Delta Belle Houseboat
LOCATION & FORMATION:
The Delta Belle Houseboat is positioned in one of the greatest wetlands in the world, the Okavango Delta. The Houseboat is moored
in the Panhandle region of the Okavango Delta on the banks of the Okavango River in the small village of Shakawe, which is nestled
in Ngamiland’s North western corner in Botswana. This part of the Okavango Delta is a water wilderness with papyrus-lined
waterways, riverine forests, seasonal floodplains dotted with numerous islands, tranquil lagoons and crystal clear channels. It is
undoubtedly an extraordinary place and home to a big variety of plants and trees, animals, bird, insects, frogs and fish alike. The
Delta Belle Houseboat is ideal for small groups and individuals interested in an Okavango River Safari.
The Okavango Delta, expanding from 15 000 km² to 22 000km² during floods, a pristine and fertile wetland (a Ramsar Site) with a
unique aquatic ecosystem well-known for its great diversity of fauna and flora, is situated in the middle of the largest continuous
stretch of sand in the world – the Kalahari Basin. It once formed part of Lake Makgadikgadi (now Makgadikgadi Pans), an 80 000km²
super lake. Tectonic activity and faulting interrupted the flow of the river causing it to backup and form what is nowadays the
The Okavango River, which is a phenomenal source of life in a country that is 80% arid, is the only permanent watercourse that feeds
the Okavango Delta. It begins its journey 1,280 km away on the Benguela Plateau in the highlands of Angola from where it navigates
its way southeast traversing through Namibia and entering Botswana at Mohembo. From here the river is guided by two parallel
vaults through an area of about 80km long, known as the Panhandle. The annual floods fed from the Angolan rains starts pushing
gently into the Okavango Delta in January and reach a peak in the Panhandle of the Okavango sometime in April.
Dropping a little more than 60m over a distance of 450 km, it takes almost nine months from source to bottom, only reaching Maun in
September. An estimated 11 billion cubic meters of water is brought down the Okavango River annually and of this only 3% – 5%
reaches Maun. The remainder evaporates and disappears into the Kalahari Desert until the cycle is repeated next year. There’s
nowhere else quite like it!
Mooring: Shakawe, Botswana
Length: 19 metres
Width: 7 metres
Engines: 2 Outboard engines
Accommodation: 4 x Luxury en-suite Cabins
Passengers: Maximum of 8 guests
Crew: Licensed Boat Captain, Chef and Deckhand
Tender Boat: 2 For Water- & Land based activities
CHECK-IN & CHECK-OUT TIMES:
Check-in time is between 12:00pm and 14:00pm. Check-out time from the boat is at 10:00am. We have secure parking for vehicles at our mooring facility in Shakawe. Transfers to and from Shakawe Airport and Delta Belle Houseboat are by road and takes approximately 5 minutes. Guests can only arrive on the day of departure. We will try to accommodate reasonable requests for early check-in or late departure but this cannot be guaranteed.
Accommodation will only be on board the Delta Belle Houseboat. The houseboat will be moored at different locations on the Okavango River each night. On the last morning of each trip the boat will travel back to its mooring facility in Shakawe. Departure arrangements will be made according to the guest’s needs.
FACILITIES ON BOARD:
3 Cabins are situated on the lower deck. A deck situated in the front offers a shaded leisure area as well as an open area for sunbathing.
1 Cabin, dining room, open plan lounge area with small library, bar and kitchen is located on the upper deck. An open deck on this level makes it possible to enjoy superb views over the floodplains.
The Delta Belle Houseboat can accommodate a maximum of 8 guests in 4 x luxury en-suite cabins. The en-suite bathroom contains a toilet, shower, single hand basin with warm and cold water and a wardrobe. The 3 cabins on the lower deck are furnished with twin beds and the 1 cabin on the upper deck with a double bed. The cabins have ample space and are fitted with mosquito nets and a glass sliding door that provide tranquil river scenes. A cabin can practically only accommodate two persons.
Catered and self catered options are available. Meals on the Delta Belle Houseboat are served on the upper-deck. Menus are a mix of traditional, popular and African cuisine offering guests a feast of flavours, an experience to be enjoyed. A cash bar is available for alcoholic beverages, soft drinks & water. Coffee and teas are complimentary.
The dazzling water wilderness of the Panhandle of the Okavango Delta presents nature and wildlife photographers with the perfect stage. Whatever subject you’re interest in, ample opportunities will ensure rewarding pictures and lasting memories.
Bird watching in the Panhandle is sure to be a worthwhile experience and offers bird enthusiasts the opportunity to become closely acquainted with the more than 350 species that is found in the area. Frequent sightings include Fish Eagle, Pied Kingfisher, African Jacana, Red-billed Oxpecker, Black Crake, Egrets and Herons, Darter and Reed Cormorant, Heuglin’s Robin, Cardinal Woodpecker and the elusive Pel’s Fishing Owl. From September onwards numerous species of migrants and breeding-migrants also arrives in the Delta and sightings of the gracious African Skimmer and acrobatic Carmine Bee-eaters is not uncommon.
You will have the opportunity to see Hippo, Nile Crocodiles, Water Monitors, Bushbuck, Red Lechwe, Cape Clawless Otters, Elephant and the elusive Sitatunga Antelope who has found its niche in the wetland ecosystem. But it is often the smaller things that catch the eye. The delta is also home to frogs and butterflies of every imaginable shape, colour and size, 8000 species of insects and spiders. All of this whilst around you water lilies bloom and birds call!
The annual fishing season opens on the 01st of March and closes on the 31st of December each year. Not only is the main waters of the Okavango River a captivating destination, it is also filled with life. Whether you are an avid and experienced fisherman or aspire to land your first Tiger Fish, this will be a fishing experience to be remembered. With many crystalline lagoons it’s definitely a fly fisherman’s paradise. Main fish species in the Panhandle area are the legendary Tiger Fish, various species of Tilapia, Barbel(Catfish) and African Pike. Guests to supply own Fishing equipment.
Krokovango Crocodile Farm:
With about 13,000 Nile Crocodiles on the farm, this sure is an experience not to be missed. A guided tour will give visitors the chance to observe the latest hatchlings as well as an opportunity to meet the oldest member of the family, Sam, roughly 70years old. You will also be able to witness these prehistoric creatures in action during feeding times. A traditional Muti-garden showcases medicinal plants that can be found in the area and information on their uses by the local Batswana and San people
A family safari in Botswana is an ideal way to spend a family vacation. Attractions and activities on the Delta Belle Houseboat are aimed at both adults and children. No matter what your age, the powerful forces of nature combined with the sheer beauty of the Okavango Delta will overwhelm you. Our family safari offers the opportunity for young and old to share the exquisite beauty and diversity together.
The best time of year to visit is between April and November. Summer (December – March) with high temperatures averaging 30°C and lows around 20°C and Winter (June – August) with high temperatures averaging 24°C and lows around 6°C. It’s very rare for temperatures to drop below zero. The rainy season usually starts in November, peaks in January/February and more often than not ends in March. The average annual rainfall is between 480 – 520mm. There is no rainfall during the winter months. Malaria is present throughout the Okavango region, and all visitors are advised to take anti-malarial medication as prescribed by their Doctors.
All season round offers fantastic opportunities for bird enthusiast and fishermen alike. Bird enthusiasts should visit from mid-August/September onwards when numerous species of migrants arrive; many of them come to breed in the Delta. Annual Fishing season opens on the 01st of March and closes on the 31st of December each year with February to March good for Bream (Tilapia) and August to October the best months to catch Tiger Fish, Barbel and Nembwe.
Tar road – Maun / Shakawe (378km)
Tar road – Ghanzi / Shakawe (558km)
Tar road – Kasane / Maun / Shakawe (999km)
Tar road – Gaborone / Maun / Shakawe (1,312km)
Tar road – Mohembo Border Post / Shakawe (13km)
We have secure parking for vehicles at our mooring facility in Shakawe.
Air Botswana is the only Operator with direct flights from OT International (JHB) to Maun (BW). Various Air Charter Companies based in Maun fly to Shakawe Airport. Transfers to and from Shakawe Airport and Houseboat are by road and takes approximately 10 min.
Guests are responsible for their own luggage and personal belongings. We recommended that guests purchase the following types of insurance which are commercially available: Accidental death and disability, International medical, Trip cancellation and Loss of personal effects. Neither the owner nor any operator of the Delta Belle Houseboat, nor any of its crew members, employees or agents shall be responsible for lost or stolen personal belongings.
VISAS AND OTHER TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION:
It is the responsibility of guests to ensure that passports, visas, travel permits, health certificates, inoculations, international driving license and any other documents relating to their holiday are in order.
The local currency is the Pula, meaning “rain” in Setswana. There is a Barclays Bank with an ATM (Visa cards only) in Shakawe. VISA and MasterCard are accepted almost everywhere. US$, Euro, UK£ and South African Rand are widely accepted and are very welcome for tips and gratuities for guides and staff.