The Okavango Delta
Unique Holiday Destination
The roar of a lion, the grunt of a hippopotamus, the hoot of an owl, in the still of the night, a night with a sky as black as black can be.
Where can this be?
Except for those privileged to live in the “heart beat” of Africa this unique holiday destination may be merely a dream away.
The Okavango Delta can boast the best of the best in Wild Life experiences, to offer all that yearn for the most unforgettable holiday.
Who has but not heard the sounds of wild animal’s via media? But who have heard those sounds near to your very being? If not, then you have never really heard any sounds at all as the echo in the still of the night and in the sunshine of the day send chills down your spine and have you awe struck.
A 10,000 square kilometer area of wilderness constitutes the Okavango Delta with endless numbers of islands, rivers and swamps in the remote thirst lands of Northern Botswana.
This is one of Africa’s most baffling mysteries, where the flow of water over sand defies all reason.
It also boasts the title of the world's largest inland delta.
The Okavango Delta Wildlife Reserve is where one of the largest migrations of animals in Africa takes place. Can you imagine seeing hundreds of Buffalo thunder across the land or Wildebeest, Zebra and other animals add to the roar of the land.
A flight over the migration of animals by plane is highly recommended. I was ecstatically excited to be invited by a group to occupy the one spare seat on a flight and what I saw from the air that day was indescribable!
Our holiday began when my husband and I flew to the Delta on a single engine Cessna from Lanseria airport, Johannesburg. Our pilot Jim, was an ex air force pilot and not shy to take on a challenge taking a dive towards herds of animals, treating us to a closer view.
A herd of buffalo on one of the runways in the Delta had to be buzzed to clear for landing.
Now I was acutely aware of the unique holiday I was on, after all a large herd of buffalo don’t look timid.
The camp sites are situated on small islands surrounded by shallow water where crocodiles and their friends lurk.
Our first stopover was at a camp that accommodated 16 people.
Within moments of landing in this remote spot in a big wide world, I had changed my mind about this adventure. No way out, I spent the first night sitting in the little humble dining area talking to a few other tourists who shared my fears.
My husband slept in our campsite accommodation without fear, amazing!
Sleeping accommodation consists of a wooden structure built between the trees on wooden stilts. A mosquito net drapes as a frontage. Needless to say, this was not my idea of protection between my precious life and the wildlife.
This was a unique experience, and a renewed mindset after a few days instilled my love for the wildlife that would last forever.
Educated and well trained in wildlife, Game Rangers appreciate the initial nervousness of the tourists upon arriving in the Delta, and their knowledge of the wildlife instills the confidence one needs. After all, it is not common for us city folk to be in the presence of the King of the Jungle and his companions!
A typical day in the Delta begins by an early rise, followed by breakfast cooked over the campfire, prepared by the managers of the camp. Everyone seems keen to take a ride on a Mokoro and otherwise share ideas of what to see and do for the day.
A hollowed out tree trunk skillfully carved is called a Mokoro and this is the means of transport used through the waterways. Built to transport two to three passengers it is paddled through the water by a local man who knows the canals every turn.
A ride in a Mokoro takes you between the beds of papyrus and hippo grasses and water lilies tangled on the edge of the waterways.
This is your opportunity to experience the swooping down of the Fish Eagle to catch a fish in one swift moment.
You are not alone on these waterways but share them with crocodile, hippopotamus and fish.
My thoughts at the end of the ride were, “at least I can boast of bravery around the campfire tonight, when the other guests boast their brave encounters from the day”.
The winged creatures are dominant too with great flocks of birds gathered on the sandbanks together.
To mention just a few birds seen in the Okavango Delta there are Ibis, White Pelican, and Wood Storks. A white-fronted Bee-Eater waits on a branch to make a meal of passing dragonflies, butterflies, bees and other insects.
The very beautiful Flamingo in their thousands moves across the Pans gravitating to the watery places. A view from above, by aircraft, can look like an ocean of pale pink below.
Photos taken of these unique sights in the Delta will be your souvenirs, so be sure to use a camera with a good zoom lens.
After a day of seeing, hearing and learning about the wildlife under the hot African sun the tourists relax around the campfire to share the tales of the day. Of course, everyone has seen the biggest elephant!
Dinner near the camp fire of freshly baked bread and possibly a ‘‘potjie’’, an African stew or bar-b-que tastes better than otherwise cooked in our modern electric ovens. It must be the glowing coals, but atmosphere plays a big part in eating pleasure. A hush by the folk and you will likely hear a lion roar in the distance.
It is interesting to know that the campfires are kept burning all night long to ward off would be predators.
It is advisable to visit the Okavango Delta in the winter months as the summer temperatures are unbearably hot.
Winter is the Dry season the only other being the Wet season in summer, which is when the floods enter the Delta.
If going on Safari takes your fancy why not add the Chobi Game Reserve to your itinerary staying at Lloyd’s camp. At this point you will be a short distance from the famous Victoria Falls, a must see in a travelers life time.
This is the Okavango Delta, sheer serenity, where radios, television, newspapers are left behind in the hustle and bustle of city life, awaiting your return from enjoying peace and nature at its best.
The Okavango experience, only in Africa!