Okavango Delta Botswana
The Okavango Delta also referred to Okavango grassland is found in Botswana and noted to be an expanse inland delta created when River Okavango reaches the tectonic trough positioned in the centre of the Kalahari’s endorheic basin. The Okavango Delta stretches from 6 to 15000km2 of the great Kalahari Desert to the north of Botswana with its origin traced to the Okavango River flowing from the highlands of Angola through the Caprivi Strip of Namibia into the harsh desert of Kalahari. It can be noted that River Okavango releases about 11 cubic Kms (1.1 × 10¹³ litres) to the famous Delta of Okavango. The plenty of this water (60%) disappears through plant transpiration, 36% through evaporation, 2% through aquifer system percolation and rest flows to Ngami Lake. The flood waters from Angola approach the Delta in the period between the month of March and the month of June with the peak occurring in July which fortunately comes at a time when the Botswana is experiencing dry spell thus attracting counts of wild game from the dry hinterland. The Okavago Delta is relatively flat with less than 2m height variation with dry lands composed of small Islands that are created when the vegetation roots on termite mounds but the largest is Chief’s Island that was created by tectonic fault line.
The Okavango Delta is noted to be the 1000th site to be added on the world heritage site of UNESCO in the year 2014. The delta is sheltered by the Moremi Game Reserve to the east and a range of wildlife concessions in the Ngami land. The Delta features myriad of channels, tributaries and lagoons along with main land areas, the Islands and the flood plains with the watercourses alternating constantly as a result of annual floods, seismic activity, transportation of sediments, termite mound construction, vegetation growth and the Hippo feeding. The Okavango Delta features two (2) relatively different areas namely; the permanent swamp with water throughout the year and the seasonal swamp that experiences annual flooding and then drying up at the beginning of summer season. The permanent swamp features papyrus swathes, the wild date palm groves, the forest fringed Islands along with floating waterllies on the lagoons while the seasonal swamp feature open flood plains with grasses in summer and water in the winter period. The flood plain edges feature vegetation like sausage trees, fan palms and fig trees.
Safari Attractions in the Okavango Delta Botswana
Wildlife as a Botswana Safari attraction in the Okavango Delta
Okavango Delta presents a range of wildlife that thrives there both on permanent and seasonal basis and as a result of keen management; the delta has stood among the best places to explore birds and animals on the continent of Africa. The range of wildlife departs the Delta to the lush surrounding grazing land and in summer, they return to the delta. The Wildlife Species that thrice in the Okavango delta include; Elephant, Hippopotamus, African Buffalo, Lechwe, Blue Wildebeest, Topi, Giraffe, Lion, Cheetah, Nile crocodile, Leopard, Brown Hyena, Greater Kudu, Spotted Hyena, Sable Antelope, White Rhinoceros, Black Rhinoceros, Plains Zebra, Chacma Baboon and Warthog. Interestingly, the African wild dog also thrives in the delta.
Fish as a Botswana Safari attraction in the Okavango Delta
There are seventy one (71) fish species thriving in the Okavango Delta among which includes the Tilapia, the Tiger fish along with Cat fish. The fish sizes in Okavango Delta range from 1.4m for the sake of African sharptooth cat fish to 3.2m for the sake of sickle barb. The fact that similar species can be traced in Zambezi River, it is a manifestation of an interconnection between the two (2) rivers.
Birds as a Botswana Safari attraction in the Okavango Delta
The Okavango Delta also provides shelter to a myriad of bird species counting to over 400 species. The examples of bird species in Okavango Delta include among others; the African fish eagle, the Crested crane, the Pel’s fishing owl, the hammerkop, the Sacred Ibis, the Lilac-breasted roller, Ostrich Saddle-billed Stork, endangered Wattled Cranes, Malachite Kingfisher, Squacco Heron, Long-tailed Cormorants, Red-billed Duck, African Pygmy-Goose, Winding Cisticola, Black Crake, African Green-Pigeon, Common Moorhen, African Jacanas, Little Bee-eater, Burchell’s and Double-banded sandgrouse, Helmeted Guineafowl, long-toed Lapwings, White-faced Whistling-Ducks, Egyptian Geese, Great White Pelicans, Hadada Ibis, Hamerkop, Goliath Heron and African Spoonbill.
Dragonflies and damselflies as a Botswana Safari attraction in the Okavango Delta
Okavango Delta features a count of 99 species of dragon flies that consider the habitat as their breeding ground. The Damsels also thrive in the Delta.
Flora as a Botswana Safari attraction in the Okavango Delta
The great part of the vegetation of Okavango delta is covered by papyrus and the reeds and in periods of floods, this vegetation floats on top of the sandy rivers with the roots hanging freely in the waters. In fact, the crocodiles find shelter in the gap between the roots and the bed. The plants are known for holding the river mud and since there is no mud in the delta because of the cleanliness of Okavango River, the plants holds the sand resulting into the formation of Islands on which again plants root.
People as a Botswana Safari attraction in the Okavango Delta
Okavango Delta features five (5) ethnic groups with every group having own language and identity. These groups include; the Hambukushu, Dceriku , Wayeyi, Bugakhwe River & Swamp Bushmen and they engage in crop growing, fishing and livestock rearing. The Hambukushu, the Bugakhwe and Dceriku have thrived in the Okavango Delta for the last 150 years to the north east of the Delta in Magwegqana and Panhandle. The Wayeyi thrive in Seronga and around Maun to the south of the Delta while few of them thrive in their ancestral land in Caprivi Strip.
Chef’s Island as a Botswana Safari attraction in the Okavango Delta
The Chief’s Island is noted to the delta’s largest Island that was created by a fault line which uplifted a land stretch of 70km in length and 15km in width. The Island features remarkable cultural history as it was a preserve hunting ground for the Chief in the ancient Botswana. Apparently, the Island is a main congregator area for the resident wildlife when the water volume is high.