Seven Ways to See Southern Africa's Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2014

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The Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2014

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Hop in a mokoro

For generations, villagers have used traditional ‘mokoro’ dugout canoes to travel through the Delta, and it remains the best way to discover the wilderness up close. As you glide along channels carved out by hippos, marvel at the iridescent reed frogs and sidle up close to the Okavango’s remarkable bird life. At &Beyond Xaranna mokoro adventures depart right from the lodge’s jetty.

Mokoro is the iconic symbol of the Okavango Delta

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Take a flip

Get some perspective on this incredible landscape with a doors-off helicopter flip. From above, the filigree of channels springs to life, and it’s plain to see how this wonderland of water and palm-topped islands fits together. It’s also a fine way to spot wildlife you’d otherwise miss, from crocodiles lurking in the reeds to shy sitatunga antelope in the grasslands. 

View from the helicopter

Capturing the unique view of pristine wetland from above

© Richard Holmes

Sleep beneath the stars

Feeling adventurous? Leave your luxury suite behind for a truly wild sleep-out beneath the stars. Clad in mosquito nets, with a mopane-wood campfire for charm and a two-way radio for safety, you’ll be lulled to sleep by the sounds of the Delta and the celestial splash of the Milky Way above. A number of lodges offer sleep-outs, but the lagoon-side Tuludi Sky Suite is far and away my favourite.

A unique sleep-out experience with Tuludi Sky Suite

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Xigera Safari Lodge

There’s no doubting the luxury credentials of this glorious lodge, but alongside the 12 impressive suites and memorable game experiences, Xigera stands out for its celebration of African art, design and creativity. Across the lodge – part of the global Red Carnation Hotel Collection – you’ll find hundreds of hand-crafted works by the continent’s leading painters, sculptors, carpenters and ceramicists. It’s a living gallery, inspired by the wilderness surrounding it.

Xigera’s design is inspired by the incredible natural surroundings in Botswana

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Okavango Spirit

If you can’t bear to be off the water, a houseboat safari is your best bet. Typically located in the deeper waters of the north-eastern panhandle, luxury houseboats offer easy access to boat-based game-viewing and fishing excursions. Their privacy and exclusivity also make them ideal for a multi-generational escape. The latest addition to the region is the stylish Okavango Spirit, which sleeps up to 14 in seven en-suite cabins.

Okavango Spirit

Okavango Spirit offers spectacular houseboat safari experience

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Xaro Lodge

With more than 400 bird species recorded here, the Okavango Delta is a paradise for twitchers, and while you’ll enjoy great sightings at nearly every Delta camp, Xaro Lodge specialises in creating memorable bird safaris. Situated in the Okavango Delta’s panhandle, a region renowned for sightings of the elusive Pel’s Fishing Owl, you’re assured of water here year-round. Enjoy forest walks and boat-based birding excursions on the river, while the ancient rock art of Tsodilo Hills – another World Heritage Site – can be reached on an easy day trip. 

Xaro Lodge boat cruise

A sunset cruise is an excellent way to appreciate the magnificent beauty of the Okavango

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Duke’s Camp

In the salt deserts of Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Pans, Jack’s Camp has long been an icon of under-canvas luxury. This year that sense of vintage safari glamour comes to the Delta, with the opening this month of Duke’s Camp on a vast 220,000-acre concession alongside the Moremi Game Reserve.

Just eight spacious tents – filled with plush furnishings and African objets d’art – are pitched in a forest of leadwood and ebony trees, with sweeping lagoon views ensuring a front-row seat to the passing parade of wildlife. Jack’s Camp is also famous for having some of the best guides in the business, and you can expect the same immersive bush experience here too. 

Duke's camp

The tents at Duke's Camp

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