Do you know Okavango’s Delta in Botswana?
If you liked the post of Chobe National Park, do not miss this extreme experience, hard and wild – even if not unintentional – in one of the most particular interior delta of the world, the Oklavango in Botswana. Discovery of the Okavango’s Delta allows you to travel in the deepest part of Africa in one of the largest and most intact interior delta of the world and to observe an ecosystem unique.
We are in Botswana, a fascinating country which, although not touched by the sea, is full of water and it insert a reference even in the national flag (the blue stripe). Here all the license plates of car begin with the letter B.
The border welcomes travelers with a landscape similar at the previous days, the huts are small and poor, and made from poor materials like mud, straw and wood.
Here you can see as well as empty cans may be useful as a reinforcement to the structure.
Villages in Botswana
Coming from the town of Rundu in Namibia, we reach the Botswana’s border along the way touching the towns of Maun and Shakawe and reaching Nata, turning around the west part of the Okavang’so Delta.
The small village where we stop for emergency supplies has mail and supermarket and even an open space used as appropriate by the police or court.
It is a very poor place and eat a quick sandwich, surrounded by these poor people, is very uncomfortable.
However, children likes a lot the candy gift received by tourists.
Daily life in Botswana
The life here is slow, bored and sleepy for the older ones.
The children and young people play and have a fun day like all over the world.
They organize a football game with a small ball of nylon recovered from some packaging and filled with rags.
It’s sad, especially if we think at our iphones.
They are all barefoot and the few who have a pair of shoes old and run down, let it carefully under the tree so you do not ruin it.
Some children are proud to show their creations at tourists to photograph it.
Three cans and a piece of wire is enough to make a toy car to play one year.
Life in the village is hard for the most basic necessities and even younger girls makes hard work.
Right in the center of the village there is a water point and this is even equipped with faucet and concrete platform, a real luxury. The center of life is right here around: boys and children go to take water by any tools and the women take the opportunity to exchange the latest news.
Daily activities take us back a long time ago.
Okavango’s delta by boat
The old stories of our granparents about old farm so often imagined listening them.
It’s time to leave and the destination is a wooden pier where a boat awaits the group for transport.
Surfing the maze of water in the Okavango’s Delta is a very special experience. The boat go at high speed zigzagging, bypassing, turning in a way that seems completely random.
How do you to orientate in these waters, trees, plants and grass all over around is a mystery.
Sometimes you are traveling at high speed, others slower.
The water is beautiful. Low, clear and transparent and able to show a multitude of animals. Birds, dragonflies, insects, …
The unspoiled nature reigns supreme and pink water lilies provide the setting for a stunning backdrop made of trees, leaves, grass untouched nature.
The meetings are sometimes strange, as the ambulance. But do not be fooled … it makes not you feel more relaxed and secure his presence!
A little problems
It’s time to get off the boat to continue with track and the departure immediately presents mechanical problems. This is Okavango’s delta!
With the differential broken is impossible to continue and also the mechanic that occurs after a reasonable time (for African times) decreed the rupture. You can not go according to plan and the group must start walking.
Along the dirt road to go it’s possible to see various scenes of daily life in their purest essence.
The group of tourists observes the local people with curiosity and they do the same in a mixture of curiosity and perplexity each other.
You never know where it begins and where it ends envy and compassion for both, in just this mutual exchange of glances in a moment’s space.
The trip takes about an hour of walking and different others.
Okavango’s delta by mokoro
The group arrives to the point where there are three mokoro to wait. The mokoro boats are typical of this area, long and narrow, that used to be made entirely of wood and today are mostly made of stronger resin.
It’s lovely to slip out quietly without any noise produced by man on these waters and this still completely unspoilt nature in the leaves swaying to the passage of mokoro and the trees.
There are a large water lilies in full bloom and the huge mosquitoes that run on the water without annoy.
The conductor is standing on the back of mokoro which is guided only with the aid of a long stick. Useless any attempt to communicate with him. He smiles without uttering no word, he understand only her native language.
Dangerous hippos in the Okavango’s delta
The romance of the situation it lasts very little. The mokoro is very narrow and travels very low in the water, this means that inside you must remain perfectly still. Any slight wobble can cause the reversal of mokoro with consequences certainly not pleasant. Especially because no one knows what lies beneath in this water. The cramps immediately arrived and back pain is immediately felt even the most athletics of the group.
Nature is not as quiet as you can imagine. The noises are unusual for Europeans. The trumpeting feel strong even if it seems quite distant and at some point you feel the noise and movement of hippos in the water, but you can not identify them location.
A moment seems they are at right and a moment later at left. While you trying to see them on one side and the other, here now a compact row of huge animals that run aggressive to mokoro sprinkling water.
They are impressive. Huge and so many. Fear immediately take the upper hand even in the expression of the boatman bleaching, like the rest of the occupants of the boats. It’s a quick nod – as if there was a need! – For all to stop to photograph and keep quiet without a sound. It is difficult to describe whether longer fear their sound or their size in the water. Slowly recedes with mokoro in the dense vegetation between the branches of trees.
The only way out of this situation is to became ourself inconspicuous and blend with the landscape.
In a moment all tourist realize that man is so out of place in this environment and his resources are so tiny and limited. In spite of what I have always learning at school that the man is at the top of the food pyramid … here we immediately realize that man seems to be the most insignificant to the base and that everything and everyone is a danger to him.
Hippos continue to advance compact. The breathing stops.
When the group of hippos arrive at a very close range, it is not clear for whom the intercession of good fortune, one of the biggest stops, and the whole herd follows his example and stay in the vegetation observation staring motionless for moments that seem endless, and then, as they had arrived, they decide to go some other way.
The show that the group had the honor of attending is definitely unique, but much fear.
The journey goes on for a while between huge crocodiles seemingly placid on the shore and fast when you dive into the water and swim to disappear under the mokoro.
Finally, the mokoro stops in a clearing on a small island and here the camp has been set up. It’s all an unscheduled, so even the field is not usually surrounded by electrified wire and is very dangerous to go out of the area. The guides explained with precision even at night is absolutely forbidden to leave their tents and two guides will take turns close to the fire that is kept burning to ward off animals.
It’s all clearly very basic.
Around the tents can be observed especially impressive large termite mounds and tree trunks of tall trees felled by elephants and on which you can see the fang marks.
In this secluded little area in the vegetation, the sun sets.
Dinner around the fire is fast and fatigue helps to fall asleep between the trumpeting of elephants in the night seem even stronger and closer and the indescribable din of felled trunks that are poured on the ground.
Sleep is not the most quiet and only the infinite weariness allows to sleep.
The awakening is at dawn. Nature seems much quieter and there are a lot of birds at this time. At the exit from the tents whole group mutes stunned at the sight of a big elephant excrement of not more than five steps from the camp kitchen. Were much closer than one might think.
Okavango’s delta by air
The tents are removed quickly and go on mokoro between the light and mist created by the rising sun. The route is fast and direct, of course, always thinking at Africa’s timing, and a track, this time working, can reach the town of Maun where a plane waiting for the group to fly over the Okavango’s Delta.
The landscape is unique and it seems much safer, despite frequent turbolence.
Taking good pictures is also very difficult for the dazzling reflections of the water.
Herds of elephants, giraffes and hippos are an infinite multitude of scattered everywhere, they are calm in their daily activities and no disturbed by human presence.
You can see huge expanses where no man has ever set foot, and nature reigns supreme.
A lot of light and unique colors are the best.
It’s the time to departure to Nata. At checkpoint the policeman requires at tourists to disinfect shoes and wheels so from the area of the delta does not spill any microorganism.
If you think it was a joke, I assure you it’s all true. Even more interesting are the sanitary conditions in which this water is disinfected!
Now the landscape that emerges is different and rapidly changing.
At times it seems desert and sometimes is possible to see many ostriches and large termite mounds.
A few homes and only some men at work. It is easy to meet the large pachyderms that reign supreme here.
Towards evening she finally reaches the town of Nata in which the means refueling and at nightfall the groups arrived at the fantastic Nata Lodge. A place that is definitely worth a visit, even whether you arrive by strong experiences such as those described, both whether you are looking for peace and relaxation more complete.
The accommodation is modern and luxurious and the pool with its waterfall, relax at the sight. You can sleep in comfortable room, or use the campsite and still get the services and swimming pool.
Its location makes it great as a base for exploring the Oklavango’s Delta, such as the Chobe National Park with its higher concentration of elephants in the whole of Africa.
It’s the time for a swim in the pool and plenty of relaxation after some adventures … so I wish you:
Have a good trip in Botswana and Okavango’s delta!