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Discovering The Okavango Delta – 5 secrets to know before you visit

By 25th April 2019 No Comments

It’s no secret that the Okavango Delta is one of Acacia Africa’s favourite destinations. Today we take a look inside this mysterious, evocative corner of Africa, and uncover just a few of her secrets for you to enjoy. For the rest… well, you’ll just have to experience them for yourself!

1.   Head to the Savuti for a little peace and quiet

With the Okavango Delta as popular as it is, finding a truly quiet time can be slightly challenging. The Linyanti Savuti, however, while still part of Chobe National Park, lies in a remote northern corner of the Delta. Cameras and people are rare, and you’ll have the unique chance to experience this wet wonderland in peace as nature unfolds around you. The Savuti channel dried up in 1983, only seeing water again in 2008. From roaming packs of wild dogs to elephants in the dry season, experience a different side of Botswana here at the ‘vanished river’. The Savuti Marsh area is often called a ‘glimpse into the Botswana of yesteryear’, and a trip that will humble (and test) even the most seasoned traveller.

2.   Your best source of river secrets

It’s no secret at all that one of the best ways to experience the delta is via a cruise in a mokoro, or traditional dugout canoe. It’s easy to get caught up in the splendid animal experiences around you while you lazily pole down the river-who can blame you? If you truly want to get the most from the experience, however, it’s time to look down, inward, and all around with equally open eyes. Your baYei poler, a native of this heart-catching landscape, has grown up in the area and has a wealth of knowledge and life experience marinated in their unique culture to share with you- but only if you remember to ask! Otherwise, they will remain quiet during the trip, simply stirring the waterlilies with their nagashi to let you drink in the sights.

3.   Every island is a secret discovery

Many of us simply assume that the Okavango Delta is one cohesive, unchanging whole. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Each rain, each season, brings profound shifts in the landscape. New islands form and disappear in the Delta almost every month. Ask your poler, and they’ll be able to help you discover pristine islets unseen by others. No two trips are ever the same. The Okavango Delta also gives you a unique chance to spot one of the area’s rarest bucks- a wachwe, or cross between a lechwe and a waterbuck.

4.   Riding low

The mokoro may be an iconic part of the journey- but it is an experience in itself. Expect to sit remarkably low in the water, and note a profound cooling as you push off on your journey through the hull of the boat. That doesn’t mean you can skimp on sunscreen, however! Be sure to bring a hat (or parasol if you’re feeling quaint) to ensure you can experience the area in comfort no matter the time of day. Stick to ‘bush’ colours to ensure the best animal experiences. And try to stay as still as possible- sudden movement can throw the poler off the boat entirely, and you don’t want to be that person!

5.   You will feel tiny

There’s no other way to describe this feeling. It may start off a little unsettling, as you come eye-to-eye with almost a ton of hippopotamus fiercely defending its territory, or lock gazes with the King of the Pride mere meters away. Over time, you will come to see it as the gift it is- a true and honest perspective of the world. As sunsets and sunrises unroll before you, and you experience the many beautiful creatures that call the Delta home, you will find your very sense of self altered profoundly. Expect to leave awed by the experience!

The Okavango Delta, recently declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO, is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It’s a fascinatingly diverse ecosystem, one of the most complex we know, and home to 200 000 species of mammal, 70 types of fish and over 400 birds. This includes some desperately endangered species we may well be the last generations to see without careful curatorship.

In short, the Delta should be on everyone’s bucket list. Why not allow Acacia Africa to help shape the perfect Okavango Experience[1]  for you today, and discover more of her secrets for yourself?