An oasis in Botswana’s harsh and arid Kalahari Desert, the Okavango Delta is one of the largest inland deltas in the world. Originating in Angolan highlands as the Cubango River before it flows into Namibia as the Kuvango River and eventually ending up in Botswana as the Okavango River, it breaks up into a huge labyrinth of channels, lagoons and islands, forming the Okavango Delta, a haven for wildlife seeking water and respite from the Kalahari. The water from the Delta never flows into any river or sea, and 95% of it is eventually lost to evaporation.
We spent 3 days bush camping in the Okavango Delta, a definite challenge for a ‘soft’ city boy. There was no running water, no electricity and basically, no facilities of any kind. The bush toilet was a hole in the ground with a spade to scoop some dirt in. We could not use any soap or detergent for fear of contaminating the pristine environment so our swims in the Delta served both to cool us off from the unrelenting heat and to act as sort of a bath. Food was cooked on a wood fire, which was also our primary source of light in the evenings. In short, life was pretty basic.
African sunsets are always a magical moment
There was a cacophony of sounds to be heard at night lying in our tents, nature is surprisingly noisy. Cows ambling by, elephants calling, the mating calls of bullfrogs and of course, the sounds from a million insects around us, kept at bay by copious amounts of repellent around the tent since we were not taking our anti-malarials.
We spent mornings and evenings bush walking and spotting animals in the wild but admittedly, the most enjoyable parts of the trip for me was simply lazing around the campsite doing very little and swimming in the Delta.
Tents and bags packed and ready to go
The wood fire was our source of cooking heat as well as light in the evenings
In the heat of the midday sun, where even the animals were taking cover, there was little to do but laze around
Ablutions were basic to say the least
Flip flops, feet and flowers
Afternoons were spent (not unlike the hippos!) cooling off in the swimming hole
Bush walks in the evenings, where the heat of the day gives way to the cool of night