Nestled in nature’s lap itself, this magical Delta region of Botswana is a must visit for everyone. It offers to tourists a unique and heavenly experience with its extraordinary scenery, its majestic wildlife and beautiful weather. The Okavango Delta has consistently reserved a spot amongst the seven natural wonders of South Africa. Because of its natural beauty and diverse wildlife, the Okavango Delta has also become a major tourist attraction especially for those who are looking for a more adventurous vacation than the average man. Once, at the site of Okavango an ancient lake named Makgadikgadi used to take residence before it dried up due to various geological reasons. This majestic and large Delta is amongst one of the largest inland Deltas in the whole world. Despite the harsh climatic conditions, a large number of wild beasts reside in this habitat, making it one of Africa’s most diverse regions.
Some sights and places that you must not miss are the remarkable Moremi Game Reserve, the astounding Kalahari Basin, and the salt pans of the ancient Lake Makgadikgadi. These beautiful wonders of nature are an absolute delight to experience!
The Moremi Game Reserve
The Moremi Game Reserve is a wonderful National Park located on the eastern side of the Okavango Delta. It offers tourists the wonderful opportunity of exploring the area, spotting rare wildlife and bird watching. The Game Reserve is home to almost four hundred species of birds and a vast variety of other wild beasts including giraffe, African wild dogs, lions, leopards, red lechwe and jackals. The diversity of the area gives rise to some startlingly unexpected contrasts combining the permanent waters with the drier areas. The Game Reserve offers fantastic views of the Savannah and provides ample opportunity to tourists for observing the wildlife of the region. Being eco-friendly, the Reserve follows the policy of high yield but low impact quite strictly. It offers tourists various means of transportation such as a 4X4 vehicle and a Mokoro (which is a sort of canoe) for exploring the area. It also allows tourists to go exploring on foot with their personal guide. Game viewing at the Moremi Game Reserve reaches its peak around the months of July to October.
The Kalahari Basin
The Okavango Delta is almost an oasis of sorts in the giant Kalahari Desert. Located in the Kalahari Basin, Because of Africa’s suitable position near the equator it has remained largely unaffected by the ice ages and thus has faced much less extinction than what other places like Europe might have faced. This has led to an astonishingly large and thriving diversity of flora and fauna. The Okavango Delta located in the Kalahari Basin itself has as many different species of trees as the whole of Western Europe, perhaps. This comparison shows us truly how diverse the region is and how much the tourists visiting are to gain from this natural beauty.
The remains of Lake Makgadikgadi
Lake Makgadikgadi was an ancient lake that once occupied a large part of the Kalahari Basin. Many great rivers drained into this lake but about 50,000 years ago a great number of factors caused most of the rivers to change their course and this in turn drained the lake. Only the Okavango river continued to pour into the lake. Later on even the Okavango river was forced to change its course leaving Lake Makgadikgadi to dry up into the largest salt pan complex in the world. Today these wonderful white salt pans are almost the size of Switzerland! With its beautiful salt pans spread out over a vast area, the tourists are sure to be mesmerized by the beauty of this place.
Flora and Fauna of Okavango Delta
Despite being a popular tourist destination, the Okavango Delta region of Botswana is a permanent as well as a seasonal home to an astonishingly large variety of birds, animals and fishes. The Delta boasts of having over four hundred different species of birds in the region including the remarkable African Fish Eagle, Crested Crane, Lilac-breasted Roller, Hammerkop, and Sacred Ibis. This extremely diverse collection of birds is almost a delicacy for keen bird watchers.
The inland delta region has a diverse marine life with about seventy one different species of fish including the revered tiger fish, Tilapia and also catfish. It also has the privilege of hosting some of the most marvellous and majestic animals of all time including African Bush Elephant, African Buffalo, Hippopotamus, Lechwe, Tsessebe, Sitatunga, Cheetah, Springbok, Greater Kudu, Sable Antelope, and of course the Chacma Baboon. Much of the region’s wildlife is endemic to the region.
With such a diverse range of animals, the plant life here is also very flourishing. With Papyrus and reeds occupying most of the region, many other types of grass and roots grow in this region. The plants are quite helpful in providing much needed cohesion to the sand in the Delta region.
Truly the Okavango Delta region of Botswana is full of life and tourists shall not be disappointed by the amazing diversity that our planet can provide with in just one small piece of land.