The Okavango Delta is one of the world’s largest wetland ecosystems
It’s easy to understand what makes Botswana’s Okavango Delta, one of the few remaining pristine wildernesses on the African continent, the ideal location for elephant interaction safaris. This mosaic of river channels, lagoons, islands and floodplains hosts part of the largest remaining population of elephants in the world.
Each year, an influx of water and sediment flows into the Delta from distant catchment areas in the Angolan highlands to create the miracle that is the Okavango. This unique area sustains incredible biodiversity and offers excellent game viewing throughout the year.
Some 180 000-hectare (445 000-acre) in area, the private Abu Concession provides a perfect sanctuary for our elephant herd: diverse habitat, abundant water, plentiful natural vegetation and thriving populations of wild elephants and other wildlife.
Situated in the south-west of the Delta, the Abu Concession includes seasonally-inundated floodplains, channels and palm islands in the east and north-east to the drier, wooded Kalahari ‘sandveld tongue’ in the west and south-west. The diversity of habitats is reflected in the abundance of large mammals, and the number of different species that can be encountered.
As well as elephants, these include large herds of Cape buffalo, while red lechwe, common reedbuck and hippo frequent the floodplains, lagoons and channels. Savannah and woodland species such as zebra, impala, blue wildebeest and giraffe are more common on the sandveld tongues, while warthog, kudu and tsessebe occur in lower densities throughout the Concession.
The dominant carnivores of the area are lion and spotted hyaena. Leopards are also resident, and packs of African wild dog are sometimes encountered.
Over 380 different bird species have been recorded, including several ‘Okavango specials’ such as lesser jacana, pygmy goose, wattled crane, slaty egret, coppery-tailed coucal, rosy-throated longclaw.