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Okavango Delta Camping Safaris

The Okavango Delta is one of the best places in Africa to go looking for wildlife, and a camping safari is a fantastic way to do that. Far from the world and its noise, the Okavango Delta is a true and expansive wilderness, the sort of place where lying under canvas and immersing yourself in the silence of your surrounds is truly one of the best things you can do on safari. Any kind of safari in the Delta is going to be an extraordinary experience, thanks to the abundant wildlife and beautiful scenery. But camping means you’re actually a part of it all in a way that no other safari can match.

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1-20 of 94 camping safaris to Okavango Delta

7 Questions About Okavango Delta Camping Safaris

 
 

7 Questions About Okavango Delta Camping Safaris

Answered by Anthony Ham

What are the pros and cons of an Okavango Delta camping safari?

“The biggest advantage of an Okavango Delta camping safari is the way in which it helps you to become a part of the African wild that you came so far to see. Sleeping under canvas, walking around the campsite with nothing between you and the animals, listening for lions calling in the night: all of these are possible on a camping safari and they’re the kinds of experience you never really forget. Another benefit of a camping safari is that they’re usually cheaper than most other forms of safari. As long as you know what to expect, it is difficult to think of a downside to camping in the Delta. There are many different camping packages, and some require you to help out with chores (such as cooking and setting up camp). If that doesn’t sound like your idea of a holiday, there are countless alternatives. Some camping safaris also try to keep costs down by not traveling too deep into the Delta. Always ask any prospective tour operators where exactly you’ll be going.”

1

What facilities can I expect in the Okavango Delta campsites?

“Facilities vary from one campsite to the next and from one safari operator to another. Campsites are usually quite simple, with a shared ablution block with flush or pit toilets, as well as showers (usually, but not always, with hot water). Most camping areas also have plenty of shade, with small cleared areas for tents. Sometimes there are small, slightly elevated wooden platforms for putting up individual tents. Some operators will set up a cooking and/or dining tent, and the tents in which you sleep vary in size. One thing to remember is that very few campsites in Botswana have fences. This is a lot less scary (and very much safer) than it sounds, but it does mean that you should always take care when moving around camp, especially at night.”

2

How much do Okavango Delta camping tours cost?

“Most camping tours in the Okavango Delta start at US$100 to US$150 per person per day and can go higher. The more you’re expected to do while on safari (such as putting up and taking down tents, cooking and washing dishes) and the fewer support staff accompanying you, the less you’re likely to pay. How long you stay, how often you move around and the time of year can also influence the cost of your safari. That said, camping tours tend to vary less in price than most other kinds of safari. That’s because you don’t see the wild fluctuations between high- and low-season prices that are so typical of high-end luxury safaris, because costs are far lower to begin with. There may be some variation between high season (July to October) and the rest of the year. This is partly because demand for the services of safari operators is highest during the peak holiday months, and they themselves may be paying more for the vehicles, equipment hire and so on.”

3

What is the best time for a camping safari in the Okavango Delta?

“The best time for camping in the Delta is definitely the months when you’re least likely to encounter rainfall. This usually means May or June to October. It’s a strange quirk of the Okavango Delta that the months of lowest rainfall coincide with the highest water levels. That’s because the waters of the Delta rise and fall according to rainfall some months earlier in the distant highlands of Angola; it takes months for the waters to reach the Delta. The high-season months (July to October) are usually best also for seeing wildlife, although birding is especially good from November to April, when migratory species overwinter in this corner of Africa. The Delta is a wetland of great importance for migratory wading and other birds. It can also depend on where you want to go. If your camping safari doesn’t travel too far into the Delta, you’re less likely to be affected by water levels in getting there. You’re also less likely to see a significant price difference between high and low seasons, although availability can be tighter during the high-season months.”

4

Is a camping holiday in the Okavango Delta safe?

“Botswana is one of the safest countries in Africa and we believe that an Okavango Delta camping safari is safe. There is, of course, no kind of holiday in which your safety can be guaranteed, but crime is almost nonexistent in the Delta and there is no risk from traffic accidents out here. Although it can sound dangerous if you’ve never before been on safari, the risk from wild animals while you’re camping is very low. It’s true that the overwhelming majority of campsites in the Delta are not surrounded by fences. But many animals tend to stay away from areas where there are people. If you take care when moving around, especially at night (when you should never walk about on your own), and always follow the advice of your guide, you’re unlikely to encounter any difficulties.”

5

Is a self-drive camping trip in the Okavango Delta recommended?

“Absolutely, yes. There are very few trips I’d rather make than an Okavango Delta self-drive camping safari. That’s partly about the Delta itself. This is a world unlike any other, a wilderness filled with water and wildlife and one that is different each passing year as water levels fluctuate. There are some areas of the Delta that you simply can’t reach under your own steam. That said, much of the southern Delta, including parts of Moremi Game Reserve (such as the Moremi Tongue), is accessible. You just have to pick up your vehicle in Maun and drive from one campsite to the next. Although these campsites will be booked for you by your operator, who should also provide you with a detailed itinerary, it’s entirely up to you how long you take to get there. When you’re self-driving, you get to choose how long you stay with that pride of lions or among the elephants along the way. But I also love it because of the camping (which will be in a rooftop or ground tent, or inside the shell of a specially adapted 4WD camping vehicle). Camping may not be for everyone, but for those who enjoy traveling in this way, it really is one of the great thrills of going on safari to be lying awake at night listening to lions roar or elephants foraging nearby. It all takes on an added layer of excitement (perhaps even a frisson of nervous tension) when you remember that the only thing separating you from the animals is the tent’s canvas.”

6

What are the best Okavango Delta campsites?

“There are countless excellent campsites scattered across the Okavango Delta and it’s impossible to single out any particular ones. Each safari operator will have their own favorites. For this reason, it’s important that you ask for detailed information about the campsites where you might be staying when discussing a safari itinerary with any operator with whom you’re considering traveling. Ask to see photos of each campsite. Ask them to show you exactly where each campsite is on a map. Ask to see comments from previous safari-goers. And definitely ask whether there will be any other safari groups camping at each site while you’re there, or whether it’s just for your traveling party. You should also make sure that you know exactly what facilities there are, and what duties you’re expected to perform around camp.”

7

Okavango Delta Reviews

4.8/5 166 Reviews
Expert
James Bainbridge  –  
United Kingdom UK

James is a travel writer and author of many Lonely Planet guides, including senior author of the guide to South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.

Unbeatable wildlife and wilderness
5/5

The Okavango Delta is arguably southern Africa’s premier safari destination, offering mokoro (dug-out canoe) trips along its placid waterways, wilderness camping and a full cast of African wildlife. I had many of my most memorable safari...

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Expert
Mark Eveleigh  –  
United Kingdom UK

Mark is a travel writer who grew up in Africa and has written over 700 titles for Condé Nast Traveller, Travel Africa, BBC Wildlife and others.

Africa's greatest waterborne safari venue!
5/5

I spent two weeks living on the Okavango Panhandle, near the point where the Okavango flows into Botswana from Namibia's Zambezi Region. I was working on a scientific study, collecting data on the Okavango's outrageous crocodiles. We would...

Full Review

Angels  –  
Spain ES
Reviewed: Aug 31, 2023
5/5

You feel closer to nature than anywhere else by doing a walking safari. We felt very secure at all times with our guide, even when seeing animals very close, like giraffes, elephants, crocodiles and even lions (we saw two males eating a...

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Alina & Andrzej  –  
Poland PL
Reviewed: Aug 21, 2023
5/5

We have seen lions, buffaloes, lots (!) of elephants, warthogs, herds of antelopes (different species), hippos in the water and grazing, crocodiles, w wild nature. Mokoro trips and walking safari was exciting.

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Vidyasagar Premkumar  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Aug 31, 2019
5/5

Great wildlife sightings (both predators and plains animals) and birdlife. Delta from the air is magical for photography, with sitatungas in the channel and same as kwando - focus of guiding on what we are there for - wildlife

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Alex Bruce  –  
Canada CA
Reviewed: Jul 22, 2019
A once in a lifetime trip that did not disappoint.
5/5

From the moment we arrived at Belmond Eagle Island Resort, we were made to feel like royalty. The entire staff greeted us at the entrance in song, followed by refreshments and tour. The accommodations redefine the term "glamping" with our...

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