South Western Okavango

Okavango Makoro. Ian Michler

The Okavango Delta in Botswana is renowned for its exceptional beauty but even in the Delta itself are areas that redefine our understanding of wilderness and environment.

The south western Okavango Delta, also referred to as the seasonal delta, shows dramatic changes in physical attributes over the seasons, with grasslands changing to shallow waterlogged plains during the dry season before reverting back to grassland with the receding of the flood.

Okavango journals: the lioness stopped and scanned the floodplains, her shape cut against the grass and etched golden against the late afternoon sun. A hint of wonder washed over me as I realised that in a few days the grass plain would be covered with water from the flood ......

Wonders of wilderness

It is here on the south western floodplains of the Okavango Delta that some say the Creator produced his finest work. Here the natural beauty is overpowering - around every treeline and behind every island is a new wonder.

The vegetation may be similar in each view but it is in the way that it is presented that awes and it is here where the wonder of the flooding of the Okavango Delta is best illustrated. The seasons provide dramatic changes but each change enhances the beauty of the season before

There is no better place that shows the drama of the seasons of the Okavango than the south western floodplains. It is here where the water drains away before and after the rainy season and then floods the plains again in the dry season.

The flooding and drying of the Okavango Delta varies from year to year, and in some seasons of excessive local rain the floodplains may fill up, but generally the cycles work to the flooding of the delta in the dry season.

Natural wonder of the world

Wildlife is plentiful in the Okavango Delta and the natural beauty astounding, and it could be for these reasons that the most dramatic feature of this unique wilderness has been overlooked until recently. The annual flooding of the delta is surely one of the most dramatic natural occurrences on earth.

The phenomenon is gaining the recognition it deserves through documentaries and print articles but it has to be experienced first-hand for the full impact to be appreciated. Visitors to the Okavango Delta never leave unchanged by the time they spend in this wonderland of islands and channels, wildlife and fascinating plants.By Leigh Kemp
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