A photographers guide to the Okavango Delta
Everything you need to know about this Unesco World Heritage Site
Okavango Delta Facts
The Okavango Delta (commonly referred to as the Delta), in Northern Botswana, was named the 1000th location on the UNESCO World Heritage List and one of a handful of delta ecosystems that do not flood into the sea. Instead, The Delta fills with rains from the Angolan Highlands to the north and dissipates into the sands of the Kalahari Desert ultimately evaporating as an inland delta. The Delta is very flat. In fact, the change in elevation across 15,000 km2 (5,800 sq miles) varies by only 2 metres.
The Delta is divided into areas of national parks, community concessions and private concessions held by safari companies on leases of approximately 20 years. The largest national park area is Moremi Game Reserve and Khwai is one of the largest community trusts. The Khwai Community Concession is situated in the extreme northeast of the Okavango Delta and is controlled by the local communities of Khwai through the Khwai Development Trust.
Photographic highlights along the Okavango River
Photographing Red Lechwe antelope running through the wetlands is a truly iconic Delta image to get as is a large predator, like a lion or cheetah, making the most of a termite mound to survey its surroundings before initiating a hunt.
With there being lots of wide-open spaces in the Okavango Delta large game is easier to find and photograph with creamy smooth backgrounds normally consisting of treelines of the patches of forest.
The Okavango Delta is home to several packs of wild dogs, Africa’s most successful predators, and there is no more exhilarating experience than following a pack on a hunt. The African wild dog tends to set off in the late afternoon and spread out to identify a potential target before calling in the other members of the pack to chase their quarry down. The “kill” is often brutal but mercifully quick but it is their coordinated attack and strategy that will leave you mesmerised.
Landscapes, particularly with subject matter within the frame, are magical especially when piqued by recognisable shapes such as the palm trees which are unique to The Delta. This is even more true at sunset and sunrise.
With a continuous human presence from safari guests and rangers in The Delta, the animals tend to be very relaxed and habituated. Most guides will know some of the resident big cats and the best ways to approach and position them when within their territories.
Where is the Okavango Delta
The Botswana Okavango Delta is a large low gradient alluvial fan more commonly known as an ‘Inland Delta’ and is found in north-western Botswana. The area includes permanent swamps which cover approximately 600,000 ha along with up to 1.2m ha of seasonally flooded grasslands. The islands, channels, river banks, flood plains, oxbow lakes and lagoons constantly change depending on seasonal rains and water resources. The annual flooding of the Okavango river and fascinating river systems account for the deltas’ abundant wildlife and water birds. There truly is something for everyone here.
Okavango Delta Map, Southern Africa
A detailed map of waterways of the Okavango. You can clearly see the abundance of channels, lagoons and the core area of the river. When you’re at one of the lodges don’t forget to ask your guide about conservation and the cultural heritage of the Okavango. The information about this region is incredible and definitely something to talk about around the campfire. You’ll without a doubt hear stories of lion, elephants and the wilderness.
Get an inside look at all of our tips and tricks here at Pangolin Photo Safaris! You’ll find information on Botswana, personal camera gear advice as well as side by side safari comparisons and so much more.