The Delta Belle Houseboat is positioned in one of the greatest wetlands in the world, the Okavango Delta. The Houseboat is moored in the Panhandle region of the Okavango Delta on the banks of the Okavango River in the small village of Shakawe, which is nestled in Ngamiland’s North western corner in Botswana. This part of the Okavango Delta is a water wilderness with papyrus-lined waterways, riverine forests, seasonal floodplains dotted with numerous islands, tranquil lagoons and crystal clear channels. It is undoubtedly an extraordinary place and home to a big variety of plants and trees, animals, bird, insects, frogs and fish alike. The Delta Belle Houseboat is ideal for small groups and individuals interested in an Okavango River Safari.
The Okavango Delta, expanding from 15 000 km² to 22 000km² during floods, a pristine and fertile wetland (a Ramsar Site) with a unique aquatic ecosystem well-known for its great diversity of fauna and flora, is situated in the middle of the largest continuous stretch of sand in the world – the Kalahari Basin. It once formed part of Lake Makgadikgadi (now Makgadikgadi Pans), an 80 000km² super lake. Tectonic activity and faulting interrupted the flow of the river causing it to backup and form what is nowadays the Okavango Delta.
The Okavango River, which is a phenomenal source of life in a country that is 80% arid, is the only permanent watercourse that feeds the Okavango Delta. It begins its journey 1,280 km away on the Benguela Plateau in the highlands of Angola from where it navigates its way southeast traversing through Namibia and entering Botswana at Mohembo. From here the river is guided by two parallel vaults through an area of about 80km long, known as the Panhandle. The annual floods fed from the Angolan rains starts pushing gently into the Okavango Delta in January and reach a peak in the Panhandle of the Okavango sometime in April.
Dropping a little more than 60m over a distance of 450 km, it takes almost nine months from source to bottom, only reaching Maun in September. An estimated 11 billion cubic meters of water is brought down the Okavango River annually and of this only 3% – 5% reaches Maun. The remainder evaporates and disappears into the Kalahari Desert until the cycle is repeated next year. There’s nowhere else quite like it!