TRAVEL POST by AG Travel
The Okavango Delta comprises more than 15,000 km² of watery paradise – a lush wilderness of papyrus, impenetrable reed beds, grassy floodplains, tree-covered islands and a complex network of water channels of varying depths, which are engineered and maintained by hippos and elephants.
Some areas are permanently underwater and others only when the rejuvenating annual floodwaters arrive from Angola. The volume of floodwaters varies every year, based on rainfall in the Angolan highlands, and in some years the flood is shallow, leading to parts of the Okavango Delta remaining dry for most of that year. Water levels can and do influence the tourism experience, specifically water activities and wildlife movements. Contact us for current updates in that regard. This constant ebb and flow of water creates one of the most fascinating and diverse ecosystems on the planet. Unsurprisingly, the Okavango Delta is both a RAMSAR Site and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Okavango Delta is not a national park, so there are fewer restrictions on activities – allowing for off-road driving when searching for or following certain wildlife species, night drives and walking safaris. Unlike the national parks, the Okavango is mostly unavailable to self-drive/self-cater tourists, and so your safari is likely to be private and exclusive.
The Moremi Game Reserve section of the Okavango Delta is mostly dedicated to self-drive tourists and mobile tented safaris.
A bucket list activity unique to this area is gliding down the myriad of waterways on a mokoro (a traditional dugout canoe). Your poler guide will expertly glide the mokoro along channels surrounded by tall papyrus and reeds, giving you a unique perspective and photographic opportunity as you silently sneak up on birds, frogs, otters and possibly even larger animals such as hippos, crocodiles and elephants. A lucky few will see the elusive and wary sitatunga antelope.
Wildlife includes the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino), many antelope species, zebras, giraffes, hippos, crocodiles and good populations of cheetahs, hyenas and wild dogs, as well as a plethora of smaller species such as serval, aardwolf, pangolin, aardvark and bat-eared fox. You will see more wildlife in areas that are not permanently flooded.
Birdwatching can be spectacular, with over 400 species, including avian jewels such as Pel’s fishing owl, slaty egret, pygmy goose, crowned and wattled cranes, western banded snake-eagle, coppery-tailed coucal and colonies of incandescent carmine bee-eaters.
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