Situated in the heart of the Kalahari Desert, northern Botswana nevertheless has some of the most fascinating rivers on the planet. There are rivers that spill into the desert sands far from any ocean, and others that flow from other rivers only to peter out in the sands of the Kalahari, and all are part of the legendary wilderness of northern Botswana.
© Meandering Okavango waterways
Chobe - Haunt of the Elephants
The Chobe is a tributary of the great Zambezi River, and is home to the greatest concentration of elephants in Africa. The Chobe has its source in the Highlands of Angola although parts of the river between its source and its mouth are dry much of the time.
Most of the water in the river in the Chobe National Park is backwash water from the Zambezi River. The area of the river near its confluence with the Zambezi is where the drama of Chobe takes place - and this is where the Elephant herds concentrate.
Savuti - Temperamental Wilderness
The Savute River is steeped in legend, as it dries up and flows at irregular intervals. The channel leads from the Linyanti water system and ends in the Kalahari sands of the Savute Marsh when it is in flood, but when the channel does not flow the area is an arid, yet spectacular, wilderness.
The channel most recently dried up due to geological forces in 1981 and did not flow for almost thirty years until the waters reached the marsh again in 2010. This event has transformed the Savute from a dry wilderness into a wetland paradise.
Linyanti - from Excess to Eden
Once the haunt of trophy hunters and fishermen, the Linyanti is now coming into its own as a wildlife destination. Rising in the Highlands of Angola and flowing through Namibia, the Linyanti comes into Botswana as the Kwando River before settling in the Linyanti Delta system. This delta then provides the Savute and Chobe Rivers with water in high flood years.
Okavango - Lifeblood of the Wilderness
The Okavango also begins its journey in the Highlands of Angola, thousands of kilometres away, before spilling into the sands of the Kalahari Desert where it forms one of the world's most celebrated wilderness areas - the Okavango Delta, the world's largest inland delta.
The Okavango Delta is the last remnant of a vast inland lake. It has survived to become an Eden of floodplains and islands, where riverine woodlands embrace the desert sands.
Khwai - Seasons Revealed
The Khwai River is the northernmost overflow of the Okavango and provides a haven for wildlife during the dry season when large herds concentrate along this life giving riverfront.