ZEBRA. BOTSWANA. MOREMI GAME RESERVE. 2011. AFRICAN WILDLIFE.(PID:7860646292) Source
posted by alias Isaac Wells on Sunday 26th of August 2012 12:55:37 AM
Zebras (/ˈzɛbrə/ zeb-rə or /ˈziːbrə/ zee-brə) are several species of African equids (horse family) united by their distinctive black and white stripes. Their stripes come in different patterns, unique to each individual. They are generally social animals that live in small harems to large herds. Unlike their closest relatives, horses and asses, zebras have never been truly domesticated. There are three species of zebras: the plains zebra, the Grévy's zebra and the mountain zebra. The plains zebra and the mountain zebra belong to the subgenus Hippotigris, but Grevy's zebra is the sole species of subgenus Dolichohippus. The latter resembles an ass, to which it is closely related, while the former two are more horse-like. All three belong to the genus Equus, along with other living equids. The unique stripes of zebras make them one of the animals most familiar to people. They occur in a variety of habitats, such as grasslands, savannas, woodlands, thorny scrublands, mountains, and coastal hills. However, various anthropogenic factors have had a severe impact on zebra populations, in particular hunting for skins and habitat destruction. Grevy's zebra and the mountain zebra are endangered. While plains zebras are much more plentiful, one subspecies, the quagga, became extinct in the late 19th century - though there is currently a plan, called the Quagga Project, that aims to breed zebras that are phenotypically similar to the quagga in a process called breeding back. Zebra in English dates back to c.1600, from Italian Zebra, perhaps from Portuguese, which in turn is said to be Congolese (as stated in the Oxford English Dictionary). The Encarta Dictionary says its ultimate origin is uncertain, but perhaps it may come from Latin Equiferus meaning "Wild horse," from equus "horse" and ferus "wild, untamed". Zebras evolved among the Old World horses within the last 4 million years. Grevy's zebras (and perhaps also Mountain Zebras) are, together with asses and donkeys, in a separate lineage from other zebra lineages. This means either that striped equids evolved more than once, or that common ancestors of zebras and asses were striped and only zebras retained the stripes. Extensive stripes are posited to have been of little use to equids that live in low densities in deserts (like asses and some horses) or ones that live in colder climates with shaggy coats and annual shading (like some horses). Fossils of an ancient equid were discovered in the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in Hagerman, Idaho. It was named the Hagerman horse with a scientific name of Equus simplicidens. It is believed to have been similar to the Grevy's zebra. The animals had stocky zebra-like bodies and short, narrow, donkey-like skulls. Grevy's zebra also has a donkey-like skull. The Hagerman horse is also called the American zebra or Hagerman zebra. There are three extant species. Collectively, two of the species have eight subspecies (seven extant). Zebra populations are diverse, and the relationships between, and the taxonomic status of, several of the subspecies are not well known. Genus: Equus Subgenus: Hippotigris Plains Zebra, Equus quagga Quagga, Equus quagga quagga (extinct) Burchell's zebra, Equus quagga burchellii (includes Damara Zebra) Grant's zebra, Equus quagga boehmi Selous' zebra, Equus quagga borensis Chapman's zebra, Equus quagga chapmani Crawshay's zebra, Equus quagga crawshayi Mountain zebra, Equus zebra Cape mountain zebra, Equus zebra zebra Hartmann's mountain zebra, Equus zebra hartmannae Subgenus: Dolichohippus Grévy's zebra, Equus grevyi Zebras in Botswana The plains zebra (Equus quagga, formerly Equus burchelli) is the most common, and has or had about twelve subspecies distributed across much of southern and eastern Africa. It, or particular subspecies of it, have also been known as the common zebra, the dauw, Burchell's zebra (actually the subspecies Equus quagga burchellii), Chapman's zebra, Wahlberg's zebra, Selous' zebra, Grant's zebra, Boehm's zebra and the quagga (another extinct subspecies, Equus quagga quagga). The mountain zebra (Equus zebra) of southwest Africa tends to have a sleek coat with a white belly and narrower stripes than the plains Zebra. It has two subspecies and is classified as vulnerable. Grévy's zebra (Equus grevyi) is the largest type, with a long, narrow head, making it appear rather mule-like. It is an inhabitant of the semi-arid grasslands of Ethiopia and northern Kenya. Grévy's zebra is the rarest species, and is classified as endangered. Although zebra species may have overlapping ranges, they do not interbreed. This held true even when the quagga and Burchell's race of plains zebra shared the same area. In captivity, plains zebras have been crossed with mountain zebras. The hybrid foals lacked a dewlap and resembled the plains zebra apart from their larger ears and their hindquarters pattern. Attempts to breed a Grévy's zebra stallion to mountain zebra mares resulted in a high rate of miscarriage. In captivity, crosses between zebras and other (non-zebra) equines have produced several distinct hybrids, including the zebroid, zeedonk, zony, and zorse. In certain regions of Kenya, plains zebras and Grévy's Zebra coexist, and fertile hybrids occur. Size and weight The common plains zebra is about 50–52 inches (12.2-13 hands, 1.3 m) at the shoulder with a body ranging from 6–8.5 feet (2–2.6 m) long with an 18-inch (0.5 m) tail. It can weigh up to 770 pounds (350 kg), males being slightly bigger than females. Grévy's Zebra is considerably larger, while the mountain zebra is somewhat smaller. Stripes It was previously believed that zebras were white animals with black stripes, since some zebras have white underbellies. Embryological evidence, however, shows that the animal's background color is black and the white stripes and bellies are additions. It is likely that the stripes are caused by a combination of factors. The stripes are typically vertical on the head, neck, forequarters, and main body, with horizontal stripes at the rear and on the legs of the animal. The "zebra crossing" is named after the zebra's black and white stripes. A wide variety of hypotheses have been proposed to account for the evolution of the striking stripes of zebras. The more traditional of these (1 & 2, below) relate to camouflage. 1. The vertical striping may help the zebra hide in grass. While seeming absurd at first glance, considering that grass is neither white nor black, it is supposed to be effective against the zebra's main predator, the lion, which is color blind[dubious – discuss]. In addition, even at moderate distances, the striking striping merges to an apparent grey. 2. Another hypothesis is that since zebras are herd animals, the stripes may help to confuse predators—a number of zebras standing or moving close together may appear as one large animal, making it more difficult for the lion to pick out any single zebra to attack.[unreliable source?] 3. It has been suggested that the stripes serve as visual cues and identification. Although the striping pattern is unique to each individual, it is not known whether zebras can recognize one another by their stripes. 4. At least two experiments indicate that the disruptive colouration is an effective means of confusing the visual system of flies, in one case the blood-sucking tsetse fly, in another horseflies (tabanids). 5. Alternative theories include that the stripes coincide with fat patterning beneath the skin, serving as a thermo-regulatory mechanism for the zebra, or that wounds sustained disrupt the striping pattern to clearly indicate the fitness of the animal to potential mates. Gaits Like horses, zebras walk, trot, canter and gallop. They are generally slower than horses, but their great stamina helps them outpace predators. When chased, a zebra will zig-zag from side to side, making it more difficult for the predator. When cornered, the zebra will rear up and kick or bite its attacker. Senses Zebras have excellent eyesight. It is believed that they can see in color. Like most ungulates, the zebra has its eyes on the sides of its head, giving it a wide field of view. Zebras also have night vision, although not as advanced as that of most of their predators. Zebras have excellent hearing, and tend to have larger, rounder ears than horses. Like horses and other ungulates, zebra can turn their ears in almost any direction. In addition to eyesight and hearing, zebras have an acute sense of smell and taste. Like most members of the horse family, zebras are highly social. Their social structure, however, depends on the species. Mountain zebras and plains zebras live in groups, known as 'harems', consisting of one stallion with up to six mares and their foals. Bachelor males either live alone or with groups of other bachelors until they are old enough to challenge a breeding stallion. When attacked by packs of hyenas or wild dogs a zebra group will huddle together with the foals in the middle while the stallion tries to ward them off. Unlike the other zebra species, Grevy's zebras do not have permanent social bonds. A group of these zebras rarely stays together for more than a few months. The foals stay with their mothers, while adult males live alone. Like the other two zebra species, bachelor male zebras will organize in groups. Like horses, zebras sleep standing up, and only sleep when neighbors are around to warn them of predators. Zebras in Tanzania Communication Zebras communicate with each other with high pitched barks and whinnying. Grevy's zebras make mule-like brays. A zebra's ears signify its mood. When a zebra is in a calm, tense or friendly mood, its ears stand erect. When it is frightened, its ears are pushed forward. When angry, the ears are pulled backward. When surveying an area for predators, zebras will stand in an alert posture; with ears erect, head held high, and staring. When tense they will also snort. When a predator is spotted or sensed, a zebra will bark (or bray) loudly. Food and foraging Zebras feed almost entirely on grasses, but may occasionally eat shrubs, herbs, twigs, leaves and bark. Their digestive systems allow them to subsist on diets of lower nutritional quality than that necessary for other herbivores. A zebra feeding on grass. Reproduction Female zebras mature earlier than the males, and a mare may have her first foal by the age of three. Males are not able to breed until the age of five or six. Mares may give birth to one foal every twelve months. She nurses the foal for up to a year. Like horses, zebras are able to stand, walk and suckle shortly after they are born. A zebra foal is brown and white instead of black and white at birth. Plains and mountain zebra foals are protected by their mothers, as well as the head stallion and the other mares in their group. Grevy's zebra foals have only their mother as a regular protector, since, as noted above, Grevy's zebra groups often disband after a few months. Human interactions. Hartmann's Mountain Zebra with a Barbary sheep behind it, in captivity at Ueno Zoo, in Japan. Domestication Attempts have been made to train zebras for riding, since they have better resistance than horses to African diseases. Most of these attempts failed, though, due to the zebra's more unpredictable nature and tendency to panic under stress. For this reason, zebra-mules or zebroids (crosses between any species of zebra and a horse, pony, donkey or ass) are preferred over purebred zebras. In England, the zoological collector Lord Rothschild frequently used zebras to draw a carriage. In 1907, Rosendo Ribeiro, the first doctor in Nairobi, Kenya, used a riding zebra for house calls. In the mid-19th century, Governor George Grey imported zebras to New Zealand from his previous posting in South Africa, and used them to pull his carriage on his privately owned Kawau Island. Captain Horace Hayes, in "Points of the Horse" (circa 1893), compared the usefulness of different zebra species. In 1891, Hayes broke a mature, intact mountain zebra stallion to ride in two days time, and the animal was quiet enough for his wife to ride and be photographed upon. He found the Burchell's zebra easy to break, and considered it ideal for domestication, as it was immune to the bite of the tsetse fly. He considered the quagga (now extinct) well-suited to domestication due to being easy to train to saddle and harness. Conservation Modern man has had great impact on the zebra population. Zebras were, and still are, hunted for their skins, and for meat. They also compete with livestock for forage, and are sometimes culled. The Cape mountain zebra was hunted to near extinction, with less than 100 individuals by the 1930s. The population has since increased to about 700 due to conservation efforts. Both mountain zebra subspecies are currently protected in national parks, but are still endangered. A tamed zebra being ridden in East Afric The Grevy's zebra is also endangered. Hunting and competition from livestock have greatly decreased their population. Because of the population's small size, environmental hazards, such as drought, are capable of affecting the entire species. Plains zebras are much more numerous and have a healthy population. Nevertheless, they too have been reduced by hunting and loss of habitat to farming. One subspecies, the quagga, is now extinct. Cultural depictions Zebras have been the subject of African folk tales which tell how they got their stripes. According to a Bushmen folk tale of Namibia, the zebra was once all white, but acquired its black stripes after a fight with a baboon over a waterhole. After kicking the baboon so hard, the zebra lost his balance and tripped over a fire, and the fire sticks left scorch marks all over his white coat. In the film Fantasia, two centaurs are depicted being half human and half zebra, instead of the typical half human and half horse. Zebras on the Botswana coat of arms. Zebra are a popular subject in art. The fourth Mughal emperor Jahangir (r.1605-24), commissioned a painting of the zebra, which was completed by Ustad Mansur. Zebra stripes are also a popular style for furniture, carpets and fashion. When depicted in movies and cartoons, zebras are most often miscellaneous characters, but have had some starring roles, notably in Madagascar and Racing Stripes. Zebras also serve as mascots and symbols for products and corporations, notably Zebra Technologies and Fruit Stripe gum. Zebras are featured on the coat of arms of Botswana. Prey for lions and hyenas, zebras are constantly on the lookout for danger. No animal has a more distinctive coat than the zebra. Each animal's stripes are as unique as fingerprints—no two are exactly alike—although each of the three species has its own general pattern. Why do zebras have stripes at all? Scientists aren't sure, but many theories center on their utility as some form of camouflage. The patterns may make it difficult for predators to identify a single animal from a running herd and distort distance at dawn and dusk. Or they may dissuade insects that recognize only large areas of single-colored fur or act as a kind of natural sunscreen. Because of their uniqueness, stripes may also help zebras recognize one another. Zebras are social animals that spend time in herds. They graze together, primarily on grass, and even groom one another. Plains (Burchell's) zebras are the most common species. They live in small family groups consisting of a male (stallion), several females, and their young. These units may combine with others to form awe-inspiring herds thousands of head strong, but family members will remain close within the herd. Zebras must be constantly wary of lions and hyenas. A herd has many eyes alert to danger. If an animal is attacked, its family will come to its defense, circling the wounded zebra and attempting to drive off predators. Herbivore Average life span in the wild: 25 years Size: Height at the shoulder, 3.5 to 5 ft (1.1 to 1.5 m) Weight: 440 to 990 lbs (200 to 450 kg) Group name: Herd Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man: Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tansania, Kenya, Uganda, Conventional wisdom says a zebra's black-and-white stripes camouflage the animal in tall grass—the better to evade the colorblind lion. But a new study says the pattern scrambles the vision of a tinier biter: the bloodsucking horsefly. Horseflies, the females of which feed on blood, are attracted to polarized light—light waves that are oriented in a particular direction and that we experience as glare. This glare lures the bugs most likely because it resembles light reflected off water, where they lay their eggs. On horses, black fur reflects polarized light better than brown or white, as evolutionary ecologist Susanne Åkesson and colleagues found in a previous study. The researchers therefore assumed that zebra coats, with their mixtures of light and dark stripes, would be less attractive to flies than those of black horses but more than those of white horses. But after experiments in which they team measured the number of horseflies that became trapped on gluey, striped boards or models of horses, the team found that zebra stripes are the best fly repellent—and the narrower the stripes the better. The results may help explain why zebras' skinniest stripes are on their faces and legs. "That's also the place where you have the thinnest skin," said Åkesson, of Sweden's Lunds University. But why would striped skin be more effective than white, which has the lowest refectivity of polarized light? The black-and-white pattern, Åkesson said, turns out to be "ideal in its function of disrupting this signal of reflected polarized light." Because the coat reflects light in alternately polarized and nonpolarized patterns, the zebra "is more difficult to single out relative to the surroundings." It is, in effect, camouflaged to flies as well as to big cats.Convention IS correct!!!! The zebra is a herding animal .... its primary threat IS the Lion who's colour perception is poor. Place 50 running zebra in a group and you try and pick one out to attack ... given that you have only a split second to make your mind up before the moment of opportunity is gone... Its very difficult... it a fantastic group survival advantage AND IS the reason that Zebra have over millions of years developed the stripes. The Horse fly is very climate dependant... for much of the zebras evolution the fly would NOT have co-existed because of the climate changes! Why Don't Horses Have Zebra Stripes? Åkesson and her colleagues noted that the test was performed in Hungary, not the African savanna, and on models of zebras instead of the real thing—and so the finding may not be the final word on the root of zebra raiment. A real zebra's breath or heat, for example, could serve as a second attractor that would override the zebra's coat defenses, she cautioned. Also see "Hordes of Zebras, Elephants Moved to Restock Kenya Park. at Okaukuejo camp in Etosha National Park, Namibia. It is made up of 54 stitched images taken over a 17-minute time period. Assuming, though, that stripes truly are Kryptonite to horseflies, why don't horses—close evolutionary relatives to zebras—sport the pattern too? Åkesson thinks the answer may be in the fact that there are more horseflies, and more horsefly species, in Africa compared to more temperate regions. Zebras would have been under more pressure to evolve a deterrent. Chobe Game Reserve. Zebras, horses and wild asses are all equids, long-lived animals that move quickly for their large size and have teeth built for grinding and cropping grass. Zebras have horselike bodies, but their manes are made of short, erect hair, their tails are tufted at the tip and their coats are striped. Three species of zebra still occur in Africa, two of which are found in East Africa. The most numerous and widespread species in the east is Burchell's, also known as the common or plains zebra. The other is Grevy's zebra, named for Jules Grevy, a president of France in the 1880s who received one from Abyssinia as a gift, and now found mostly in northern Kenya. (The third species, Equus zebra, is the mountain zebra, found in southern and southwestern Africa.) Physical Characteristics The long-legged Grevy's zebra, the biggest of the wild equids, is taller and heavier than the Burchell's, with a massive head and large ears. Zebras have shiny coats that dissipate over 70 percent of incoming heat, and some scientists believe the stripes help the animals withstand intense solar radiation. The black and white stripes are a form of camouflage called disruptive coloration that breaks up the outline of the body. Although the pattern is visible during daytime, at dawn or in the evening when their predators are most active, zebras look indistinct and may confuse predators by distorting true distance. The stripes on Grevy's zebras are more numerous and narrow than those of the plains zebra and do not extend to the belly. In all zebra species, the stripes on the forequarters form a triangular pattern; Grevy's have a similar pattern on the hindquarters, while others have a slanted or horizontal pattern. Habitat Burchell's zebras inhabit savannas, from treeless grasslands to open woodlands; they sometimes occur in tens of thousands in migratory herds on the Serengeti plains. Grevy's zebras are now mainly restricted to parts of northern Kenya. Although they are adapted to semi-arid conditions and require less water than other zebra species, these zebras compete with domestic livestock for water and have suffered heavy poaching for their meat and skins. Behavior Family groups are stable members maintaining strong bonds over many years. Mutual grooming, where zebras stand together and nibble the hair on each other's neck and back, helps develop and preserve these bonds. Family members look out for one another if one becomes separated from the rest, the others search for it. The group adjusts its traveling pace to accommodate the old and the weak. The females within a family observe a strict hierarchical system. A dominant mare always leads the group, while others follow her in single file, each with their foals directly behind them. The lowest- ranking mare is the last in line. Although the stallion is the dominant member of the family, he operates outside the system and has no special place in the line. Diet Zebras are avid grazers. Both Burchell's and Grevy's zebras are in constant search of green pastures. In the dry season, they can live on coarse, dry grass only if they are within a short distance (usually no farther than 20 miles away) of water holes. Caring for the Young When a foal is born the mother keeps all other zebras (even the members of her family) away from it for 2 or 3 days, until it learns to recognize her by sight, voice and smell. While all foals have a close association with their mothers, the male foals are also close to their fathers. They leave their group on their own accord between the ages of 1 and 4 years to join an all-male bachelor group until they are strong enough to head a family. Predators Zebras are important prey for lions and hyenas, and to a lesser extent for hunting dogs, leopards and cheetahs. When a family group is attacked, the members form a semicircle, face the predator and watch it, ready to bite or strike should the attack continue. If one of the family is injured the rest will often encircle it to protect it from further attack. Did you know? Romans called Grevy's zebras 'hippotigris' and trained them to pull two-wheeled carts for exhibition in circuses. At first glance zebras in a herd might all look alike, but their stripe patterns are as distinctive as fingerprints are in man. Scientists can identify individual zebras by comparing patterns, stripe widths, color and scars. This trip was a real real adventure. In fact the best we had in Africa. We are still busy with the Dutch version of the travelogue and then it has to be translated. So it will take some time. Untill than you can see the route we took. Together with Bush Ways I managed to organize another adventure through Africa. After our first visit in 1996 we will visit Botswana again. We longing to the typical safaris you only can make in Botswana. September and October are the dry months and it can be very hot. This means that the wildlife is nearby the water and that they easy to spot. top Khama Rhino Sanctuary The tour starts in Gabarone. We will travel to Khama Rhino Sanctuary. The Sanctuary lies 25km north of historic Serowe on the Serowe-Orapa road. Serowe, one of the largest traditional villages in Africa. To date, 14 white rhino have been translocated into the Sanctuary. In February 1993, four rhinos were translocated from northern Botswana. The Sanctuary is home to other wildlife which have settled naturally or been translocated in: zebra, blue wildebeest, giraffe, eland, springbok, impala, gemsbok, kudu, steenbok, duiker, red hartebeest, leopard, ostrich, African wild cat, caracal, small spotted genet, black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, brown hyena. Over 230 bird species have also been identified here including Abdim's stork and bearded woodpecker.(L, D) top Central Kalahari Game Reserve The next few days will be spent in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the largest game reserve in Botswana. This pristine sanctuary remains completely undeveloped. Moving from camp to camp, we will explore the northern part of this reserve, searching for fauna and flora specific to this region while taking in the vast open spaces of this unspoilt landscape. This is a hard section of the trail with very limited water. (B, L, D) top Nxai Pan Heading northwards, we will spend the next two nights in Nxai Pan National Park. Via the majestic Baine's Baobabs and numerous water holes we travel to our campsite. During our visit we continue searching for more desert fauna and flora. During the dry season game is dependent on the waterholes. By waiting patiently at a waterhole, one can often witness interaction between predators and their pray. Perhaps the focal point of Nxai Pan is the water hole, situated only two kilometres from the entrace gate, in the midst of a large grassy plain. Within the mopane woodland, lion, giraffe, kudu, impala, ostrich, fascinating birdlife and large number of springbok, together with a good population of jackal, bat-eared fox and numerous smaller creatures, are premanent residents. (B, L, D) top Okavango Delta We will travel in a northwesterly direction to the western side of the Okavango Delta to arrive in a corner of paradise. Camping will be on an island, possibly serenaded by the sound of hippos and bell frogs breaking the night silence. We will transfer our equipment to motorboats and will cruise along the narrow papyrus-lined channels of the Delta searching for exotic bird life of the region and the elusive sitatunga antelope, while absorbing the stunning landscape of this area. Deeper in the Delta we will meet our mekoros (traditional dug-out canoes) and enjoy a tranquil ride, as our trusty polers pole us to an island where we will spend two nights camping wild. Our time will be spent exploring the islands on foot and by mokoro. Feeling relaxed and rejuvenated by the beauty of the Okavango, we will return to our vehicle and retrace our route to Maun. Maybe we have the option of taking a game flight over the Delta to return to Maun, which will create a more complete image of this unique water system. Tonight will be spent at a private camp just outside Maun.(B, L, D) top Moremi The big game aspect of our tour commences today as we enter Moremi, one of the best wilderness areas of Botswana. The park covers swamp areas as well as dry land. The next three nights will be spent in this park searching for the wide variety of animals and birds the reserve offers, while absorbing the sounds and beauty of this region. Game drives as the sun rises, and in the late afternoon as the sun sets, will be the norm. Camping will be in designated areas. (B, L, D) top Savuti Chobe National Park, with its diverse and striking landscapes, is our next destination where our search for wildlife continues. We will traverse the drier region of Savuti where bull elephants dot the plains, and then head northwards to the Chobe River where our game drives will meander along the banks of the river with the call of the African fish eagle following us. Camping will be in designated areas. (B, L, D) top Zambia Livingstone The Lost Horizons Lodge is on a hill a few kilometres from the Zambian Victoria Falls. From here you can see the mighty Zambezi. Lost Horizons is directly at Musi-o-Tunya National Park. That's why elephants other big mammals can be seen besides the road to the Zambezi very often. If Zimbabwe is save at the time we can consider to visit the Victoria Falls at the Zimbabwe side on the day of departure. Specially for those ones that did not see the Falls before. Price will Include: All accommodation (large two man tents with mattresses), All meals that are indicated.( B - breakfast, L - lunch, D - dinner ), Professional Guide, all park entries in Botswana, transport in specialized safari vehicles. Does not include: Restaurant meals (Victoria Falls), visas, tips, curios, optional excursions, alcohol and soft drinks, insurance to cover for cancellation and curtailment, medical, baggage, emergency evacuation. The Okavango Delta is a unique ecosystem of papyrus-lined waterways, knee-deep floodplains, water-lily lagoons, shady forest glades and rich savannah grasslands. All this fecundity lies in the middle of the largest continuous stretch of sand in the world - the Kalahari Desert Basin. Seen from space as an emerald swirl surrounded by a parched landscape, the Okavango Delta is an incredible source of life in a country that is 80% arid. The Okavango region contains the state-run Moremi Game Reserve surrounded by a number of strictly controlled, privately managed wildlife concessions. The game viewing in all of these areas is no less than outstanding and activities can either be undertaken on foot, in a game-viewing vehicle or in a mokoro (dug-out canoe) or motorised boat. Such varied opportunities in a beautiful and diverse range of habitats, makes the Okavango the best all-encompassing safari destination in the world. In the Okavango Delta, you need to choose your camps carefully based on the time of year you are visiting. Xugana Island Lodge, Delta Camp and Banoka Bush Camp are well priced comfortable camps. They are all located in private concessions so ensure a true wilderness safari experience. Jacana Camp, Little Vumbura and Chitabe Camp are more luxurious, and each offers a unique perspective of the Okavango Delta. Duba Plains is one of the most remote camps in Botswana and guests stand a very good chance of witnessing the lion-buffalo interaction that the camp is famous for. For the more discerning guests, look no further than Jao Camp, Vumbura Plains or Little Kwara. Each offers guests a very luxurious Okavango Delta safari. The Okavango Delta Viewing The lure of the Okavango Delta and its extraordinary range of habitats provide the perfect environment for African animals to thrive and people to watch them. Great herd of antelopes, zebra, buffalo and elephants roam the pastures, and lions, leopards, cheetahs and all the other carnivores prosper. As Moremi Game Reserve contains large areas of constant water, game viewing during the dry season is particularly good as animals are drawn to the permanent water sources. There are no fences between Moremi and the private reserves so the entire Okavango merges into a unified animal kingdom of grand proportions. Each area has its own particular habitats, resident herds and familiar predators, and night drives in the private reserves, (also soon to be permitted in Moremi), often reveal secretive animals like porcupine, pangolin, aardwolf and genet. Rainy season: November to March is the hot rainy season and the roads can be quite bad. The advantage of this time of year is that most of the animals give birth, providing a wonderful game watching experience. The landscape is lush and green and there is an abundance of wild flowers. Dry season: April to October is the dry season and the drier it becomes the easier it is to spot animals close to permanent water holes. At this time much of the Okavango dries out, apart from permanent rivers in Moremi Game Reserve and the northern reaches of the Okavango. The heat starts to build in earnest from October onwards. When visiting the Okavango Delta on safari, in order to experience the classic "water & land" wildlife safari, it's important to ensure that you choose your camps carefully. We recommend that you consult with your SunSafaris consultant who has travelled to the area before. The time of year you decide to visit plays a big part in choosing applicable camps. We suggest that you look to spend three nights minimum in the Okavango Delta and preferably two to three nights in two different camps, and then combine that with two to three nights in the Linyanti Savuti area, or the Chobe National Park. The best option is to request our Botswana Safari Basics and Price Guide (see above right) and then we will be happy to advise and suggest itinerary's. Xugana Island Lodge is one of the oldest safari lodges in the Okavango Delta. The decor pays tribute to its heritage. Xugana is a comfortable safari lodge offering only bush walks and the water based game viewing activities. Mapula Lodge is a community based safari lodge located in the far north west of the Okavango Delta. The lodge offers comfortable rustic accommodation, and is well known for fantastic wild dog sightings. Water levels vary at the lodge, depending on the flood levels, and the lodge offers a full range of safari activities including game drives, walks and mokoro rides. Pom Pom Camp is an affordable and comfortable safari camp located in the heart of the Okavango Delta. The camp is perfect for experiencing an overall Delta safari. It offers all of game drives, walks, mokoro and boating.Footsteps Across the Delta is a small camp located close to Shinde Camp. The camp focuses on walking safaris through the Delta, but also offers mokoro rides and game drives. It is a rustic camp suited to guests who prefer a more wilderness experience.Delta Camp is a superb water based camp located just south of Chiefs Island. The camp is rustic and comfortable and game activities offered are bush walks on Chiefs Island and mokoro activities through the Delta's crystal clear waterways.Stanley's Camp offers an all round Delta experience. The camp is located in an area known for its huge herds of buffalo and sleeps just 16 guests. Day and night drives are offered as well as walking safaris.Camp Okavango is a comfortable and affordable Delta camp located in a private concession. The camp focuses on walks on the islands and mokoro and boating activities. No game drives are offered. It is a classic Delta Camp and therefore has superb year round birding opportunities. Shinde is a superb camp located in a private concession north of the Moremi Game Reserve. The camp is a great option for an overall wet and dry Delta safari. Game viewing is very good all year round.Kwetsani Camp is a luxury safari camp located in the Jao Concession of the Okavango Delta. The camp overlooks a beautiful floodplain. Guests are often treated to wonderful game viewing from the comfort of their decks as wildlife roams freely in front of camp. Kanana Camp is a luxury safari camp located in the southern part of the Okavango Delta. It is the perfect camp to visit to experience an all round Delta safari. The camps offers game drives, bush walks, mokoro rides and boating activities. Oddballs' is situted on the edge of Chief's Island, deep in the heart of the Okavango Delta, and is the Okavango Delta's most affordable camp. All activities are led by men from the local communities.Little Kwara Camp is a small luxurious safari camp located north of the Moremi Game Reserve. The camp offers an excellent all round Okavango Delta safari experience and game viewing at the camps is excellent year round.Seba Camp is a family friendly safari camp in the Okavango Delta. It has dedicated family chalets ideal for families travelling with children. The camp is located in the western part of the Delta and offers the full spectrum of game viewing activities.Kwara Camp is a superb camp located in the heart of the Okavango Delta. The camp offers excellent year round game viewing. Guiding is of a very high standard and encounters with the Big Five pursued. The camps offers all the safari activities associated with an Okavango Delta safari.Nxabega Camp is a superb camp located south of the Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta. The camp offers luxurious accommodation and superb game viewing experience. The camp offers an array of game viewing activities.Tubu Tree Camp is located in the western part of the Delta in the excellent Jao Concession. The camp is a small intimate option, and has the best bar in all of the Delta! The camp overlooks a floodplain and is renowned for excellent year round game viewing.Chitabe Camp is an excellent luxury camp located in the southern part of the Okavango Delta. The camp is in area renowned for some of the best wild dog sightings in Africa. This camp should definately be considered on any itinerary to Botswana.Little Vumbura is one of the Delta's best safari camps. Located in the northern part of the Okavango Delta the camps offers an excellent year round safari experience. Sleeping only 12 guests in six suites, the camp is perfect for guests seeking a small and intimate camp.Duba Plains is a remote camp in a pristine area of the Okavango Delta. This camp is well known for its lion-buffalo interaction and guests visit primarily for this reason. The camp is community owned.Sandibe is situated close to the Moremi in a game rich area. Sandibe’s prime location between permanent water and the open plains offers guests a wide range of wildlife-related activities and water-based adventures.Chitabe Lediba is a small, intimate camp situated on the same beautiful island as Chitabe main Camp alongside the Moremi Game Reserve. The camp offers breathtaking views and is ideal for families or small groups of friends and offers guests a personalised safari experience in an area promising incredible wildlife viewing.Baines's Camp is a luxury safari lodge located under shady trees. The camp is small and intimate featuring just five suites. Baines Camp is situated on a private concession neighbouring the Moremi, it is superb for viewing all animal and bird species. Vumbura Plains is a premier camp located in the north of the Okavango Delta. The camp is suited to guests seeking a truly luxurious safari with the camp offering private plunge pools in all suites. Game viewing is excellent year round. Eagle Island Camp is a premier camp in the Okavango. The camp sleeps 24 guests in luxurious suites each with their own private viewing deck. Eagle Island offers excellent birding as well as sundowner cruises in their boat. Xaranna Tented Camp is a premier safari option in the Okavango Delta. All the suites have private plunge pools and the camp is suitable for guests with a taste for the finer things in life. The camp offers all the traditional game viewing activities. Jao Camp is a luxurious camp located in the Jao Concession. The camps offers a superb combination of premier accommodation and excellent year round safari experience. Jao provides guests with the opportunity of going on day and night drives, mokoro and boating activities as well as bush walks on the islands.Xudum Delta Lodge is a truly luxurious safari lodge located in the southern part of the Okavango Delta. Guests seeking superior service and cuisine should consider Xudum as their safari lodge in Botswana.
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- Published 09.30.22
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