Botswana is renowned for having the greatest concentration of Elephants in Africa, but what is not mentioned is that other animals also occur in large numbers along the waterways of the country.
© Buffalo herd on the march raising dust
By Leigh Kemp
Water is Life in Botswana
Wherever there is water in Africa there is life, and especially so in Botswana where most of the country lies on the sands of the Kalahari Desert
. The national currency of Botswana is the Pula which means rain in the Setswana language. In fact many people in the country use the word as a greeting, so important is rain to this landlocked country.
It may sound unusual to have some of the most dramatic waterways in Africa in a country that is mostly desert
but due to the intricacies of the geology of the Kalahari there are remnants of a once super inland lake that provide for fascinating eco-systems - and attract great gatherings of wildlife.
The interior of the northern wilderness of Botswana is a vast area of grass and trees, but no permanent surface water. With the coming of the rains the mud pans fill with water
and the grass greens into a lush carpet, providing a veritable table of plenty for the wildlife of northern Botswana. But with the onset of the dry season the water dries up and the grass shrivels - and the animals have to seek water elsewhere.
Enigmatic waterways of Botswana
The rivers and deltas of Botswana were all once part of a great inland lake, but today they provide for some of the most dramatic and unusual wilderness areas in the world. Two of the waterways never reach the sea, instead the waters sink away into the sands of the Kalahari.
The Okavango Delta and the Savuti Channel reach their peak during the dry season, and as such provide a haven for the wildlife of the region.
The wildlife of northern Botswana relies on these waterways
for their survival, with gatherings of Elephants and Buffalo reaching the tens of thousands during the peak of the dry season. Other species such as Sable and Roan, and herds of Zebra are also found in numbers.
A Gathering of Predators
With all these animals collecting in one place it in turn brings the predators to the waterways in search of prey which is easy to come by during this time. As the dry season heads to its conclusion the drama's that play out along the waterways of northern Botswana provide for incredible wildlife viewing.