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Choosing a true Okavango Delta experience in regards to water levels

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Hello everyone,

I and my wife will be travelling to Cape Town, two private game reserves in the Great Kruger area, Victoria Falls and Botswana in May / beginning of June 2014.

For the Botswana part of the trip we will stay in Kasane for two nights first, then take the Air Botswana scheduled flight to Maun on May 29.

Since Botswana isn’t cheap and our budget limited, I thought I had figured it out - instead of going to a “wet” camp taking a boat trip with overnight camping on the Chief’s island for a true Delta experience (about 450 USD per person) plus 3 nights Sango camp (dry camp) for game viewing in the Khwai / Moremi area (about $ 1370 per person including land transfers from and to Maun).

I have overlooked the most important factor, though - the Okavango Delta water levels, the outfitter from Maun wrote to me that on May 30 water levels will be too low for a boat trip to the inner delta and the only options we have is either to take a an overnight mokoro trip or fly to a camp located in the inner delta.

I did some research on the Internet and it turns out that the mocoro trips are performed by the Okavango Kopano Mokoro Community Trust which operate in the NG32 concession (not in the inner delta). How close this will be to an inner delta experience?

The options for camps which are under $ 600 per person per night and have a great chance for a good flood by the end of May are not that many. According to my research up to the moment, Jao plains area in the North-Western part of the Delta would be the best area and the cheapest option there is the new Pelo camp, operated by Wilderness Safaris (it opened in 2013 and operates from April to October).
Obviously the flight to and from the camp is not cheap due to the distance from Maun and prices per person including transfer are respectively $ 920 for one night and $ 1290 for two nights.

Considering our budget we have the following options:

1. Do the 3 nights at Sango camp and do an overnight mokoro trip - very budget friendly option, but I am afraid that we might not get the “true” delta experience by visiting a camp in the NG32 area instead of the inner delta.

2. Do 3 nights at Sango camp plus 1 night at Pelo camp – this will push the budget a bit, but we will be able to experience the inner delta with a good chance for flood by the end of May.

3. Cut 1 night at Sango camp and do 2 nights there plus 2 nights at Pelo camp – this would be a more balanced option between both camps (2 + 2), but I wonder whether the third night in Sango would be more interesting (game drives) opposite to a second night in Pelo (water activities only).

Anyone with experience in Pelo camp? Scenery must be fabulous, but what are the chances of seeing red lechwe antelopes running in the shallows and/or other wildlife apart from birds? It is quite new place and there aren’t any independent reviews on the Internet yet. The closest camp is Jacana and I assume the scenery and activities will be similar (we are not interested in top accommodation).

Any opinion and/or suggestions considering water levels at the end of May, these two camps and the overnight mokoro trip will be appreciated.

Cheers!

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