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 The Okavango Delta in Botswana (Map) 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 (Map), 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 Okavango delta. 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 meters over a distance of 450 kilometers. The delta’s water dead ends 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 kilometers 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 begin to dry out from May through to October (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.
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 to October period, as the animal life is concentrated along the flooded areas and the vegetation has dried out. The best time for birding is during the rainy season (Nov - April) as the migrant bird populations are returning and the plants are flowering and green. Safari activities by water are the primary speciality of the Okavango and is the best way to experience the Delta.

Rainfall is not heavy in the Okavango - it gets less than half of the rainfall than over the Kruger Park area in South Africa.  Okavango Climate Chart: Summer rainfall from late October to early April;  warm dry sunny winter days from May to early October .

 

Month -

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average over 14 yrs

Maun

32/18

32/17

30/16

29/12

26/07

23/06

24/06

27/09

33/14

35/15

33/19

33/19

Average Daily Max - Min ºC

Maun

107

79

71

18

05

03

00

00

00

23

56

86

Rainfall (in mm)

Maun

69

73

74

70

68

70

63

60

55

56

63

65

Relative Humidity (%)

 

Useful Facts:

Electricity is 240 volts - Recharging of camera and video batteries is possible, even on safari.

There are no major health threats, no vaccinations are required for entering Botswana, although the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following vaccines. See your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time for them to take effect:

·     Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG)

·     Hepatitis B if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population,  stay longer than 6 months, or be exposed through medical treatment

·     Rabies, if you come into direct contact with wild or domestic animals

·     Typhoid, not at all common in Botswana

·     Booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults, as needed

·     A yellow fever vaccination certificate may be required for entry into certain African countries, particularly if you are coming from a country in tropical South America or elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, there is no risk for of yellow fever in Botswana

 

Malaria is present throughout the Okavango region, and all visitors are advised to take anti-malarial medication as prescribed by their Doctors. The risk of Malaria is very low in June, July, August and September.  The local currency is the Pula (it means 'rain' in Setswana). VISA and MASTERCARD are accepted everywhere - there are ATMs in Maun.

 

VISAS: All visitors entering Botswana must hold a passport that is valid for at least six months, except those with United Nations Convention travel documents. You must have TWO BLANK pages showing in your passport when opened next to each other:

Valid entry visas for the countries which do require them may be obtained from Botswana's various embassies and high commissions abroad. In countries where Botswana is not represented, visas may be obtained from the British High Commission. Entry visas obtained at border posts are valid for a maximum of 30-90 days. Extensions may be obtained from any immigration office in Botswana. No visitor is allowed more than a 90-day stay in every calendar year, unless permission has been granted in the form of a waiver pending the outcome of a residence permit application. FAQ'S

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