The Okavango Delta is the
worlds largest inland delta ending in the sand plains of the Kalahari. The Okavango Delta
has a total surface of 15.000 kmē. The third largest river on the African
continent, the Okavango River, ends here. The source of the river is in the
Angolan Highlands meandering away from the Atlantic Ocean, through the
Caprivi Strip and eventually ending in a delta of lakes, lagoons and a
labyrinth of channels. The entire delta contains 95% of the surface water
from the entire Botswana.
The permanent water
supply makes the region an excellent habitat for grazing animals and water
birds. The presence of grazers logically attracts many carnivores.
The water is flowing slowly to the Okavango after the
annual rainfall in Angola and together with the water, fertile sediment is
coming to the region which stayed behind for many centuries.
Not all safari lodges can be reached by normal passenger
vehicle but only by 4x4 vehicles which requires some experience to drive
through the region. In other cases, lodges can only be reached by boat or
Moremi Game Reserve
The ideal period to visit
the Moremi Reservere are the dry winter months between July and September.
It is during this season that the pans are drying out and because of that
game is gathering around the few pools left. Game viewing is done by
traditional 4x4 safari vehicle, motorboat or canoe.
The reserve had in 1976 a surface of 3800 kmē, in de 1990's
another 1050 kmē was added to the reserve, wherefrom 20% Okavango Delta. The
reserve can be reached from Maun and further in the northeast into the
direction of Shorobe along a tarred road which ends up into a gravel road.
The road becomes a deep 4x4 sand track past the Buffalo Fence and goes
between mopane and acacia woodland. On less than 100 km from Maun, visitors
reach finally the Moremi Game Reserve.
Chobe National Park
World famous reserve, found
in the 1960's and has the reputation to be the capital city from the African
elephant. The reserve is the home of the largest elephant, zebra and lion
population on the African continent, living in huge grasslands from the
The question raise in 1931
to stop the intensive hunting by founding a reserve. One year later, an area
of 24.000 kmē was proclaimed to be a nature reserve. Another 31600 kmē was
added to the reserve in 1933 and by 1960 the name Chobe Game Reserve was
given. Chobe becomes in 1967 the first national park in Botswana. The last
human settlements were removed by 1975 and in the 1980's another 10.500 kmē
is added to the reserve. Chobe is
a complex eco system from plains and forest from the Srondela in the
northeast, the Savuti in the west, the Lynyanti Swamp in the northeast and
the dry plains in the central area.
The dramatic annual zebra and
wildebeest migration during the rain season is very spectacular. Once the
water supply is dried out, the thousands of animals migrate back to the
permanent water supply in the north. The Chobe water supply is attracting
thousands of elephants and buffalo during the dry season. About 120.000 elephants live in Chobe,
the most dense population on our planet with about 5 elephants per 5 kmē.
The elephant population in the region is even 3 times higher than human
population in the area. The enormous elephant population (the elephants in
the reserve are the largest in Africa) brings a lot of ecological problems,
the pressure on the land is so high that scientists will have to take
measurements to prevent total destruction of the landscape.
Kgalagadi Trans-Frontier Park
The reserve is an
international agreement between South Africa and Botswana. It is the largest
conservation area in the world. The Mabuasehube and Gemsbok National Park in
Botswana were melted together with the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park on
South African soil. This project reaching of both frontiers has a total
38.000 kmē. It is possible for visitors to migrate through both areas due to
the international agreements between both countries.
The reserve is situated on 850 km
southwest of the capital Gaborone and can be reached via the tarred road to
Tsabong (about 550 km) and then further via another 310 km tarred road.
Another road is from Gaborone to Hukuntsi on tarred roads (530 km) and
further via a 171 sand road to the park. A 4x4 vehicle is recommended for
Thanking Britannica for the above map.
Centraal Kalahari Game Reserve
The reserve is one of the
largest conservation areas in Afrika and the second largest in the world
with a surface reaching 52.800 kmē.
Typical for the area is the flowering after the annual
rainfall between November and beginning March. The rainfall is on average
between 170 to 700 mm. Visitors are recommended to have good driving
experience with a 4x4 vehicle during this season, one has also to take care
for own comfort, firewood, drinking water and food supply. The best period
of the year to visit the region is between December and April.
1971 declared nature reserve has a total surface of 2500 kmē. Typical
for the region is dry savannah plains.
reserve can be reached via Gaborone and Molepolole via a 210 km
long tarred and gravel road. Visitors leave the tarred road near the Lethakeng Village
(which has also the last petrol station). The area is bordering the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
A 4x4 vehicle is a must.
Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans became famous because of Dr.
David Livingstone. The Makgadikgadi and Xxai Pan National Park have an
estimate surface of 12.000 kmē. The region is famous for its annual revival
after the summer rains and the enormous baobab trees. A 4x4 vehicle
is a must.
The Makgadikgadi is technically not a single pan
but many pans with sandy desert in between, the largest being the Sua,
Nwetwe and the Nxai Pans. The largest individual pan is about 1,900 sq miles
(4.921 kmē). In comparison, Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is a single salt flat
of 4,100 sq miles (10.619 kmē), rarely has water, and is generally claimed
to be the world's largest salt pan.
At Makgadikgadi, the dry
salty clay crust is seaonally covered with water and grass, and are then a
refuge for birds and animals in this very arid part of Botswana. The main
water source is the Nata River, called Amanzanyama in Zimbabwe.
Click on the PDF image for a tourist destination map of Botswana