Travel Guide Botswana: Chief's Island
Chief’s Island is the largest island in Botswana's world-famous Okavango Delta and home to the fascinating Big Five as well as an abundance of other wild animals. Learn more about this awe-inspiring destination
At 70 kilometres long and 15 kilometres wide, Chief's Island is the largest island in Botswana's world-famous Okavango Delta. When the water level of the delta rises, an unsurpassed wealth of animals gathers here, including the fascinating Big Five – lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and black rhino.
On Chief's Island the Okavango Delta presents itself the way you always imagined it. During guided bush walks and water safaris in the mokoro, you will be able to immerse yourself in the magnificent natural landscapes of the region and its astonishing biodiversity.
In the Mombo concession in the Moremi Game Reserve, in the middle of the Okavango Delta
approx. 1000 km²
Big Five: elephants, lions, leopards, buffalos, rhinos as well as hippos, crocodiles, wild dogs, zebras, giraffes, numerous antelopes, warthogs, baboons, green monkeys, numerous bird species
Various (luxurious) camps and lodges such as Oddballs' Enclave but also mobile camps
Game drives in the morning and afternoon, bush walks, mokoro trips
Best travel time
Between May and September
Incredible animal abundance • chance to see the Big Five • picturesque scenery including idyllic water landscapes • excellent area for walking safaris and mokoro tours
Visiting Chief's Island
Chief's Island, the largest island in the Okavango Delta, is located in the exclusive Mombo concession in the famous Moremi Game Reserve.
Landscape and animals
Chief's Island is the largest landmass in the Okavango Delta and is home to an incredible variety of animals. Quite a few consider the region to be the best wildlife area in Africa. Chief's Island's great hunters include lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyaenas. Hippos and crocodiles cavort above all in the water arms, which are also gladly visited by elephants and buffalos for drinking and cooling. And rhinos can also be found here, so Chief's Island is an excellent Big Five area. After extinction in Botswana, both black rhino and white rhino were successfully reintroduced into the Moremi Game Reserve. If you are lucky, you will not only spot rhinos, but also the rare African wild dog. However, zebras, giraffes, numerous antelope species, warthogs, baboons and green monkeys are also common.
Accommodation and activities
Guests on Chief's Island can enjoy the comfort of various, mostly luxurious accommodations. But mobile camps are also set up on the island by some providers. Chief's Island's biodiversity can be explored on classic game drives in open off-road vehicles or on exciting bush walks, which make a very special proximity to the local wildlife possible. A further experience are excursions by boat or mokoro, the traditional dugout canoe. This way of exploration allows the gentle gliding along the countless water arms, the experience of magical silence and the taking of completely new perspectives. Mokoro and boat trips depend on the season and the water level.
The dry season from the end of May to October proves to be a suitable travel time for the Okavango Delta. The temperatures here are clearly more pleasant than in the remaining months and lots of animals can now be found at the isolated, essential water holes. The rainy season is usually hot and humid and can be physically more strenuous. However, it is not completely advisable to refrain from a Botswana trip in the rainy season, as the high water levels make for unforgettable mokoro experiences.
Chief's Island is considered a unique wildlife paradise that has already served as the location for great National Geographic documentary filming. The abundance of animals in this area is immense and amazes every safari guest. Especially when the Okavango floods large parts of the delta during the annual flooding season, Chief's Island gathers an abundance of wildlife that can be discovered during unforgettable game drives, bush walks and boat trips. If you want to see the Big Five – elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhino – you have a good chance, because all five representatives are at home here. But only the untouched landscapes, with their lush vegetation, lagoons, ponds and channels, offer an incomparable, authentic and secluded Africa experience.