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Visiting the Okavango Delta In Botswana

 

Botswana is a landlocked country on the Northern Border of South Africa. Namibia lies to the West and North, and Zimbabwe to the Northeast, meeting this country to a single point. This is a relatively flat country, consisting of around 70% the Kalahari Desert. Unlike many other countries in Africa, Botswana is a leader in economic freedom. The country has flexible employment, the financial sector is well developed, and property rights are strongly protected. This country is one of the few that welcomes business from other countries to come in and establish themselves. In 1966 Botswana became an independent country, and enjoys a level of peace and prosperity.

sunset over Delta (1)

This was one of the most impoverished countries before its independence, so you can see how successful they have become.

You may ask yourself why you would want to come and visit a country that is 70% desert. The answer is the Okavango Delta. This delta is the largest inland delta in the entire world. The Okavango River empties into it, forming a large swamp in the endorheic basin in the Kalahari basin. What happens is the water here starts to evaporate, and doesn’t empty into the ocean. About 11 cubic kilometers of water drain here, with 15,000 km being irrigation, and some draining into Lake Ngami. The Moremi Game Reserve, established as a National Park occupies the eastern side of the massive delta.

Again you are probably thinking why would you want to visit the world’s largest delta and swampland. The Okavango Delta is both a permanent as well as a seasonal home to some of the grandest animal species in Africa. If you are looking to see the big five that Africa is famous for, you need to come here. There are lions, cheetahs, black and white rhinos, elephants, and the Plains Zebra here, but this is just the start to the wonders you will find here. Even the highly endangered African Wild Dog lives in and around the Okavango Delta, in one of the richest pack densities in all of Africa.

african wild dog botswana (2)

In additions to the big five, you will also find hippopotamus, giraffe, hyenas, warthogs and even Chacma Baboons. There are even buffalo and blue wildebeest, as well as one of their biggest natural predators, the Nile Crocodile. In addition, you will also experience more that 400 different species of birds, the Lilac-breasted roller, sacred ibis, the African fish eagle, and even ostriches call this area home.

There are an estimated 200,000 large mammals in and around the Delta, but not all of them are full time residents. Most of them leave in the summer to find better grazing, but always come back during the winter months. The largest herds are buffalo, as well as elephants, numbering around 30,000. If you really want to experience all that Africa has to offer, then coming to the Okavango Delta should be the first on your list, and the Moremi Game Reserve is the place to start.

 

If you are planning to visit this region, there are many different camps and lodges to choose from, some are even under two hundred American dollars a night, depending on occupancy. The most expensive ones can cost over $1,500 a night to stay, but even so, all of these prices include accommodations, meals, and even guided excursions, but light aircraft flights to them are not included. The prices vary from $130-$400 round trip, depending on where you are coming in from. You really need to also bring extra cash as well, because there are taxes and gratuities to consider.

Botswana Okavango (3)

Starting with the least expensive of the camps is the Oddballs Camp. This camp is legendary among tourists to Africa, and is really the most affordable, and the only site that is right in the Okavango. All camping equipment is provided, and if you want to really experience what the delta has to offer, this is the camp to be at, if you don’t mind roughing it a little. You can start with the Mokoro trail, and you will have your own personal guide during your stay here. If roughing it isn’t quite what you’re looking for, then just a few dollars more you can stay at the new addition, the Oddballs’ enclave. Only a few meters from the camp, this Enclave offers better, yet still affordable accommodations, including Meru tents set on wooden raised platforms, and each of these includes private shower and toilet facilities. All of the excursions and tours are still offered, but there is a better comfort level, and these are about half the price of more luxury lodges.

At the high end of the scale is the Abu Camp, which is a unique but expensive safari lodge, offering elephant back safaris, custom designed luxurious tents with raised platforms of teak wood, and private baths with large copper tubs. You get to ride on the backs of real elephants as you travel through the delta, seeing all that this area has to offer. A five star hotel disguised as a lodge, the Khwai River Lodge is another luxury accommodation offered by the Orient Express Group. There luxury accommodations include phone, mini bar, and even air conditioning.

These are just some of the findings offered here, there are many others. Each offers their own unique safaris and tours, all with experienced local guides. In order to get the most out of your time here, you really need to plan ahead. There are many different websites to choose from to reserve your trip, and you should also bring mosquito repellant, sunscreen, and it may be a wise idea to get a malaria shot. For a once in a lifetime experience, the Okavango Delta is something that can’t be missed.