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Okavango Delta Holidays
Spread over 15,000 square kms, the Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world, a vast oasis surrounded by the Kalahari Desert. Its breathtaking scenery makes you want to break out in spontaneous applause; think a multi-hued mosaic of wetland and dry land, tranquil canals and soupy marshes, thick woodland, lush vegetation and a constant ebb and flow of exotic animal life – then double it.
Situated deep within the Kalahari’s basin, the fan-shaped Okavango Delta is fed by the river of the same name. The river is the third largest in Africa, has its source in the rainy highlands of Angola and is unique in the fact that it runs eastwards without reaching the ocean. During the rainy summer season, the river swells, and floodwater pours into the delta, rebirthing the area’s vast array of plant and animal life. At the area’s northern periphery, the river runs deepest, providing ample opportunity for fishing and bird watching in the wetlands. As the water hits the sand flats the delta emerges – a fascinating ecosystem of channels and lagoons and countless tiny islands in an infinite number of shapes and sizes. Dotted with reeds and acacia, fig and rain trees, it’s one of the most heavenly natural environments on earth.Read more
To the southeast, the dry lands appear, the winter retreat of the delta’s wildlife. At last count, there were 122 species of mammals, including black and white rhinos (a successful rhino reintroduction programme is underway in Okavango), elephants, buffalos, giraffes, lions and leopards. Add to this nearly 450 species of birds and dozens of different types of fish, and no wonder Okavango regularly comes up on top of Botswana’s best attractions. But more than numbers the Okavango is staggering for its biodiversity – sustaining creatures from the mightiest elephant to the tiniest insect.
The Okavango Delta has been put forward as a World Heritage Site and although only the Moremi Game Reserve on the eastern flank has official protected status, its long term preservation seems assured through government interest and the Okavango Research Institute, a body whose essential goal is to achieve balance between human and environmental demands and the Okavango’s precious supply of water. Tourism on the delta is a major source of income for the 150,000 Botswanans living there, and a sustainable future is critical, not just for its environment, but also the local economy.