The Okavango Panhandle – Safaris at the Okavango Panhandle

The Panhandle – Shakawe General Information:

The Okavango Panhandle gets it’s name from the fact that the Okavango Delta when viewed from space, looks like a giant pan with the upper Okavango river in Botswana forming the handle of that pan (see map above). Shakawe is considered by many to be the ‘capital’ of the Panhandle region as it is the only village of any real consequence on the road from Sehitwa to the Namibian border. The panhandle is well-known for it’s excellent fishing and even better bird watching. Flagship bird species in the region include Brown-throated Weaver, Greater Swamp-Warbler, Brown Firefinch, White-backed Night-Heron, Wattled Crane and the elusive Pel’s Fishing Owl. During the summer months the Carmine Bee-eaters form large colonies and nest in the banks of the river and gather in large flocks around the colony making for some wonderful photographic opportunities.


A number of our birding safaris pass through this area as it is also the gateway to Namibia’s Caprivi Strip. There is not much in the way of large mammalian wildlife in the area but elephant and buffalo do still pass through from time to time and the rare Sitatunga, an aquatic antelope, frequents the papyrus swamps throughout this region.  For fishermen the peak time to visit this region is during the so-called ‘barbel runs’ when a local species of catfish schools in massive numbers, feeding on bait fish which spill out of the floodplains as the floodwaters recede. This normally occurs in September-October and during this period there is some spectacular tiger fishing to be had along these waters. Contact Greg or Kate Thompson of Old Africa Safaris for more information on fishing this Okavango phenomenon (


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Safaris for this destination

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The Okavango Panhandle – Safaris at the Okavango Panhandle

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Abeduico "Shaka" Masuku

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