The Okavango Delta is a region in Botswana. It is a very large, swampy inland delta formed where the Okavango River reaches a tectonic trough in the central part of the endorheic basin of the Kalahari. The scale and magnificence of the Okavango Delta helped it secure a position as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.
The Okavango Delta, one of the most incredible wilderness sanctuaries in Africa, is 15 000 square kilometers of water channels, lagoons, and islands. Each year, floodwaters flow from the central African highlands over 1 000 km away into the Delta to create this wondrous wetland within a desert.
All the water reaching the Delta is ultimately evaporated and transpired, and does not flow into any sea or ocean. It is home to large numbers of wildlife from common mammals and birdlife to those that are not often seen elsewhere, such as sitatunga, wild dog, and wattled crane.
Interesting Facts About Okavango Delta
- The Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta system in the world, an extraordinary oasis of life and verdant flora in the midst of the arid, red Kalahari.
- The Okavango Delta is situated in the far northwest of Botswana, near the border of Namibia’s Caprivi region.
- The 5 000 square kilometers ( 1900 square miles) of eastern side of the Delta is officially protected as the Moremi Game Reserve, which is linked to the Chobe National Park.
- The high temperature of the delta causes rapid transpiration and evaporation, resulting in a cycle of rising and falling water level that was not fully understood until the early 20th century.
- Every year, approximately 11 cubic kilometers (11,000,000,000,000 liters) of water flow into the delta. Approximately 60% is consumed through transpiration by plants, 36% by evaporation, 2% percolates into the aquifer system; and 2% flows into Lake Ngami.
- Headwaters from the western highlands of Angola and various tributaries form the Cubango River, which enters the Caprivi region of Namibia, and then becomes known as the Kavango River.
- Daytime temperatures at this time of year are mild to warm, but the temperature begins to fall after sunset. Nights can be surprisingly cold in the Delta, with temperatures barely above freezing.
- As the summer rainfall in the area is minimal, the Delta is sustained by the arrival of Angolan floodwaters each year. These floodwaters cross the Namibian and Botswana borders during December, and may only arrive in the southern reaches of the Delta during July.