Botswana Wildlife Safaris
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A Patchwork of Waterways
An almost immeasurable amount of water flows through into the delta from the hills of Angola creating a unique ecosystem. A patchwork of papyrus swamps and islands to the north, are fed by permanent channels, which spread like the fingers of a hand southwards. As the delta widens and fans out, the landscape changes to a myriad of palm fringed islands dotted in amongst flood plains. The central areas of land including Chiefs Island and the Moremi Game Reserve are larger landmasses that remain dryer than their surroundings during the height of the floods.
It is never an exact science but the flood will generally start pouring through the Delta in March until it reaches its zenith in June or July. This really does depend on where in Delta you are as the floods travel some 250km within Botswana before it reaches its natural boundary and then starts to fill into other regions such as Lake Ngami. Even the term “flood” can perhaps be misleading as you are able to sit and watch the water creep inches at a time through the plains areas.
The Northern region of the Okavango Delta is referred to as the Panhandle and runs by the main town of Shakawe. This area is where you will find the permanent deeper channels lined by papyrus swamps and secret lagoons, the fishing here for bream and Tiger fish is amazing.
These permanent waters have of late run all the way down to the safari town of Maun and then on down the Boteti River and beyond. As the floods “fingers” stretch out, they slowly create an oasis of immense proportions turning surrounding areas from parched land scoured by a million dusty animal tracks to a verdant green and lush environment with game numbers equal to anywhere in Africa.
We believe that any visit to Botswana simply must include a visit to the Okavango Delta, its biodiversity and monthly adaptations provide for an astonishing range of animals, birds and flowers. Safari Lifestyles have separated out the Moremi Game Reserve as it is a National Park together with the Khwai River area, as the greater landmass and water areas of the Okavango Delta is mostly made up of a large number of private Lodges in private concessions, and as such are allowed to be more flexible with their activities.
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Charter aircraft flights into each lodge from Maun or Kasane, and in between. Keep your cameras with you as these are great bush flights.
This type of entry into any region is the most exclusive.
The larger plant eaters such as elephant and buffalo are present in large numbers together with the plains game of impala, kudu, giraffe and zebra and good populations of reedbuck, bushbuck, baboon, vervet monkey, warthog and even the elusive white rhino as they move on out of Chiefs Island. Predatory animals thrive and include the ever dominant lion, together with cheetah and spotted hyena and good populations of wild dog.
An African Wild Dog glaring
This region as would be expected is strong on aquatic animals with large pods of hippo existing along side many and large crocodiles. Red lechwe are plentiful and this is a very good area to spot the hard to see sitatunga antelope.
Birdlife is also plentiful with something approaching 450 species of birds recorded. The areas regions are diverse but some of the birds most associated with the regions revolve around the waterways and include the African fish eagle, African darter, great white pelican and saddle-billed stork.
Tawny eagles, black-chested snake-eagle, ovambo sparrowhawk, African harrier-hawk (Gymnogene), martial eagle, lanner falcon and long crested eagle represent just some of the many raptors seen in the area.
The peak season for an area can differ and is dependent on wildlife movements and the weather itself
Winter is between June and October.
Considered the dry months, this is actually when the Delta floods with waters from Angola (there is no rain during the time).
With the floods, the animals gather in vast numbers to the abundant but localised water souces
Summer is between November and May
Considered the rainy season. Depending on the year, the rains can be heavy or light and have the effect of filling up waterholes far and wide.
The result is that animals scatter as there is no need to congregate around a scare water source.
The lure of the Okavango Delta and its extraordinary range of habitats provide the perfect environment for African animals to thrive and people to watch them. Great herds of antelopes, zebra, buffalo and elephants roam the pastures, and lions, leopards, cheetahs and all the other carnivores prosper. A safari tour to Okavango Delta gives visitors some of the best game viewing in Africa
As the Moremi Game Reserve contains large areas of premanent water, game viewing during the dry season is particularly good as animals are drawn to the permanent water sources.
There are no fences between Moremi and the private reserves, so the entire Okavango merges into a unified animal kingdom of grand proportions.
In the Okavango Delta, we choose the camps carefully based on which time of year our guests are visiting, as the rains in some areas can be quite destructive.
Xugana Island Lodge, Delta Camp and Banoka Bush Camp are well priced comfortable camps. They are all located in private concessions so ensure a true wilderness safari experience.
Jacana Camp, Little Vumbura and Chitabe Camp are more luxurious, and each offers a unique perspective of the Okavango Delta. Duba Plains is one of the most remote camps in Botswana and guests stand a very good chance of witnessing the lion-buffalo interaction that the camp is famous for.
For the more discerning guests, look no further than Jao Camp, Vumbura Plains or Little Kwara. Each offers guests a very luxurious Okavango Delta safari.
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