Into the Heart of the Okavango Delta

Nadia Eckhardt

Into the Heart of the Okavango Delta

Nadia Eckhardt

Feb 2011

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The Okavango Delta, in northern Botswana, is one of the world’s largest and most stunning inland deltas. This emerald green wetland is an astounding phenomenon that amazes most visitors due to the abundance of water found in the middle of a desert.

Often called the "Jewel of the Kalahari", the Okavango Delta is still a region in Southern Africa considered to be off the beaten path. An environment teaming with birds and wildlife, combined with endless waterways and channels to explore, make the Delta a remarkable wonder. It is also Botswana's lifeline for all forms of life: man, wildlife, birds, and plants draw life from its pure waters.

If you want to see the Okavango Delta at its finest and have the opportunity to explore its intricate waterways, then June through August is the time! Game viewing is at its best during these cool and dry months. During this time, the waters from the Angolan highlands will have arrived and flooded the Okavango Delta, thus attracting the greatest numbers of animals to its fringes.
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In December, I stayed at three different lodges in the Okavango Delta, each of which offered an exceptional safari experience:

Little Vumbura Camp
A classic, beautiful six-roomed tented camp shaded by the canopy of an ancient Okavango forest.
Highlights: Unique, small-sized camp, superior service, special land and water-based camp with 4x4 game drives, boat-based game viewing, and knowledgeable guides.

Chitabe Camp
Bordering the Moremi Game Reserve, eight spacious Meru-style tents built on elevated wooden decks amongst the lovely trees.
Highlights: Dry camp, recently refurbished accommodations, outdoor/indoor showers, night safaris with nocturnal wildlife, opportunity to see large cats like lions and the elusive leopard.

Jao Camp
A luxury camp of nine spacious, individually-handcrafted tents and a myriad of activities and amenities.
Highlights: Ultimate luxury, spacious suites, private salas to relax outdoors, public areas with two levels are a photographer’s delight, spa services, ample land and water-based activities, and excellent wildlife and birds.

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The heart of the Okavango Delta is where the renowned Moremi Game Reserve can be found. Here, excellent open safari 4x4 game drives, boat-based game viewing and nature walks are offered. While exploring the Okavango, you will have the chance to see elephants, giraffes, zebras and buffalos, as well as lions, cheetahs and leopards. And, on a smaller scale, there are a number of mongoose species and a large variety of reptiles.

On motor boat or mokoro (dugout canoe) outings you might be lucky enough to see a hippo, crocodile or otter. Keep your eyes open for tiny reed frogs and the attractive kingfishers.

While on my recent mokoro trip near Little Vumbura, the peace and quiet was truly amazing. It was a tranquil, unique experience being in the Delta waterways with only the sound of the poler (guide) steering the way. The poler guided us through the narrow reeds and past scenic landscapes with occasional glimpses of elephants crossing behind or in front. He had such an eye for pointing out birds, reed frogs and day-and-night lilies. He even treated the ladies to a hat or necklace made of vibrant lilies.

When the sun goes down, an entirely different world comes to life in the Okavango Delta. If you are at a lodge that offers night drives, you will have a chance to see nocturnal mammals that are rarely encountered during the day such as genets, porcupines, honey badgers, African wildcats and owls.

Questions? Want to learn more about how you can explore the Okavango Delta? Contact us Toll-free 877 412-8527 or email info@expeditiontrips.com.