Over 1,000 species of plants are recognised in the Okavango Delta, yet large tracts of the drier parts of it are dominated by one tree: Mopane. These cover many areas with rich but badly-drained soils, often in beautiful, tall ‘cathedral’ Mopane woodlands – named after their gracefully arching branches, which resemble a Gothic cathedral. You’ll often find large areas in the Okavango River Delta where there are virtually no other species of trees represented.
Elephant and buffalo occur here year-round in large numbers, and you’re likely to see blue wildebeest, Burchell’s zebra, impala, kudu, tsessebe, red lechwe, waterbuck, reedbuck, giraffe, common duiker, bushbuck, steenbok, warthog, baboon and vervet monkey throughout the Okavango Delta. Eland, sable and roan antelope also range across the region – but are less common, as they are elsewhere in Africa. The deep-water and papyrus areas of the Delta have thriving populations of sitatunga, which live deep in the swamps.
Lion, leopard, cheetah and spotted hyena all have thriving populations here. The Okavango Delta is central to wild dog, which range widely across most of Northern Botswana – and they’re easiest to find on the northern and eastern sides of the Delta. There are 400 species of birds in the Okavango delta.