The Okavango is a labyrinth of lagoons, lakes and hidden channels covering an area of over 17,000 square km and the largest inland delta in the world. Trapped in the parched Kalahari sands it is a magnet for the wildlife who depend on the permanent waters of this unique feature.
Sometimes called a 'swamp', the Okavango is anything but. Moving, mysterious, placid, gentle and beautiful, from a wide and winding channel it spreads through tiny, almost unnoticeable channels that creep away behind a wall of papyrus reed, into an ever expanding network of increasingly smaller passages.
These link a succession of lagoons, islands and islets of various sizes, open grasslands and flooded plains in a mosaic of land and water. Palms and towering trees abound, throwing their shade over crystal pools, forest glades and grassy knolls.
The Okavango's water is remarkably clean and pure and this is almost certainly due to the fact that it passes through very sparsely populated areas on its journey from Angola.
Despite this, a staggering 660 000 tons of sediment a year are delivered to its great alluvial fan.
The overall length of the Delta from the border to the Thamalakane River is a little under 300kms and so the core of the Delta is approximately 200km from end to end.
In the lush indigenous forests of the delta and its islands, and along the floodplains spawned by this great marriage of water and sand, more than 400 species of birds flourish.
On the mainland and among the islands in the delta, lions, elephants, hyenas, wild dog, buffalo, hippo and crocodiles congregate with a teeming variety of antelope and other smaller animals - warthog, mongoose, spotted genets, monkeys, bush babies and tree squirrels.
Although fishing can take place anywhere in the Delta, if one wants it 'big, mean and fierce', the deeper and faster waters of the major fishing camps in the north of the Delta, in the Panhandle, are probably a better area.
Fishing, bird watching, game viewing, photography or simple relaxation; indulging any of these in the Okavango are experiences without parallel.
|Copyright@ 1997-2013 SA Places, P.O. Box 3422, Paarl, Western Cape, South Africa|