only sources of water during the dry period the Okavango Delta attracts thousands of animals creating one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of wildlife.
Once in the delta water is lost to transpiration by plants (60%), evaporation (36%), percolation into aquifer system (2%) and finally 2% flows out into Lake Ngami.
The islands of the delta mostly start as termite mounds (70%) and often have white patches in there centre where the high salt content of the islands collects.
At the centre of the delta is Chief’s Island, the largest island in the delta and formed by a fault line which uplifed a 70 x 15 km wide area. Abundant in animal life it was once reserved as a hunting area for the chief and now forms a safe respite for the resident wildlife when the waters rise.
A great river that flows not into the sea but into the middle of the southern African continental landmass, the Okavango Delta is more correctly termed an alluvial fan comprising areas that are permanently flooded, seasonally flooded and occasionally flood.
The Okavango Delta has been formed by the Okavango/Kavango River’s flow into the flat and dry Kalahari Desert.
The Kalahari Desert is a large semi-arid sandy savannah in Southern Africa extending 900,000 square kilometres (350,000 sq mi), covering much of Botswana and parts of Namibia and South Africa. As semi-desert, with huge tracts of excellent grazing after good rains, the Kalahari supports more animals and plants than a true desert, such as the Namib Desert to the west.
The only permanent river, the Okavango, flows into a delta in the northwest, forming marshes that are rich in wildlife.
With some of the finest game viewing in Africa, the Okavango Delta is divided into concessions. These concessions with their variety of habitats provide great safari experiences. This page provides descriptions of the concessions and lists the accommodation options.
Private concessions allow for extended activities including walking and mokoro safaris as well as night game drives. With restricted access these areas provide deeply personal safaris.