Walking safari in the Okavango Delta in Botswana
Last year I made a 7,5-month overland trip through the African continent. I started off in Spain from where I took the ferry to Morocco. From here on I travelled along the west coast of Africa all the way to South Africa. After a few days of rest, I continued my journey to Nairobi in Kenya from where I had to fly home again. On this trip I also visited the famous Okavango Delta in Botswana where I did a walking safari.
Okavango Delta in Botswana
At first I was actually tempted to skip a visit to the Okavango Delta, because I wasn’t sure what to expect and if it would be worth the money. In the end I decided to just go to the Delta for a 3-day trip, because I thought I should make the most of it while I was there. So off I went for a 2-hour drive in a jeep on rough sandy roads followed by a 4-hour canoe-ride over de Delta. The canoe I travelled in was called a ‘mokoro’; this is a traditional means of transport in the Botswanan bush made out of one piece of tree. The scenery on this canoe-trip was amazing; lots of flowers in the water, never ending green plains and even some zebras on the shore. The sun was shining abundantly and I felt like I was in heaven!
First day walking safari in the Okavango Delta
After this half day of travelling into the Okavango Delta I reached my camp where I pitched my tent and started to munch on my sandwich. When you visit the Delta you might want to manage your expectations upfront. During the hot afternoons there is quite a bit of siesta time, since it is too hot to go on safari. Therefore, it might be a good idea to bring a book to read, some music to listen to or some games to play. There is absolutely no luxury in the Delta of Botswana. That means: no toilets, no showers, no buildings to sit in, no chairs to sit on, no stores and no stock of anything. Everything you need for your 3 days of camping, you’ll need to bring yourself. That’s why I packed a box of easy to prepare food, such as a bread roll, meat and some lettuce and tomatoes to make burgers for dinner. I packed sandwiches for lunch and milk powder with cereal for breakfast. I did bring a cooler box with a lot of ice to keep the food in and off course to keep the beers cold.
Photo’s Okavango Delta Botswana
After settling in, I went on an afternoon walking safari with one of the guides. The landscape is just amazing; you can see grass and swamp as far ahead as you can look. We walked through the high grass and managed to spot our first wild animals soon after we left the camp. Two monkeys sat on a big stone while playing with each other. A bit further we stumbled onto a big snake and some antelopes. I continued walking and the guide tracked down some giraffes pretty far away. We decided to see if we could get closer. To my surprise we could get very close. And there weren’t only giraffes, there was a herd of wildebeest and a group of zebras as well. They were all playing together and running back and forth over the grassy land. Sand was thrown in the air and funny noises were made. At that same time, to my right the sun was setting behind some palm trees. The sky coloured a beautiful red-orange-yellow and I thought I was dreaming. This is Africa!
Camping safari in the Okavango Delta
Back at camp I cooked my burger and sat around the campfire chatting to the guides for the night. I can say that it is very important to book a guide when going into the Okavango Delta. The guide I had was very good at finding animal tracks and leading me to the animals. I wouldn’t have felt comfortable in the immense Delta filled with wildlife without an experienced guide. I arranged my trip and the guide through the hotel in Maun where I was staying, which was great!
Animals safari in the Okavango Delta Botswana
That night I heard a bunch of hippos playing in the nearby waters and a lion circling my tent. After a very early start, the guide suggested we’d go and find the lion. I was up for that! The guide managed to find some of the lion’s tracks and we followed them for a while. I even had to take off my shoes a couple of times to wade through some water. After a while the lion tracks disappeared unfortunately. Just as we were about to turn round, we heard something in the distance. So we slowly got closer and suddenly there were 5 elephants standing about 30 meters in front of me. Wow! My favourite animal just a couple of meters away in the wild. I got my camera out and just sat there in the bush for about an hour snapping away and enjoying these big wild animals. In the end the Okavango Delta was one of the best experiences of my trip to Africa!