EPIC ROAD'S SAFARI BLOG

Entries in top reasons to visit the okavango delta (1)

Monday
Feb152016

Why an Okavango Delta Safari Needs to be on Your Bucket List

Why does an Okavango Delta safari need to be on your bucket list? Here are our top ten reasons that help to explain why the Okavango Delta is one of the best safaris and an adventure of a lifetime. The Okavango Delta is located in Botswana, an extraordinary country located in Southern Africa. Botswana safaris are some of the best that the continent has to offer including Chobe National Park, the Kalahari Desert, Makgadikgadi Pans, Savute and the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, but notably their flagship Okavango Delta safari. And that is due in large to the fact that the Okavango Delta is one of the best places to see the Big Five (African lion, African elephant, African leopard, Cape buffalo, White/Black rhino) and one of the, if not the, best water safaris as it hosts a series of winding waterways and an annual flooding making it one of the largest inland deltas in the world - which you get to explore by dugout canoe! Last but not least, the Okavango Delta is home to many incredible luxury safari lodges - including Mombo, Little Mombo, Kings Pool, Jao Camp and Zarafa Camp, conceived by National Geographic filmmakers Dereck & Beverly Joubert. The Okavango Delta is the ultimate safari destination, a unique romantic getaway or honeymoon and an overall must on any avid traveler's bucket list.

1. The Okavango Delta is a Beautiful Destination as One of the Last Unspoiled Wilderness Areas on the African continent.

The Okavango Delta is one of the last remaining unspoiled wilderness areas on the African continent. When you’re there, you truly feel as though you’re one of the few to have ever traversed certain landscapes and in some areas, you may very well be. Sometimes you even have the privilege to walk on tiny unexplored islands. The product of humanity is virtually non-existent with the exception of incredible sustainable luxury safari lodges, each of which blends seamlessly into the natural surroundings. The wealth of fauna and flora alike creates an atmosphere of enchanting no man’s land.

2. It is Home to Some of the Best Wildlife Sightings in Africa and is a Great Place to See the Big 5

The Okavango Delta may quite possibly be the best wildlife sighting and safari you’ll ever experience. Not only is the density of wildlife unparalleled but the proximity is extraordinary. You will undoubtedly come across prides of lions, packs of spotted wild dogs, humongous hippos, tree-climbing leopards, cheetah, hyenas, 300 lb. buffalos, innumerable elephants and giraffes, wildebeest, impala, zebra, incredible birdlife and so much more. You’ll observe these animals in their untouched natural habitat, you’ll see lions wading through the water, elephants rolling in mud to cool off, large crocodiles lounging in the sun, giraffes galloping across endless terrain and you’ll almost always be just a few feet away. The Okavango Delta is truly a wildlife wonderland and the best part is that the animals are living and thriving as they were meant to, the areas you will safari in are not closed off and are completely protected from human activity. Embarking on a safari through the Okavango Delta is like entering another world altogether. 

3. The Okavango Delta is a Year-Round Destination

The Okavango Delta is a year-round destination. Depending on what you’re looking for and looking to do, there is something for everyone every day of the year. Generally speaking however, Botswana’s Okavango Delta offers great animal sightings year-round. If you travel during the green season from December through March, you can expect intermittent showers but this also means extra lush vegetation and lots of young babies – seeing a lioness interact with her cub is a memory that will stay with you forever. Elephants are also a very affectionate species and watching them play together inevitably puts a smile on your face.

4. It is One of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa

The Okavango Delta is the 1000th site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for 2014 and rightfully so. It also secures a position as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. The Okavango Delta is a natural wonder in and of itself, an oasis amidst the parched Kalahari Desert. A vast ecosystem created by a localized seasonal flooding in an otherwise dry environment, each year approximately 11 cubic kilometers of water spreads over the area to form one of the largest inland deltas in the world. Whether you’re exploring the delta by hovercraft plane, boat, vehicle or foot, the landscape will truly take your breath away – lush greens, serpentine water trails, colorful birdlife overhead and incredible wildlife on the ground – what are you waiting for?

5. The Okavango Delta is One of the Best Water Safaris in Africa

The Okavango Delta is home to a series of mind-blowing canoe and water trails. The Okavango is a group of meandering waterways and scattered islands that are best explored by dugout canoe – locally known as mekoro. Mekoro are traditional canoes made by digging out the trunk of a large tree that grows in the area, such as an ebony tree. The mekoro has since evolved however in an effort to promote the preservation of large endangered trees and are therefore increasingly made of fibre-glass. One of our favorite experiences involves canoeing the famous Selinda Spillway, the waterway that connects the Okavango Delta to the Zambezi river. It is nearly impossible to depict these awe-inspiring waterways in a way that does them justice, which is why we’ve chosen the above photograph to accompany this post – though even the best image can’t convey the true magic of the Okavango Delta.

6. There is an Amazing Selection of Luxury Safari Lodges & Some of the Best Safari Guides

The Okavango Delta is home to amazing luxury safari lodges. Our favorite luxury safari lodges in the Okavango Delta include Vumbura Plains, Zarafa Camp, Selinda Camp and Duba Plains Camp. Vumbura Plains mimics the design of a contemporary beachside ranch getaway and features thatched villas each with a private plunge pool, outdoor shower and deck from which to enjoy the breathtaking views. Zarafa is probably one of the most well-known properties in the area as it was conceived by National Geographic filmmakers Beverly and Dereck Joubert. Zarafa is an intimate camp with just four luxury tents and an insane attention to detail and hospitality. The Selinda Camp is composed of eight beautiful tents, adorned with traditional artwork and featuring deep stone baths. Duba Plains Camp is by far one of the more remote safari camps in the Okavango Delta. It is built on an island shaded by large indigenous trees and surrounded by expansive terrain – the ultimate location for wildlife sightings. These lodges all maximize on the gorgeous natural surroundings and provide unique experiences beyond the safari, such as romantic candlelit dining aboard a boat on the Zibadianja Lagoon. But even that is a safari in and of itself as the lagoon is often teeming with hippo and elephants.

7. The Okavango Delta is the Ultimate Destination for Photographers

The Okavango Delta is a photographer’s dream come true. Inspiring backdrops and wildlife and the proximity to both, allow for wanderlust-inducing imagery, whether you’re an aspiring photographer or simply wish to cherish the memories and share with others.

8. It is also the Perfect Romantic Vacation or Honeymoon & Hosts a Surreal Sunset

The Okavango Delta hosts a gorgeous sunset. The sky over Botswana is often graced with a big iconic African sun, that which we relate to the Africa of storybooks; it rises and sets over the mighty Okavango Delta. Part of what makes the sunset so mesmerizing is that the forefront will often be accompanied by a herd of elephants or other wildlife passing through. Additionally, some of the properties listed above host outdoor beds for stargazing and have personal binoculars and telescopes on sight for your convenience – because the sky will continue to enamor you long after the sun has set. 

9. The Okavango Delta is Home to One of the Largest Mammal Migrations in the World

The Okavango Delta is home to the second largest migration in the world, just after the Serengeti. At the onset of the rainy season in November, as many as 25,000 zebra begin their migration in search of water and food. As noted above, the wet season means an abundance of young and both zebra and wildebeest can run alongside their mothers within just an hour of being born. Witnessing a young zebra foal or wildebeest calf walk and run for the very first time is spectacular and evolution never fails to astound us – a young zebra is the same height as its mother so it can be shielded from predators such as lions and other big cats that prey on comparatively weak and inexperienced young. To note is that the migration throughout the Okavango Delta is extraordinary and surprisingly unknown as it is often shadowed by the Great Migration in Tanzania.

10. Botswana is Greatly Committed to the Conservation of Animals & Their Habitat

The Okavango Delta is committed to the conservation of the animals and their environment, an effort that resonates deeply with us as well. The Botswana government correctly recognizes not only the fundamental importance of ensuring that the wildlife remain protected but that the local communities benefit through this conservation. Many African countries struggle with disallowing the local population to hunt as it is a long-standing way of life for many and a means for income and food. By providing jobs that support the conservation of species, the local government and organizations on the ground can better protect the area while empowering Botswanans to do the same and maintain a sustainable way of life. And it makes sense for everyone, with the region being a leader in conservation, tourism is an increasing sector and those that travel from near and far to witness the wonder that is the Okavango Delta, allow for the continued commitment to the environment. It is referred to as eco-tourism and is done in a way that is not harmful to the natural habitat. That being said, the Okavango Delta will not remain a secret for long, so we encourage you to visit sooner vice later!