Navigating the Okavango Delta *Videos*
Oh boy – Here comes the Okavango! Are you ready?!
I wasn’t ready. In fact, I wasn’t even sure where the Okavango Delta was (it’s in Botswana) before my Acacia Africa Desert Tracker safari and now it’s one of my favorite places of all time!
The Okavango Delta is the world’s largest inland delta. Angola’s Okavango River feeds the lowland basin that’s part of the vast Kalahari, creating the delta’s swamp-like conditions. So the Okavango is basically an oasis surrounded by desert.
Part of what makes the Okavango so special is the mokoros, canoes carved from a single tree trunk, that are used to ferry people and goods around the delta’s waterways. The mokoros glide silently through the reeds, propelled forward by a poler (a person with a long pole) standing at the canoe’s stern.
Check out how serene the ride is:
Can’t see this video? Click on this link: Gliding Mokoro
Apparently hippos can be aggressive toward mokoros since they’re used in hunting and can easily overturn one. (I’m glad I didn’t know this during my blissful gondola-inspired gliding). Although I did think about hippos in the water (and crocodiles too!) during our delta swim.
Sure it was hot. And yes, it was a lazy afternoon at our delta camp, so we visited a local swimming hole that was cleared of reeds (to better spot inquisitive / angry / hungry animals approaching).
I got in with the rest of the crew for a quick dip. But between the swishy sand between my toes and my hyper-vigilant watch for movement in the water, I didn’t last long.
Everyone else seemed to be having a grand time though — splashing and dunking each other, heartily enjoying the cool water in the lush surroundings.
We were lucky that our Desert Tracker safari was during the June-to-August dry season, when the delta’s water levels are highest. The high waters attract large numbers of animals to the Okavango Delta, creating one of Africa’s highest concentrations of wildlife.
During these summer months the delta can provide shelter for more than 200,000 large mammals, with cape buffalo and elephants totaling more than 30,000. The Okavango is also home to over 400 species of birds and 71 fish species.
Our main Okavango guide, Charles, tells us how mokoros are made and about the animal and plant life of the delta:
Can’t see this video? Click on this link: Okavango Guide Charles
One of the Okavango highlights was my helicopter ride over the delta – giving me a sky-high view of the delta’s expanse and all the abundant wildlife, including large bull elephants and herds of zebras.
This blue-sky vantage combined with the 2-day safari on delta island shores, as well as mesmerizing mokoros moving me gently through the delta, and I gained a great perspective of life on the water.
Now I’m ready finally for the Okavango Delta. Are you?!
This activity was part of my Acacia Africa 19-day Desert Tracker safari from Cape Town, South Africa to Livingstone, Zambia. It was an unforgettable experience and I highly recommend you check them out if you’re planning an Africa adventure!
This entry was posted on Monday, November 21st, 2011 and is filed under Africa.