Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta (or Okavango Grassland) (formerly spelled "Okovango" or "Okovanggo") in Botswana is a swampy inland delta formed where the Okavango River reaches a tectonic trough in the central part of the endorheic basin of the Kalahari. All the water reaching the delta is ultimately evaporated and transpired, and does not flow into any sea or ocean. Each year, about 11 cubic kilometres (2.6 cu mi) of water spread over the 6,000–15,000 km2 (2,300–5,800 sq mi) area. Some flood waters drain into Lake Ngami.[2] The area was once part of Lake Makgadikgadi, an ancient lake that mostly dried up by the early Holocene. [3]

The Moremi Game Reserve, a National Park, is on the eastern side of the Delta. The Delta was named as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, which were officially declared on February 11, 2013, in Arusha, Tanzania.[4] On 22 June 2014, the Okavango Delta became the 1000th site to be officially inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.[5][6]

Okavango Delta
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Okavango Delta map
Map of the delta with basin boundary as dashed line
CriteriaNatural: vii, ix, x
Inscription2014 (38th Session)
Area2,023,590 ha
Buffer zone2,286,630 ha
Coordinates19°17′00″S 22°54′00″E / 19.28333°S 22.90000°E
Official nameOkavango Delta System
Designated12 September 1996
Reference no.879[1]
Okavango Delta is located in Botswana
Okavango Delta
Location of Okavango Delta in Botswana
Satellite image (SeaWiFS) of Okavango Delta, with national borders added
Typical region in the Okavango Delta, with free canals and lakes, swamps and islands



The Okavango is produced by seasonal flooding. The Okavango River drains the summer (January–February) rainfall from the Angola highlands and the surge flows 1,200 km (750 mi) in around one month. The waters then spread over the 250 by 150 km (155 by 93 mi) area of the delta over the next four months (March–June). 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. The flood peaks between June and August, during Botswana’s dry winter months, when the delta swells to three times its permanent size, attracting animals from kilometres around and creating one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of wildlife.

The delta is very flat, with less than 2 m (6 ft 7 in) variation in height across its 15,000 km2 (5,800 sq mi).[7]

Water flow

Every year, about 11 km3 (11,000 billion l; 2.6 cu mi; 2,900 billion US gal) of water flow into the delta. Roughly 60% is consumed through transpiration by plants, 36% by evaporation, 2% percolates into the aquifer system; and 2% flows into Lake Ngami. This turgid outflow means that the delta is unable to flush out the minerals carried by the river and is liable to become increasingly salty and uninhabitable. Water salinity is reduced by salt collecting around plant roots as most of the incoming water is transpired by plants. Peat fires might contribute to deposit salt into layers below the surface. The low salinity of the water also means that the floods do not greatly enrich the floodplain with nutrients.

Salt islands

The agglomeration of salt around plant roots leads to barren white patches in the centre of many of the thousands of islands, which have become too salty to support plants, aside from the odd salt-resistant palm tree. Trees and grasses grow in the sand around the edges of the islands that have not become too salty yet.

About 70% of the islands began as termite mounds (often Macrotermes spp.), where a tree then takes root on the mound of soil.

Chief’s Island

Chief’s Island, the largest island in the delta, was formed by a fault line which uplifted an area over 70 km long (43 mi) and 15 km wide (9.3 mi). Historically, it was reserved as an exclusive hunting area for the chief. It now provides the core area for much of the resident wildlife when the waters rise.


Okavango Delta
Aerial view of delta as floodwaters recede, August 2012

The Delta's profuse greenery is not the result of a wet climate; rather, it is an oasis in an arid country. The average annual rainfall is 450 mm (18 in) (approximately one third that of its Angolan catchment area) and most of it falls between December and March in the form of heavy afternoon thunderstorms.

December to February are hot wet months with daytime temperatures as high as 40 °C (104 °F), warm nights, and humidity levels fluctuating between 50 and 80%. From March to May, the temperature becomes far more comfortable with a maximum of 30 °C (86 °F) during the day and mild to cool nights. The rains quickly dry up leading into the dry, cold winter months of June to August. 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.

The September to November span has the heat and atmospheric pressure build up once more, as the dry season slides into the rainy season. October is the most challenging month for visitors - daytime temperatures often push past 40 °C (104 °F) and the dryness is only occasionally broken by a sudden cloudburst.


Cheetah at Sunset
A cheetah is silhouetted against a sunset in the delta

The Okavango delta is both a permanent and seasonal home to a wide variety of wildlife which is now a popular tourist attraction.[8]

Species include the African bush elephant, lion, wildebeest, hartebeest, sitatunga, springbok, common eland, kudu, duiker, steenbok, gemsbok, sable antelope, impala, roan antelope, Plains zebra, tsessebe, South African giraffe, red lechwe, African buffalo, ostrich,[9] hippopotamus,[10] black rhinoceros,[11] white rhinoceros, African wild dog, wattled crane[12] Nile crocodile,[13] cheetah,[14] African leopard, chacma baboon,[15] brown hyena, spotted hyena, common warthog and vervet monkey. The delta also hosts over 400 bird species, including African fish eagle, Pel's fishing owl, crested crane, lilac-breasted roller, hamerkop and sacred ibis.

The majority of the estimated 200,000 large mammals in and around the delta are not year-round residents. They leave with the summer rains to find renewed fields of grass to graze and trees to browse, then make their way back as winter approaches. Large herds of buffalo and elephant total about 30,000 beasts.

Since 2005, the protected area is considered a Lion Conservation Unit together with Hwange National Park.[16]


The Okavango Delta is home to 71 fish species, including tigerfish, tilapia, and various species of catfish. Fish sizes range from 1.4 m (4.6 ft) African sharptooth catfish to 3.2 cm (1.3 in) sickle barb. The same species are found in the Zambezi River, indicating an historic link between the two river systems.[17]


Lechwe antelopes
Small gathering of impala antelopes, Okavango Delta

The most populous large mammal is the lechwe antelope, with more than 60,000. It is a bit larger than an impala with elongated hooves and a water-repellent substance on their legs that enables rapid movement through knee-deep water. They graze on aquatic plants, and like the waterbuck, take to water when threatened by predators. Only the males have horns.


Papyrus and reed rafts make up a large part of the Okavango's vegetation. During the flood season, they float well above the sandy river bed with roots dangling free in the water. This gap between bed and roots is used as shelter by crocodiles. The plants of the delta play an important role in providing cohesion for the sand. The banks or levees of a river normally have a high mud content, and this combines with the sand in the river’s load to continuously build up the river banks. In the delta, because the clean waters of the Okavango contain almost no mud, the river’s load consists almost entirely of sand. The plants capture the sand, acting as the glue and making up for the lack of mud and in the process creating further islands on which more plants can take root.

This process is not important in the formation of linear islands. They are long and thin and often curved like a gently meandering river, because they are actually the natural banks of old river channels which over time have become blocked up by plant growth and sand deposition, resulting in the river changing course and the old river levees becoming islands. Due to the flatness of the Delta, and the large tonnage of sand flowing into it from the Okavango River, the floor of the delta is slowly but constantly rising. Where channels are today, islands will be tomorrow and then new channels may wash away these existing islands.[18]

Game lodges

Tented Lodge in the Okavango Delta
Tented Lodge in the Okavango-Delta

The Botswana Okavango Game Lodges (2011) cater to small numbers of guests, each one operating in its own private concession area. Many lodges have low environmental-effect policies.[19]


Guide, Okavango Delta
Hambukushu guide poles his makoro on delta floodwaters

The Okavango Delta peoples consist of five ethnic groups, each with its own ethnic identity and language. They are Hambukushu (also known as Mbukushu, Bukushu, Bukusu, Mabukuschu, Ghuva, Haghuva), Dceriku (Dxeriku, Diriku, Gciriku, Gceriku, Giriku, Niriku), Wayeyi (Bayei, Bayeyi, Yei), Bugakhwe (Kxoe, Khwe, Kwengo, Barakwena, G/anda) and ||anikhwe (Gxanekwe, //tanekwe, River Bushmen, Swamp Bushmen, G//ani, //ani, Xanekwe). The Hambukushu, Dceriku, and Wayeyi have traditionally engaged in mixed economies of millet/sorghum agriculture, fishing, hunting, the collection of wild plant foods, and pastoralism.

The Bugakhwe and ||anikwhe are Bushmen, who have traditionally practised fishing, hunting, and the collection of wild plant foods; Bugakhwe used both forest and riverine resources, while the ||anikhwe mostly focused on riverine resources. The Hambukushu, Dceriku, and Bugakhwe are present along the Okavango River in Angola and in the Caprivi Strip of Namibia, and small numbers of Hambukushu and Bugakhwe are in Zambia, as well. Within the Okavango Delta, over the past 150 years or so, Hambukushu, Dceriku, and Bugakhwe have inhabited the Panhandle and the Magwegqana in the northeastern Delta. ||anikhwe have inhabited the Panhandle and the area along the Boro River through the Delta, as well as the area along the Boteti River.

The Wayeyi have inhabited the area around Seronga as well as the southern Delta around Maun, and a few Wayeyi live in their putative ancestral home in the Caprivi Strip. Within the past 20 years many people from all over the Okavango have migrated to Maun, the late 1960s and early 1970s over 4,000 Hambukushu refugees from Angola were settled in the area around Etsha in the western Panhandle.

The Okavango Delta has been under the political control of the Batawana (a Tswana nation) since the late 18th century.[20] Led by the house of Mathiba I, the leader of a Bangwato offshoot, the Batawana established complete control over the delta in the 1850s as the regional ivory trade exploded.[21] Most Batawana, however, have traditionally lived on the edges of the delta, due to the threat that tsetse fly poses to their cattle. During a hiatus of some 40 years, the tsetse fly retreated and most Batawana lived in the swamps from 1896 through the late 1930s. Since then, the edge of the delta has become increasingly crowded with its growing human and livestock populations.

Flood-control bunds for flood recession cropping in the molapo of the Okavango, Botswana


After the flooding season, the waters in the lower parts of the delta, near the base, recede, leaving moisture behind in the soil. This residual moisture is used for planting fodder and other crops that can thrive on it. This land is locally known as molapo.

During 1974 to 1978, the floods were more intensive than normal and flood recession cropping was not possible, so severe food and fodder shortages occurred. In response, the Molapo Development Project was initiated. It protected the molapo areas with bunds to control the flooding and prevent severe flooding. The bunds are provided with sluice gates so the stored water can be released and flood recession cropping can start. [22]

Possible threats

The Namibian government has presented plans to build a hydropower station in the Zambezi Region, which would regulate the Okavango's flow to some extent. While proponents argue that the effect would be minimal, environmentalists argue that this project could destroy most of the rich animal and plant life in the Delta.[23] Other threats include local human encroachment and regional extraction of water in both Angola and Namibia.[24][25]

South African filmmaker and conservationist Rick Lomba warned in the 1980s of the threat of cattle invasion to the area. His documentary The End of Eden portrayed his lobbying on behalf of the delta.

See also


  1. ^ "Okavango Delta System". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  2. ^ Cecil Keen. 1997
  3. ^ T.S. McCarthy. 1993. The great inland deltas of Africa, Journal of African Earth Sciences, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 275-291
  4. ^ "Seven Natural Wonders of Africa – Seven Natural Wonders". sevennaturalwonders.org.
  5. ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "World Heritage List reaches 1000 sites with inscription of Okavango Delta in Botswana". whc.unesco.org. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  6. ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Twenty six new properties added to World Heritage List at Doha meeting". whc.unesco.org. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  7. ^ http://blog.africabespoke.com/okavango-delta-part-2/ Archived 19 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Okavango Delta
  8. ^ Bradley, John H. (October 2009). "Gliding in a Mokoro Through the Okavango Delta, Botswana". Cape Town to Cairo Website. CapeTowntoCairo.com. Retrieved 2009-11-10.
  9. ^ Mbaiwa, J.E. and Mbaiwa, O.I. (2006). The effects of veterinary fences on wildlife populations in Okavango Delta, Botswana. International Journal of Wilderness 12(3): 17−41.
  10. ^ McCarthy, T.S., Ellery, W.N. and Bloem, A. (1998). Some observations on the geomorphological impact of hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius L.) in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. African Journal of Ecology 36(1): 44−56.
  11. ^ Galpine, N.J. (2006). Boma management of black and white rhinoceros at Mombo, Okavango Delta—Some lessons. Ecologic Journal 7: 55−61.
  12. ^ Alonso, L. E. and Nordin, L.-A. (eds). (2003). A rapid biological assessment of the aquatic ecosystems of the Okavango Delta, Botswana: High Water Survey. RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment 27. Conservation International, Washington, DC.
  13. ^ Wallace, K.M. and Leslie, A.J. (2008). Diet of the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Journal of Herpetology 42(2): 361−368.
  14. ^ Klein, R. (2007). Status report for the cheetah in Botswana. Cat News Special Issue 1: 13−21.
  15. ^ Busse, C. (1980). Leopard and lion predation upon chacma baboons living in the Moremi Wildlife Reserve. Botswana Notes and Records: 15−21.
  16. ^ IUCN Cat Specialist Group (2006). Conservation Strategy for the Lion Panthera leo in Eastern and Southern Africa. IUCN, Pretoria, South Africa.
  17. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  18. ^ "Okavango Delta – Part 2 -". blog.africabespoke.com. Archived from the original on 19 July 2009. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 March 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  20. ^ Moanaphuti Segolodi, "Ditso Tsa Batawana," 1940. https://www.academia.edu/12170767/Ditso_Tsa_Batawana_by_Moanaphuti_Segolodi_1940
  21. ^ Barry Morton, "The Hunting Trade and the Reconstruction of Northern Tswana Societies after the Difaqane, 1838-1880," South African Historical Journal 36 (1997): 220-239. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02582479708671276
  22. ^ L.F. Kortenhorst et al., 1986. Development of flood-recession cropping in the molapo's of the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Published in Annual Report 1986, p. 8 – 19 International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement Wageningen, The Netherlands (public domain). On line: [1]
  23. ^ "FindArticles.com - CBSi". findarticles.com. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  24. ^ "Threats - Okavango Delta". www.okavangodelta.com. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  25. ^ "Chinese-Angolan project in Angola harvests over 1,200 tons of rice". 11 March 2016.


External links

Camp Okavango Airport

Camp Okavango Airstrip (ICAO: FBCO) is a private airstrip serving Camp Okavango, a safari camp in the Okavango Delta, in the North-West District of Botswana.


Gumare or Gomare is a rural village located in the North-West District of Botswana, near the Okavango Delta. The population of Gumare was 6,067 in 2001 census, but had risen to 8,532 iby the 2011 census.Gumare is served by Gumare Airport.

Four separate government institutions manage Ngamiland District:

District Council;

District Administration;

Tribal Administration;

Land Board.Maun serves as the administrative center of Ngamiland. Gumare is the administrative headquarters for the Okavango Delta Subdistrict, which has its own set of administrative institutions. Okavango's administrative boundary starts at Habu, including Qangwa and Xaixai up to Gudigwa. Its political boundary starts from Etsha 1 up to Gudigwa and this is different from education and agriculture. There are twenty-seven villages in the Okavango Sub-district, although the 2011 census only enumerates six: Daonara, Ditshiping, Jao, Katamaga, Morutsha, and Xaxaba.Okavango is really only one part of the remarkable Kalahari ecosystem. Okavango is set within a geographically unstable area of faults and regularly experiences land movements, tremors and quakes. Hence, its natural world with a landscape that is always changing and quite unpredictable. There are arid lands, swamps, channels, lagoons, grasslands, lakes and countless islands of various shape and size.

The predominant ethnic groups in the sub-district are Batawana, Bayei, Baherero and Bambukushu, and Basubiya. There are also the Banoka (River Bushman), Okavango's original inhabitants, and the Bakgalagadi and the Herero. Most groups form their settlements along the river, which they use for subsistence fishing and watering for livestock. They also plough the flood plains, growing maize and sorghum.

The major economic activities in the Okavango include tourism (although the tourist companies are predominantly owned by foreign companies), livestock rearing, handicrafts and small scale industries, and some agriculture. The Okavango Sub-district is largely rural with a population that is heavily dependent on farming for their daily needs. In 1975 a United Nations Development Project assisted villagers in Gumare and Etsha to develop their basket weaving skills into the renowned baskets from Botswana, an exportable product. Baskets and other small, high quality crafts were driven to Gaborone and exported from there to the United States and Europe for sale.

Like other districts in Botswana, the Okavango is faced with a serious challenge of high prevalence of HIV/AIDS among the communities.


Kavango may refer to:

Geographical features

Okavango River, a river in southwest Africa, which drains into the Okavango Delta

Okavango Delta, a delta in Botswana

Okavango Basin, an endorheic basin that includes the Okavango River and Okavango Delta.Administrative units

Kavango Region, a region of Namibia until 2013, when it was split into Kavango East and Kavango West

Kavango East, one of 14 regions of Namibia

Kavango West, one of 14 regions of NamibiaPeople and languages

Kavango people, an ethnic group inhabiting the Okavango region

Kavango languages, a group of languages that partially overlaps with the Kavango people

List of rivers of Angola

This is a list of rivers in Angola. This list is arranged by drainage basin, with respective tributaries indented under each larger stream's name.

List of rivers of Botswana

This is a list of rivers in Botswana. This list is arranged by drainage basin, with respective tributaries indented under each larger stream's name.

List of rivers of Namibia

This is a list of streams and rivers in Namibia, arranged geographically by drainage basin. There is an alphabetical list at the end.

Makgadikgadi Pan

The Makgadikgadi Pan (Botswana salt flats)(Tswana pronunciation [maqʰadiˈqʰaːdi]), a salt pan situated in the middle of the dry savanna of north-eastern Botswana, is one of the largest salt flats in the world. The pan is all that remains of the formerly enormous Lake Makgadikgadi, which once covered an area larger than Switzerland, but dried up several thousand years ago.

Moremi Game Reserve

Moremi Game Reserve is a protected area in Botswana. It lies on the eastern side of the Okavango Delta and was named after Chief Moremi of the BaTawana tribe. Moremi was designated as a game reserve, rather than a national park, when it was created. This designation meant that the BaSarwa or Bushmen that lived there were allowed to stay in the reserve.

Moremi Game Reserve covers much of the eastern side of the Okavango Delta and combines permanent water with drier areas, which create some startling and unexpected contrasts. Some prominent geographical features of the Reserve are Chiefs Island and the Moremi Tongue. In the Moremi Reserve one can experience excellent views of Savannah game as well as bird-watching on the lagoons. There are also thickly wooded areas, which are home to the Cape wild dog (Lycaon pictus pictus) and leopard. To the northeast lies the Chobe National Park which borders the Moremi Game Reserve.

Although just under 5,000 square kilometres (1,900 sq mi) in extent, it is a surprisingly diverse reserve, combining mopane woodland and acacia forests, floodplains and lagoons. Only about 30% of the reserve is mainland, with the bulk being within the Okavango Delta itself.

Moremi Game Reserve, although not one of the largest parks, presents insights and views even for the most experienced of travelers. It is home to nearly 500 species of bird (from water birds to forest dwellers), and a vast array of other species of wildlife including Cape buffalo, Angolan giraffe, black rhinoceros, lion, elephant, hippopotamus, zebra, cheetah, hyena, jackal, impala, and red lechwe. Cape wild dogs inhabit this reserve and have been the subject of a project run in the area since 1989; thus this species is often seen wearing collars emplaced by researchers. The Moremi area contains one of the most significant extant habitat areas for L. pictus.

Nature's Microworlds

Nature's Microworlds is a 2012 British nature documentary series. Produced by the BBC, the series is narrated by Steve Backshall and produced by Doug Mackay-Hope. There are thirteen thirty-minute episodes in the series, which was first broadcast on BBC Four. Each episode focuses on its eponymous region, exploring the wildlife of the microclimate found there: The featured ecosystems include the archipelago of volcanic islands known as the Galapagos, the grasslands of the Serengeti in Africa, the Amazon rainforest covering most of South America, the kelp forest located in California's Monterey Bay, the Okavango Delta where the Okavango River empties into a wetland surrounded by the Kalahari Desert, and the Arctic wilderness of the Svalbard archipelago.

Nokaneng Airport

Nokaneng Airport (ICAO: FBNN) is an airport serving the village of Nokaneng on the western edge of the Okavango Delta in Botswana. The runway is 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) southeast of the village.

Okavango Basin

The Okavango Basin is an endorheic basin found in southwestern Africa, which extends across portions of Angola, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The basin covers an area of 721,000 square kilometers.

The Okavango River is the chief stream in the basin. It is formed by the confluence of the Cubango and Cuito rivers, which originate on the Bihé Plateau of central Angola and flow southeast. The Cubango is joined just above its confluence with the Cuito by the Omatako River, which flows northeast from its origin in the Damaraland region of central Namibia. The Okavango continues through the Caprivi Strip of Namibia into Botswana, where it splits into a number of distributaries to form the Okavango Delta, a large inland delta that becomes a seasonally flooded grassland.

A series of salt pans lie in the lowest points of the basin, including the Nwako Pan south of the Okavango Delta and the vast Makgadikgadi Pan southeast of the Delta. At times of high flow, the Okavango spills into the Nwako Pan via the Xudum and Nhabe distributaries to replenish Lake Ngami, a saline lake, and into Lake Xau and the western end of the Makgadikgadi Pan via the Boteti distributary. The Mopipi Dam was built on the Boteti to provide water to the Orapa diamond mine.

The Selinda Spillway, also known as the Magweqana, Magwekwana or Magweggana, is a distributary channel that connects the Okavango Delta to the Cuando River, a tributary of the Zambezi. In periods of very high water in the Okavango, the water flows eastward towards the Cuando-Linyanti-System. The last time this happened was in August 2009 after 30 years of falling dry. In times of high water in the Kwando, the water can flow west from the Cuando towards the Okavango Delta, but often evaporates before it reaches the delta.

Other streams in the basin include the Eiseb, an intermittent stream that originates in Namibia's Herreroland and flows east into the Okavango Delta, and the Nata River, which originates in western Zimbabwe to flow into the eastern end of the Makgadikgadi Pan.

Okavango Delta region

Okavango Delta region is one of the subdistricts of Ngamiland District of Botswana.

Okavango River

The Okavango River (formerly spelled Okovango or Okovanggo) is a river in southwest Africa. It is the fourth-longest river system in southern Africa, running southeastward for 1,600 km (990 mi). It begins in Angola, where it is known by the Portuguese name Rio Cubango. Further south, it forms part of the border between Angola and Namibia, and then flows into Botswana, draining into the Moremi Game Reserve.

Before it enters Botswana, the river drops 4 m in a series of rapids known as Popa Falls, visible when the river is low, as during the dry season.Discharging to an endorheic basin, the Okavango does not have an outlet to the sea. Instead, it empties into a swamp in the Kalahari Desert, known as the Okavango Delta or Okavango Alluvial Fan. In the rainy season, an outflow to the Boteti River in turn seasonally discharges to the Makgadikgadi Pans, which features an expansive area of rainy-season wetland where tens of thousands of flamingos congregate each summer. Part of the river's flow fills Lake Ngami. Noted for its wildlife, the Okavango area contains Botswana's Moremi Game Reserve.

During colder periods in Earth's history, a part of the Kalahari was a massive lake, known as Lake Makgadikgadi. In this time, the Okavango would have been one of its largest tributaries.


Sankuyo is a small village in North-West District of Botswana. It is located close to Okavango Delta, and it has a primary school. The population of the village was 372 in 2001 census.

It is also the name of an organisation that runs several lodges in the okavango-delta. One of these lodges is Santawani.


Shakawe is a village located in the northwest corner of Botswana at the beginning of the Okavango Delta, close to Namibia and Angola. Shakawe is awakening from its former status as a sleepy little outpost on the Okavango. For travellers, Shakawe means a Botswana entry or exit stamp or a staging post for a visit to the Tsodilo Hills, 40 km away. For Southern African holiday-makers, it is most often the start of a fishing trip in the Okavango Panhandle. It also provides access to the Caprivi Strip.

Shakawe Airport

Shakawe Airport (IATA: SWX, ICAO: FBSW) is an airport serving Shakawe, a village in the North-West District of Botswana.

It is the gateway to the northern part of the Okavango Delta and the Linyati area. Direct charter flights are operated to the aerodrome. It is owned by the Department of Civil Aviation.

Thamalakane River

The Thamalakane River is a river located in Botswana, Africa, at the southern end of the Okavango Delta. It has no well defined beginning (spring) and no clear end (delta). It is the result of the Thamalakane fault - which began to form about two million years ago by the geological process of rifting that is currently splitting Africa apart along the East African Rift.

When the land between two parallel faults (the Gumare fault and the Kunyere fault) started dropping, the Okavango River's flow was blocked by the Thamalakane fault and it started to fan out and built myriads of water channels - what is now known as the Okavango Delta.

One of the main channels draining the Okavango Delta is the Boro River. Being blocked by the fault, it empties literally at a right angle into the waterway created by the fault, the Thamalakane River. Roughly 40 km to the west, the water found a break in the Thamalakane Fault. Again at a right angle it empties the Thamalakane River and forms the Boteti River, which incurs seasonal desiccation in some lower reaches. In the rainy season the Boteti discharges to the Makgadikgadi Pans, bringing that area alive with wet season high biological productivity.In older days, not only the Boro River fed the Thamalakane River but also smaller channels like the Boronyana and Shashe.

Along the Thamalakane River the village of Maun developed. Water supply to Maun is from well fields along the Thamalakane and Shashe Rivers.

Xugana Airport

Xugana Airport (ICAO: FBXG ) is an airstrip serving the Xugana Island Lodge, a safari resort in the Okavango Delta of Botswana.

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