A Unique Sanctuary

The Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta is a vast and varied ecosystem created as the Okavango River flows into the Kalahari desert in Botswana. Rich in wildlife, this World Heritage Site is a sanctuary to some of the world's most endangered animals and birds.

The Okavango Delta is a unique pulsing wetland. More correctly an alluvial fan, the delta covers between 6 and 15 000 square kilometres of Kalahari Desert in northern Botswana and owes its existence to the Okavango (Kavango) River which flows from the Angolan highlands, across Namibia’s Caprivi Strip and into the harsh Kalahari Desert.

Each year the Okavango River discharges approximately 11 cubic kilometres (1.1 × 10¹³ litres) of water into the Okavango Delta. Most of this water is lost to transpiration by plants (60%) and by evaporation (36%) with only 2% percolating into the aquifer system with the remainder finally flowing into Lake Ngami.

The Okavango Delta is affected by seasonal flooding with flood water from Angola reaching the Delta between March and June, peaking in July. This peak coincides with Botswana’s dry season resulting in great migrations of plains game from the dry hinterland.

Generally flat, with a height variation of less than two meters across its area, dry land in the Okavango Delta is predominantly comprised of numerous small islands, formed when vegetation takes root on termite mounds, however larger islands exist with Chief’s Island, the largest, having been formed on a tectonic fault line.

The 1000th site to be inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2014, the Okavango Delta is an important wildlife area protected by both the Moremi Game Reserve, on its eastern edge, and the numerous wildlife concessions within Ngamiland.

An oasis in an otherwise dry environment the Okavango Delta is known for its superb wildlife, with large populations of mammals and excellent birding particularly in the breeding season.

Very much at the centre of Botswana’s safari industry, the Okavango Delta features some of Africa’s premier camps such a Mombo Camp, Duba Plains Camp, Vumbura Camp, Xigera Camp, Abu Camp, Sandibe Camp and many more.


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.

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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.

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The Land

The Okavango Delta is a vast ecosystem created as the Okavango River flows into the parched Kalahari Desert, a sanctuary for a myriad of species.

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The Okavango Delta supports large concentrations of animals on both a permanent and seasonal basis. The Okavango Delta is a dynamic ecosystem dependent on the life giving waters of the Okavango River. With the flood waters of the river reaching the delta at the start of the dry season, the delta has a distinct rhythm. A year round destination, each season in the delta offers a different safari experience.

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With the heart of the Okavango Delta, the Moremi Game Reserve, surrounded by vast wildlife concessions the Okavango Delta is one of Africa’s great game preserves. Like much of northern Botswana, the area around the Moremi Game Reserve is divided into vast private concessions. These concessions present an unspoilt Africa to the visitor, free of crowds and with amazingly diverse activities on offer.

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Formation of the Okavango

The Okavango forms when a great river flows not into the sea, but into Kalahari sands in the middle of southern Africa. More correctly termed an alluvial fan comprising areas that are permanently, seasonally and occasionally flooded. It owes its existence to the Okavango (Kavango) River flowing from the Angolan highlands, across Namibia’s Caprivi Strip and into the harsh Kalahari Desert.

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Creating a sustainable future for the land, wildlife and people of Botswana. Tourism plays an increasingly important role in Botswana's economy, and with the Okavango Delta being the most sought after destination in the country it is a key pillar in Botswana's economic foundation as well as its future.

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Birds play an important role as indicator species when it comes to monitoring environmental health and biodiversity. As one of the world’s greatest wetland sanctuaries - a rich, diverse and pristine wilderness- the Okavango Delta offers excellent birding opportunities with over 495 species recorded.

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Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius)

The common hippopotamus inhabits rivers, lakes and mangrove swamps, where territorial bulls preside over a stretch of river and groups of five to thirty females and young. During the day, they remain cool by staying in the water or mud; reproduction and childbirth both occur in water.

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