The Okavango Delta

The river which never finds the sea

What and where
The Okavango Delta is one of the world's largest inland water systems. Its headwaters start in Angola’s western highlands, with numerous tributaries joining to form the Cubango river, which then flows through Namibia (called the Kavango) and finally enters Botswana, where it disappears into a 6,000 sq mile maze of lagoons, channels, and islands.

The Okavango Delta is Africa's largest and most beautiful oasis. The river's mighty waters empty over the sands of the Kalahari. Here the great Kalahari desert's thirst is locally quenched in a blue-green wilderness of fresh water, with emerald reed beds and towering trees.

It is a natural refuge and giant water hole for the larger animals of the Kalahari. The water gives rise to many forms of life unexpected in a 'desert': There are fish, crocodiles basking on the sands, and hippos and swamp antelopes feeding on the vegetation.

The Okavango's waters still cut the characteristic fan shape of the Delta. It is the largest inland delta on Earth.

Why
The countless islands that emerge from its waterways give rise to several diverse ecosystems, which in turn are home to vast numbers of game and a myriad of bird species. The crystal clear waters support an estimated 35 million fish of almost 80 species. Safari activities by water are the primary specialty of the Okavango.
A subsistence fisherman of the Bayei (or River) people, Okavango Delta, Botswana. / ©: WWF-Canon / Martin HARVEY
A subsistence fisherman of the Bayei (or River) people, Okavango Delta, Botswana.
© WWF-Canon / Martin HARVEY

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