Fishing and Birding in the Okavango Panhandle

Seemingly meandering aimlessly across the northern wilderness of Botswana, the Okavango Panhandle is the waterway that carries all of the Delta's water from the north before spreading it out across the Kalahari in the area we know as the Okavango Delta.

Fishing and Birding in the Panhandle

The Okavango Panhandle is legendary for its fishing, and many visitors come from around the world to experience fishing in the Panhandle, but in safari circles it is not well known at all, and is often disregarded completely by those apparently in the know.The Panhandle is also one of those areas of northern Botswana that has been ignored due to the attractions of the other better known wilderness areas in Botswana, but in recent years more people, other than fishermen are starting to take notice.The Panhandle is now been marketed around its excellent birding and as offering a true Delta experience, with many safari companies now plying the river in houseboats and doing other water activities.

Panhandle activities

Fishing will always enjoy iconic status in the Panhandle, with the opportunity to hook into the Tiger fish, considered by many to be the greatest fighting fish in the world. Other popular fish are a number of species of bream and the ever popular catfish.Birding is one of the most popular activities on the Panhandle today, with most Birding safaris through Botswana stopping over for a few days to seek out some of the more than 350 known species that occur in the area.Makoros, or dugout canoes, are the traditional craft of the Okavango, and trips in these can be experienced on short or full day excursions, where the poler guides will share their experiences of growing up in the area with guests.Walks with a guide on the islands of the Panhandle can be organised to give a new perspective on the area and its ecology. The chance is there to see animals such as Hippo on these walks.Boating is a popular Panhandle activity, as it allows for the exploration of vast tracts of the area, and provides the opportunity to get to areas that are inaccessible in any other form of transport. Game of numerous types is often spotted on these boat trips, including Elephant and the shy Sitatunga Antelope.Houseboats are becoming more popular as a way to experience the Panhandle and there is certainly no more relaxing way to safari in Africa than cruising along a waterway and watching the wilderness pass by, whilst you sit on the deck of the boat sipping a refreshing drink.

Trips to Tsodilo Hills

The Sacred Hills of Tsodilo are within easy reach from most parts of the Panhandle and day trips in 4x4 vehicles can be organised. These hills are the sacred grounds of the Bushmen people and many consider them to be the birthplace of mankind.

Panhandle accommodation

From campsites and fishing lodges, the accommodations in the Okavango Panhandle have spread into an array of camps, lodges and houseboats providing something for all tastes and budgets.by Leigh Kemp
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