The Okavango Delta is rightly considered one of the most incredible and beautiful wildlife sanctuaries in Africa. It is the largest inland delta system in the world, (15,000 sq km) and consists of water filled channels, islands, marshlands, reed banks, forests of giant acacia trees, and mopane woodlands. The Okavango Delta is the lifeblood of Botswana, drawing massive herds of elephants, huge concentrations of game and other wildlife and birds. Fortunately it is protected and preserved for the benefit of wildlife and tourism and achieves a delightful balance of both.
The Okavango is a truly remarkable place as it is located deep within the dry, arid Kalahari Desert. Each year floodwaters from the central African highlands travel over 1,000km to the Okavango then spread over the 250 km by 150 km area of the delta over the next four months (March–June). The flood peaks between June and August, during Botswana’s dry winter months, when the delta swells to three times its permanent size – arguably the best time to visit.
Wildlife of the DeltaThe Okavango Delta is both a permanent and seasonal home to a wide variety of wildlife which is now a popular tourist attraction.
Species include African Bush Elephant, African Buffalo, Hippopotamus, Lechwe, Topi, Blue Wildebeest, Giraffe, Nile crocodile, Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, Brown Hyena, Spotted Hyena, Greater Kudu, Sable Antelope, Black Rhinoceros, White Rhinoceros, Plains Zebra, Warthog and Chacma Baboon. Notably the endangered African Wild Dog still survives within the Okavango Delta, exhibiting one of the richest pack densities in Africa. The delta also includes over 400 species of birds, including African Fish Eagle, Crested Crane, Lilac-breasted Roller, Hammerkop, Ostrich, and Sacred Ibis.
The majority of the estimated 200,000 large mammals in and around the delta are not year round residents. They leave with the summer rains to find renewed fields of grass to graze on and trees to browse, and then make their way back as winter approaches. Large herds of buffalo and elephant total about 30,000 beasts.
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