The Okavango Delta in Botswana is the world’s largest inland delta. The water originates from flooding in Angola, and months later makes its way to Botswana. As a result, this area of Botswana attracts animals and creates greenery that isn’t seen elsewhere in the country.
I wrote notes each day of our trip and I will post them here as is.
For our photos from the Okavango Delta, click here.
October 9, 2011
This week is a special week for a couple of reasons. It is the first week we are taking off work as holiday since being in Botswana and Amanda’s mom Leslie is here with us on our latest adventure.
We woke up bright and early to catch a 7 am flight from Gaborone to Maun. From there, we flew on a fixed wing aircraft into Oddballs Camp in the Inner Delta and part of the Moremi Game Reserve. This flight was only 20 mins but provided spectacular scenery as the delta expanded for as far as we could see.
Once at camp, we were given a quick briefing and shown to our tents. Luxury camping with mattresses and outdoor ensuites are our home for two nights.
We had some time to sit and enjoy the camp as activities didn’t start until after lunch. The scenery at camp is spectacular and elephants wandered through the water out back.
A quick aside: As most of you know, we got a new camera for this trip an are pretty thrilled with it. Turns out there is a photography camp/tour here at this camp currently which means there are 14 American tourists here who all seem to be trying to one up each other with camera lenses that appear longer than my arms! I’m sure they are secretly laughing at out camera but based on our pictures today, we still love it!
After lunch we headed out on our first ever mokoro trip. These are traditional dug out canoes steered by polers. There are two people to each boat so between the three of us, we had KG and Lee as our polers/guides. We had a short trip in the mokoro followed by a game walk on a nearby island. We saw many antelope but also a heard of zebra that we were able to get surprisingly close to.
When we arrived back at camp before dinner, we were greeted by one of the elephants making its way through camp! While we were able to get reasonably close to it, some of the photography crowd got even closer which led to a couple close calls as the elephant charged a couple of times. Amanda and Leslie also had an incident of getting closer to the elephant than they had planned when coming back from their tent for dinner. (I will leave more of that for Amanda to discuss on her post.)
Dinner was great – butterbean soup and oxtail stew.
October 10, 2011
Wake up call was 6 am today. After a quick cup of coffee and a couple of muffins, we were back out in the mokoro. We crossed over the main channel and took the hippo trail to Baobab Island.
Once on the island, we did a walking loop of approximately 3.5 km according to our guide. We saw plenty of impala and kudu, some more zebra and a wildebeest. There was fresh elephant dung at times along the path we took, but no sightings of the large animals this morning. It didn’t matter though as it was very peaceful to be out in such untouched nature in both the mokoro and on foot.
After a rest and then lunch, we headed out to another island in the mokoro. We saw many more antelopes and an elephant across the way on a distant island.
When we returned to camp, we went up to a balcony above the common sitting area to watch the sunset. The hippos were out at that time and we watched and heard them make their way down the channel towards camp. We did not have any close encounters like we did with the elephants last night, but considering hippos are nocturnal and spend most of their daylight hours submerged, it was great to see them at all.
Another great dinner – tomato soup, chicken and potatoes, and apple crumble for dessert.
October 11, 2011
Another early wakeup call and the hippos were still in the main channel to put on a bit of a show at breakfast. An elephant had made its way through camp again overnight as evidenced by more elephant dung on the walkway. I didn’t hear it overnight as I must have been sleeping too well. I did wake up to the sounds of hippos overnight though.
We headed out in the mokoro again this morning. Since the hippos were in the main channel, it made for a difficult start. Although we couldn’t tell due to the high reeds, our guide seemed to think that the hippos were about five meters away at one point!
We saw footprints of lions, leopards and giraffe on our walk but no official spottings. Again, it didn’t matter as it was nice to be able to explore nature on foot.
We just had time to pack up and have a quick breakfast before it was time to say goodbye to our guides and all the helpful people at Oddballs before boarding a small charter plane and heading back to Maun and onwards to Kasane.
A special thanks to KG and Lee, our mokoro guides, Pony for keeping us all organized and to all the cooking and housekeeping staff. We will always remember these days in the Okavango Delta!
If you missed the link to the photos at the top, click here.
Amanda’s post is here.
More posts coming soon for Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls!