Okavango Delta Safari Botswana, Cruises, Game Drives & Cost
The Okavango Delta is located in Botswana, it’s a recognized World Heritage Site covering about 15,000 sq km with a unique ecosystem of islands, lagoons, rich savannah grasslands, papyrus waterways, and water channels hence it ranks among Africa’s richest wilderness sanctuaries with a large concentration of wildlife ranging from bird species and common mammals to the rare ones not spotted in most places like the wild dogs, Sitatungas and the wattled crane.
The Delta has some of Africa’s best safari camps with best game viewing spots. It is under the management of the Moremi Game Reserve and other privately owned wildlife concessions. This area hosts big numbers of buffaloes, elephants, hippos, lions, giraffes, zebras among others. In fact it is a great predator paradise hence it is home to the wild dogs and the leopard.
When to visit the Okavango
As you choose the time to visit the Okavango Delta Botswana, you should learn more about the Delta’s seasonal nature and the kind of activities to engage in during particular seasons. During the wet season between June and August, it’s a great time for canoeing and boating safaris, hence visitors enjoy game viewing.
During the dry season from September and October, visitors can also enjoy game viewing since most animals because of thirst migrate and concentrate on the borders of the Delta, in fact it is worth to visit Moremi Game Reserve during this time.
From November all through to April, it is a rainy summer and in this time birders could visit the Okavango Delta, this not only makes the Okavango rich bird watching destination but an extraordinary one.
Things to do in the Okavango
Game Drive Safaris
The Okavango offers some of Africa’s best safari game drives in Africa. This applies whether the drive is in vehicles, on top of an elephant or on a horseback. Thousands of mammals and big numbers of bird species are found in this region; this is a natural Predator’s paradise.
But you have to note that the availability of game drives in the region are the different camps depend on various factors; the season and the location of the camp. Some people have enjoyed these drives in both dry and wet seasons and everyone has their experiences.
You can also enjoy night game drives where you can see nocturnal animals such as Leopards, Aardwolves, Servals and Aardvarks, also Lions can be seen at night while on a hunt.
What you can’t miss out while in the Okavango Delta Botswana are the Mokoro rides. The excursions are boat trips along the Delta shallow lagoons and channels. The boats are traditionally made and called the Mokoros locally; they are handcrafted from the large delta trees. An excursion on a Mokoro is one of the best ways to view game.
The fact that they are traditional boats, they are not motorized hence give you change to sail silently through channels and also get to closer range with wildlife such as elephants, hippos, Sitatungas, crocodiles, Lechwe among others.
This is the perfect way to see wildlife and reach in some areas of the Okavango where vehicles can’t reach. They are organized at the Macatoo Camp and are guided by experienced guides. While on the horseback safari you get chance to move around with Lechwes, giraffes and zebras.
These safaris are really unforgettable as you ride through the incredible pathways of the delta. Much as some animals mentioned above are less threatened by a fellow four-legged animal among them, it doesn’t mean predators can’t attack, so keep focused and follow the guide’s instructions. These safaris are sally carried out on the seasonal floodplains in the south western regions of the Okavango Delta.
Walking through the Okavango is one of the incredible ways of to see amazing sceneries and different islands. You are led out with an armed experienced tour guide. These walks usually begin early morning before it becomes so hot. During the walk you can come across loins and elephants plus different beautiful bird species.
Most “water camps” in the Okavango give game viewing opportunities by motor boats. While on the boating safari you are able to see the Okavango in almost all angels. Though in most cases, some animals are scared by the sound of the motor boat. These boats are also used in case you want to connect from one camp to another.
Back in the 198’s elephant back safaris were introduced in the Okavango Delta in the Abu region. Over the years these safaris of riding on the elephant backs were phased out since there were concerns about animal welfare. Today, most lodges offer education and interaction services with elephants. This is a great experience that gives tourists chance to learn about the elephants; interact play, and feed them hence understanding their natural behaviors.
After viewing the Okavango delta on land, it is still worth it if you have stunning views of the regions in the air. While on the helicopter safari you are able to see the various waterways and islands. You can also schedule a helicopter flight to and from your lodge. However to have the best views of all the game its better you also take a helicopter flight.
Fishing is done as a sport where it is done on a “catch and release basis”. Not all camps offer fishing activities but some do. So while on a safari in the Okavango Delta region you can get a chance of catching a big Tilapia or a tiger fish.
What to Pack for Okavango Safaris
In most cases, casual-comfortable clothing is advisable and is the best all year round. Below are some of the essential things to carry for the safari;
Shorts and T-shirts
Safari jeans or trousers (to be won on cooler days and in the evenings)
Long sleeved blouses
Comfortable safari walking shoes
Sunglasses, hats, sunblock creams, insect repellent and lip balm
Warm jacket or a sweater(cold nights and mornings)
Raincoat (should be compact and light)
During wet seasons you could pack a scarf and gloves
Carry/wear a comfortable bra (for the ladies because the weather tends to be hot hence feeling uncomfortable.
Please note that, you can also plan to have a honeymoon safari in the Okavango Delta, you are still in position to enjoy undiluted romance in the Delta’s incredible locations.
Cost of an Okavango Delta Safari Botswana
many people visiting this Delta frequently ask ‘how much it will cost to enjoy a safari on the Okavango Delta’, well this question does not have a straight forward answer as there are a number of factors that affect the cost of this safari as briefly talked about below.
Safari Hotel Cost
Fortunately Botswana offers a variety of options for holidaymakers visiting the delta and the Okavango Delta Lodges hotels varying from the more budget friendly options such as camping where you will not enjoy luxuries like hot running water for your shower or even a flush toilet. This normally offers accommodation in basic dome-tents and you will need to pack the basics you need. Full participation camping (including cooking and cleaning) ranges from $150 to $200, while semi-participation may range from $200 to $300. basic camping on the other hand basic camping that offers a wild African bush experience while at the same time offering great comfort to holidaymakers with en-suit bathrooms with hot water and other luxuries like a dedicated chef range from $350 to $450. For the bigger spenders, they can opt for either tented camps or permanent lodges and this more comfortable and luxurious option ranges from $400 to $3,850.
The lodging style of accommodation can be divided into 4 main categories and these include:
|category||Cost per person in US Dollars ($)
|2 Star Lodging||$350 – $450
|3 Star Lodging||$450 – $650
|4 Star Lodging||$500 – $950
|5 Star Lodging||$1,500 – $3,850
Self guide or guided safari Cost?
Okavango Delta can be explored on either a guided or a self guided safari, however the most cost friendly way to do so is by taking a self-guided expedition that will require you to rent a good 4WD vehicle. The okavango safari costs US$250 – US$350 per day, however you will have to include the cost of fuel, conservation taxes and park fees. The guided safaris are more costly but are more convenient and enjoyable as you will simply sit in the car and driven around by guides who are knowledgeable of the area.
Means of Transport to the Okavango Delta
There are 2 major access points into the Delta and these include Kasane in the north and Maun in the south. Most of the Delta can be accessed by 4WD vehicles and land transfers depart from Maun as per most itineraries offered by tour companies as a cheap means of transport. On the other hand, you can opt for a fly-in depending on your safari budget. The Maun Okavango Delta Flights differ in prices ranging from US$150 to US$400 depending on the distance of your flight. Although expensive, it’s a more convenient and time consuming option.
Activities to engage in
there is a diversity of safari activities you can enjoy in the Okavongo and each of these costs differently so this will in the long run will affect the total cost of your safari as highlighted below
|Activity||Cost per Day in US Dollars|
|Okavango Makoro Safari Costs||$150 to $180|
|Okavango Motorized boat Safari Costs||$150 to $180|
|Okavango Scenic flight Safari Costs||From $120|
|Okavango Game viewing drive Safaris Costs||$150 to $200|
|Bird watching Safaris in Okavango Costs||$430 to $450|
|Photographic Safaris||$430 to $450|
|Fishing tours||$400 to $700|
|Horse riding tours||$600 to $1,000|
Area of the Delta to visit
Because the delta is generally a wide area, you will realize that some areas like in the south are dry in the dry season while others are still flooded. So depending on what you want to do, this while determine which areas to explore. The Moremi Game reserve / National park found on the eastern side ad covers an area of 500 sq makes up nearly 70% of the delta’s eastern side. This reserve is ideal for both self-guided and guided safaris and more budget friendly accommodation including camping grounds.
On the other hand, the rest of the Delta is comprised of private concessions that can only be accessed by with a boat or lightweight aircrafts. As a result accommodation in such areas is more costly and it may cost between $1,500 to $3,850 depending on the time of year you visit as well as the type of accommodation you use.
Time of the year you visit
It is very important to understand the Okavango Delta Weather when going on a safari there. From November to April, the northern part of Botswana is experiencing the wet season with a lot of water in the delta as a result of the afternoon thunder proceeded by sunshine. From mid May to mid September, the dry season kicks-in and the Delta is normally flooded around this time. On the other hand, the tourism season can be divided into 4 major seasons that include: the peak safari season from July to end of October when there are several tourists since the delta is flooded and makoro activities are in high gear (safaris are very expensive). the shoulder season starts from beginning of April to end of June as well as from start of November all through to end of month; at this time temperatures are bearable, prices about 75% of those in the peak season and the crowds are fewer. From beginning of December to end of March, the low / off-peak tourist season sets in with safari rated nearly half those in the peak season. It is generally raining and the temperatures are high with very few tourists in the delta.