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Okavango Delta

Choosing which time of year to see the Great Wildebeest Migration is made easy with this safari.

Okavango Safari:
The World’s Biggest Inland Delta

Considered one of Nature's masterpieces, the Okavango Delta offers visitors an insight into one of Africa's truly great wildernesses. A World Heritage Site, this vast and virtually untouched freshwater wetland lies at the heart of Botswana's arid Kalahari Desert yet supports an abundance of wildlife within a setting of dazzling natural beauty.

Protected in part by the Moremi Game Reserve and numerous private concessions, the Okavango Delta is home to huge numbers of plains game plus unusual antelope like puku, sitatunga and red lechwe. It is a world-famous stronghold for predators as well as many sought-after bird species like Pel’s fishing owl, bee-eaters and kingfishers.

Astounding Water-based Safaris

Nowhere else in the world can you experience the sublime serenity of being poled along in a traditional dugout canoe as birds like jacanas and herons walk among the lilies, elephants arrive to feed on the soft grass and sitatunga antelope retreat shyly into the reeds. Leaving the 4x4 game-vehicle behind opens up the world’s most unspoilt wetland to be explored by mokoro or motor boat.

  • Seasonal water levels will be for mokoro rides and boating activities.
  • Look out for tiny painted reed frogs and dazzling dragonflies.
  • Unusually tall termite mounds and baobabs that escape the floodwaters.
  • A unique activity available nowhere else in Africa for a select number of guests.

Some of Africa’s Most Exclusive Accommodation

Botswana has some of the continent’s toughest conservation rules: all lodges must be able to be disassembled in 24 hours and not leave a trace behind. Despite this, the accommodation is superb and highly creative. Mostly constructed from timber, many lodges are raised on stilts to cope with the varying water levels, giving you gorgeous views over the Delta.

  • Some camps have only three or four suites, making them very private.
  • Romance is provided by 4-poster beds, outdoor bathtubs and private plunge pools.
  • For a special experience, spend the night in a sky bed that is open to the stars.
  • Fly in via light aircraft to private airstrips in the Delta.
  • Unfenced camps allow wildlife to wander through.

Great Destination for Celebrations

Just as Kruger is ideal for every type of traveller, it also lends itself to celebrations. Honeymooners will love the star beds and romantic sundowners while multi-generational families with children will feel safe and secure in fenced lodges with kids’ clubs. Whether it’s a marriage, an anniversary, a graduation or a family reunion, Kruger has enough accommodation and budget options to suit every occasion. Plus, there is much to do outside Kruger such as playing golf, going hot-air ballooning, visiting animal sanctuaries and hiking natural beauty spots.

  • Plan your dream honeymoon with private plunge pools, romantic dining and couple’s spa treatments.
  • Celebrate your children’s graduation at a family-friendly lodge.
  • Mark your loved-one’s birthday with special sundowners in the bush.
  • Experience a romantic Kruger safari for your anniversary.

Vast Private Concessions for Less-Crowded Safaris

There are several legendary private concessions – like Jao Plains, Abu, Nxabega, Khwai and Kwando – that are not open to the public but to guests only. Expect low visitor numbers, very few vehicles and an unhurried approach to sightings. Camps are very well spaced and offer some of the purest game viewing in the most pristine conditions anywhere in the world. Look out for rare species like sable and roan antelope as well as honey badgers if you’re very lucky!

  • Night drives are permitted so you may see lions hunting and nocturnal animals like porcupine, aardvark, genet, civet and owls.
  • Go on guided nature walks to get closer to the smaller fauna and flora.
  • Experienced guides will go off-road to get you closer to sightings and kills.
  • One of the top destinations to see leopards.

Plenty Activities for First-timers and Returning Travellers

The Okavango Delta truly offers something for everyone. First-timers will have a mind-blowing safari that surpasses their expectations but even seasoned safari-goers will not be left disappointed. Because there is so much to do, the Okavango is perfect for multi-generational families.

  • Game drives, birding, boating, mokoro rides and nature walks.
  • Catch-and-release fishing, village visits and photography hides.
  • First-timers will enjoy a gentle introduction to Africa with great logistics.
  • Returning safari lovers can go to more remote areas seldom explored by others.
  • Couples can enjoy an Okavango Delta honeymoon with plunge pools and starbeds

Easily Combined with Other Destinations

Yet despite its wild nature, the Okavango Delta is surprisingly accessible and can be combined with other spectacular African destinations.

Best Time to Visit the Okavango Delta

A winning combination of permanent wetlands and abundant resident wildlife means the Okavango Delta is a year-round safari destination.

That said, planning when to go to the Okavango Delta should take into account its seasonal nature: June to August is high water season with the best opportunities for boating and canoe safaris. Many animals migrate to the delta at this time and the resulting game viewing plus the mild, dry and largely mosquito-free winter climate make this period the best time for an Okavango Delta safari.

Hot and dry September and October are also particularly good months to visit the Okavango Delta as thirsty animals are concentrated in enormous numbers on its fringes (the Moremi Game Reserve is particularly rewarding at this time) while the November to April rainy summer season sees the Okavango Delta transform from an excellent bird watching destination to a sensational one.

Where to Go in the Okavango Delta

Where to Go in the Okavango Delta

Intact, largely unthreatened and virtually undeveloped, the Okavango Delta is a complex natural ecosystem that varies in size and mood according to season. It's important to know however that the Okavango Delta is not just a wetland: Angolan floodwaters from June to September can double the size of the permanent swamps at the core of the delta but great areas of the Okavango Delta are dry woodland, thick riverine forest and grassy floodplains throughout the year.

To ensure your expectations are met, work with your safari expert about where to go in the Okavango Delta, and at what time of year.

Moremi Game Reserve: one of Africa's best reserves

Protecting the eastern and central regions of the Okavango Delta, the Moremi Game Reserve is one of Africa's most beautiful and wildlife-rich conservation areas. Game viewing is excellent in Moremi's diverse habitats: elephant, buffalo and lion sightings are common, the bird watching is amazing and it's a famous stronghold for leopard and wild dog.

Several top-class lodges are located in Moremi and on its fringes and there's an emphasis on game drives though many lodges offer water-based activities too.

Chief's Island: game drives & walking safaris

An inverted oasis of permanent dry land at the heart of the Okavango Delta, Chief's Island is big game country, a place where the animals that need water - but don't necessarily like getting their feet wet - thrive.
Some 60km long and around 10km wide, the island is where both game drives and guided walks take place and many lodges - including the luxurious Chief's Camp - are set either on it or close by. Part of Moremi Game Reserve, the island's wide range of habitats make for excellent bird watching and Chief's Island is home to all the major predators including good numbers of wild dog.

Private concessions: exclusivity, night drives & off-roading

Clustered around the Moremi Game Reserve are private concessions - clearly defined, sole-use areas of the Okavango Delta leased from the authorities and run by individual operators. Staying at one is a great option in that not only do private concessions deliver game viewing as good as Moremi's but most only accommodate one or two lodges and so the low number of visitors means a very exclusive, away-from-the-crowds experience.
Furthermore, operators in private concessions aren't bound by Moremi's strict regulations and offer night drives and off-road driving to enhance your wildlife sightings.

Land-based camps: classic game viewing

With much of the Okavango Delta dry for large parts of the year, land-based camps are sometimes unable to offer water-based activities out of the flood season. In compensation, the game viewing at these camps is usually excellent and with game drives offered in the morning, afternoon and early evening, you'll be well rewarded with an array of diverse sightings.
Guided walks are offered at some land-based camps and, given the juxtaposition of land and water, the bird watching is superb.

Water-based camps: boat trips, canoeing & walks

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Located on the edge of permanent lagoons and rivers, many water-based camps offer game drives but the emphasis is more on providing a pure wetland experience. These lodges, usually beautifully located, are where to go in the Okavango Delta for guaranteed water-based activities such as mokoro (dug-out canoes) and motor boat safaris as well as fishing trips.

The game viewing is not as spectacular as at land-based camps but guided walks on the many small islands of the permanent swamps are often a highlight.

Maun: gateway to the Okavango Delta

A classic 'frontier town', Maun is the gateway to the Okavango Delta either via charter aircraft or land transfers. There's nothing remarkable about this dusty, bustling, sun-baked village and there are few places of interest to detain you - you'll more than likely fly in on a regional or local flight only to fly out again on your charter flight - but a central hotel and several lodges located out of town provide adequate accommodation if a night's stop-over is required.

Okavango Delta Safari Travel Advice

For general information on travelling to Botswana, visit our Botswana travel advice page.

Top Travel Tips for the Okavango Delta

Water camps v land camps: make sure you know exactly what kind of camp you are planning to visit. Although most camps offer a range of activities, lodges located at permanent water sites offer boating and canoe safaris throughout the year whereas camps in seasonally flooded areas focus more on game drives and may not offer water activities during the low water season.

Moremi Game Reserve v Private Concessions: Moremi delivers incredible game viewing but the adjoining private concessions offer a similar wildlife experience with the bonus of night drives, guided nature walks, off-road driving for close-up sightings and far fewer visitors.

Bring your binoculars: the bird watching is fantastic in the Okavango Delta thanks to a mix of water and land habitats. Pel's fishing-owl, white-backed night-heron and slaty egret are among the 'mega-ticks.'

Get active: an Okavango Delta safari offers the widest range of guided activities in Botswana - enjoy day and night game drives, guided nature walks, motor boat trips and canoe safaris.

Always keep your camera handy: nearly all visitors to the Okavango Delta fly in to their accommodation on light aircraft from Maun, the Okavango Delta's gateway town. Stunning views of the delta and bird's eye game viewing begin the moment you take off.

Wrap up in winter: warm clothes are a must from May to August - visitors on early morning game drives and late afternoon boat trips can expect temperatures not much above freezing.

Be prepared for local visitors: accommodation in the Okavango Delta is unfenced and it's not unusual for anything from elephants to monkeys to wander through the lodge grounds. Adhere to safety rules and remember that you are perfectly safe in your tent and lodge buildings but a guide or manager will accompany you to and from your tent if necessary.

Maun International Airport: set at the edge of the Okavango Delta, Botswana's busiest airport is served by flights from Johannesburg, Gaborone, Kasane (Chobe) and Windhoek. Less regular flights in peak season are available from Cape Town. You'll transfer to light aircraft for the final leg into the delta and then usually a short 4X4 drive to the lodge.

Okavango Delta travel is varied: game drives are conducted in open-sided 4X4s but visitors to these diverse wetlands can expect excursions by motor boat and canoe as well as on foot. Transfers between camps are usually via light aircraft and less often via boat.

Best Okavango Delta Safaris & Tours

The Okavango Delta is a hard-to-beat wildlife destination. A spectacular, remote wilderness, it's where age-old battles between predator and prey play out before you. Soak up the drama on 4X4 game drives, guided island walks, boating safaris and canoe trips. It's also a destination that combines easily with Botswana's other prime game viewing areas such as the Chobe National Park, the Linyanti swamps and the Kalahari as well as Victoria Falls - places that are often part of our Okavango Delta safaris.

Yet despite the wild nature of the Okavango Delta, there's plenty of comfort to be enjoyed at the Delta's excellent safari lodges and tented camps, several of which rank among the most luxurious and romantic in Southern Africa.

Our selection of Okavango Delta tours and safaris is hugely varied and caters for time and budget constraints as well as a variety of interests; if you can't find the one you want, rest assured that one of our Africa Safari Experts will tailor-make the perfect Okavango safari for you.


Recommended Okavango Delta Tours & Safari Holidays

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Tours & Safaris

7Days Bigfive Botswana Safari

Top reasons to visit: Start in Chobe National Park and end in Okavango Delta! With the safari tour 7 Days Big Five

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7 Days Okavango Delta Safari

Top reasons to visit: Our 7 days 6 nights Botswana Adventure safari tour is one of the best encounter with cats, this

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$8,895

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5 Days Okavango Delta Safari

Top reasons to visit: Okavango Delta as its Best. Tubu Tree and Little Vumbura. Add on - Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. This can

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$8,895

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4 Days Okavango Delta Safari

Top reasons to visit: The 3-night/4-day Botswana safari tour takes you to Camp Okavango located on Nxaragha Island in

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$8,895

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6 Days Luxury Botswana Delta Safari

Top reasons to visit: You'll be staying on the fringes of the Okavango Delta at the Belmond Khwai River Lodge, set on

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$8,895

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Tours & Safaris

7 Days Botswana Luxury Family Safari

Top reasons to visit: 7Days Botswana Luxury Safari tour visiting the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park. This tour

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$8,895

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14Days Botswana Victoria Falls & Zimbabwe Luxury Safari

Top reasons to visit: Spend three days exploring Africa’s Adventure Capital before winging your way to Zimbabwe

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$8,895

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15Days Romantic Honeymoon Chobe-Delta & Mozambique Holiday

Top reasons to visit: Spend 15 days enjoying the best of both worlds: a classic big game safari in Botswana and

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7 Days Ultimate Botswana Tented Safari

Top reasons to visit: 7Days Ultimate Botswana Tented Safari tour visiting the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park. This tour operates in remote wilderness

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Best Okavango Delta Accommodation

Okavango Delta accommodation is located in both the permanent and seasonal wetlands. This leaves you with the choice between predominantly land-based lodges (focussing on game drives as well as water activities in high water season) or water-based camps that offer year-round water activities (canoeing, motor boating and fishing) but not always game drives.

Moreover, accommodation in the Okavango Delta is also split between lodges located in the Moremi Game Reserve (broadly speaking the central and eastern reaches of the Delta) and those in the Delta's privately-run concessions, set in the west and south. Moremi is one of Africa's greatest game viewing destinations but visitors to the private reserves enjoy activities not permitted in Moremi such as night drives and off-road driving.

A further factor to consider is the changing seasons - the early winter floods, the ensuing dry months and the summer rains all add a different aspect to this extraordinary environment.


Recommended Okavango Delta Accommodation

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Accomodation

andBeyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge

Reasons to Stay: In the heart of the Delta, on the edge of a waterway, you’ll find Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge.Situated

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$500

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Accommodation

andBeyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp

Reasons to Stay: Xaranna is a delightful camp, with just nine ensuite safari tents that luxuriously combine canvas, soft

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$8,895

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Accommodation

andBeyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp

Reasons to Stay: The camp is known for its elegant tented accommodation, which boasts breathtaking views of both mature

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$8,895

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Accommodation

Thamalakane River Lodge

Reasons to Stay: Thamalakane River Lodge is placed on the banks of the Thamalakane River, just 19kms from Maun

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$8,895

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Accommodation

Xugana Island Lodge

Reasons to Stay: Xugana Lagoon is widely recognised as the most spectacular permanent water site in the entire

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$8,895

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Accommodation

Island Safari Lodge

Reasons to Stay: Located on the banks of the Thamalakane River, Island Safari Lodge is a cool and welcoming oasis

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$8,895

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Accommodation

Mma Dinare Camp

Reasons to Stay: Mma Dinare Camp is an eco-friendly camp located in a private concession, adjacent to Moremi Game

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$8,895

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Accommodation

Rra Dinare Camp

Reasons to Stay: ROverlooking the Gomoti River and its floodplains, on the southeastern side of the Okavango Delta

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$8,895

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Accommodation

Sanctuary Stanley's Camp

Reasons to Stay: A classic tented camp located on a private concession in the Okavango Delta, Sanctuary Stanley's

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$8,895

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Accommodation

Sanctuary Chief's Camp

Reasons to Stay: Welcome to the former royal hunting reserve of Chief Moremi, in the heart of the Okavango Delta.

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$8,895

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Accommodation

Sanctuary Baines Camp

Reasons to Stay: Sanctuary Baines’ Camp is our smallest camp with only six luxurious suites. With star baths and

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$8,895

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Accommodation

Kwetsani Camp

Reasons to Stay: Located in the centre of the Jao Concession, Kwetsani sits on an elongated island covered with palm

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$8,895

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Accommodation

Tubu Tree Camp

Reasons to Stay: Tubu Tree, as its name indicates, is built into the trees, with elevated wooden walkways connecting

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$8,895

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Accommodation

Chitabe Camp

Reasons to Stay: Chitabe Camp is situated in a private concession area on an island in the south-east of the

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$8,895

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Accommodation

Sable Alley

Reasons to Stay: Sable is a piece of light, bright and beautiful luxury amid the game-rich floodplains of Khwai, and

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$8,895

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Accommodation

Vumbura Plains

Reasons to Stay: Luxurious Vumbura Plains lies in an area that is a mix of water and dry land. The wildlife is diverse, so that

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$8,895

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Accommodation

Okuti - Ker & Downey Botswana

Reasons to Stay: Okuti draws its influence from the Maunachira River which flows in front of the camp, with its abundant

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$8,895

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Accommodation

Oddballs Camp

Reasons to Stay: Botswana Oddballs' Camp is located on the edge of Chief's Island, in the heart of Okavango Delta

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$8,895

Okavango Delta Travel articles

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Accomodation

Kruger

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Tours & Safaris

Siwandu

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