Okavango Delta Botswana
30 October 2005
Last Updated on 02 November 2005
he Okavango delta is one of the world’s largest inland water systems. It's headwaters start in Angola’s western highlands, with numerous tributaries joining to form the Cubango river, which then flows through Namibia (called the Kavango) and finally enters Botswana, where it is then called the Okavango. Millions of years ago the Okavango river use to flow into a large inland lake called Lake Makgadikgadi (now Makgadikgadi Pans). Tectonic activity and faulting interrupted the flow of the river causing it to backup and form what is now the
. This has created a unique system of water ways that now supports a vast array of animal and plant life that would have otherwise been a dry Kalahari savanna. The delta’s floods are fed from the Angolan rains, which start in October and finish sometime in April. The floods only cross the border between Botswana and Namibia in December and will only reach the bottom end of the delta (Maun) sometime in July, taking almost nine months from the source to the bottom. This slow meandering pace of the flood is due to the lack of drop in elevation, which drops a little more than 60 metres over a distance of 450 kilometres. The delta’s water deadends in the Kalahari – via the Botetle river, with over 95 per cent of the water eventually evaporating.
During the peak of the flooding the delta’s area can expand to over 16,000 square kilometres, shrinking to less than 9,000 square kilometres in the low period. As the water travels through the delta, the wildlife starts to move back into the region. The areas surrounding the delta are beginning to try out (the rains in Botswana occur approximately the same time as in Angola) and the wildlife starts to congregate on the edge of the newly flooded areas, May through October. The delta environment has large numbers of animal populations that are otherwise rare, such as crocodile, red lechwe, sitatunga, elephant, wild dogs, buffalo, wattled crane as well as the other more common mammals and bird life. The best time for game viewing in the delta is during the May-October period, as the animal life is concentrated along the flooded areas and the vegetation has dried out. The best time for birding and vegetation is during the rainy season (Nov.- April) as the migrant bird populations are returning and the plants are flowering and green.
My daughter and I had the privilege to visit botswana in august 2004, and more particular we stayed three days in the Okavango Delta. At that time we had one of the most spectacular speedboat-trips in or lifes. we made a video of this trip. It is very recomended for travel buff's to watch the video...
Play the speadboat trip in the Okavango Delta in Botswana -->
n the early moring in the delta we made also a very beautiful trip with "mokoro's" to spot wildlife. The mokoro is the traditional vessel of the Okavango Delta: a dugout canoe. In the southeast of the Delta, where the waterways are shallow, they are poled by an individual standing in the stern. In deep waters they are paddled. No visit is complete without a ride in a mokoro. Seating is either a blanket on the base of the canoe or a moulded chair and each mokoro carries a maximum of 2 passengers and poler. Poled silently, a mokoro glides gently through the waterways, parting dense reed beds with perfect stealth so that animals and birds are caught totally unaware. You become a part of the Delta. The sunset painted the water a golden red. The reeds shadowed and the last calls of the birds echoed in the wind. In the distance you could hear herds of elephant and hippopotamus stamping through the water with exceptional force. Crocodiles and snakes glided past and the cooling breeze whistled through the trees. We watched the scene with admiration and listened intently as our guide told us about his life, and growing up, in the Okovango Delta, Botswana. We will never forget this very impressive experience..... Play the Mokoro trip in the Okavango Delta in Botswana -->
uring the Okavanga tour with the speadboat the guide had a awesome trick with some fish as bate and with some Fish Eagles flying around. An
African Fish eagle
, is a well known bird with its white head and mantle, plus chesnut-browwn underparts. This eagle can be identified as such by their fully featherd legs. The Fish Eagle has a very distinctive call which is one of the distinctive sounds of Kenya (once heard it is never forgotten). It is particularly common in and around some of the Rift Valley lakes. Although, as its name suggests, it feeds extensively on fish, in some areas (eg Lake Bogoria) it preys on flamingos and other water birds. It is also known to eat carrion and is classified as a kleptoparasite ie it steals prey from other birds. Goliath Herons are known to lose a percentage of their catch to Fish Eagles. The totally different looking bird on the left is the juvenile Fish Eagle. The appearance changes gradually over three or four years with the dark streaking on the breast being the last part of the juvenile plumage to vanish. Play the video with the trick with the American Fish Eagle in the Okavango Delta in Botswana -->
otswana, where all this beauty is situated is a landlocked country in southern Africa. Before gaining independence from Britain in 1966, it was known as Bechuanaland. The country’s name comes from its largest ethnic group, the Tswana. A large majority of the population lives in the eastern part of the country, near the only railroad and the border with South Africa. Botswana’s diamond mines and other mineral deposits have made it one of the wealthiest African countries. The country has maintained an impressive rate of economic growth since independence. Most of the country is quite dry and unsuited for agriculture. The Kalahari Desert covers much of central and southwestern Botswana. The country is noted for its many animal reserves.
has been a stable democracy, governed by an elected president, since gaining independence. The country’s official name is Republic of Botswana. Gaborone is the capital and largest city. English is the country’s official language, but most of the people speak a Bantu language.