In the northwest of Botswana, the Okavango Panhandle is the main watercourse supplying the Okavango Delta from Angola. The Panhandle is not part of a reserve or protected area but there are still huge areas of unspoilt wetlands and papyrus-lined lagoons.
Even though wildlife is less abundant here, there are plenty of hippos, huge crocodiles and the shy water antelope species like the Sitatunga. With the region’s tall shady riverine forests, the birdlife is outstanding with notable species such as the Pel’s Fishing Owl, White-backed Night-Heron, African Skimmer, Black-faced Babbler, Brown Firefinch and Western Banded Snake-Eagle. In the summer months, large flocks of spectacular Carmine Bee-eaters can be seen nesting in the vertical banks of the Okavango River.
The fast-flowing deep waters are ideal for fishing and the annual barbel run of catfish attracts large numbers of the predatory tiger fish. Between September and October are the best months for anglers to experience this amazing phenomenon.
Motorboat excursions or mokoro trips are offered by the local communities along the eastern side of the river.
The Panhandle is the perfect base from which to visit the nearby Tsodilo Hills, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a multitude of rock paintings thought to be around 1000 years old. These hills are the spiritual home of the Basarwa or San people. Guides are available to escort visitors and explain the history and folklore surrounding this sacred site.
There are numerous lodges situated along the Panhandle and most are accessible from the tarred road. They cater mainly to fishing and birding enthusiasts.
A new bridge connecting Mohembo to Seronga will allow adventurous folk to circumnavigate the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park. We expect the bridge to be completed by the end of 2021.