Why book an African Safari (Especially Now)? Read More

Rise & Fall: How the Okavango Delta “works”

Fly over the Okavango Delta at a certain time of year and below you lie glittering wetlands and looping lazy rivers. Try the same thing a few months later and it’ll be dry grass and sandy tracks.

If you’re planning a safari to Botswana’s Okavango Delta, then it’s a good idea to understand how it works. This way you can safely set your expectations concerning the wildlife you may see or the activities you will be able to do, especially if they include drifting downstream on a mokoro – the local canoe.

Aerial view of mokoro exploring the Okavango Delta channels

The classic bird’s eye view of the Okavango Delta during the floods, complete with mokoro, the Okavango’s equivalent of a canoe.

Fed by a river that rises in distant Angolan highlands, the Okavango Delta is a seasonally-driven ecosystem. There is a part of it that is always wet but most of the Delta depends on the arrival of what the locals simply call ‘the flood’. This event – which happens when Botswana’s climate is at its driest – completely transforms the landscape, turning parched savannah into a lush wetland attracting great numbers of animals and birds.

The Okavango Delta is home to big cats and hippos

The Delta floods are welcomed by some animals more than others! Lions find the hunting good but are wary around water.

The flood also ensures visitors have the full set of safari activities to look forward to in the greater Okavango Delta area, which includes the famous Moremi Game Reserve. Camps that specialise in the water-based experience now deliver a broad mix of boating, fishing, canoeing and island walks. And lodges that usually focus on land-based activities – day and night drives, horseback and walking safaris – are now able to offer water activities.

Mokoro and boat excursions are available in the Okavango Delta

Water-based activities like these are often dependent on the floods, especially at camps in the southern delta.

It’s not something that is carefully choreographed however: the timing of the flood and the volume of water differs from year to year. And it’s not necessarily the case that peak flood months in the Okavango Delta are the very best months for wildlife viewing in the rest of Botswana – the Chobe River or the Kalahari for example.

Elephant herd drinking at the Chobe River

Do some careful planning if you want to combine the Okavango floods with big herds of elephants at the Chobe River.

But the Okavango Delta is often the centrepiece of a Botswana safari itinerary and the month you choose to visit will determine the experience you are likely to have. To understand how the Okavango Delta works, it’s best to break the year down.

Okavango Delta water levels

Hands-on Expertise

  • We’re based in Africa
  • Consultants Travel in Africa
  • Knowledgeable team
  • Expect great customer service

Accredited & Bonded

  • SATSA – Bonded Membership (2061)
  • Travel Save Compliant Certificate
  • Fully Independent & Owner Run
  • Travel Support from Start to Finish

Reviews

Professional, quick and top of the edge service!!!

From the very first contact we’re very happy about the respond time and quality of information from safari-online.com. Based on the received first tailor-made quote, which is a weblink with all the details about the flights, photos of the lodges etc. we knew that this is “our” partner for this trip. Our expectations were excelled!!!

Lukas (Germany)
Walter has always been an excellent communicator and has supported us fully

We have been to Africa for 24 of the last 27 years so know a bit about what is involved. Walter has arranged the details for the last couple of years, and has done a superb job. He is always quick to respond and comes up with answers immediately……..no evasive tactics, always head-on!

Roger (UK)
Professional, patient, efficient and responsive. Met all our travel needs and requirements spot on

Communication was excellent – I asked A LOT of questions and did a ton of research myself and Walter was extremely patient with me and very responsive. he was straight forward and extremely professional. Tour itself was excellent – an incredible experience and one never to be forgotten. Everything was spot on.

Neena
Best trip I have ever been on. Highly recommend.

Would highly recommend. Safari online asked questions when booking and were efficient and knew exactly what we were looking for in terms of accommodation and animals were wanted to see. Gave advice on a few little extras with no pressure, which we did and am very grateful which make trip even more exciting. Would definitely recommend booking with them.

An incredibly well organised tour with no hassles whatsoever.

Safari Online understood our needs and was able to present us with sensible options to choose from. It was evident that this tour operator has knowledgable and experienced agents who can arrange a seemless tour. We were provided with a professional online itinary which was comprehensive and easy to use, knew exactely what to expect, and encountered no stumble blocks along the way.

Gwen (AU)
Safari Online made our fantastic family holiday dream come true!!

Safari Online have been nothing but professional and incredible from the time we made our first enquiry to the last day of our stunning holiday. Nothing was too much trouble for Walter. We are now starting to plan our next family Safari for 2019. Guess who we will be booking with??? Safari Online we hope you are ready!!!!!

Penni (AU)
Safari Online were extremely efficient and absolutely charming to work with.

Our 28-day itinerary took us to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. A magnificent and unforgettable adventure. Everything ran smoothly and efficiently from the flights, transfers, rides, connections, etc. Absolutely wonderful! Can’t thank them enough!

Ann and Mario (Canada)
Very helpful good suggestions for holiday ideas always available for questions good organising

Excellent service and they supplied good suggestions for our holiday they also organised all internal flights and arranged check in for us so we had no worries while on holiday. We have had a most memorable holiday staying at wonderful places thanks to Sabrina and Safari Online. Would recommend Safari Online to organise your holiday.

Lorraine (UK)
It was a safari of a lifetime and exceeded all of our expectations!

Our mom grew up in Central and South Africa so we had visited the continent many times. My sister and I wanted to take our teens and husbands to Africa to experience the magic. We had a limited budget but big and specific expectations and by some miracle Walter was able to manage both.

Heather (USA)
Karina was absolutely instrumental to our safari success.

Our experience with Safari Online was excellent. After becoming very frustrated trying to search for a safari destination on our own, we turned to Karina for help and she was a lifesaver.  We had an amazing safari adventure at the lodge–the experience of a lifetime–and are so grateful for her help. We literally couldn’t have done it without her!

Chris (USA)