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Okavango Delta Safari Reserves
Okavango Delta Safari Reserves
Okavango Delta Safari Reserves

Elephant and hippo pathways in the Okavango

Be prepared for a variety of terrain whilst on game drive

Eco-tourism - the mokoro is replaced by fibreglass

Okavango Delta Safari Reserves

Okavango Delta Safari Reserves

Holding almost mythical status within the safari world, the Okavango Delta is up there with the legendary Shangri-La.

And rightly so. The world’s largest inland delta breathes life into the surrounding Kalahari, supporting a thriving wildlife population that is largely protected by its very inaccessibility.

Weaving through this wilderness is a network of channels, many lined with towering papyrus and reeds that shelter a myriad creatures – from the tiniest reed frog to the wallowing hippopotamus. Floodplains spread out in every direction, punctuated by tree islands that are a haven for birdlife. And leopard.

Into this pristine environment come a handful of individual safari lodges, some in the more accessible Moremi Game Reserve; others within the confines of often vast private reserves, or concessions. But choose wisely, for each reserve, each lodge, is different.

To spend time at a water-based camp is to drift silently in a mokoro along narrow waterways, strewn with waterlilies under the watchful eye of kingfishers and fish eagles, or to explore the further reaches by motorboat, watching out for hippo and elephant.

Opt for dry (or drier!) land, and you’ll traverse open floodplains and dappled woodland in comfortable 4x4s, seeking out safari animals, day and night. And if you’re after both environments, that too can be accommodated.

Some camps focus largely on the predators; others on photography, with carefully constructed bird and animal hides where you can ‘stake out’ your photographic prey. There are even specialist walking camps – not to be missed by those in search of heart-racing adventure.

If each reserve has its style, so too do the camps. With contemporary design, personal plunge pools, top-class cuisine and soothing spas, the ultimate in hedonistic luxury can be yours. Or perhaps you’d prefer a more traditional approach, all solid wood, soft lighting and squashy sofas. Whatever your choice, exclusivity is a given.

Okavango Delta Safari Reserves

The Okavango Delta ecosystem: A global treasure

The Okavango Delta is a remarkable and biodiverse ecosystem formed by the Okavango River's intricate network of channels, lagoons, and floodplains. During the wet season, floodwaters push into Botswana from Angola and rejuvenate the delta, transforming the Kalahari sand into a lush oasis teeming with life.

This dynamic environment boasts a rich variety of vegetation, including reed beds, papyrus swamps, and grasslands, providing habitat for an astonishing array of wildlife. From large mammals like elephants, buffaloes, lions, and leopards to hippos, crocodiles, and numerous bird species, the Okavango Delta supports a thriving ecosystem adapted to its seasonal fluctuations.

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014, the Okavango Delta stands as a globally significant treasure, celebrated for its ecological importance, biodiversity, and captivating beauty, attracting visitors from around the world to experience its wonders on safari.

Having been carefully and effectively protected for years, and with conservation and wildlife tourism thriving here, the Okavango Delta’s beauty looks set to flourish into the future.


Flora of the Okavango Delta

Flora of the Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta in Botswana is a biodiversity hotspot with a rich variety of flora adapted to its unique ecosystem. What you’ll see will vary depending on the environment in which you’re staying and it’s good to include a mix of scenic locations in your safari to maximise the variety of plants and animals you’ll encounter.

Over 1,000 species of plants are recognised in the Okavango Delta. Dominant in the permanent Delta swamps are tall, feathery papyrus and dense reeds, along with beautiful water lilies and bulrushes. Bordering the Okavango area's many rivers, you'll find extensive floodplains which host various sedges and grasses, bounded by stretches of classic riverine (or 'riparian') forests bursting with a wide range of beautiful deciduous and evergreen bushes and trees: ebonies, mangosteens, sycamore fig, jackalberry, combretum and faidherbia. These plants exhibit myriad adaptations to cope with the Delta's wet and dry seasons, such as deep root systems and tolerance to submersion, and in turn support a diverse array of wildlife.

In contrast, large tracts of the drier parts of the Delta are dominated by one tree: mopane. Often creating beautiful, 'cathedral' Mopane woodlands – named after their tall, gracefully arching branches which resemble a Gothic cathedral – woodlands of mopane cover large areas, sometimes largely to the exclusion of all other species. Though where others are evident in open areas, they are often camelthorn trees following the sandy beds of ancient watercourses, with accompanying silver terminalias, wild seringas and Kalahari apple-leaf trees.

Wildlife in the Okavango Delta

The safari 'Big Five' – an iconic quintet of large African mammals comprising buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino – are all possible sightings on a safari to the Okavango Delta… and a lot more besides.

Elephant and buffalo occur in the Okavango year-round in large numbers, and you're likely to see blue wildebeest, Burchell's zebra, impala, kudu, tsessebe, red lechwe, waterbuck, reedbuck, giraffe, common duiker, bushbuck, steenbok, warthog, baboon and vervet monkey throughout the Delta. Eland, sable and roan antelope also range across the region – but are less common, as they are elsewhere in Africa. The deep-water and papyrus areas of the Delta have thriving populations of sitatunga, which live deep in the swamps.

Lion, leopard, cheetah and spotted hyena all have significant populations here. The Okavango Delta is prime hunting ground for wild dog packs, which range widely across most of Northern Botswana. They're easiest to find on the northern and eastern sides of the Delta.

Both black-backed and side-striped jackals occur – though the former are more common.

Brown hyena probably occur on the drier fringes, but relatively rarely, and probably only in drier areas where there are lower densities of the other large predators. Similarly, bat-eared fox are found here, though not so commonly as in Botswana's drier areas. There are a wide variety of mongoose found here, including the slender, banded, dwarf, large grey, water and Selous'. Meanwhile in the water, spotted-necked and Cape clawless otters are often seen, though they seldom hang around to allow visitors a good view!

Serval, aardwolf, caracal and aardvark are found throughout the Okavango Delta, though due to their largely nocturnal habits, they are only occasionally seen. Pangolins are also found here, and seem as if they might be slightly less rare than in other areas of their range!

Up until 2001, rhino (both black and white) had been exterminated from here by poaching. They were reintroduced first to Moremi Game Reserve and then to the Delta's private reserves. In common with most conservation areas, their precise locations are rarely publicised. For the best chance of seeing them though, consider including Duba Reserve in your itinerary.

Birdwatching in the Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta has over 400 bird species, a great variety of which are patchily distributed in association with particular habitats. Though visiting any area, the sheer number of different species represented here will strike you as amazing.

Although there are no birds that are truly endemic to Botswana, the Okavango Delta is hugely important to many species, including a number rarities worthy of noting here. First on the Okavango's list of 'specialties' is the slaty egret - which can be found in shallow, reedy back-waters and pans. Aside from the Okavango River's delta, this rare egret is only resident in quieter corners of the Chobe and Linyanti areas, and the Bangweulu Wetlands in Zambia.

Easier to spot are magnificent wattled cranes, which are relatively often seen in the Delta. They're usually seen in pairs or small groups, wandering about shallow floodplains or wet grasslands, searching for fish, small amphibians and reptiles.

For keen birdwatchers, other Okavango Delta specials here include coppery-tailed coucal, brown firefinch, Bradfield's hornbill, the lesser jacana, pink-throated longclaw and the tiny chirping cisticola.

The Okavango Delta’s annual flood

The Okavango’s annual flood is complex and most travellers can largely ignore it in their planning: you will find most of the Okavango Delta enchanting whenever you visit.

However, flooding levels will influence on some activities – such as mokoros and boating – so it may influence your choice of the best locations for you. You won’t find as many kingfishers without water or be able to follow wild dogs though deep lagoons!

The water levels at any point in the Okavango Delta depend mainly on three variables: first, the local rainfall in your location; second, the height of the seasonal flood of the Okavango; and third, your location within the Delta. These days, the further north and east you are in the Okavango, the more water you’re likely to have.

The local summer rains and the arrival of the seasonal floods are generally out of sync by around two to six months, depending on exactly where you are within the Delta. This represents the time taken for the peak of the rains in the Okavango River’s main catchment area - the Angolan highlands - to make it down the Okavango River and into the various areas of the Delta.

These annual floods have for years been monitored very carefully by hydrology experts. From this we know that the peak of the flood generally enters Botswana between mid-March and mid-May - just after the local summer rains in the region of the Delta have come to an end. Given the tiny gradient of the Kalahari landscape and very slow flow rate, this surge of water from Angola can take up to six months to work its way from the Panhandle to the far extremities of the Delta’s waterways…if indeed it does reach the furthest points.

So, broadly speaking, expect the highest water levels in most areas of the Delta to occur after the rains - from about May to August. After that, levels will generally fall until around February, when the local rains start to slowly raise water levels prior to the main flood.

Where are the Okavango’s Private Reserves?

Encircling Moremi Game Reserve, the entire Okavango Delta is divided into a series of huge wildlife management areas, usually called 'concessions'. Each concession is numbered and prefixed with "NG", which stands for 'Ngamiland': the administrative name for this region of Botswana. These concessions are huge, spanning tens or even thousands of square kilometers; the larger ones are the size of small countries!

The concessions are all private, meaning no one, aside from camp visitors and staff, may enter each area. But note that there are no fences between the concessions, allowing wildlife to move freely across the entire Delta area as well as into neighbouring Chobe National Park.

We've described the main Okavango Delta private reserves by name in the next section – Kwara, Shinde, Vumbura, Duba Plains, Jediba, Jao, Tubu, Abu, Nxabega, Chitabe, Lediba and Sankuyo Management Trust.

There are two excellent maps of the Okavango Delta on this site: an amazing interactive Satellite map, with links to all of the camps; and our own reference map, drawn to show all of the individual Okavango Private Reserves and their boundaries.

Why safari in the Okavango Delta's private reserves?

Protecting the Okavango Delta's incredible delta environment is the Moremi Wildlife Reserve and, around that, a network of excellent private safari reserves, or 'concessions'.

Each of these vast Delta reserves contain a couple of small, private safari camps, with tight restrictions on visitor numbers. Guests arrive at these by air, and they offer great safari activities. In contrast to the public game parks and national parks, these private reserves have four significant advantages:
  • The guides are allowed to drive off-road whilst on safari when searching for and following game. This is crucial if your keen to pursue wild dogs or big cats hunting.
  • The guides can conduct night-drives, allowing you to see the nocturnal animals like porcupines, honey badgers, genets, civets and the nocturnal birds – notably owls. Prowling big cats, like leopard and lion, and hyena are often more active and more frequently seen around dusk and at night.
  • Some reserves offer walking safaris in the Okavango Delta which are not allowed in either Moremi Wildlife Reserve or the national park.
  • At the risk of stating the obvious, these private safari reserves are private: so you'll usually see few other people on safari here. Space and exclusivity are real privileges in such a pristine area!

Best safaris in Botswana’s Okavango Delta

Every Okavango reserve and safari lodge has a distinct character: varying in geography, ambiance and safari experience.

Whether you choose to stay in the watery wonderland of the north-eastern Okavango, combine your trip with the predator-rich plains of the Kwando-Linyanti and Selinda areas, or embark on an unforgettable guided walking safari - we can advise you from personal experience.

As Botswana offers an exclusive, wilderness experience regardless of your safari style, the array of options can be overwhelming. So here we’ve curated a selection of our favourite safaris to Botswana’s Okavango Delta to show how camps and areas can be combined, and give you an indication of the cost of a safari to Botswana.

As you’ll see, safaris to the Okavango Delta can be costly. The reality is that small, beautiful lodges with excellent guides in a world-class wilderness come at a premium. It’s perhaps worth remembering that these prices are directly helping to protect one of planet’s most pristine environments and its wildlife, as well as development within the Delta’s local communities.

These are just ideas, we’ll always tailor-make a trip for you. So do get in touch with one of our Botswana Experts to create your best Okavango safari.


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Kudu Safari

7 days • 2 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

A luxury Botswana safari exploring the Okavango Delta staying at Nxebega Camp and the stunning Sandibe Lodge, with excellent guiding and some of the most prolific wildlife viewing anywhere in Africa.

US$8,470 - US$22,560 per person

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Large-spotted Genet Safari

9 days • 3 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

A luxury safari exploring the Okavango Delta and Linyanti–Savuti, two of the best wildlife viewing areas in Botswana, staying at three top camps renowned for their guiding for a first-class experience.

US$10,930 - US$23,640 per person

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Bushbuck Safari

8 days • 3 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Discover three of Botswana’s best game-viewing regions with stays in the private Linyanti, Chitabe and Vumbura reserves. Intimate, smart camps offer a range of activities by which to discover these stunningly varied habitats.

US$13,570 - US$31,740 per person

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Tsessebe Safari

7 days • 3 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Visit three sister-camps in and around Moremi Game Reserve during this thorough exploration of the Okavango Delta. A range of activities provide excellent opportunity to observe the local birdlife, mammals and fauna.

US$7,790 - US$11,820 per person

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Pangolin Safari

8 days • 3 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Three relaxed, local feeling camps in pristine settings – the Kwando Reserve and Okavango Delta. Guided by a driver and tracker at each, this a great trip for spotting Botswana’s top predators.

US$7,760 - US$16,190 per person

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Great Egret Safari

12 days • 4 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

This wonderfully varied adventure combines Botswana's Okavango Delta and a live-aboard houseboat safari on the Chobe River, with big game in Zimbabwe's dry Hwange National Park and the stupendous Victoria Falls.

US$9,240 - US$17,150 per person

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Slaty Egret Safari

4 days • 2 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Two luxurious, intimate camps provide a highly personalised exploration of the Chitabe concession and private Vumbura reserve within the Okavango Delta. A range of water and land activities allows for stunning sightings.

US$7,000 - US$14,130 per person

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Mopane Squirrel Safari

6 days • 2 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Visit two wildlife-rich private reserves in an exploration of the Okavango and Kwando regions. Sister camps Splash and Lagoon camp provide a range of immersive activities, and their long-stay discounts make for an excellent-value safari.

US$5,890 - US$11,770 per person

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Most recent reviews of our safaris to Okavango Delta

Click below to browse all 961 reviews from Okavango Delta Safari Reserves. All from our travellers; all are in full & unedited.


99%
961 reviews since August 2007
Excellent
924
Good
36
Average
9
Poor
2
Terrible
0
cyk from London

Arrived 11 May 2024, 23 nights

"May 2024 trip to Botswana and South Africa"

"the BEST trip of our lives …" Read cyk’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs L from London

Arrived 25 May 2024, 11 nights

"Trip of a lifetime was all we dreamed of!"

"Anton at Expert Africa organised an itinerary which delivered on all our wishes. …" Read Mr & Mrs L’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs O from Somerset

Arrived 22 May 2024, 14 nights

"My May 2024 trip"

"Our trip was everything we hoped for and more... game exceeded our expectations …" Read Mr & Mrs O’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

D&L from New Zealand

Arrived 29 Apr 2024, 25 nights

"Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana Adventure"

"amazing trip...experience and knowledge of Expert Africa (Maruska) made it so! …" Read D&L’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Ms B from Florida, US

Arrived 27 Apr 2024, 28 nights

"Our seventh trip to Africa"

"7th trip since 2016.. nothing but praise for all the advice & trip organization …" Read Mr & Ms B’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

NickG from London

Arrived 11 May 2024, 15 nights

"My May 2024 trip"

"The advice we received...was excellent, and proved to be spot on! …" Read NickG’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs B from PA

Arrived 15 May 2024, 11 nights

"Botswana Magic 5/24"

"The trip was magical..... Maruska did a great job. …" Read Mr & Mrs B’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr D. from United Kingdom

Arrived 9 Apr 2024, 15 nights

"My Apr 2024 trip"

"Organisation, camps and guiding were all superb …" Read Mr D.’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mrs H from London

Arrived 3 May 2024, 15 nights

"My May 2024 trip"

"We had a great time.The Botswana leg and the Falls were both pretty much perfect …" Read Mrs H ’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Lauren&Mike from Texas

Arrived 3 May 2024, 9 nights

"My May 2024 trip"

"aardvarks, aardwolf, wild dogs, lions, leopard...and some of the best service …" Read Lauren&Mike’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

See all Okavango Delta Safari Reserves reviews

Where to stay in the Okavango Delta

Without question, the Okavango Delta offers some of Africa’s best safari camps and lodges. Staying at a water-based camp allows you to canoe silently along narrow waterways adorned with water lilies, photographing gorgeous malachite kingfishers, listening for hunting fish eagles and spotting for otters and turtles. It’s supremely tranquil. Explore further by motorboat, perhaps gin and tonic in hand for sunset, watching for basking Nile crocodiles and bathing elephants, or even trying your hand at tiger-fishing (catch and release).

If you prefer solid ground, traverse open floodplains and dappled woodlands in comfortable 4x4s, seeking out safari animals both day and night. And for the best of both worlds, safaris combining the Okavango’s dry and wet areas can be arranged.

Some Okavango Delta camps specialise in predator sightings with dedicated trackers accompanying every guide, while others cater to wildlife photography enthusiasts, providing adapted vehicles and carefully constructed bird and animal hides for capturing that perfect shot. There are specialist walking camps for those seeking active, exhilarating adventures, and safari lodges perfect for exclusive-use family gatherings and celebrations.

When looking for the perfect places to stay in the Okavango Delta, talk to us to discover the locations and lodges which will suit you best.


Kwara Camp

Kwara Camp

Kwara Camp's private reserve boasts land and water activities year round, with excellent game-viewing opportunities and access to permanent channels of the north-east Okavango Delta.


93% (222 reviews)
Little Vumbura

Little Vumbura

On a secluded island within a private reserve, Little Vumbura combines superb game viewing with a broad diversity of habitats in a truly picturesque setting.


96% (138 reviews)
Shinde Camp

Shinde Camp

With experienced staff and a wealth of activities, Shinde offers a traditional safari in an exceptionally varied and wildlife-rich environment.


94% (100 reviews)
Chitabe Lediba

Chitabe Lediba

Chitabe Lediba, in Botswana's southern Okavango Delta, is a small family friendly safari camp; it offers great dry-land safaris and in our experience consistently delivers good game sightings.


97% (87 reviews)
Sandibe Safari Lodge

Sandibe Safari Lodge

The luxurious Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge lies in a private concession in the heart of the Okavango Delta, beside Moremi Game Reserve, with superb big-game viewing.


94% (78 reviews)
Splash Camp

Splash Camp

Set in the Kwara Reserve, offering superb wildlife viewing year-round, Splash offers both land and water activities led by guides with a particular knack for tracking big game.


96% (78 reviews)
Kanana

Kanana

In a beautiful part of the Delta, Kanana focuses on fantastic water activities and birding – including exclusive access to an impressive heronry.


95% (76 reviews)
Chitabe Camp

Chitabe Camp

In the southern Okavango Delta, the excellent Chitabe Camp concentrates on dry-land safaris in an area that we've found particularly good for wild dog sightings.


96% (69 reviews)
Shinde Footsteps

Shinde Footsteps

Small and simple, but comfortable, Shinde Footsteps focuses on walking safaris as well as game drives; it also runs a special children's programme so is particularly suitable for families.


98% (47 reviews)
Gomoti Plains Camp

Gomoti Plains

Overlooking a tributary of the Gomoti River, Gomoti Plains Camp is a classically designed camp with very comfortable tents in a good game-viewing area.


93% (38 reviews)
Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp

Nxabega Tented Camp

Nxabega offers a selection of both land- and water-based activities, plus very good guiding, food and service, but game viewing can be somewhat erratic.


95% (38 reviews)
Tubu Tree Camp

Tubu Tree Camp

A traditional tented camp with a distinctive tree-house feel, Tubu Tree offers some of the best game viewing in the Jao Reserve.


98% (37 reviews)
Vumbura Plains

Vumbura Plains

Indulgently stylish and luxurious, Vumbura Plains offers superb game viewing and birding on an exceptionally varied private reserve.


96% (37 reviews)
Jacana Camp

Jacana Camp

Jacana Camp is a small safari camp with an informal island feel; it is ideal for water-based activities in the Delta and offers excellent birdwatching.


99% (27 reviews)
Kwetsani Camp

Kwetsani Camp

Deep in the Delta, overlooking a floodplain, Kwetsani Camp is a small, high-end camp with good access to areas for land and water-based activities.


96% (23 reviews)
Mapula Lodge

Mapula Lodge

For an affordable yet varied safari encompassing a range of eco-systems, the traditional Mapula Lodge takes a lot of beating.


94% (20 reviews)
Duba Plains Camp

Duba Plains Camp

Duba Plains Camp is a traditional safari camp, best known for the thrilling lion and buffalo interaction that is often found here in broad daylight.


95% (19 reviews)
Duba Explorers Camp

Duba Explorers Camp

Intimate and elegant, Duba Explorers Camp promises a firm safari focus in a remote corner of the Okavango, led by a team who value the highest guiding and hosting standards.


95% (17 reviews)
Baines' Camp

Baines' Camp

Baines' Camp is a well-run, intimate camp in a pretty part of the Okavango, offering a range of activities and the option to spend a morning walking with elephants.


92% (17 reviews)
Stanley's Camp

Stanley's Camp

In a private concession south of Moremi Game Reserve, Stanley's Camp offers 4WD game drives, seasonal water activities and a superb elephant interaction.


93% (16 reviews)
Pom Pom Camp

Pom Pom Camp

Amidst stunning Okavango Delta scenery, Pom Pom offers idyllic mokoro trips in season, great birdwatching, and increasingly good big-game sightings, especially leopards.


95% (15 reviews)
Little Tubu

Little Tubu

Little Tubu is a new, traditional camp with just three tented chalets and a distinctive tree-house feel. The areas around it can be explored by water and land-based activities year round.


100% (14 reviews)
Pelo Camp

Pelo Camp

In a pristine wilderness environment deep in the Okavango Delta, the seasonal Pelo Camp is tented yet comfortable, with activities focusing on excursions by mokoro.


96% (10 reviews)
Mma Dinare

Mma Dinare

Beautifully located in a private concession overlooking the Gomoti River, the traditional Mma Dinare is very well-priced for the Okavango Delta.


98% (10 reviews)
Xaranna Okavango Delta Lodge

Xaranna

Xaranna is a plush tented camp amongst the idyllic waterways and islands of the Delta. Each air-conditioned tent has a plunge pool. Water activities and pampering are the focus here.


90% (8 reviews)
Jao Camp

Jao Camp

In a beautiful area with fantastic water activities, Jao combines an idyllic location with high levels of luxury and service, and a top-end spa.


87% (6 reviews)
Seba Camp

Seba Camp

Seba Camp is a luxury camp in a lovely location that offers the full range of water and land safari activities, depending on the time of year. This camp is particularly suitable for families.


90% (6 reviews)
4 Rivers

4 Rivers

4 Rivers is a new camp in a previously in accessible area of the excellent Kwara concession.


100% (3 reviews)
Rra Dinare

Rra Dinare

Located in a private concession in the southern reaches of the Okavango Delta, overlooking the Gomoti River, Rra Dinare is a traditional-style, well-priced camp.


93% (3 reviews)
Setari Camp

Setari Camp

Setari Camp stands on an island dotted with palm trees, close to the base of the Okavango’s ‘Panhandle"


100% (2 reviews)
Abu Camp

Abu Camp

Abu Camp is an exclusive safari camp on the western side of the Botswana's Okavango Delta - offering superb elephant-back safaris and opportunities to walk with them too.


70% (2 reviews)
Kiri Camp

Kiri Camp

Kiri Camp is the latest Okavango offering from the excellent team behind Machaba. In an exciting new location in the heart of the Delta we cannot wait to visit this new camp.


100% (1 review)
Duke’s Camp

Duke’s Camp

On a remote island within a vast private concession, the eclectic Duke’s Camp is nestled among mature trees overlooking wildlife-rich plains of the Okavango.


100% (1 review)
Okavango Delta Walking Safari

Okavango Walking Safari

The Okavango Delta Walking Safari camps in a secluded Okavango Delta Reserve where there are few roads; the ideal location for a walking trail led by an expert guide.


100% (1 review)
Karangoma

Karangoma

New for 2024, Karangoma is a classic, tented camp offering walking, canoeing and game drives, in partnership with the local Bukakwe San clan.


No reviews yet
Atzaro Okavango

Atzaro Okavango

With a high level of tasteful luxury promised at Atzaro, we think it will be best suited to travellers seeking a touch of pampering alongside their safari.


No reviews yet
Mokolwane

Mokolwane

Deep in the heart of the Okavango, Mokolwane promises adventure in a largely untouched area.


No reviews yet
Eagle Island Lodge

Eagle Island Lodge

Eagle Island Lodge is a luxurious camp with international-style facilities including air conditioning and intercom in each room; offering water based activities in the Okavango Delta.


No reviews yet
North Island Okavango

North Island

Deep in quintessentially 'Okavango' territory, between deep-water and dry-land habitats, promises to be a great combination from a team who know all about the best in the Okavango.


No reviews yet
Sitatunga Private Island Camp

Sitatunga Island Camp

Tucked away in a pristine corner of the Okavango Delta, the exclusive Sitatunga Private Island is a water-based camp offering boating, mokoro trips and fishing.


No reviews yet
Qorokwe Camp

Qorokwe Camp

Luxurious and contemporary, the relatively new Qorokwe Camp is a gem in the Okavango Delta, offering land- and occasionally water-based activities in a prime wildlife area.


No reviews yet

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Our travellers’ wildlife sightings in Okavango Delta

Desperate to witness wild dogs’ hunting? Looking to photograph lounging leopards in the Golden Hour? Heard of lion hunting buffalo? Or keen to track down the Okavango’s huge breeding herds of elephants? We can help you see Africa’s best wildlife spectacles.

Not only do we have decades of on-the-ground experience, a genuine enthusiasm for African wildlife, and even a safari guide on our team - we also have the data to back up our advice.

Our long-running citizen science project has focused on collecting wildlife sightings data since 2018. With tens of thousands of surveys from our travellers, we can provide up-to-date information on the sightings of Africa's key mammals across the Okavango Delta.

Click on a species below for more information on the top locations in the Delta for wildlife sightings.

Visit our Wildlife Surveys page to find out more about how we collect the data, why we think this is important, and how you can get involved on your Okavango safari.


Elephant

99% success

Hippo

98% success

Giraffe

98% success

Zebra

98% success

Lion

93% success

Wildebeest

92% success

Buffalo

85% success

Leopard

70% success

Wild dog

65% success

Spotted Hyena

62% success

Cheetah

55% success

Sable antelope

28% success

Sitatunga

22% success

Eland

20% success

Roan antelope

19% success

White Rhino

9% success

Aardvark

2% success

Pangolin

1% success

Black Rhino

1% success

Oryx

0% success

When to go to Okavango Delta Safari Reserves

The Okavango Delta attracts tourists year-round, with peak season being from May to October. July to October sees the highest number of visitors but the Okavango’s intimate safari camps and huge private reserves ensure exclusivity whenever you visit.

Considerations for the ‘best’ time to visit usual stem from the local weather patterns. As with everywhere in the world, the climate is increasingly unpredictable, but generally Botswana’s dry season (May-November) offers clear skies and ideal conditions for 4x4 game viewing. April marks a transition, while June-August brings cooler temperatures. From September, heat gradually increases, peaking in October. November fluctuates, sometimes with welcome afternoon showers.

Conversely, the wet season (December-March) brings lush landscapes and sporadic downpours. Days vary greatly, with brief, heavy rains typically in the afternoon. Despite needing waterproof gear, activities are rarely halted by rain.

Fewer tourists visit in May-July or late October-November, but those who do enjoy quieter camps. Whilst even smaller numbers venture to Botswana during the rainy season (December-March), dubbed the 'Green Season in safari circles', offering intimate experiences, lower costs, and unique landscapes.

Many other tour operators overlook Botswana in the Green Season, often citing misconceptions about wildlife visibility. However, with careful planning, safaris at this time can be incredibly rewarding, especially for seasoned safari-goers and photographers: it’s lush, baby animals abound and it’s incredibly quiet, making private vehicles and guiding more likely. Whilst not ideal for everyone, the wet season can offer a magical experience.


Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Botswana in January

January is at the peak of Botswana’s rainy season. These rains are often in the evening and are short but heavy, with occasional thunderstorms. Temperatures will still be high but cooler than October–December. Animals are generally dispersed, and not easy to spot, with the best game viewing found in the north of Chief’s Island and on the eastern and southern sides of the Okavango Delta.

January is also one of the best months to see the zebra and wildebeest migration in the Makgadikgadi salt pans and at Nxai Pan. Migratory birds abound throughout northern Botswana, along with a large number of breeding flamingos in the flooded salt pans. Rates are generally relatively low, making this a good time to visit on a budget.

  • Temperatures are still warm, with occasional thunderstorms
  • The bush feels alive; birdlife is at its most spectacular
  • Big game is dispersed
  • Zebra & wildebeest migration at its height
  • Availability in lodges and camps is often very good

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in January

Botswana in February

The weather in February is very similar to January, with heavy rain most days – often towards evening – and temperatures on the high side, albeit cooling off from the rains and surface water. Across northern Botswana, the landscape feels green and alive; insects and smaller animals are more easily seen, and many birds and animals are raising their young. However, the rains have created pools and waterholes in the bush and thicker vegetation and tall grass makes it trickier to spot larger animals.

Further south, the game viewing is beginning to pick up in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Visitor numbers remain low, with attendant rates and availability in camps and lodges.

  • Temperatures still warm with occasional thunderstorms
  • Many animals with young; birdlife at its most spectacular
  • Big game is dispersed
  • Game viewing picking up in the Central Kalahari
  • Visitor numbers are low, so camp availability can be very good

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in February

Botswana in March

March usually sees Botswana’s main rains starting to tail off. Many days will be clear, with a strong sun raising temperatures. On some days clouds will build, and the late-afternoon may see a short thunderstorm. Across the country, the landscape is green and alive. Many birds and animals are finishing raising their young. Much of the migration is now moving north towards the Savute area or Chobe National Park, though thick vegetation still makes it trickier to spot even larger animals.

March is one of the best times to be in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, where many of the pans fill up and animals come to drink, closely followed by predators. With few visitors in most areas, rates may still be relatively low.

  • Variable weather: rains tailing off but still hot
  • Occasional small thunderstorms
  • Many animals finish raising their young; birdlife still spectacular
  • The best time to visit the Central Kalahari Game Reserve
  • Few tourists visit during March, so rates often low

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in March

Botswana in April

During April the rains have usually stopped, though there may be still be the odd late downpour. This results in clear skies and a lovely green, lush landscape. Night-time temperatures usually start to drop during April with this being most noticeable in the Central Kalahari and the Makgadikgadi areas. The Central Kalahari is really coming into its own at this point and from April through to May/June the Savute region is a particular favourite of ours, with good predator/prey interaction.

In much of northern Botswana, the camps are coming into their “shoulder” season, so rates are on the rise but still relatively low.

  • Evening temperatures cooling with just the odd shower
  • Northern Botswana is green and lush
  • Many animals still with young; good predator/prey interaction
  • Central Kalahari and Savute the best places for wildlife
  • A popular shoulder season time to book. Rates relatively low

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in April

Botswana in May

May is a very popular month to visit Botswana, often the last month of the “shoulder” season before camp rates hit their peak. While there is very little chance of rain, the annual floods from Angola are starting to make their way through the northern part of the Delta, and will eventually reach the majority of the Okavango late June.

With cooler temperatures morning and evening, predator activity tends to be higher, although tall grasses can still obstruct game viewing. With cool crisp evenings, and the game viewing really picking up, this is the favourite time to visit for many of our team – and camp bookings throughout Botswana are snapped up quickly.

  • Cool mornings and evenings with little chance of rain
  • Game viewing is beginning to pick up
  • Predator activity increasing, though grasses still quite high
  • Last month of “shoulder” season for most camps
  • Availability goes quickly throughout Botswana

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in May

Botswana in June

June is the real start of the dry season. Temperatures are still cool in the morning and evenings with night-time temperatures sometimes reaching freezing, rising to 25–30 degrees Celsius during the day, with blue skies. Along with this comes a certain clarity to the air, favourable for serious photographers. Surface water and waterholes begin to dry up during this period and many animals begin to congregate around the remaining areas with water.

Visibility is improving as the grass is beginning to die back, and game viewing is very good everywhere, with particular improvement in the Kwando–Linyanti areas. Not surprisingly, camp availability is becoming scarce and rates are high.

  • Warm, comfortable days; cold nights, morning & evenings
  • Air clarity favours serious photographers
  • Wildlife is gravitating to waterholes, making game-viewing productive
  • Grasses beginning to die back
  • Most camps are into peak season, with rates correspondingly high

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in June

Botswana in July

Evenings and mornings are still cool in July, and this combined with great game viewing makes it one of the most popular times to visit Botswana. Vegetation is really thinning out now making game easier to spot, with the few remaining waterholes attracting lots of wildlife. The north-eastern side of Chobe National Park, along the Chobe River, is also very rewarding, although this area can become very busy.

Game viewing is extremely good in the Khwai areas, too, but again, this is a public area and – unlike in the private concessions of the Delta – vehicle numbers can be high. Camps are now very much into the peak season, and tend to be full.

  • Comfortable days; cold nights, morning & evenings
  • Game viewing very good as vegetation dies back and waterholes dry out
  • Chobe Riverfront and Khwai areas become very busy
  • Private concessions helps to avoid potentially high vehicle numbers
  • Now very much into peak season

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in July

Botswana in August

August is a popular time to visit Botswana, coinciding with the European summer holidays, and camp availability is difficult. Temperatures are generally cool at night, and comfortable during the day, although towards the end of the month they can rise above 35 degrees Celsius (albeit with low humidity). Cloudless skies bring spectacular star-gazing. Wildlife has congregated around the few remaining water sources, and much of the vegetation has now died back, so wildlife viewing tends to be varied and rewarding, particularly in the Okavango Delta.

Depending on the rains in Angola this can also be one of the best times to see the delta floods at their peak.

  • Dry, warm days, with mainly cool nights
  • Cloudless skies with spectacular stars at night
  • A fantastic time for wildlife watching, particularly in the Okavango
  • Traditionally one of the best times to see the Delta in full flood
  • Peak season: so high rates and many lodges full

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in August

Botswana in September

September is another favourite month for some of our team members. Daytime temperatures are getting warmer, but nights remain cool. With the drier conditions, most of the greenery has faded from the landscape, and dust or even smoke create hazy conditions that aren’t great for photographers – though this does result in fantastic sunsets.

This is another extremely good month for game viewing, with large numbers of elephant and buffalo congregating in the Chobe region and migrant birds begin to return to Botswana. Rates remain high – and availability correspondingly low.

  • Warmer days and cool nights
  • One of the best months for wildlife viewing
  • Large congregations of elephant & buffalo in the Chobe region
  • Hazy conditions less good for photographers, but brilliant sunsets
  • High season rates; many lodges & camps are full

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in September

Botswana in October

October is the one of the hottest months of the year, and usually one of the driest. Towards the end of the month the chances of rain can increase, and along with this can come greater humidity. The air is usually dry and hazy, making photography more challenging, but the lack of water and vegetation result in very good big-game viewing.

Water levels are now much lower, so water-based activities such as boating, mokoro trips and fishing cease in many of the camps which are not on major tributaries.

  • Hot temperatures, with the chance of rain towards the end of the month
  • Great big-game viewing
  • Less opportunity for water activities in camps as floods recede
  • Hazy air not great for photographers
  • Final month of the peak season in camps

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in October

Botswana in November

November usually marks the end of the dry season in Botswana, when increasing temperatures drive a rise in humidity, sometimes culminating in the first rains. These are often short but very heavy showers in the late afternoon or during the night, and can be spectacular. The rains lower the temperatures slightly but bring a flush of green back into the dry landscapes. As waterholes in surrounding areas fill, wildlife will gradually begin to disperse as it is not restricted by the availability of water.

November is a great time for birdwatching, with the arrival of many migrant birds. The first couple of weeks are very popular with travellers looking for great game viewing at lower rates as Botswana enters the “shoulder” season.

  • Hot in the middle of the day; sometimes humid
  • Heavy showers increasingly likely as the month progresses
  • Wildlife watching still good, but less reliable once it rains
  • Migrant birds start to arrive
  • “Shoulder” season brings mid-range rates in camps

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in November

Botswana in December

The rains in Botswana have now started, bringing some respite to the high temperatures. Game viewing becomes harder as wildlife is more dispersed but great sightings can still be had in the right areas such as Khwai and the Kwara and Mombo concessions.

Areas such as the Makgadikgadi Pans change completely with the salt pans becoming covered in a shallow layer of water attracting large numbers of breeding flamingos. Low-season rates at many camps are a draw.

  • Temperatures starting to fall from the highs of October/November
  • Very high chance of rain, usually large heavy storms for short periods
  • Flamingos return to breed at the Makgadikgadi Pans
  • Wildlife more dispersed, so game viewing more challenging
  • Typically low-season rates in the camps

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in December

The Okavango Delta’s Private Reserves: In Detail

The Okavango Delta’s Private Reserves

At its greatest extent, The Okavango Delta covers over a vast 15,000km² in a lush, water-wilderness of papyrus swamps, shallow reed-beds and floodplains, dotted with islands and laced with a network of channels. It’s a stunning mosaic of environments – which falls under a number of protected areas.

At the centre of the Delta and stretching to the east, is the equivalent of a ‘national park’: Moremi Game Reserve. This was the first protected area of the Okavango and is still run by the government. Our webpages on Moremi also include several adjacent private reserves around the North Gate area of the park.

Around Moremi Game Reserve there's a patchwork of huge wildlife management areas, which are more usually called 'concessions' or 'private reserves'. These are wildlife areas under private management and each one is run by a company which takes a lease on it for 10-15 years, and takes responsibility for it.

Each private concession is numbered, and prefixed by "NG", which stands for Ngamiland - which is the administrative name for this region of Botswana. These concessions are huge, spanning hundreds or even thousands of square kilometers. The larger ones are the size of small countries!

Because the concessions are private, on camp visitors and staff can enter. But note that there are no fences between the concessions, or any of the parks here – so the wildlife move essentially freely across the entire Okavango Delta area as well as into neighbouring Chobe National Park.

In the sections below we've described the various concessions immediately around Moremi Game Reserve in groups by location. In addition to these, for a full picture of the Delta, see also the Panhandle Area, which covers areas north of here, where the Okavango is still a widening river; the Kwando-Linyanti area, which covers several huge reserves to the northeast, beside the Kwando and Linyanti rivers; and, of course, Chobe National Park, further to the east.

You can see the location of the individual private reserves on the REFERENCE MAP, on our Okavango Delta maps page, and we've described the main reserves, including their safari camps and lodges below.


Okavango Delta North – NG20 & 21

Okavango Delta North – NG20 & 21

The Kwara Concession (NG20) covers a huge 1,750km2, in the middle of the Delta's northern edge, and has three small, great value, tented camps: Kwara, Splash Camp and 4 Rivers.

The Kwara Reserve is bounded to the north by Selinda (NG16), to the west by Vumbura (NG22) and to the east by Khwai Private Reserve (NG18). This location means that the reserve spans the transition from deep-water areas on the extreme north of the Delta, through very large areas of open floodplains, many of which are dry for much of the year, to the substantial dry areas of its northern section, an excellent area for predators. All Kwara camps offer enthusiastically-guided Okavango safaris, using 4WDs and boats.

On the south side, smaller Shinde Reserve (NG21) the reserve is adjacent to Moremi Game Reserve and was devoted to photographic safaris long before many other Okavango areas.

There are camps here include Shinde Camp and the delightfully personal Shinde Footsteps. Both offer some water-based activites, and have particularly picturesque deep-water lagoons nearby, as well as game drives. Shinde Footsteps, as its name suggests, also offers guided walking safaris - which were its prime focus prior to 2023, when the camp was re-built in much more comfortable form.

Okavango Delta North-west – NG22 & 23

Vumbura (NG22) and Duba Plains (NG23) both offer idyllic surroundings! This northern area of the Delta is an Expert Africa favourite for Okavango safaris thanks to its beautiful, checkered landscapes, great wildlife and continued good access to water. Given the similarities in the areas though, it’s usually best to include only one of these in your itinerary.

On the northern side of the Delta, Duba Plains Reserve (NG23) has two super camps: the flagship Duba Plains Camp and its sibling Duba Explorers Camp. This lovely reserve largely consists of vast grassy plains - of rich, nutritious grass – which historically attracted large herds of buffalo, leading to an experience that was often dominated by exciting lion-buffalo interactions. In more recent years, in the 2020s the diversity of species here seems to have broadened significantly. Stop here for 3-4 nights if you can, to see the spectacle at its best, and book ahead!

East of Duba is the excellent Vumbura Reserve (NG22); for safaris in the Okavango Delta, it's one of the best and most scenic of the Okavango Delta’s safari reserves. Like Duba Plains Reserve, this is a top-notch area for safari in the dry season. Then it comes close to rivalling its southern neighbour, Mombo, for the quality and diversity of its game. There are two camps here: Little Vumbura, which has been very good for many years, and its substantially more opulent sibling, Vumbura Plains.

The flora in these Vumbura and Duba Plains includes common tree species like apple leaf, leadwood, African mangosteen, jackalberry, sausage tree, and sycamore fig. Rare species like feverberry trees and knobthorn trees are also present.

Wildlife in the Vumbura Reserve includes a variety of antelope such as tsessebe, impala, lechwe, kudu, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, warthog, and steenbok. Predators like lion, spotted hyena, black-backed, and side-striped jackals are relatively common, with occasional cheetah sightings. Duba Plains has larger buffalo herds but less diversity. It's renowned for lion-buffalo interactions, frequent sightings of spotted hyenas and occasional rhino.

Birdlife in both reserves is wonderfully diverse, with species adapted to both dry and wet environments. You can expect to see kingfishers, jacanas, egrets, stilts, storks, cormorants, waders, ibises, spoonbills, pelicans, longclaws, cranes, bustards, and occasionally flamingos.

Okavango Delta Far North – NG12 & 24

In the far north of the Okavango Delta, the Mapula Reserve (NG12) has long been relatively untouched part of the Delta. Spanning approximately 890km2 of private wilderness, it is a dynamic mix of floodplains, woodlands and permanent waterways, collectively supporting incredibly diverse wildlife.

Over the years we have visited it a number of times and sent a trickle of adventurous travellers to Mapula Lodge – drawn by its magical location, record of great wild dogs sightings and close community involvement. However, over 2022-24 more leases for camps have become available, and the options here have mushroomed.

For safari travellers, now there is a super choice of interesting camps and lodges here, attracted, in no short measure, by the area’s good access to permanent water.

Under ancient ebony trees in a lovely island location, the original camp here, Mapula Lodge, offers quite a rustic experience, almost surrounded by its own hippo-filled lagoon. Much more recent additions to the concession include the lavish, vintage-styled Duke's Camp and Duke's East has – like their award-winning sister camp Jack's Camp on the Makgadikgadi Pans – super guiding and service to match its idyllic channel location.

The newest camp is Karangoma, a simple, classic safari camp on a forested peninsula, in the far north-east of this concession. Expect terrific opportunities for fascinating cultural interaction with the local Bukakhwe San people, alongside walking, boating and game drives.

Adjoining Mapula’s western boundary, at the base of the Panhandle where the Okavango River fans into the Delta, Jedibe Private Concession (NG24) is a stunning water wonderland. It features a maze of deep-water channels edged with papyrus, spectacular floodplains, lily-laced lagoons, and lush islands adorned with tall palms, giant leadwoods, and shady jackalberries.

We visited the Okavango’s original deep-water camp, Jedibe Camp, here in the mid 1990s, and although that’s now long gone, we’ve kept an eye on the concession. So we’re delighted by its revival in recent years

Here Setari Camp is particularly interesting, and something of an instant favourite for us, thanks to its location on a truly tropical island thronged with palms, in an area of perennial deep water. It’s a secluded, deep-water retreat ideal for birdwatching, fishing and getting out on the water, rather than big-game encounters.

To the south-west of Setari, its two sister-camps, Kala Camp and the (exclusive use) Treehouse, are both in areas of lagoons and shallow floodplains. They’re sufficiently north in the Delta that the floods reach them early and fairly reliably, so are likely to be able to provide a wider range of activities from camp than lodges further south.

Okavango Delta West – NG25 & 26

Jao Private Reserve (NG25), located on the west side of the Okavango Delta , close to the Panhandle and Moremi, spans about 600km2 of beautiful and diverse environments. The reserve's eastern camps – Jao, Kwetsani, Jacana and Pelo – are known for their superb water activities like boat and mokoro trips, especially around the picturesque Jao Flats, which transform with the annual floods. Tubu Tree Camp, on the drier western side, offers dry-land 4WD safaris.

This area's diverse landscapes, from wet floodplains to dry islands, are home to a variety of flora, including hippo grass, papyrus, and wild date palms, creating a lush and dynamic ecosystem.

Botswana. Wildlife in Jao Reserve is abundant, with lion and lechwe commonly seen, especially in the Jao Flats. The eastern camps also offer good game viewing, with giraffes, kudu, wildebeest, and zebra frequenting Hunda Island. Birdwatching is excellent, featuring species such as lesser jacanas, purple herons, and wattled cranes. Tubu Tree's drier habitat supports giraffes, kudu, and a variety of raptors. Though historically a hunting area, the reserve's wildlife populations are recovering, providing rich and diverse safari experiences across its varied landscapes.

South of the Jao concession, the huge Abu Private Reserve (NG26), once famed for its elephant-back safaris (now fortunately discontinued) is known for its lush landscapes and rich biodiversity. This private reserve features a mix of permanent swamps, seasonal floodplains, and dry woodland, and it’s anticipated that luxury South African safari operator Singita will begin operating two camps in the Reserve, marking their first venture into Botswana.

Abu Reserve is also the location of one of the Okavango’s only dedicated mobile walking safari camps. The Kweene Trails is a wonderfully immersive walking safari experience, allowing you to explore the Okavango Delta's varied ecosystems on foot in the company of a superb guide. With opportunities to see a range of wildlife, from elephants and giraffes to smaller creatures and numerous bird species, these walks emphasise the diverse plant life and intricate ecological relationships, making them a terrific addition to a safari itinerary for active travellers.

Okavango Delta South – NG27A, 29 & 30

These areas south of the Jao Concession and Moremi have, in recent years, seen significantly lower water levels and much weaker floods – leaving these are significantly drier than they used to be.

The floodplains here are gradually being taken over by flora suited to drier conditions, and areas once inaccessible for game drives have opened up considerably. By contrast the papyrus-lined channels here have vanished.

For the visitor, the net effect is less opportunities for water activities, but generally better game viewing. For the environment, it means changes – many of which we’re only starting to understand. However, from what we know now, there are fewer floodplains and channels, and many of the wild date palms, and some of the grand old hardwood trees have certainly been lost.

The Nxabega Private Reserve (NG27A) home to three long-established Okavango safari camps: in the centre the delightful Kanana; then an hour to its north, the smart and substantial Nxabega; and to the south, on the oldest site in this concession, Pom Pom Camp.

The Nxabega concession has a good mix of environments typical of the lower Delta: thickets, riverine forests and floodplains. Pom Pom has long been notable for large, open floodplains dotted with small tree-islands, while Kanana has larger islands with wild sage and woodland patches, and Nxabega has more broadleaf forests and acacia patches around it.

Further south, the Private Reserves of Xudum (NG29) and Xaranna (NG30) together cover about 2,500km2 on the southern edge of the Delta. There are two camps here: Xudum and Xaranna, and a separate, specialist horse-riding operation: Okavango Horse Safaris.

The Xudum and Xaranna concessions are mostly dry-land areas in recent years; relatively little water has reached them. So their vegetation consist of open plains with tall grass, thorny thickets, leadwood and knobthorn trees, wild sage, and occasional forested islands with sausage trees, jackalberries, and marulas. The Boro River forms part of the eastern boundary of NG30; it is one of the main channels of the Delta and is lined with mature riverine forest.

Wildlife includes hippos, crocodiles, tsessebe, impala, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, kudu, and steenbok. Elephants and buffalo are seasonal, with large herds appearing in the dry season. Predators include lion, leopard, and occasionally cheetah.

Okavango Delta South-East – NG31, 32 & 34

On the south-east side of the Okavango Delta, the private Chitabe-Sandibe Reserve (NG31) reserve looks, on an Okavango map, as if it’s been cut out of the Moremi Game Reserve.

The area is informally divided into two sections: to the north and west Sandibe Reserve has just one lodge, Sandibe Safari Lodge – which offers a good mix of game drives and water activities; to the the south and east side, in Chitabe Reserve, you'll find the shaded Chitabe Camp, and the smaller, laid-back Chitabe Lediba. Chitabe has long been a very good area for dry-land safaris with super predators from denning wild dogs to leopards, good numbers of spotted hyenas and lions.

This Okavango concession is a quite varied, with marked differences between the northern areas around Sandibe, which has wetter sections within its environment, and the drier areas around Chitabe further south.

Just north of this reserve, in Moremi, the Mboroga River flows south between the dry-land areas of Chief’s Island and the Mopane Tongue. Forming a number of large lagoons, it splits into two channels. One branch, the Gomoti River, then forms part of this reserve’s northern boundary, and all of its eastern side.

The other branch, the Santantadibe River, is a deep, wide channel that leads to lots of lagoons and runs down this reserve’s southwestern side. Sandibe Safari Lodge overlooks the Santantadibe River in the reserve’s northwestern corner. Around it there are plenty of open-water areas and floodplains, fringed by belts of riverine vegetation and occasional baobab islands.

Further south, the impact of changes in the Delta’s ecosystems since about 2018 is particularly evident on the vegetation, with the loss of significant proportions of the area’s leadwoods, kigelias and baobabs and other large trees.

To the south of Chitabe Reserve and Moremi Game Reserve, the large Private Reserve of Stanley’s & Baines (NG32) has two long-standing camps – Stanley's Camp and its smaller, smarter sibling, Baines' Camp – as well as a trio of more recent additions. This is one area of the Delta where the local community has always been particularly active in their involvement with tourism, down to holding considerable influence on the local community members who work in the various camps.

Relatively new camps in this area include the classically-tented, elegant Amber River Camp and Kiri Camp to the west, the swish 'boutique in the bush' Atzaro Okavango Camp, and the superbly-run Gomoti Plains Camp close to the Gomoti River and its wildlife.

Map of the Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is renowned as one of Africa's truly pristine wildlife areas. This expansive inland delta in Botswana spreads over 15,000km2, easily identified on this map and as you fly overhead, when the intricate network of waterways, floodplains, and islands that define the delta's unique topography.

Situated approximately 1,000km from the breathtaking Victoria Falls, 600km from the safari hub of Kasane, and 300km from Maun, the main gateway to the Delta, this map is a good way to visualise camps that feature dry-land or water-based safari experiences.

For a graphic map, which we've produced for our travellers, including the boundaries of the private reserves around the Delta, click our 'REFERENCE MAP' button below.

Our 'GOOGLE MAP' is a live map of the Okavango Delta on which we've precisely located the best safari camps. On this map, choose the Satellite option and zoom in for amazing details of waterways, lagoons, islands and even the game-viewing tracks around the camp.

The larger pins mark camps in these private reserves around the Okavango; the smaller pins mark camps in other areas of Botswana - from Moremi Game Reserve, the Okavango Panhandle and the Kwando-Linyanti area to further afield. If you zoom out, yellow pins are camps in other countries outside Botswana.


Reference map

Safari Holidays to the Okavango Delta

We’ve detailed an extensive array of safaris and holidays in the Okavango Delta – ranging from three nights at a single safari camp in Botswana, to magical three-week holidays visiting several African countries.

Fancy visiting Victoria Falls after your Botswana safari? Of course, we can arrange that.

You’d like to relax in South Africa’s beautiful Cape Winelands at the start of your trip? No problem, we know the Cape’s best boutique hotels.

Want to spend some time learning from the incredible San Bushman in the Central Kalahari? We support the best African cultural experiences. Whatever your ‘bucket list’ holiday wishes, all of our safaris are tailor-made to your particular preferences.

Talk to us for more details about which safari combination will suit you best!


Showing 1-12 of 21
Name
Duration
Cost
Most popular
Itinerary image

Pangolin Safari

8 days • 3 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Three relaxed, local feeling camps in pristine settings – the Kwando Reserve and Okavango Delta. Guided by a driver and tracker at each, this a great trip for spotting Botswana’s top predators.

US$7,760 - US$16,190 per person

Itinerary image

Mopane Squirrel Safari

6 days • 2 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Visit two wildlife-rich private reserves in an exploration of the Okavango and Kwando regions. Sister camps Splash and Lagoon camp provide a range of immersive activities, and their long-stay discounts make for an excellent-value safari.

US$5,890 - US$11,770 per person

Itinerary image

Honey Badger Safari

6 days • 2 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Two smart sister camps offer access to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the heart of the Okavango Delta. Experience a spectacular range of habitats and wildlife through diversely exciting safari activities.

US$5,790 - US$10,150 per person

Itinerary image

Great Egret Safari

12 days • 4 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

This wonderfully varied adventure combines Botswana's Okavango Delta and a live-aboard houseboat safari on the Chobe River, with big game in Zimbabwe's dry Hwange National Park and the stupendous Victoria Falls.

US$9,240 - US$17,150 per person

Itinerary image

Wild Dog Safari

13 days • 5 locations
KASANE AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

An in-depth discovery of northern Botswana’s wilderness, from Chobe and the private Kwando Reserve to the Moremi and iconic Okavango Delta with a great variety of activities and wildlife.

US$12,230 - US$21,930 per person

Itinerary image

Slaty Egret Safari

4 days • 2 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Two luxurious, intimate camps provide a highly personalised exploration of the Chitabe concession and private Vumbura reserve within the Okavango Delta. A range of water and land activities allows for stunning sightings.

US$7,000 - US$14,130 per person

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The Highlights of Africa

17 days • 7 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

An epic adventure taking in some of Africa’s most incredible sights and wildlife experiences, from Cape Town to the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, the Maasai Mara and an encounter with mountain gorillas.

US$14,380 - US$18,250 per person

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Bushbuck Safari

8 days • 3 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Discover three of Botswana’s best game-viewing regions with stays in the private Linyanti, Chitabe and Vumbura reserves. Intimate, smart camps offer a range of activities by which to discover these stunningly varied habitats.

US$13,570 - US$31,740 per person

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Spring Hare Safari

9 days • 3 locations
KASANE AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

An authentic and diverse safari to Botswana combining the Chobe Forest Reserve, Savuti Marshes and the Okavango Delta. Strong wildlife viewing, a variety of activities and excellent value camps.

US$7,290 - US$13,320 per person

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Tsessebe Safari

7 days • 3 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Visit three sister-camps in and around Moremi Game Reserve during this thorough exploration of the Okavango Delta. A range of activities provide excellent opportunity to observe the local birdlife, mammals and fauna.

US$7,790 - US$11,820 per person

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Ground Squirrel Safari

7 days • 2 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Experiencing the wilderness with an engaging guide whilst staying in a private mobile camp is often the highlight of a safari. Combine that with a charming camp overlooking the Okavango Delta and you’re onto a winner!

US$8,530 - US$11,180 per person

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Large-spotted Genet Safari

9 days • 3 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

A luxury safari exploring the Okavango Delta and Linyanti–Savuti, two of the best wildlife viewing areas in Botswana, staying at three top camps renowned for their guiding for a first-class experience.

US$10,930 - US$23,640 per person

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Okavango Delta accommodation: Luxury lodges & classic camps

All of the Okavango Delta camps and lodges recommended by Expert Africa are supremely comfortable, be they under khaki canvas and lit by lanterns or award-winning, cutting-edge boutique hotels in the bush.

Whether you envisage a safari camp with contemporary design, personal plunge pools, gourmet cuisine and luxurious spas, or would rather opt for a Campaign-style tented camp with campfire storytelling and shared, family-style dinners, there is an accommodation in the Okavango Delta to suit all tastes. There are even some spectacular private safari houses for the ultimate in exclusive use.

But best of all, our Botswana team has been to them all and can guide you to the perfect spot for your own Okavango safari.


Showing 1-12 of 41
Name
Traveller's rating
No. of reviews
Kwara Camp

Kwara Camp

Kwara Camp's private reserve boasts land and water activities year round, with excellent game-viewing opportunities and access to permanent channels of the north-east Okavango Delta.


93% (222 reviews)
Little Vumbura

Little Vumbura

On a secluded island within a private reserve, Little Vumbura combines superb game viewing with a broad diversity of habitats in a truly picturesque setting.


96% (138 reviews)
Shinde Camp

Shinde Camp

With experienced staff and a wealth of activities, Shinde offers a traditional safari in an exceptionally varied and wildlife-rich environment.


94% (100 reviews)
Chitabe Lediba

Chitabe Lediba

Chitabe Lediba, in Botswana's southern Okavango Delta, is a small family friendly safari camp; it offers great dry-land safaris and in our experience consistently delivers good game sightings.


97% (87 reviews)
Sandibe Safari Lodge

Sandibe Safari Lodge

The luxurious Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge lies in a private concession in the heart of the Okavango Delta, beside Moremi Game Reserve, with superb big-game viewing.


94% (78 reviews)
Splash Camp

Splash Camp

Set in the Kwara Reserve, offering superb wildlife viewing year-round, Splash offers both land and water activities led by guides with a particular knack for tracking big game.


96% (78 reviews)
Kanana

Kanana

In a beautiful part of the Delta, Kanana focuses on fantastic water activities and birding – including exclusive access to an impressive heronry.


95% (76 reviews)
Chitabe Camp

Chitabe Camp

In the southern Okavango Delta, the excellent Chitabe Camp concentrates on dry-land safaris in an area that we've found particularly good for wild dog sightings.


96% (69 reviews)
Shinde Footsteps

Shinde Footsteps

Small and simple, but comfortable, Shinde Footsteps focuses on walking safaris as well as game drives; it also runs a special children's programme so is particularly suitable for families.


98% (47 reviews)
Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp

Nxabega Tented Camp

Nxabega offers a selection of both land- and water-based activities, plus very good guiding, food and service, but game viewing can be somewhat erratic.


95% (38 reviews)
Gomoti Plains Camp

Gomoti Plains

Overlooking a tributary of the Gomoti River, Gomoti Plains Camp is a classically designed camp with very comfortable tents in a good game-viewing area.


93% (38 reviews)
Tubu Tree Camp

Tubu Tree Camp

A traditional tented camp with a distinctive tree-house feel, Tubu Tree offers some of the best game viewing in the Jao Reserve.


98% (37 reviews)
Showing 1-12 of 41

Excursions in Okavango Delta Safari Reserves

Optional extra day-drips and excursions possible whilst your staying within Okavango Delta Safari Reserves. Talk to us: these are usually best arranged before you go.


Ballooning in the Okavango Delta

Ballooning in the Okavango Delta

Half day - mornings only

Airborne over the Okavango Delta is always magical - not only for its beauty, but also for insights it gives you into the patterns of channels, lagoons and floodplains. Floating silently at dawn, watching the early sun light up the misty palms islands and spotting the animals as they wake up is particularly enchanting.

More about Okavango Ballooning
Elephant Activity

Elephant Activity

Half day - mornings only

Any stay to Baines' Camp and Stanley's Camp is synonymous with the acclaimed elephant activity! Join experts Doug and Sandi Groves in a gentle, interactive experience walking with the two elephants Jabulani and Marula. This experience is a must for all lovers of elephants and wildlife!

More about Elephant Activity
93% (3 reviews)
Helicopter Flight - Botswana

Helicopter Flight - Botswana

Various: from 30 minutes to half a day.

Low-flying, agile and offering superb views, helicopters are an ideal way to move around the Okavango Delta.You can use them instead of fixed-wing inter-lodge transfers or as an addition to other wildlife watching activities, and of course, helicopters can hover to allow that perfect pic, whereas fixed-wings can’t.

More about Helicopter Flight
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Frequently Asked Questions

The Okavango Delta FAQs

To help you plan your adventure to the Okavango Delta, we’ve created a guide to essential information on how to get to the Okavango Delta, how to get around when you arrive, and how to choose the perfect safari experience for you.

From Expert tips on the best flights to reach the Okavango Delta, including international flights to key gateways like Maun and Kasane, to the various modes of transportation within the Delta – charter flights and mokoro canoes to 4x4 safari vehicles and motorboats – we’ve covered off all the information you need to make the most of your journey through this spectacular area of northern Botswana.

Read about the best safari camps for family fun, romantic lodges for the ultimate African honeymoon, and how to make the most of being on the water on boats and canoes (mokoros ) in the Okavango…


How do you get to the Okavango Delta?

How do you get to the Okavango Delta?

The vast majority of visitors to the Okavango Delta arrive by plane, flying via Maun or Kasane, from nearby regional airports in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) and Livingstone (Zambia). A popular routing is to fly to Livingstone (LVI) or Kasane (BBK) via Johannesburg (JNB), then leave from Maun (MUB) via Johannesburg. This allows you to combine a visit to Victoria Falls with a Botswana safari.

There are regular flights between the Okavango Delta’s gateway town, Maun, and Cape Town. There is also a convenient flight between Maun and Addis Ababa, the hub of Ethiopian Airlines extensive international network. See our comments on Flights to Botswana for more details, here we’ll specifically flag:

Which are the best flights from Europe to the Okavango Delta?: Johannesburg is the best gateway to southern Africa, served by many carriers like British Airways, Lufthansa and Air France. Booking well in advance secures cheaper fares, especially during the busy seasons of July to October and December to January. Flights via the Middle East with Emirates or Qatar Airlines are popular, with Qatar partnering with Air Botswana for a Doha-Gaborone route. Ethiopian Airlines offers direct flights from Addis to Maun three times a week, providing a convenient connection to Botswana.

Which are the best flights from North America to the Okavango Delta: Our North American travellers often route through Johannesburg, with connections via London or other European capitals. Delta Air Lines and South African Airways offer direct flights from the US to Johannesburg, making onward connections to Maun a good option. It is often more cost effective to book flights from Europe to Africa.

Which are the best flights from Australasia to the Okavango Delta: several airlines fly from Australia, New Zealand and major Asian capital cities to South Africa, including Qantas, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Singapore Airlines. Connections are often made via Dubai, Doha, Hong Kong, or Singapore. Air New Zealand also offers routes in partnership with other carriers.

How do you travel around the Okavango Delta?

Covering a huge area, significant sections of which are swamp, lagoons or snaking water channels, means that getting around the Okavango Delta involves a combination of different transportation methods tailored to the region's watery environment.

Small, ‘light aircraft’ charter planes are the most common way to travel between the Okavango’s safari camps and lodges. Run by a number of different companies, these flights provide quick access and stunning aerial views of the landscape.

Operating from bases in Maun or Kasane, these charter planes ferry travellers around the camps of the Okavango like a fleet of air taxis. Predominantly using six to 12-seater planes, they criss-cross the region between a plethora of small bush runways. There’s no other way to reach most camps.

We organise these flights when booking your safari camps as an integral part of your trip, so you never need to worry about arranging them for yourself. You’ll likely share the plane with other travellers and sometimes camp staff heading back from leave. Expect flights to take anything from 10 minutes to just under an hour, during which you may stop at one or two other airstrips before reaching your destination. Regardless of the time, keep a sharp eye out for wildlife below and soak up the patchwork of waterways below – it’s beautiful!

For fun and fast aerial transfers, helicopters are also available. They offer a unique perspective of the Delta’s intricate waterways and abundant wildlife, and benefit from being able to land right at most camps. Photographers especially love these trips for the lower flightpath – open-sides optional!

Occasionally, camps may be within the Delta’s islands and dry areas, making a 4x4 game drive transfer possible between camps, but this is much less common.

What should I pack for my Okavango safari?

Comfort, convenience and a few practicalities are essential for getting your Botswana safari packing just right. Firstly, keep in mind that light aircraft flights in the Okavango have strict limits on luggage, usually 15kg, ideally packed in a soft, squashable bag. Secondly, remember that virtually every camp or lodge offers a same-day laundry service, so you don’t need a different outfit for every day!

In general, an Okavango safari requires casual, comfortable clothing, with warm layers, suitable footwear and some key accessories.
Remember to check the weather for the time of year you’re travelling and pack accordingly: don’t assume that the Okavango Delta is always sunny and hot. Morning and evenings can be freezing if you’re ill-equipped.

Our Okavango Safari Packing Checklist would definitely include:

  • Lightweight, breathable fabrics: Choose natural fabrics, such as cotton, bamboo or linen, or moisture-wicking, synthetic materials. These fabrics will keep you cool and comfortable in the heat of the day.
  • Neutral-coloured clothing: Opt for neutral tones like khaki, beige or olive-green. These colours help you blend into the natural surroundings, and are critical if you intend on doing any walking. Avoiding white and vibrant colours is essential for walking safaris.
  • No camouflage: Avoid anything that looks military.
  • Long-sleeved shirts and trousers: Alongside some shorts and T-shirts, keep in mind that covering your skin gives protection from the sun, insects and thorny vegetation. Look for garments with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) for added sun protection. Longer items are equally useful after dark to protect from mosquitoes and ensure warmth after sunset.
  • Hat: This is an essential piece of kit in avoiding sunstroke and burning.
  • Shoes: Closed-toe shoes, trainers or lightweight boots with good tread are vital for walking safaris. Avoid open-toed shoes to protect your feet from thorns, insects and uneven terrain or bush walks. A pair of trekking or rafting sandals are cool and practical for around camp and on game drives.
  • Underwear and socks: Some camps do not accept women’s underwear in their laundry services due to cultural sensitivities (though in-room washing powder is always provided). Moisture-wicking socks will help to keep your feet dry and prevent blisters if you’re walking.
  • Lightweight jacket and fleece: Evenings and early mornings on safari can be cool (sometimes cold!), so pack a lightweight jacket and fleece for layering. If you’re travelling in winter, bring gloves, a warm hat and scarf.
  • Rain gear: Depending on the season and location of your safari, it’s a good idea to pack a waterproof jacket.
  • Swimwear: If your safari camp has a pool, pack a swimwear for cooling off.
  • Sunglasses: Take at least one decent pair of sunglasses, and a spare.
  • Sunblock, lipsalve, insect repellent & any personal medication.
  • Binoculars: essential for game viewing (one pair per traveller… You won’t want to share when the action really starts!)
  • Camera: a long lens or decent zoom is vital for good wildlife shots, and do take a spare battery.
  • Small torch
  • The Bradt Safari Guide to Botswana, written by our team of Experts!

Which are the best family safari camps in the Okavango Delta?

Taking children on safari in the Okavango Delta can be a wonderful and enriching experience, creating lasting memories and fostering a deep appreciation for nature and wildlife.

At Expert Africa, we’ve arranged safaris for many families, with all ages of children, and several of our team have travelled in the Okavango Delta with their own young children and teenagers. With careful planning and consideration of your family’s needs, it is an incredibly rewarding and uplifting experience for the whole family.

Age: It’s essential to consider the age and maturity of your child. Some children have shorter attention spans and tire more quickly, so shorter game drives or hands-on activities tailored to their interests work best; some may need time and space to make some noise and burn off energy; others make the most engaged and receptive travellers that a guide could hope for!

Accommodation: We can guide you to the best family-friendly safari lodges for the age of your children. A few camps, like Machaba Safari Camp, Chitabe Lediba, Tau Pan, Pom Pom Camp, Splash Enclave and Shinde have spacious family suites, child-friendly meals and guided activities from camp nature walks to bushcraft, cookery and cultural experiences. And camp staff are always delighted to have children in camp, going out of their way to ensure they’re having fun. And there are some incredible exclusive-use safari villas like Zarafa Camp,

Education: The whole safari experience is a fantastic opportunity to educate children (and adults) about wildlife, conservation, and the natural world. And children invariably love the opportunities to get actively involved: tracking wildlife at camps like Okuti or Lebala Camp, fishing at Setari Camp, getting up close to curious creatures from chameleons to giraffe at Thamo Thelele or Muchenje Safari Lodge, learning how to make fire and traps with the Bushman at Nxai Pan, quad-biking at Camp Kalahari, or simply making mocktails with the barman.

Flexibility: Children have different interests and energy levels, so be prepared to adapt your plans. With great guides, an intricate bird’s nest examined up-close can be more exciting than a distant leopard to a young child. Follow their lead and embrace the small stuff. A Private Guided Mobile Safari with a guide specialising in family travel can be a brilliant adventure and offers the ultimate flexibility.

Relax: Allow downtime between activities to enjoy your safari camp: a splash in the pool overlooking hippo pods, learning a local boardgame while elephants pass by or stargazing by the campfire can be the perfect reset for the whole family. Check out Kanana, Gomoti Plains and Shinde Footsteps for camps great a balancing quality downtime with super Okavango family safari activities.

Canoeing in the Okavango - what is a mokoro?

Peacefully gliding through the Okavango’s myriad waterways is magic, and the safari camps in the Delta that sit near water – permanently or seasonally - will invariable offer a ‘mokoro trip’ as part of their safari activities.

A mokoro is a traditional canoe used in the Okavango Delta for transportation and wildlife viewing. Traditionally made from dug-out tree trunks, modern mokoros are often crafted from fiberglass for sustainability reasons. They are propelled using a pole, like a gondola or a flat-bottomed punt, allowing for silent and non-intrusive navigation through the Delta's shallow waterways.

Being on a mokoro in the Okavango Delta is a serene and immersive experience. As you skim through the tranquil waters, you're at eye level with the surrounding vegetation, offering intimate views of aquatic life from fish and terrapins, to and waterbirds and tiny painted reed-frogs. The gentle pace allows for a deeper connection with nature, as you listen to the sounds of the Delta and observe wildlife undisturbed by the presence of a motor.

Some of the best camps for mokoro trips in the Okavango Delta include island-based Kwetsani and Setari Camp, Jacana and Pelo which are both often surrounded by water, Vumbura Plains, Shinde Camp with its mosaic of channels, and 4 Rivers, which as its name suggests offers myriad mokoro and boating opportunities.

These camps all provide experienced guides who navigate the mokoros skillfully and with great knowledge of the flora, fauna and seasonal changes of the Okavango’s waterways. Talk to us to understand the fine differences between them.

Videos from Okavango Delta Safari Reserves

Watch these videos to learn more about Okavango Delta Safari Reserves


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