Lake Ngami – Safaris at Lake Ngami
Lake Ngami – General Information:
Lake Ngami occupies the north-eastern part of a shallow sedimentary basin, south-west of the Okavango Delta, of which it is an integral part. It was originally fed by the Thaoge River (the western distributary of the Okavango), and during the 19th century, was a substantial waterbody – it took the explorer David Livingstone several days to circumnavigate it’s perimeter, for example. Once the Thaoge ceased to flow, the lake flooded seasonally, fed by the Nhabe and Kunyere Rivers, and in the 80 years prior to 1983, had only been dry for two consecutive years, five times. However, since then it has been dry most of the time, due to the low water levels in the Okavango system during the 1990s. During the late 1990s, there was a major change in the distribution of water in the Okavango Delta (Wolski and Murray-Hudson, 2006) with more water flowing down the western side (towards Lake Ngami, via the Kunyere – the Nhabe no longer flows to the lake); however the low flows being experienced at that time meant that it was only in 2000 that the Kunyere floodwaters reached the lake, although they were inadequate to flood part of the lake bed. In 2001, a few square kilometres of the lake bed were flooded. With the higher flood levels experienced subsequently, the lake has flooded substantially every year since 2004. (Source: Birdlife Botswana)
The Kunyere River flows into the lake past the village of Toteng, now the site of a major copper mining operation. Despite mining activities and increasingly heavy commercial fishing pressure, Lake Ngami remains a wonderful destination for bird watchers in particular. The nutrient-rich lake is home to a staggering number of birds, some of the more notable species include: Lesser & Greater Flamingo, Pink-backed and Great White Pelican, Lesser Jacana, Pygmy Goose, Southern Pochard, White-backed Duck, Pied Avocet and Black-tailed Godwit. Less common birds (some of which are rarities) which have made appearances in the past include Garganey, South African Shelduck, Pallid Harrier, Gull-billed Tern, Caspian Tern, Lesser Black-backed Gull, NamaquaSandgrouse, Angola Swallow and Burchell’s Courser.
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