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The 2012 Okavango Flood

2012 Flood | 22 March 2012

Water discharge at Mohembo

After the massive flood levels of 2011 there was much speculation regarding this year’s flood. Many people had predicted that this year’s flood levels would exceed that of last year. In 2011 Moremi Game Reserve received so much water that over 100km of game drive roads were inundated, some were up to six foot under water whilst others formed shallow, winding watercourses linking floodplains which had not seen water in 35 years.

Although high flood levels are generally good for birds, mammals and fish, they are not ideal for safari operations as many areas become inaccessible, some airstrips are flooded and vehicles require an enormous amount of manintenance to keep them operating in such extreme conditions. Thankfully, it appears that this year’s flood will not exceed or even be on a par with last years. Water levels at Mohembo, where the Okavango River enters Botswana, have peaked well below last year’s levels. The graph below show’s the comparative water volumes of this year and last year as well as flood levels from ’96 & ’98 to illustrate the massive difference in water levels. Current water levels are around 300% higher than the levels experienced in the mid-nineties!