A guide to planning your safari to the Okavango DeltaRead More
Answers to frequently asked questions about the Okavango Delta. If you can’t find the answer let us know. We’ll be only too happy to help.
Access to the Okavango is mainly by light aircraft from Maun, mostly in fixed wing aircraft but also by helicopter, offering superb views of the Okavango. A few camps offer road transfers.
How do I get from camp to camp?
Most camps and lodges in the Okavango Delta are accessed from the air by light aircraft and helicopters. Specially selected for their robustness, these aircraft are perfect for the airstrips of the Okavango Delta.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET FROM CAMP TO CAMP?
The flying time between camps varies depending on the camp and areas, with some journeys being a simple hop taking just 5 minutes. Most transfers are around 20 minutes. Transiting from the east to the west or north to south of the delta takes around 30 minutes.
CAN I DRIVE TO THE CAMPS AND LODGES OF THE DELTA?
The camps and lodges of the Xakanaxa and Khwai region of the Moremi Game Reserve can be reached by road from Maun and other regional centres. Access is only by 4 x 4 vehicle with roads being particularly poor during the rainy season. GPS is recommended used in conjunction with the appropriate mapping. Park and vehicle fees are to be settled by prior arrangement.
WHERE CAN I GET A MAP OF THE OKAVANGO DELTA?
It can be surprisingly difficult to get a map of the Okavango Delta. Veronica Roote has produced an excellent map in collaboration with Shell which sets the standard for local mapping. Ensure that you have correctly configured your GPS to the mapping.
IS FUEL AVAILABLE IN THE NATIONAL PARKS AND GAME RESERVES?
There is no fuel available within the National Parks and Game Reserves. It is advised that at least on spare external fuel container is carried for emergencies. It should be noted that driving in thick sand or heavy mud is fuel intensive.
Helicopters provide a unique perspective of the delta. Used both to conduct air transfers and for scenic flights, a flight over the delta is not to be missed.
Travelling between camps by helicopter gives the visitor an outstanding perspective of the breathtaking beauty of this water wonderland. The views of the delta are complemented by pilot commentary about the delta throughout. Both Robinson and Bell helicopters for these transfers and all flights are private. Champagne stops on palm islands can be arranged by prior arrangement at an additional cost and are highly recommended.
Operating from most camps in the delta scenic flights allow visitors to explore the delta for 30, 45 or 60 minutes. These flights depart from locations deep in the delta and immediately allow visitors breathtaking views of the crystal clear waters of the Okavango and the large animals which live within the delta.
Scenic flights can be conducted throughout the day with photographers often choosing early morning or late afternoon and other guests preferring to fly during siesta periods so not to miss any game activities. Doors are removed to allow for uninterrupted photographic and video opportunities – a big advantage to the transfers where doors must remain on due to the baggage on board.
Scenic flights from Maun can also be arranged – flying deep into the Okavango to the permanent waterways. The return flight takes you over the seasonal floodplains and west of the main Boro channel. The flight covers the South Western portion of the Okavango system. Rates start at $260 for 45 minutes to $330 for 60 minutes per person. A 15 minute champagne stop can be added for an additional $45 per person.
Excursions and Helicopter Safaris
Helicopters allow visitors to explore areas of the delta and surrounding country which would normally be inaccessible. Departing from the delta’s camps and lodges visitors can visit traditional villages or the rock paintings of the Tsodilo Hills, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This two hour excursion allows visitors to complement their wildlife experience with an insight into the traditional way of life some local people still lead, deeply respectful of the delta. Led by a local guide visitors gain an understanding of all aspects of village life including architecture, religious beliefs, hunting and fishing. There is an opportunity to meet local craftspeople.
Sacred to the San Bushmen, the Tsodilo Hills have been inscribed as a World Heritage Site. These rocky hills contain over 4500 rock paintings, some dating back over 26 000 years. Accompanied by a San guide, visitors develop an insight into this extensive artwork and an understanding of a way of life few get to experience.
Major Blue Air, based in northern Botswana, mostly flies over the Okavango Delta and the surrounding areas including Namibia, Zambia and South Africa. Services provided include camp and inter-camp transfers, scenic flights over the Okavango Delta, aerial photography and filming, private / business charter work and medical evacuations.
Delta Air is a Maun-based air charter company with a fleet of seven single and twin-engined aircraft. Delta Air offers a personal and business service and provides scenic flights over the Okavango, medevac and casevac, aerial survey, aerial photography, lodge and camp transfers, cargo, search & rescue.
Mack Air operates from Maun International Airport in northern Botswana. A fixed-wing and helicopter charter company operating their services include, aerial photography and videography, game lodge and camp transfers, medical evacuations as and when needed, private and business charter, scenic flights over the Okavango, supply runs to and from game lodges.
With a fleet that enables them to schedule the appropriate aircraft type for various tasks. Based in Maun, Mack Air flys throughout Botswana and neighbouring countries including Johannesburg, Victoria Falls, Vilanculos and Windhoek.
Wilderness Air (previously Sefofane Air Charters) began operating 20 years ago with one aircraft based Botswana servicing two camps in the Delta. Today Wilderness Air is based in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Operating over 50 aircraft through the regions and flying over 2.7 million hectares of Wilderness conservation land and more. No other single charter in Southern Africa is able to offer this diversity in aircraft location.
Established in 2005, Kavango Air is based in Maun and is well positioned to offer camp transfers to the camps and lodges of the Okavango Delta and the surrounding areas as well as scenic flights. Kavango Air can also offer flights to further afield safari destinations throughout southern Africa as well as medical evacuations.
How long should I stay?
A safari to the Okavango Delta will often be combined with a longer safari to northern Botswana or even southern Africa more generally. The minimum stay in the delta should be three days if staying at a land and water camp. This will ensure that you get the most out of your safari. The average delta safari is between four and six nights.
Is the Okavango family friendly?
The Okavango Delta is family friendly and has many excellent camps which accept and specialise in family safaris. Originally safaris in the Okavango were primarily aimed at adults only, but many camps have adapted over the years to cater to the family market and how some of the best family friendly camps in Africa can be found in Botswana.
Visiting the Okavango Delta is perhaps one of Africa’s most authentic safari experiences. For families this presents a great opportunity to spend time together in a unique environment and the experience can be life changing. We do not however recommend that very young children visit the delta, most safari outfitters will not permit children under the age of six and those that do place very heavy restrictions on activities for safety reasons. Please speak to us for more information and see our family friendly safari section.
The Okavango Delta offers numerous camping options that allow a visitor to experience the magic that is the Okavango. There are a number of excellent sites within the Moremi Game Reserve as well as deep within the delta.
The Okavango Delta is a vast area and logistically camping trips need to be well planned and it is advisable to contact a local tour operator and take basic safety measures. Always ensure that someone knows where you plan to go and that you take some means of communications. It is sensible to travel with two vehicles.
With the ‘decentralisation’ of park fees and the privatisation of many of the campsites within the country camping in Botswana has become significantly harder to arrange. Prospective campers will need to arrange their tour with a number of different campsite companies or contact a local tour operator to assist in putting together a camping package.
Compile a Reading List – It is worth accumulating a number of reference books before starting to plan a camping safari. These are written by seasoned travellers and have excellent advice on getting the most out of your safari. Ensure that you have good mapping of the area and have the knowledge to use your map. Do not depend on GPS when navigating through remote areas as it is very easy to get lost and lose track of where you are.
Contact Vehicle Hire Companies -You will want to arrange a fully equipped vehicle to get the most out of you safari. It is also worth considering the support that your chosen operator is able to provide. If you get stuck or break down they must be able to offer you support. A number of operators will also hire out satellite phones. Communications are vital. Adventure Travel Botswana is based in Maun and one of the most comprehensive outfits for vehicle hire and can assist with bookings.
Make Accommodation Bookings – With the privatisation of the public campsite booking has become rather fragmented and we recommend you use a local tour operator, such as Travel Adventures Botswana, Simply Botswana or Maun Self Drive, to consolidate your trip. If you would like to make your reservations yourself contact the organisations below.
Get Park Entry Arranged -Ensure that you have arranged park entry before you leave Maun or Kasane. Entry cannot be paid for at the gate and entry will be refused. Ensure that all paper work is correct as entry may be refused for minor errors. You will need both a vehicle and personal entry ticket.
I am camping in the Okavango, can I arrange boat activities?
A number of local operators can arrange boat activities in the delta. These either depart from outside the delta near Maun or from the Moremi Game Reserve.
Xakanaxa Boat Station
Ngami Marine – Tel: +267 686 0364 Email: [email protected]
Mboma Boat station
Mankwe Bush Lodge – Tel: +267 686 5788 Email: [email protected]
Department Wildlife and National Parks
The Department of Wildlife and National Parks conserves and manages the country’s fish and wildlife resources in partnership with other stakeholders in order to derive value from the environment for the benefit of the Nation. Administers the wildlife resources in Botswana.
A selection of the former Department of Wildlife and National Parks campsites in northern Botswana can be found below.
Camp site contacts
Baines Baobab, Nxai Pan National Park, [email protected]
Gcudikwa 1 & 2, Moremi Game Reserve, [email protected]
Gxhobega, Moremi Game Reserve, [email protected]
Ihaha, Chobe National Park, [email protected]
Khankhe Pan, Khutse Game Reserve, [email protected]
Khutse Pan, Khutse Game Reserve, [email protected]
Kumaga, Makgadikgadi National Park, [email protected]
Lekhubu Pan (Wilderness campsite, no facilities), Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), [email protected]
Letiahau (Wilderness campsite, no facilities), Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), [email protected]
Linyanti, Chobe National Park, [email protected]
Mahurushele pan, Khutse Game Reserve, [email protected]
Mbudi Camp, Khwai Concession , [email protected]
Molose Pan, Khutse Game Reserve, [email protected]
Moreswe Pan, Khutse Game Reserve, [email protected]
Motopi, Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), [email protected]
North Gate, Moremi Game Reserve, [email protected]
Nxai South Camp, Nxai Pan National Park, [email protected]
Passarge Pan, Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), [email protected]
Pipper Pan, Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), [email protected]
Savute, Chobe National Park , [email protected]
South Gate, Moremi Game Reserve, [email protected]
Sunday pan, Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), [email protected]
Third Bridge, Moremi Game Reserve, [email protected]
Xakanaxa, Moremi Game Reserve , [email protected]
Contact us for more information and to start planning your Okavango safariContact