The Okavango Delta from Above and Beyond

Nellie Huang September 30, 2013 2

There is complete silence except for the occasional frog’s croaks and dragonflies’ buzz. The air smells wet and fresh after a day of torrential rain. As we meander through the narrow waterways on a mokoro (wooden dugout canoe), I see giraffes in the far distance, their necks poking above the reeds that surround us.

This is the Okavango Delta, a large inland delta that sprawls across the heart of Botswana’s Kalahari basin. With thousands of water streams and a massive floodplain, the delta supports a sizeable amount of wildlife and human population. It is also one of the most interesting places to visit in South Africa.

On my trip with G Adventures on the Dunes, Deltas, and Falls tour, I was completely captivated by the Okavango Delta and loved spending our days swimming, paddling, and camping there. We had the opportunity to see and experience the world famous delta from three very different perspectives: on land via walking safaris, from the water by wooden dugout canoes, and from the air on board a sightseeing plane. Each of the three experiences gave me completely different perspectives of the Okavango and I’m here to share them with you.

From the Water

On board a wooden dugout canoe, mokoro, we spent our days gliding through the delta, combing through the tall and thick reeds and meandering through the waterways. It felt like we were truly immersed within the delta and this was as close as you could get to the wildlife and plants of the Okavango.

A hippo peeks above the water surface

A hippo peeks above the water surface

Fellow travelers gliding on a mokoro

Fellow travelers gliding on a mokoro

A glimpse of the islands from the water

A glimpse of the islands from the water

Gliding on a mokoro

Gliding on a mokoro

Beautiful water lilies and fronds floating on the water

Beautiful water lilies and fronds floating on the water

From Land

The guided walking safaris gave us completely different perspectives as we left the canoes behind and headed out to the islands to explore on foot. We tiptoed our way across marshlands and found ourselves staring face to face with elephants, waterbucks, and zebras the fact that we were on foot made it all the more exciting.

A zebra in the close distance

A zebra in the close distance

Spotting an elephant while on the walking safari

Spotting an elephant while on the walking safari

Exploring the islands on foot

Exploring the islands on foot

A frog on our tent while camping in the Okavango

A frog on our tent while camping in the Okavango

From Above

From the air, it was a whole new world: we watched herds of waterbuck antelopes trundle along the lime green plains and elephants bathing in the brown waters of the channel. The entire landscape took on a new dimension as rivers suddenly resembled big pythons snaking through a massive patch of endless greenery.

This scenic flight was offered as an optional excursion (costs approximately US$110). I knew it would be a mind-blowing experience flying over the delta, but what I was truly overwhelmed by the magnitude of the delta and the amount of details we saw from above.

Taking off into the air

Taking off into the air

Narrow water ways snake around the green plains

Narrow water ways snake around the green plains

Hundreds of antelope as seen from the plane

Hundreds of antelope as seen from the plane

Hippos grazing by the river banks

Hippos grazing by the river banks

The water winds its way through the delta like a python

The water winds its way through the delta like a python

2 Comments »

  1. Derek October 1, 2013 at 6:07 am - Reply

    Great pics Nellie, I used to be a Tour Leader down there for Overland….Always loved going into the Delta :)

  2. Stacey October 2, 2013 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    Nellie-I can empathize. My husband and I went on Dunes, Deltas & Falls with GAdventures in 2009 and had a similarly amazing experience (minus the being chased by a hippo part while in our mokorros and having to get out on land and run at the polers’ firm suggestions-although now even that seems pretty amazing) and have similar images on a memory card. What an incredble experience and one of the most beautiful and untouched places we’ve seen. Love the post. Safe and happy travels! -Stacey

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