Wildlife in the Okavango

Hippo Okavango Delta

We camped in The Okavango Delta for three days, which means three days of two game walks at six hours a day. We saw a lot of wildlife in those walks. No animals came and visited us at camp, which would have been exciting but also scary, so I guess we got lucky with all the wildlife in the Okavango.

The Okavango Delta

Located in northwest Botswana, The Okavango Delta is an interior wetland and a UNESCO site. Most deltas drain into seas, but the Okavango uniquely drains into the Kalahari Desert. The world’s largest inland delta, it encompasses 16,000 square miles.

The nearest city and airport is Maun, which is where we flew in and out before our safari. Botswana is 224,000 square meters and features other amazing places to see wild animals, like Chobe National Park, in the northeast of the country.

Wildlife of the Okavango

While in the Okavango, we got to walk quite close to a lot of animals, and we had the zoom lens on the camera to capture more. While we didn’t see cats like we did in Kruger, we saw hippos, buffalo, wildebeest, different kinds of antelope, wart hogs (*COOL!), and giraffes on the last day. We also saw a ton of different kinds of birds: eagles, open bills, pelicans, geese and more. If you want to read about the birds of the Okavango, I’ve got you covered.

Giraffe Okavango Delta

The animals and birds all knew we were there, all the time. We have a lot of photos of the animals staring right at us. As long as we kept a certain distance, all was fine. In many cases, the second we moved another inch closer, the buffalo, zebra, giraffe, whatever, would move back to make up that comfortable space they needed from humans. We did not do that with the hippos, though. We did not make it seem like we were ever approaching them. Too risky!


Beautiful animals! Our guides told us these are the national animal of Botswana because they represent black and white together.

Zebras Okvango Delta
These zebras were looking right at us
Zebras, Okavango
Herd of Zebras

Wild and dangerous, but super cool looking, hippos spend the day in the water keeping cool, so we mostly saw them in the water. We were very excited when we did get the chance to see a hippo on land and see their very large bodies!

Hippos Okavango Delta
Hippo and baby in the water
Hippo Okavango Delta
A hippo on land

We didn’t see giraffes in the Okavango until our last day, but then we got to see quite a few of them, quite close up. They saw us too! They are such odd creatures and have a unique way of moving: they move both legs on one side of their body at a time. I made a video so you can watch!

Giraffe Okavango Delta
Giraffe Looking at us

These are cool looking animals. Who am I kidding? They are all cool looking. Another name for wildebeest is gnu. We saw a lot of them, but never from very close. They kept their distance.

Wildebeest safari Africa
Wildebeest from the side
Antelopes (Impalas, Water Bucks)
Impalas Okavango Delta

There are a lot of different kinds of antelopes and they are plentiful and cute.

leaping Impala
Leaping Impala

The wildlife in the Okavango Delta is varied and beautiful. I want to go back in the winter (our summer) when the delta is flooded and the rivers run everywhere. It sounds like a completely different place but one I would still love.

wildlife in the okavango pin

Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, blogging about the places we visit and the adventures we have. Love hiking, cycling, scuba, animals and adventure.

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