Although in the heart of the Kalahari sands Botswana’s northern wilderness is a place of rivers and delta’s, attracting large numbers of wildlife to the life-giving waters. Viewing the wildlife along these waterways is done in the traditional game drive vehicle or on foot, but there is also a unique alternative to tradition – viewing game from the water.
Canoes and makoros: In the Okavango Delta the traditional form of transport is the dugout canoe or mokoro, a craft carved from the stem of a large tree, but recently the growth of tourism in the country has pushed the need for more craft to provide for the tourists. This has precipitated the industry to use artificial mokoros in order to save the environment. These new craft provide the same experience as the original mokoros without impacting the fragile eco-system.
Motor boats: These small craft allow visitors to access areas that would normally not be accessible on a safari vehicle, and allow for getting very close to animals drinking, wading or swimming in the water without disturbing them.
House boats: Fast becoming more popular as a safari option, house boats operate on the Chobe river, and in the panhandle region of the Okavango. The attraction of the houseboat option is the ideal of cruising leisurely along one of Africa’s iconic waterways and viewing game from the comfort of the boats deck, whilst appreciating your meal and your beer, wine or whiskey or champagne.
Boat cruises: This option is based more on a sunset leisure cruise type activity where boats ply the wilderness areas whilst you eat snacks and have drinks on the deck watching the wildlife as you cruise by. This option is popular along the Chobe River where people numbers are higher.
Areas where water safaris happen
The far northern-most corner of Botswana is where great herds of animals, in particular elephants, gather in large numbers and these can be viewed on houseboats, boat cruises and motor boats, with experienced guides getting you up close to some of the most dramatic wildlife sightings in Africa.
Kwando and Selinda
Situated east of the Okavango Delta on the Botswana border with Namibia, , the Linyanti waterway is a place of marshes, rivers and streams and provides great habitat for canoe and motorboat safari activities. Fed by the Kwando River the Linyanti also comprises of the regions of Kwando and Selinda and is renowned for its great gathering of animals.
Okavango and Moremi
Without doubt Botswana’s most famous destination, the Okavango Delta, which encompasses the Moremi Game Reserve, is renowned for its water activities which include motor boats and mokoros that allow visitors to navigate the channels of this unique waterway and experience the wilderness as nowhere else in Africa.
Although carrying all the Okavango water the area known as the Panhandle is hardly known outside Botswana, except by ardent fishermen, but that is all changing due to the development of the region for tourism. Motor boats and mokoros have always been the best way to get around the panhandle but house boats are making their mark in the area today.