Nxaraga Hippo Pool Drying Up Spells Doom


More than 200 hippos look set to stranded at the Nxaraga Hippo Pool that is drying up, an environment disaster that would be a repeat of another dry spell in 2019 where tens of hippos died in the mud of the pool.

Some of these animals migrated from Lake Ngami and Nxaichai pool to Nxaraga hippo pool for survival during the dry spell of 2022.

In 2022 dozens of hippos were trapped to death in the mud at Lake Ngami while some were saved and relocated to Nxaraga pool. Others managed to migrate to other water sources. The same situation happened in 2019 where most water sources downstream of the Delta dried.

To address the situation some Non-Governmental Organizations, private entities and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DNWP) partnered to save the remaining hippos through feeding them. DNWP also drilled boreholes to fill the Nxaraga water pool while awaiting floods.

In an interview, the Director of Africa Trails (a privately owned eco campsite, located near the pool), Loggy Omara revealed that the current water at the pool is estimated to last for only one week. According to him, there is high competition for water at the pool among domestic animals, elephants and the hippos.

He indicated that drying of the river had forced some hippos from Nxaichai pool to relocate to Nxaraga pool leading to overpopulation and competition for space and meager resource with livestock and other wildlife species.

Omara has expressed fear that should the water dry up, the remaining hippos will also be left for the worst in the mud.

He has since called on for government and other stakeholders to assist in equipping boreholes surrounding Nxaraga channel in order for water to be drawn into the pool while awaiting floods.

Omara who was among those who contributed towards saving the hippos during the 2019 prolonged drought has pledged his borehole towards helping the hippos as it is located near the pool. He has however indicated that the borehole needs solar equipment in order for it to be able to pump water into the pool.

DWNP is yet to respond to this publication’s questionnaire.

Meanwhile when addressing council this week, North West District Council Chairperson Itumeleng Kelebetseng revealed that since 5th May 2023 the Okavango River water levels at Mohembo River which feeds rivers in the Okavango delta continue to decrease. He indicated that the water levels are lower as compared to the same period during the previous hydrological year 2021/2022.

Kelebetseng explained that the annual flood forecasting along the Boro River system is approximately 82km to reach Maun. However, he noted that the water flow velocity is too low while the flood forecasting of the Gomoti river system, flood head is approximately 43km to reach Maun also flow velocity is minimal.

He indicated that the flood forecasting at Xudum and Matsebe river system flood head is approximately 124km to reach Lake Ngami adding that the flow velocity is also low.

“Currently the department does not have an accurate forecast as to when the impending annual floods are anticipated to reach Maun and Lake Ngami. However, indications are that the Gomoti River flows will reach the Thamalakane River before the Boro River like it was the case during the last hydrological year,” Kelebetseng said.

DWNP is yet to respond to this publication’s questionnaire.


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