The Okavango Delta is a vast ecosystem created as the Okavango River flows into the parched Kalahari Desert. The land underpins the wonder of the Okavango Delta.
Associations between people and the Delta started long before it came to the attention of the wider outside world during the second half of the 19th century.
The Okavango Delta supports large concentrations of birds and animals and is perhaps one of the best places to see animals and birds in Africa.
The Okavango Delta comprises some of the greatest wild spaces on earth, a collection of concessions which when combined with the Moremi Game Reserve provides a vast wilderness area allowing animals the space to roam and exhibit natural behaviour. Concessions are closely monitored with visitor numbers restricted providing safari experiences which are unspoiled by mass tourism.
The delta is the final expression of a vast African river system encompassing three countries and two river basins. Rising in the Angolan highlands the river flows into the Kalahari before surrendering to transpiration and evaporation. The delta is not just a physical creation with hippopotamus opening channels through papyrus and between islands created by termites.
Living in the Okavango Delta
The future of the Okavango Delta depends on her people and how they choose to preserve this unique environment, balancing the needs of the wild with theirs as they transition from a traditional lifestyle to one associated with modern economics and commodities. Many of those living in this region are recent immigrants from elsewhere in Botswana leading to a population that is diverse in both character and origin.
Very few people live within the wetlands themselves with most living in towns and villages on the outskirts. Demographic information is thus aggregated for Ngamiland.
The Okavango Delta is protected by both its status as a RAMSAR site and listing as a World Heritage Site. These mechanisms protect this fragile environment and form the basis for the close monitoring and control of access to the area.
Threats to the delta
Flowing over 1 000 miles through three countries the delta part of a much greater river system. The whole system is threatened both by water extraction and fauna and flora removal.
Wildlife in the delta
Sustaining populations of some of the planet’s most threatened mammals such as the cheetah, rhinoceros, the wild dog and the lion. The Okavango Delta is also home to 24 species of globally-threatened birds and is key to the survival of Botswana’s 207 000 elephants.