Wildlife of the Okavango Delta
The Okavango Delta is home to all Big 5—lions, leopards, Cape buffalos, elephants and rhinos. Both species of African rhino, the black rhinoceros and white rhinoceros, can be found in the Delta. Hippos and crocodiles flourish in the waters here.
Other large African animals of Okavango Delta include cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, spotted hyenas, warthogs, and numerous antelope species. The most common antelope in the Delta, the lechwe, has hooves and fur adapted to running through shallow water.
Primates to see in the Okavango Delta include Chacma baboons and vervet monkeys, which are active during the day, and Mohol bushbabies, which are active at night. Also known as galagos, bushbabies have large, saucerlike eyes adapted for night vision.
A bat-eared fox prowls through the savanna of Okavango Delta. Photo by Londonexpat.
Wild Cats and Dogs
Are you fond of cats? In addition to lions, leopards, and cheetahs, you will want to look for the two mid-sized cats that prowl the Delta at night: the caracal, distinguished by its reddish-brown coat and large, tufted ears; and the serval, which almost looks like a miniature cheetah with its golden fur dotted by black spots.
The African wildcat, a small feline that is the direct ancestor of domestic cats, is also found in this area. It looks much like a domestic tabby, but is slimmer and taller, with larger ears. It also moves differently from domestic cats, with a gait reminiscent of a cheetah’s.
If you’re more of a dog person, don’t fret. There’s plenty for you to see, too! Keep a watch out for African wild dogs. With colorful golden, black, and white fur of varying patterns, they are also known as African painted dogs. These pack animals are most active during the day, and may be seen sleeping, socializing, or hunting in groups.
The smaller black-backed jackals and bat-eared foxes are more solitary, living in pairs or small family groups. They can be active during the day or night, depending on the location and time of year.
A breathtaking variety of birds can be found in the Okavango Delta, including almost 400 species in Moremi Game Reserve alone. At sunrise, the activity of songbirds on the water’s edge can be astounding.
The Okavango Delta provides habitat to two separate species of crane—the enormous wattled crane and the regal grey-crowned crane. You can also find seven kinds of storks and fifteen species of heron! Other notable birds include ostriches, African fish eagles, Pel’s fishing owls, African spoonbills, southern ground hornbills, lilac-breasted rollers, southern cordonbleus, and secretary birds.