region (near), (compass for region n,e,s or w)
Lat:00o00´S/00o00´W 1,500,000ha, (Moremi WR 390,000ha, Maun WS 8,500ha) msl, inland delta, with permanent and seasonal swamps and marshes, riparian woodland, mopane woodland, palm savanna
Protected/registered status besides that in title
July to November is high season (most expensive) but may or may not be the best time for wildlife (time visited)
Birding Site Guide
The Okavango Delta is the second largest inland delta in the world (after the Pantanal in S. America), and offers an equally staggering amount of relatively easy wildlife viewing, with many more species of large animals. The Okavango River actual starts life in central Angola, cuts through ne Namibia and heads se into n Botswana. Its flow e is stopped by imperceptibly rising ground and to the s and w it is trapped in a sandy basin of the Kalahari Desert, where most of it evaporates, some soaks into the sand and the rest (only 2%) remains as surface water.
The delta can be reached by 4 wheel-drive or by boat. If travelling with a tour operator, there may be an option to fly in. The popular launch point into the delta is from Maun, which is just outside the delta to the se, and can be accessed by paved road. Here there are all the facilities of a large town. There are some lodges/tented camps (some with DIY camping) just ne of Maun, at Matlapaneng, that can organise trips into the delta at reasonable prices. Places to stay inside the delta include many expensive lodges and quite expensive camping. The entry fee to the heart of the delta, Moremi Wildlife Reserve, is steep at around £10 each.
The area of the delta is not fixed, due to several factors, one is the annual amount of inflow, and the other is the mild tectonic activity, which through frequent small earthquakes tilts pieces of land in different directions periodically. This activity can open and close large channels, while the fluctuating water levels washes away or creates small islands.
The small Maun Wildlife Sanctuary is a poor substitute for the heart of the delta, but is relatively cheap. Moremi Wildlife Reserve has a good mix of all the habitats, and is in good condition, it holds a great deal of wildlife and is probably the best area in the delta for birding. Prices are expensive however, but shopping around with tour operators beforehand can help. Taking the road sw from Maun past Toteng and then turning right (nw) towards Shakawe provides other good birding opportunities along the edge of the delta.
About 400 species of birds can be found.
A total of 114 species of larger mammals.
There are some interesting species of amphibians and reptiles, including Nile Crocodile, Water Monitor and thousands of frogs.
There are many specialist species of trees in the delta, many adapted to permanent or seasonally swampy conditions, others grow only on the permanent dry areas of savanna. Species include the abundant Hyphaene Palm and Mopane, Wild and Strangler Figs, Camel Thorn, Lead-wood Willows, Rain Tree, Ebony, Mogonono Terminalia sericea and Jackal Berry.