With water in the desert, the Okavango delta is one of the world’s most amazing mysteries.
The Okavango Delta (or Okavango Swamp) is formed where the Okavango River, flows from the rain-rich Angolan highlands, empties onto a swamp in an endorheic basin in the Kalahari Desert, where most of the water is lost to evaporation and transpiration instead of draining into the sea. Each year approximately 11 cubic kilometres of water irrigate the 15,000 km2 area and some flood-waters drain into Lake Ngami. The world’s largest inland delta gives birth to Africa’s largest and most beautiful oasis of lush water-wilderness. It takes the shape of a hand, with the palm permanently filled with water, and the fingertips seasonally flooded with a blue-green wilderness of fresh water, shaping million of islands and a labyrinth of papyrus-lined canals, water-lily lagoons, shady forest glades and rich savanna grasslands – an incredible source of life in a country that is 80% arid.
Sometimes dried out with salt, the islands are inhabited by hundreds of species of birds, while hippos, elephants and crocodiles move from one to another in very pure waters. From the smaller tropical fish to the larger animal, there is always something that will catch your eye and admiration, making a safari to the Okavango Delta one of Africa’s top game safari destinations. Lions, leopards, elephants and buffalos are regularly seen in the Delta – the White Rhino is more difficult to spot. The Big Five are in good company with a remarkable number of species: 164 mammal, 400 birds, 157 reptiles, 84 species of fish and 5,000 different insects.