Okavango Delta, Botswana

In the Okavango Delta, a combination of biological, climatic and hydrological processes have resulted in the formation of an ecosystem that provides adequate conditions for a variety of life to thrive. Approximately 160 species of mammals, 500 species of birds and over 1,500 species of plants take refuge in the 5,791 to 8,494 square mile (15,000 to 22,000 sq. km) area. Larger herbivores include the South African Giraffes and African Elephants. Carnivores include Lions, Leopards and Cheetahs. Under normal circumstances, a delta will flow into an ocean or larger body of water. Instead, the water cycling through the Okavango Delta landform fills surrounding lakes and pools. Despite high temperatures and constant evaporation, the delta remains wet, even during the driest season of the year, which is crucial, as nutrient cycling is dependent on water. As a result of annual flooding, both plants and animals have acclimated their natural cycles to these times of the year.