On the 22 June 2014 the Okavango Delta became the 1 000th site to be officially inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Okavango Delta, whose channels cover 16 000km, is like no other. The palm and papyrus fringed waterways and thick woodlands are resplendent with lush vegetation and are rich in wildlife.
The Delta’s water comes mainly from Angola through Namibia via the Cubango and Kavango Rivers which enter Botswana as the Okavango River.
What makes traversing the Okavango Delta so hard is the yearly change in water flow. The distribution and drainage patterns are continually changing, principally due to tectonic activity underground. As an extension of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, the Okavango is set within a geographically unstable area of faults, and regularly experiences land movements, tremors and minor quakes.
One can traverse the Okavango in two ways. Kayaks are for the more adventurous and take 10 days. The other, more popular way, is by motor boats and this takes six days. What makes this trip so different is that it is expedition styled, so all supplies for the trip are taken with you on your boat. Everything from your food to your tent is on the boat. There is also no set itinerary as it all depends on the day’s progress. This means your guide really needs to know the Okavango Delta and be confident in his knowledge of the Delta changes and flood seasons.
This expedition style safari on the Okavango Delta gives you a perception that very few have experienced. While traversing the Delta from start to finish you will see hippos, crocodiles, birds, reed frogs and you may even have the chance to catch some fresh Okavango fish for your dinner.
To traverse the Delta you start the journey at the panhandle which extends down for approximately 80km. Its corridor-like shape is contained within two parallel faults in the Earth’s crust. Here the river runs deep and wide and this area does not change too often.
At Seronga the Delta emerges and you travel through stunning mosaics of channels and thousands of islands of an endless variety of shapes. This area changes yearly and makes your trip a real expedition.
The last part of the trip on your way to Maun is at the Delta’s lower reaches, a flood plain that gives way to seasonal swamps and water clogged grasslands.
Traversing the Delta is an unforgettable, unique experience that should be on every wildlife adventurers bucket list.