Fish the mighty Barbel Run in the Okavango Panhandle

Thanks to Cameron Bailey for this great video from last years Okavango Barbel Run Safari.

Fish for Africa’s finest freshwater sportfish – the tigerfish - in the most astounding natural feeding frenzy led by experienced guides from a comfortable mobile safari camp.

Highlights include:

  •  Constant fishing action!
  • Experienced guiding by master fly fisherman Henkie Altena
  • Participate in a natural fishing phenomenon!
  •  Ideal fishing trip to target tigerfish on fly and light spin or lure tackle

Okavango Barbel Run Safari Details

Getting to the Okavango

The Okavango Barbel Run Safari is based in Sepupa on the banks of the main channel of the Okavango River.

There are 3 ways of accessing the camp:

Self-Drive: Sepupa can be easily accessed on tar roads from JHB (approx 15 hr drive) or Maun (approx 4 hr drive).

Fly in & Charter Flight: Option 2 is to fly to Maun. Charter flights can then be aranged to get you from Maun to Shakawe where you will be collected and taken to the camp in Sepupa.    Shakawe to For those wanting to fly, there is an airstrip in Maun. and road tranfers can be arranged to collect people road transfers can be arranged to collect people in Maun or arrange private charter flights to Shakawe and collect customers thereafter.

Fly in & Road Transfer: Option 3 is to fly to Maun, and for road transfers to be arranged to transport you to the camp in Seupupa (appox 4 hr drive).



Camp Set Up: The Okavango Barbel Run Safari camp is set up in mobile safari style whereby each guest is accommodated in his or her own 3m x 3m bow tent equipped with stretchers, mattresses and bedding.

Ablutions: The camp makes use of shared ablution blocks that come with toilets and hot water showers.

Dining & food: Dining is beneath the stars and a fully functional bush kitchen is set up for the duration of the safari providing good quality wholesome meals. Drinks can be purchased from the nearby bar.

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Safari Dates & Details

The Okavango Barbel Run Camp is setup for 8 weeks a year, from mid-September to end of October - these are the weeks which traditionally see the most action of the annual Barbel Run.

Trip Details: Each trip is 5 days and 6 nights. Anglers should arrive in camp on the Sunday, allowing 5 full days of fishing and departing camp on the Saturday.

Group size: The camp can accommodate 6 -12 anglers.  Typically, 2 anglers will share one boat - the price per person will decrease with the addition of a third person.

Available Dates: 

11th – 17th September: 3 boats available18TH – 24th September:- sold out
25th Sept – 1st October: 3 boats available | 2nd – 8th October: sold out
9th – 15th October: Sold out | 16th – 22nd October:  1 boat available
23rd – 30th October: 3 boats available | 1 –7 November: 3 boats available

See the fly we use for tiger fish on the Okavango river. Video by Henkie Altena.
Our location in the middle of the Okavango Panhandle ensures that we spend maximum time on the water and don’t waste time driving for miles in pursuit of the runs.
Fly-fishing: Arguably the best place in Southern Africa to target tigerfish on fly and the proven tactics and techniques are remarkably simple! Following the birds that chase the runs, the guides are expert at positioning the boats correctly giving you ample opportunity to target the tigerfish feeding on the outskirts of the ‘runs.’ 8/9 weight rods with fast sinking lines are the order of the day and although many have tried to vary fly patterns, Henkie’s famous M.S.H fly continues to be the most successful and proven pattern.
Lures: A selection of lures with singe hooks have proven to be useful on the Okavango although no more so than the M.S.H bucktail jig. Varying the depth and retrieval speed with this simple but deadly lure can be extremely effective and the Okavango can offer awesome action on light spinning tackle (stiff action 7ft rods are ideal with small coffee grinder reels).


Targeted Fish Species

The tigerfish is always first and foremost on our list of species to target. Smashing takes, powerful runs, acrobatic leaps ands beautiful colours make it the ideal quarry to tackle on fly and lure. People have described the tigerfish in many ways with many suggested means as to how to catch them. We cover all of this in camp on the Okavango so suffice to say that if you haven’t caught a tiger fish before, we highly encourage you to target Africa’s premier freshwater sportfish.

Largemouth Bream species including the nembwe, thinface and humpback to name a few are wonderful fish to target on fly. Offering a very different challenge to the tigers and fighting deep around the structure with distinctive head shaking, the largemouth bream species of the Okavango should be on every fly angler’s species list to catch whilst on the Okavango.

Barbel (Catfish) is no stranger to most fishermen and you are likely to hook a few during their annual runs that we fish. As mentioned though, the tiger fish are our prime target species during the Okavango Barbel Run although a couple of hook-ups with “Mr Whiskers” are inevitable.

Are you ready to witness this natural fishing phenomenon?

Send us an email with your preferred dates and number of people to reserve your spot

Feedback from past Okavango Barbel Run clients


“This trip was awesome – Henkie and his team are world class! I just wish it could have been longer.”

Okavango Barbel Run, 2014


“The emphasis is on the sheer volume of tigers, along with the incredible adrenalin rush you experience when surrounded by the flashing orange fins of the attacking tigers. We had a number of long runs which seemed to go on forever, and when things finally quietened down, we were grateful for the opportunity to sit down and rest the arms!”

Okavango Barbel Run, October 2013

dieter rothman group

"A great adventure with excellent fishing, superb guiding, top notch catering and ton's of fun!"

Okvango Barbel Run, 2015

Okavango Barbel Run Safari: VIdeos

Book now for the Okavango Barbel Run Fishing Safari

Send us an email with your preferred dates and number of people to reserve your spot