The fan (or delta as it is more commonly called),
resembles the shape of a hand. The palm is a
permanent delta of constant water, and the fingertips
are seasonally flooded swamps and lush floodplains.
The water of the Okavango literally floats on
a saturated sea of sand.
Delta is fed by the Okavango River originating
over 800 miles (1,280 km) away in the highlands
of Angola. The Angolan highlands have an average
rainfall of between 1,200 and 2,000mm per year,
compared to around 400-600mm in the Okavango.
The delta therefore fluctuates in size depending
on local rains and the Angolan floodwaters.
The spill over from the rising river starts
pushing gently into the Okavango in January
and reaches a peak at the top of the Okavango
in about May. By June or July each year (depending
where you are within the Okavango), the water
levels are at their maximum.
Okavango region contains the state-run Moremi
Game Reserve surrounded by a number of strictly
controlled, privately managed wildlife concessions.
The game viewing in all of these areas is no
less than outstanding and activities can either
be undertaken on foot, in a game-viewing vehicle
or in a mokoro (dug-out canoe) or motorised
boat. Such varied opportunities in a beautiful
and diverse range of habitats, makes the Okavango
the best all-encompassing safari destination
in the world.
Moremi falls within the tribal land of
the Batswana and is named after the late
Chief Moremi III. It was clear to his
wife, who reigned after his death, that
the game in their traditional hunting
grounds was fast disappearing. With encouragement
from conservationists, Mrs Moremi proclaimed
the Moremi Game Reserve in March 1963
and the tribe agreed to vacate the land.
Island is the largest landmass within
Moremi and was the Batswana tribe's richest
hunting grounds with a vast array of animals.
The dry sandy interior of this 100,000
hectare (1,000 square kilometer) island
is full of mopane woodland and acacia
thornscrub interspersed with clay pans.
pans fill with rain and attract large herds
of buffalo who seem to prefer drinking from
the pans rather than the river. They also like
the sparse but sweet grasses found here, as
opposed to the long but courser fodder of the
floodplains. As the mopane bush gives way to
floodplains and riverine forests, other animals
become abundantly visible and the whole spectrum
of Africa's game can be seen.
Moremi rates as one of the leading wildlife
areas of the world. The mosaic of grasslands,
floodplains, palm-tree islets, forests, lily
lagoons and winding water channels combine to
form a perfectly constructed puzzle, in which
animals wander as they please.
RESERVES OF THE OKAVANGO
in the south of the delta has classic Okavango
scenery of rivers, waterways and marshlands
with season flood plains contrasting with dry
acacia woodland and open grasslands. Safari
activities are more land than water based and
provide exceptional opportunities for photography.
Wild Dog sightings are the special treat of
Duba Plains in the furthermost reaches of the
delta are famous for high concentration of lions.
They are sleek fit and well fed from the huge
herds of buffalo that graze these seasonal flood
plains. Floodwaters provide the opportunity
for mokoro (dugout canoe) trips from May to
September, which is the most romantic way to
experience a safari.
Jao Reserve in the western delta is a water
wonderland where you float through a fairytale
of water lily lagoons. It is here that you will
find the rarely seen sitatunga - an aquatic
antelope that may submerge under water if disturbed.
There is a variety of terrain and almost all
the big game is here plus a bewildering selection
the Vumbura Concession you will undoubtedly
see what appears to be giant salamis hanging
from trees. The 'sausage tree' epitomises this
area which contains both wetland and savannah.
As such the range of animals and birds is extensive
with considerable numbers of elegant chocolate-coloured
sable antelope with majestic sweeping horns.
The Pom Pom private concession is in the central
reaches of the Okavango Delta and will warm
the heart of the safari traditionalist. Here
you can indulge in every kind of safari including
fishing and nature walks with spectacular bird
and animal watching.