Botswana and Zambia
The Okavango Delta (Okavango Swamp), in Botswana, is the world's largest inland delta. It is formed where the Okavango River empties onto a swamp in an endorheic basin in the Kalahari Desert, where most of the water is lost to evaporation and transpiration instead of draining into the sea. Each year approximately 11 cubic kilometres of water irrigate the 15,000 km² area and some flood-waters drain into Lake Ngami. The Moremi Game Reserve, a National Park, spreads across the eastern side of the delta.
Species include African Bush Elephant, African Buffalo, Hippopotamus, Lechwe, Topi, Blue Wildebeest, Giraffe, Nile crocodile, Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, Brown Hyena, Spotted Hyena, Greater Kudu, Sable Antelope, Black Rhinoceros, White Rhinoceros, Plains Zebra, Warthog and Chacma Baboon. Notably the endangered African Wild Dog still survives within the Okavango Delta, exhibiting one of the richest pack densities in Africa. The delta also includes over 400 species of birds, including African Fish Eagle, Crested Crane, Lilac-breasted Roller, Hammerkop, Ostrich, and Sacred Ibis.
The majority of the estimated 200,000 large mammals in and around the delta are not year-round residents. They leave with the summer rains to find renewed fields of grass to graze on and trees to browse, then make their way back as winter approaches. Large herds of buffalo and elephant total about 30,000 beasts.
The Okavango Delta is home to 71 fish species including Tigerfish, Tilapia and Catfish. They range from 1.4 m Sharptooth-Catfish to 3.2 cm Sickle-fin Barb. The same species are to be found in the Zambezi River, indicating a historic link between the two river systems.
The most populous large mammal is the lechwe antelope, with more than 60,000. A little larger than an impala with elongated hooves and a water repellent substance on their legs that enables rapid movement through knee deep water. They graze on aquatic plants and, like Waterbuck, take to water when threatened by predators. Only the males have horns.