It’s a really good thing to keep your promises. So when I promised the Air Safari pilot I wouldn’t touch any of the controls if he let me co pilot the last leg in the Cessna back to Maun from the Okavango Delta, I kept my word. There were lots of buttons, too many to count.
The Okagvango Delta, a place one will hear many tales about, but it’s only once you are there that you can grasp it.
A World Heritage Site 1500km long, while the ‘hands’ and ‘fingers’ of this majestic earthly biodiverse feature make up 6000sqkm and 12,000sqkm.
Camp Okavango is nestled in the north west of the Delta, a slice of bliss for a couple of nights. The baobab trees that have stood for thousands of years, which have provided tartaric acid and yeasts to bush people for many lifetimes. Termite mounds decades in the making, which can be knocked down or partially destroyed by a passing elephant in the blink of an eye. Kilometres of the papyrus reed along the waterways, used by the Ancient Egyptians to make the first ever paper, and it can also be eaten and made into boats. Surprise encounters of elephants enjoying a cool down as you navigate the waterways to a hippo infested yet great fishing spot. Catching two red breasted tilapia and enjoying them for dinner under the Botswana stars. Coming across a pack of wild dogs walking back to Camp after a mokoro, through the waterlilies which not only look beautiful, but are used as methods of survival by the traditional people of the Okavango Delta. (Mokoro are the original boats carved from soft wood, used to navigate the waterways of the Delta, although now fibreglass ones are more commonly used.) Hearing tales of bushman of the Kalahari combining friendships, skill sharing and years of collaboration with those who called the Delta home; together they’d learn the ways of the life in the desert and by the water. Sighting the rare antelope, the Statunga, who live in water and on land, but too quick to photograph. Taking a bush walk on Nari Island, ‘buffalo’ in Swana. We saw a massive herd in the distance. Flying in to Camp Okavango in the Safari Air Cessna was fun; the distant clusters of trees and watering holes turning into detailed havens for many forms of wildlife. A great couple of nights with an awesome crew there who love the place and love nothing better than for those who visit to love it just as much. Cheeky monkeys at the camp, busy squirrels, lingering baboons, the distant honking of hippos and roaring of lions, and the constant chirp of so many birds. During activities and over delicious meal times and refreshing drinks was a chance for constant learning about this land from those who know it best, who live and breathe it. What a treat. Departing Camp Okavango by boat to a nearby camp, inbetween thunder storms and heavy rains, a final chance to be on the water, a final thrill. All this, and I’ve barely scraped the surface of this paradise.