Safari Destinations – Water levels update

Aerial-view-of-the-Okavango-Delta-during-its-annual-flood.-Image-by-Kelly-Cheng-Travel-Photography-Getty-Images

Botswana’s fluctuating water levels are all part of one of the world’s greatest natural events: the annual flooding of the Delta. This year’s floods have been some of the strangest and most difficult to predict because the floods were mostly just a top up of existing water from our local summer rainfall as opposed to being fed by water originating in the Angolan Highlands. We measured unbelievable rainfall this year in excess of 800 to 1000mm in most areas which are outstanding for a semi desert environment.

The downside, however, was that Angola received far less than their Mean Annual Rainfall which meant that the flood water didn’t arrive in the volumes we’d anticipated. This has an impact on the water levels throughout the Delta and we’re seeing that levels are dropping rapidly in most areas. The sudden rise in air temperatures is accelerating the process of (evapo) transpiration. Boating activities are already coming to an end at certain lodges on seasonal channels with the expectation that they will be ceased entirely throughout most of the Delta in the next month or so. Mekoro activities (the traditional dugout canoes) will be continued for longer until deemed unsafe due to hippo and crocodile populations congregating in the remaining shallow waters. There are lodges on the northern and southern edge of the Moremi as well as in certain private concessions, and the panhandle of course, that are situated on permanent lagoons or deeper water channels and rivers that offer water activities year round. Your Safari Destinations consultant can advise which camps offer water activities throughout all seasons.

The Savute channel, which is fed by the overspill of the Kwando river, has not reached as far as the Savute Marshes and the channel, therefore, remains dry for the 3rd year running. The Selinda spillway is rapidly drying up in its south western regions and boating has already stopped in that area, however, the mekoro and canoes are still up and running.

These changes in water levels are a part of life in the Delta and we need to understand that changes bring new and different opportunities. The game is more concentrated as the water levels drop, and the sightings can be more varied and exclusive.  This is the reality of our “Backyard” and rather than missing a water experience, you are part of one of Wildest Africa’s natural and magical phenomenon.

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