Best time to visit the Okavango Delta

Best time to go to the Okavango Delta


The Nov-Mar "green season" is wonderful, as afternoon storms clear the air and refresh the yellow landscape. It’s low season, so you may be able to bag a bargain – wildlife is scarcer, but baby antelope abound. The water takes six months to reach the delta so dry May-Aug see floods on an epic scale. Wildlife flocks here as the desert dries out; this is also the best time to go to the Okavango Delta for a mokoro canoe trip. May-June are chilly, but Oct is stifling, with dust clouds waiting to be dispersed by summer rains.

Things to do in the Okavango Delta


Things to do

The Okavango Delta – as well as Linyanti – has several walking trails which you can explore with licensed (and armed) local guides. This is a truly heart-racing way to explore the delta and track the Big Five – your senses will be on red alert!
Mokoro boat rides are another option for getting up close to wildlife. Float along its reed channels, poled by a local guide, at eye-level with hippos, crocs and abundant birdlife. These streamlined dugout canoes are virtually silent – so cause little disturbance.
It’s not all about the Big Five… more than 400 species make the Okavango Delta an exceptional spot for birders. The large Pel’s fishng owl can be seen during the day, roosting in riverbank trees. Look out, too, for endangered wattled cranes and the kori bustard – Africa’s largest flying bird.

Things not to do

Elephant rides have long been a feature of holidays in SE Asia – but we were pretty surprised to discover that elephant back safaris are taking off in Botswana, too. There is no long history of captive, working elephants in Africa – this industry has sprung up purely to please tourists. If you’re wondering how they tame the world’s largest land animal, the answer is: brutally. Avoid it.
Hug a cub, walk with lions… sadly, interacting with these cuddly cats is not quite as cute as we’d like to think. Habituated lions can rarely be released into the wild – so once they become too big to play with they may well end up being sold onto lucrative canned hunting reserves – where they’ll be shot. Don’t fuel the trade by paying to play.
Botswana really knows how to do luxury – it has some of the world’s most exclusive lodges. While comfort is good – this is your holiday after all – once you get to the gold taps and grand piano stage, it all just gets a bit silly. You’ll be so immersed in your desert palace, you’ll miss the real five star treat: your wonderful wilderness surroundings.

Okavango Delta travel advice


Responsible travel trips

Award-winning travel writer Emma Gregg shares her Botswana travel advice: “Don’t be disappointed if you book a trip in a mokoro – the Okavango Delta’s answer to the Oxbridge punt – and your craft turns out to be made of fibreglass instead of the more traditional hollowed out sausage tree wood. Tourism has created an unprecedented demand for mokoros, and as wooden ones only last five years, mature sausage trees are now rare. Fibreglass provides a viable alternative.”
Louise de Waal, from our supplier Baobab Travel: “Remember that all waste has to be removed from the safari destinations – there is a huge amount of waste that they have to transport out of the national parks and then put into landfill. One thing you can do is limit the amount of bottles you use. If a lodge offers bottled water, it will be absolutely safe to drink, so refill bottles instead of buying new ones.”

Travelling in the
green season

Bruce Taylor, founder of our supplier Sunway Safaris, describes his best time to go to the Okavango Delta: "I enjoy the green season, from December to April, because there's no dust. The beauty of the rains in Botswana is that they’re generally late afternoon thunderstorms that come rolling through then pass on, so you can still have gloriously sunny days. The rain cools things down a bit, there are a lot of young animals around and all the migratory birds are in the Okavango at this time – and they’re spectacular."

Getting around on foot

Richard Madden, author of the Telegraph’s Bush Telegraph column: “Bush walking adds another dimension to the safari experience. Walks are often offered instead of game drives and you will be accompanied by an armed guide with a special walking licence.”
If you'd like to chat about Okavango Delta or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Rosy & team

01273 823 700

Okavango Delta travel advice


At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.
We have selected some of the most useful Okavango Delta travel advice that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your holiday - and the space inside your suitcase.

"Don't take too many clothes - you can rinse clothes out easily overnight or use lodge laundry services. I could easily have had just 2 sets and alternated and taken one set of something else for a night out. Torch very useful and a small powerful binoculars a must - so much to see." - Rachel Guinee

"Tipping is expected and so it is advisable to carry small denomination notes. Dollars, Pula or Sterling are all acceptable. There is little opportunity for changing travellers cheques." - Janet Hammond

"Don't be scared of the animals! Listen to the guides - they are very knowledgeable and help to bring the whole thing to life. Ask questions. Understand how it all fits together. Warm layers for the cool evenings. Take lots of memory cards for your camera. Don't forget your anti malerials. Go with the flow and enjoy Africa time. Enjoy the camping." - it's the best way to be close to it all. - Colin Pilkington
Photo credits: [Temp chart background: Lawrence Murray] [Emma Gregg: Ross Huggett] [Bruce Taylor quote: cloudzilla] [Review 1 - Louis Carroll: Mario Micklisch] [Review 2 - Sigrid Pach: Justin Hall]
Written by Vicki Brown
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