This 4 night safari by boat takes you deep into the Okavango Delta, recently listed as the 1,000th World Heritage Site.
Flowing hundreds of kilometres from the highlands of Angola, the waters of the Okavango River spill out over the Kalahari sands creating an extraordinary inland delta of islands, floodplains, deep channels and papyrus beds providing a haven for wildlife.
As these waters can cover over 18,000sq. km there is no better way to explore them than by boat.
The boats can either meet you in the Delta or you can start your journey from Maun, travelling more than 100km northwards through the maze of channels.
Maun is known as the gateway to the Okavango Delta.
The waters of this wondrous world are only a short boat ride to the north of this frontier town. Thousands of palm fringed islands are surrounded by seasonal floodplains, providing ideal habitat for a wide range of wildlife.
Travelling up the Boro channel whilst passing stately elephant bulls, pods of hippos and herds of red lechwe we will spend our first two nights on Nxaraga Island.
Our simple but comfortable camp overlooking a tranquil lagoon comprises mini meru tents with fully made up stretcher beds, solar lighting and adjacent individual bucket showers and bush loos.
And there is no more tranquil a place to be than in the middle of this lagoon listening to the grunting of the hippos and watching the sunset with a cold drink in your hand followed by a delicious dinner cooked over the coals of an open fire and served under the stars.
A morning walk will fill your head with so many memories – elephants swimming the deep channels, herds of kudu peering shyly through the foliage, glimpses of predators sidling away attempting to stay hidden and brilliant birdlife everywhere.
A walking safari can be high on adrenalin, but it is about more than your close encounters with the wildlife. It is about appreciating all the living things you see, hear or smell – the colourful insect life, the chorus of the birds, the scent on the wind. It is about feeling close to the natural world and to understanding how the biodiversity all around you is inextricably linked.
As the day warms up we will return to the shade of the camp for brunch before heading out on the boats to search for the large herbivores coming down to the water’s edge to drink or to find a natural, crystal clear pool to have a refreshing swim.
In the early evening we will venture out again and marvel at the solitude and the extraordinary light across this extraordinary landscape as the sun sinks below the horizon.
Today we travel deeper and deeper into the Delta navigating the meandering Boro channel up to Tchau Island.
As we venture north the Delta displays its differing faces as the channel opens up into wide floodplains dotted with tiny islands covered in date palms. This is a stunningly beautiful area and depending on water levels can provide us with fabulous wildlife viewing.
En route we pause on various islands for a stroll perhaps to seek the rare Pel’s Fishing Owl or to enjoy a scrumptious lunch.
Despite travelling some distance we will also spend much of the day simply drifting whilst enjoying the wildlife and birdlife, photographing the stunning scenery or merely relaxing aboard soaking up the atmosphere.
In the meantime our camp will also have been moved ahead of us and the camp staff will be at hand as we idle into camp after sunset.
The upper reaches of the Okavango offer a very different experience to that further downstream so following our obligatory morning walk and delicious breakfast we continue northwards.
There are countless sandbanks providing nesting grounds for a number of water birds such as the African skimmer as well as a perfect spot for crocodiles to sun themselves.
Depending on the water levels we will attempt to cross the Xo Flats into the permanent waters of the Okavango where hidden lagoons are surrounded by extensive papyrus beds, the home of the rare and elusive sitatunga antelope.
Another beautiful evening will be spent drifting down river.
Gradually we make our way down river to Maun allowing the current to guide us at a leisurely pace whilst enjoying this water wonderland for a last day.