The secret to this remarkable wetland ecosystem lies in the timing of its annual flood, which originates as rainfall in the Angolan highlands 1000km away and consequently only reaches the Okavango several months later, in the midst of the dry season, when it is needed most.
The sheer range of experiences on offer in the Delta is possibly one of its most underrated attributes. From the excitement of fishing in the Panhandle to the serenity of drifting along myriad papyrus-lined channels in a mokoro, the awe-inspiring feeling of galloping alongside a herd of zebra on horseback and the thrill of big game viewing on land, there is something here to suit all tastes.
Lodges and camps range from the ludicrously luxurious to the charmingly rustic and despite numbering over 80, most camps are in private concessions and accommodate less than 20 guests, ensuring the country’s emphasis on exclusivity remains intact. Even in Moremi Game Reserve and Khwai Community Trust, which are both accessible to self-drives and mobile safari operators as well as a handful of permanent lodges, numbers are restricted so it never feels overcrowded.
For density of animals and predator sightings, the peak winter months (June-September) with sparse vegetation and fewer water sources understandably attract the bulk of Botswana’s tourists. But venture off the beaten track, ditch the game-viewer or dare to come at a different time of year and you will be rewarded with an intimate encounter that will surprise, amaze and change your perception of the world’s greatest inland delta forever.