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May 2004

This Month:
• Continuing our updates on the 2004 Okavango Delta flood - is this the "the perfect flood?"

Botswana Camps
Okavango Flood Update - May 2004
My assessment is that we have almost "The perfect flood." What I mean by this is that the early waters, which were so high, have soaked the ground to some depth. They peaked out at 778 cubic meters per second at Mohembo. From there they dropped rather rapidly to 531 cusecs. They have now almost levelled out, and has in fact, risen gently to that figure of 582 cusecs. Anything above 500 is fantastic, and for it to last for so long above that figure is hugely benificial to the environment and the creatures living therein, without having damaging effects on those environments or our physical infrastructure, thus allowing for the best possible experience for the visitor.

Based on rainfall estimates from Angola earlier in the year, I am expecting the inflow to increase to above 600 once more this year, probably during late May. If you look at the graph, you will see that this will amount to a considerable flow in total.

Of considerable interest is that the water has crossed the fence down the Xudum and Matsebe systems, and has continued on to within 20 kilometers of Toteng. Lake Ngami should get considerable water this year which it has not since 1991.

The Lake Zibadianja has filled once more and water has flowed about 800 meters down the Savute channel. The Kwando river is flowing comparitively well, compared to the last fifteen years. Satellite imaging shows that a lot of this is flowing on a channel which crosses the Linyanti swamp area from the Kwando to the Linyanti. The Kwando and Linyanti rivers should gain nicely from these increased flows. The effect on the Savute remains to be seen, but the Duma Tau region is , once more nicely watered.

The Makgadikgadi pans are still full to the brim, which will keep the Zebra in the region well into this "dry season", and there are some fascinating and interesting movements of birds into that area. The crane working group are particularly interested in large groups of Wattled cranes which take up residence in the grasslands around the pans after the good rains of this season. It is thought that they may move from the Okavango as the large flood pulse restricts feeding areas. They will return to the delta later in the year, as the flood recedes, to get on with breeding.

There are great reports of elephant and others on the Boteti at this time. As mentioned in a previous letter, I think that a very worthwhile trip during 2004/5 would be to combine the best of the Linyanti/Okavango regions with a Makgadikgadi/Kalahari visit.

Article by Map Ives
Environmental Manager
Okavango Wilderness Safaris

The flood graph below is for 30-April, and stands at 577 cusecs. As of 04-May, the figure is at 582 cusecs.

Okavango Delta Flood Chart for 30-April 2004


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