Heed the call of the wild in the Okavango Delta

Welcome to the world’s largest inland delta. Made up of maze-like waterways, flooded grasslands and lily pad-covered lagoons, the Okavango is a haven for wildlife. In fact, it boasts some of the best game viewing in Africa. One of the best ways to spot some of the local wildlife residents is aboard a traditional dugout canoe with a local poler. Keep an eye out for giraffes munching on vegetation, elephants splashing around in the shallows or even a pod of hippos hanging out in the plains. The fun doesn't stop when the sun sets—fall asleep to the croaks, rattles and chirps of African critters at a campsite nestled deep in the wilderness.

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Okavango Delta safari highlights

Travellers cruising through the Okavango Delta on a traditional mokoro

Marvel at the delta on a mokoro

Hop aboard a mokoro (traditional dugout canoe) to cruise the Okavango Delta's lush wetlands with an expert local poler. As you paddle through the snaking waterways (read: hippo highways), keep your eyes peeled – and have your camera ready – for elephants, antelope, rhinos and warthogs among other large game. This incredible ecosystem is also home to many smaller critters, including exotic birds and frogs.

A group of travellers sat around a campfire in the Okavango Delta bush

Camp on a remote island

It's not every day you can camp on a remote island in one of the world's best game parks. There might not be electricity or running water, but this doesn't matter when you have front-row seats to the Okavango sunset and the ambient sounds of the African bush to sing you to sleep – wait, is that grunting noise a hippo or your fellow camper snoring?! If camping's not your thing, you might like to stay on a houseboat.

A group of travellers on a morning bush walk with a local guide in the the Okavango Delta

Discover the wonders of sunrise

The early bird catches the worm – or in this case, elephants and maybe Cape buffalo! Wake up before the crack of dawn for a sunrise walk on one of the many Islands in the Delta Panhandle. Listen to the birds chirp as the sun gradually peeks over the plains, watch wildebeests grazing on the grass and keep a lookout for lion paw prints in the dirt. How's that for a wake-up call.

A hippo submerged in the flood plains in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

Say hey to a hippo

Grab a sundowner and get ready to get up close (but not personal) to one of the largest land mammals on the planet. Weighing in at two tonnes, seeing a pod of hippos may, quite literally, take your breath away. They spend most of their days bathing in the water and come out when the sun sets to graze on the vegetation in the flood plains. You'll probably hear their loud honking noises before you see them.

Okavango Delta tour reviews

Okavango Delta FAQs

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises). However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid's COVID-19 policy

The Okavango Delta is a year-round safari destination, but the best game viewing is generally considered to be from May to September during the dry winter months. It's usually easier to spot animals as vegetation is thinner. The wet season sees thicker vegetation and animals dispersing across the park, however, there's still a high concentration of wildlife. If you like birds, the wet season is a birdwatcher's paradise.

We can’t guarantee you’ll spot the Big 5, but you’d have to be profoundly unlucky to see no animals at all. On our Okovango safaris, you’ll have front-row seats to some of the best game viewing in the world. This protected reserve is filled with a huge variety of species and your expert driver and local leader will be on hand to point you in the right direction (literally).

The “Big 5” used to refer to the five big game animals that were the most difficult to hunt. Now that most shooting is done on a camera, the Big 5 are the most exciting animals to spot while on safari: the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo.

Loose, light layers in neutral colours are the best attire for a safari (dark colours will get hot in the sun and can attract the Tsetse fly). You’ll also want a sun hat, some good walking shoes, a camera, sunscreen and bug spray. For more details, check out our ultimate Africa packing guide

It depends on the trip style you've chosen. On our Basix trips, you’ll have a cook travelling with you who'll whip up a variety of local and Western-style dishes. Along your route, your cook will stop to purchase fresh, locally sourced food for your meals. You can expect a variety of things for breakfast like fruit, eggs, toast and cereal; lunch is often sandwiches and salads; and dinner is usually a hearty meal like pasta, curry or a BBQ.

On our Original and Comfort trips there'll be more meals at camps and lodges along the way. One thing's for sure: you definitely won't be going hungry on safari!

Most of the permanent tented camps will have private bathrooms with flushing toilets and showers with warm water.

Many of the campsites we stay at have communal facilities with flushing toilets and showers with warm water. However, in some of the more remote areas, there may only be basic facilities (toilets and cold running water).

Some of our hotels and campsites will have Wi-Fi, however, internet and phone access may be limited in more remote areas. But you won’t think twice about emails and social media when you’re watching a pride of lions prowl through long grass or enjoying a drink around the campfire with your group.

We are committed to making travel accessible to everyone, so we will work with you to assess whether you will be able to complete an existing itinerary, or whether we will be able to make reasonable adjustments to meet your needs before you book. Please see our accessible travel page for more information. 

Read more about travel in Botswana