Image credit: andBeyond
Botswana’s magnificent Okavango Delta, one of the world’s largest inland deltas, resembles an enormous canvas covered with an warm slew of viridescent and golden hues specked on its myriad deep lagoons, dense reed-beds, meandering channels and vast papyrus rafts.
It has been named one of Africa’s last-remaining wilderness havens and continues to be speckled with vast numbers of elephants, zebras, hippos, big cats and buffaloes. Indeed, not many places in the world possess such a timeless, iconic meld of spectacular scenery, diversity of wildlife and vast remoteness, and the unique allure of this pristine sanctuary and safari destination is certainly clear to many — and many more to come.
Even if you’ve already been initiated into the world of African safaris, the staggering range of activities in the Okavango Delta will surely redefine your safari experience. Game drives aside, here are some neat ways to get acquainted with this nature gem.
1. Take a relaxing mokoro ride
Gliding languidly between delicate water lilies and tall grasses on a balmy afternoon in a low, traditional mokoro canoe is perhaps the best way to navigate these channels so rich in papyrus and reeds. This canoe ride isn’t only an extremely relaxing activity, but as it is poled by an expert gondolier, it becomes a unique means to get to know the delta from a different angle.
As you sit back and literally go with the flow, you will slowly get to enjoy the delta’s serenity, drifting in a sublime ecosystem brimming with frogs, dragonflies, bee-eaters and kingfishers and often be lucky to spot unique species of birds soaring above you or a herd of lechwe (antelopes) sprinting joyously across the water.
2. Get a bird’s-eye view of the delta from a helicopter
From above, Okavango Delta is a spectacle in itself. There is a certain thrill in observing and taking in all its riches as you soar above this vast maze of permanent and fleeting waterways that seem to always dance boisterously.
And as you fly low over channels and pools dotted with precious lily pads, be prepared to admire the real splendour of nature — from herds of elephants enjoying a refreshing swim to pods of hippos lazily grazing by the edge of the river to still crocodiles basking in the sunlight oblivious to everything else around them.
3. Jump in the saddle for a unique horseback riding safari
To immerse yourself in the authentic terrain of the Okavango Delta, a horseback safari is the perfect way to experience unforgettable game viewing from a vantage point. Available for both avid rides and beginners, the experience allows you to get close and personal with the local game at the break of dawn, when it is considered more active.
During morning rides, simply enjoy long canters alongside wildlife such as zebras, lechwe and giraffes or alongside experienced guides who confidently track elephants and buffaloes across the open plains and through the palm-studded islands; don’t worry, the adventure may seem daunting but you will often stop to enjoy the delta at a more gentle pace, such as by having a leisurely lunch under the shade of an iconic tree.
4. Go on an interpretative bushmen walk
There is no better way to get a real feel of the African continent than literally stepping foot on it and exploring it thoroughly through the eyes of its inhabitants. To do so, join a guided walk lead by the bushmen, also known as the San people, which are one of the continent’s oldest inhabitants, boasting roots going back over 30,000 years ago.
As they are still deemed highly-skilled hunter-gathers using bows and poisoned arrows, traps and throwing sticks fashioned out of raw materials found in the wilderness, this exciting adventure will quickly introduce you to a unique way of life and teach you various survivalist techniques.
5. Experience a boat safari
Whilst on a boating safari, the beauty of the Okavango Delta will be revealed in all its glory. Pass through the world-famous Moremi Game Reserve, where opportunities abound for sightings of native birds as well as hippos, elephants and plenty other mammals that call this area home.
Whether you are a keen photographer, an adventurer at heart, or you deeply appreciate unspoiled beauty, the Okavango Delta effortlessly offers an unforgettable experience!