Okavango Delta, Botswana
I recently returned from an incredible safari in Botswana. This realised a long held dream to conduct a transect of the famed Okavango Delta by boat from north to south. In all my years of living in Botswana and guiding safaris there I never took the time to partake in a trans-Okavango. Well, good things come to those that wait. It exceeded all expectations and more!
The trip started in the Kalahari Desert where we spent a couple of days in a wonderful little camp called Kalahari Plains. The Kalahari has just enjoyed a fantastic wet season so the landscape was alive. I have never seen Oryx (gemsbok) in such numbers. One of the highlights was sleeping under the stars on a moonless night. The umbrella of stars is so clear in the pristine unpolluted environment of the Kalahari it is almost suffocating.
From the Kalahari we flew north into the Okavango. Talk about going from the “sublime to the ridiculous”. Northern Botswana has enjoyed a double average wet season. Add to this the fact that the highlands of Angola (which supplies the majority of the water to the Okavango) have had similar rains. The Okavango is experiencing the biggest flood in a generation plus. Talk about a “sea of land and a land of water”! Prior to our boating sojourn we spent a deal of time in helicopters over-flying the delta. It is only from the air that one really gets an appreciation of the extent of floodwaters. Many a safari operator is scrambling to bund airstrips and camps. We also took time to visit the fabled Tsodilo Hills on the north-western extremity of the delta to see the famous bushman rock art. This was a very special side trip.
From the heli’s it was into the boats. We didn’t see another soul on the water for the next three days (until we got south towards the buffalo fence). Where else in the world can you experience such solitude these days? The game-viewing and scenery were spectacular.
To get a feel for what’s in store, check out the below video. I hope it does the trip justice.
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