The Okavango Delta is spread over an area of some 15000 km² of wetland, with a particularly broad diversity of fauna and flora. Described as "the jewel" of the Kalahari, the Delta is a tranquil and isolated oasis set in Botswana's harsh and arid desert.
The source of the Okavango Delta
Spurred by huge subtropical storms, the Cubango River rises in central Angola, flows through Namibia as the Kuvango River and finally enters Botswana as the Okavango River at Mohembo in the north. With it comes some 11 billion cubic metres of water each year which drains away through a maze of lagoons, channels and islands before disappearing into the Kalahari wastes of the south.
The Okavango River is funneled through parallel faults of the Panhandle as a deep and fast-flowing river before being confronted by another perpendicular fault, that introduces a sudden increase in gradient. This slows the flow of water considerably, and it spreads into relatively shallow sediment, with a fall of only 62 metres over approximately the next 250 kilometres.
The Okavango's seasonal floods
An important feature of the Okavango is the seasonal flooding which commences around January/February in the north and ends about six months later in the south. This results in a cyclical motion of water rising in the north as it recedes in the south during summer, and a rising in the south as it drops in the north during winter. The nature of the annual floods is gentle with floodplains and islands disappearing under water and then reappearing in an ever-changing landscape at the end of each season - this is particularly pronounced in the central Okavango.
The flood zones
The Delta can be reasonably well divided between a permanently flooded zone in the north and a seasonally flooded zone in the south. The northern zone includes the panhandle with its riverine forest fringes immediately adjacent to arid Kalahari woodlands, and depending upon the inflow from Angola, a vast wetland of up to 12000 square kilometres of islands, reed beds, channels, forest banks and permanent water ways. The seasonally flooded zone has large Kalahari sandveld islands with dry and deciduous woodlands fringed by wide grassy floodplains that are heavily influenced by the seasonal floods.
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Our Recommended Tours
Botswana - 9 camps, 1 rate, hundreds of possible safari combinations, let your imagination go wild. Valid 01 December to 31 March ONLY.
This special is now available for 2013 only!
The Upper Zambezi Basin is a unique and captivating region within Southern Africa and includes South Eastern Angola, North Western Zimbabwe, Western Zambia, Namibia’s Caprivi Strip and Northern Botswana. Four companies have co-operated to offer a unique collection of experiences previously out of reach of most devoted safari enthusiasts.
The 5 Rivers Safari includes the best-known safari areas contained within the Kavango-Upper Zambezi Transfrontier Super-Park and offers unforgettable experiences in the game rich areas existing within this Park.
The price is per person per night at any of 9 individual camps; no single supplement; minimum of 3 nights at one camp or lodge; minimum 4 nights at any 2 camps; all inclusive accommodation.
Thamalakane, Maun, Botswana - 3 nights/4days
David and Robyn Foot are revered across Africa for their horse riding safaris.
Now guests can join them in Botswana at Thamalakane River Ride. Morning and afternoons are spent riding within the environs of the reserve where the resident wildlife have become relaxed with the horses presence allowing for close encounters and great photographic opportunities. Suitable for riders of all abilities and families very welcome.
Botswana, Namibia and Zambia - 16 days/15 nights
Set departure dates during rainy season - November to April
Highlights of this safari include visitng Lake Ngami birding wonderland, panhandle of the Okavango Delta, Caprivi Strip specials, Zambia and the Victoria Falls, the dramatic Chobe National Park, Makgadikgadi Pans, Moremi Game Reserve wildlife and birding on the fringes of the Okavango Delta, scenic flight over the Okavango and boat cruises on the Okavango and Chobe Rivers.
Botswana Safari Spots
Botswana Overview | Central Kalahari | Chobe National Park | Kwando | Kwara | Makgadikgadi Pans | Moremi Wildlife Reserve | Okavango Delta | Central Okavango | Southern Okavango | Northern Okavango | Western Okavango | Linyanti | Savuti |Selinda | Shinde | Tuli Block
Traditional Safaris | Walking Safaris | Canoe Safaris | Family Safaris | Mobile Safaris | Honeymoon Safaris | Special Interest Safaris | Primate Safaris | Bush and Beach Safaris | Off Beat Explorations | Active Safaris | Migration Safaris | Riding Safaris
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