Snapshot – Okavango Delta

Returning to Africa for today’s travel snapshot … it seems I can’t stay away from that continent, either in my blog or in real life πŸ™‚ As I’ve only done one previous post on Botswana, I’m going to do another … this time on my visit to the Okavango Delta. The Okavango Delta is an inland delta, which I find fascinating. When I think “delta” I imagine something like where the Nile River runs into the sea. An inland delta means the water doesn’t flow into an ocean, it just disappears (or evaporates if you prefer but I think disappear sounds more magical). The Delta is located in the Kalahari Desert in northern Botswana (that’s right, it’s an oasis!) and covers anywhere between 6,000-15,000 square kilometres.

I’ve only visited the Delta once, in August 2013 as part of the Cape Town to Victoria Falls Adventure tour I did with G Adventures. We departed Maun early in the morning to begin our journey to the Delta. Loaded with camping supplies and a small overnight bag we first had to drive for a couple of hours by 4WD vehicle to get to the waters edge. Once we arrived, we were paired up and the local “polers” selected a pair each and helped load us into a mokoro for the next step of the journey. A mokoro is a type of dug-out canoe. The polers stand in the back of the mokoro and use a long pole to push you through the river and the long reeds. It’s a skill not easily acquired.

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View from the Mokoro
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The joy of a mokoro
After a couple of relaxing and comfortable hours in the mokoro, we arrive at what amounts to a nondescript piece of wilderness. You see, there wasn’t an actual pre-determined camping spot. Oh no, our polers just look for a nice spot of land and then hop out with machetes and clear a spot for us to pitch tents for the night. While they were busy doing that, we all pulled out some canvas chairs, set them up in the knee deep water around us and took in the beautiful surrounds! Camp that night was basic … there’s obviously no running water, electricity or amenities out here. The toilet was your standard hole in the ground (we were warned to go to the bathroom in pairs at night as there’s nothing separating us from the wildlife!) and there are no bush showers. We spent the afternoon trying to learn how to steer a mokoro (lots of laughs later and nobody but my friend and guide, J, was successful). That evening a spectacularly delicious dinner was prepared over the camp fire. Then after a couple of shots of my favourite south african drink (Amarula), we settled down to watch our poler friends perform dances and songs around the fire. By the end of it, we were all on our feet laughing and joining in. It remains one of the most memorable and incredible experiences of my life.

If you want to hear a small sample of it, please check out the video I posted as part of Dance … the other universal language?

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Our camp
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Sunset
The following morning we were up at the crack of dawn, for another mokoro ride to  an area not far from camp. We were to go on a game walk. As you may guess from the name, game walks are like game/safari drives only without the vehicle. We set off with our guides and learnt about the wildlife in the region … how to track and identify prints, what kind of dung belongs to what animals, the role elephants have in the ecosystem of the area. We didn’t see much in the way of wildlife whilst in the Delta, like all safaris it is luck of the draw … some days you see an abundance, some days very little. Returning to camp to pack up and then a mokoro ride back to the awaiting 4WD vehicles, we returned to Maun to collect our luggage and then set off for Kasane and Chobe.

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Sunrise
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Zebra
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Donkey …?
This post is part of my contribution to the A-Z Challenge for April 2016

Click here for a list and links to my other challenge posts!

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41 thoughts on “Snapshot – Okavango Delta”

  1. Kim, this sounds like such an amazing and memorable experience, no wonder you fell in love with Africa so much. I love hearing all about your experiences, such down to earth, back to basic camp memories immersing with the locals and learning about the heart of the country and its wildlife. Thanks for taking me with you on this journey. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, Miriam. It’s an amazing continent. But I think your observation is spot on … It’s about the back to basic, heart of the country type experiences. I don’t really get a sense of that in a city. I don’t know why. Cities seem to meld into one, I can’t feel the differences and uniqueness as easily in them. I guess we all connect to places in different ways. Thanks again for your support and feedback, it’s always greatly appreciated πŸ™‚ xx

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      1. It’s my absolute pleasure Kim. I’m loving your posts on places that I haven’t been yet and enjoying seeing wonderful cultures and experiences through your eyes … we seem to share a lot of similar ideals. I think you and I would be great traveling companions! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Pamela, thank you! I’m so glad you’re enjoying them. It’s always so much fun to immerse yourself in another culture, it’s a great way form of education. The mokoro are fantastic – to steer one takes a great deal of balance and skill πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you, Lyn. It’s funny because I don’t talk about my travels outside the blogosphere. I’m enjoying sharing little snippets with everyone though – I’m blown away by the support and interest people have in hearing about my experiences. It’s been wonderful! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That was a one thrilling trip you had! I got particularly inclined at the part where you said the guide taught you how to identify the animals’ footprints, the stuff about elephant and all.. those things kind of thrills me.It makes you feel more like a jungle person!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree! It adds a whole new level to a safari when you start to learn some of the things about wildlife and tracking from the guides. One of the best tricks I learnt was on a night safari in Kruger Park, South Africa – where our guide taught us how to spot a chameleon in a tree, at night, whilst driving along! It’s definitely a skill that needs practice! πŸ™‚

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