The city of Maun is a center for tourism, with people coming from all over the world to venture out on big game hunting safaris or exploring the famous Okavango Delta. It turned out Prince Harry was no exception.. he was staying with his girlfriend at a lodge down the road and going out for a safari with our friend Darryl who had been with the tour during our days from the border to Maun!
Kendra and I were both excited about seeing the delta, but decided to take two different approaches.. I went by air and she and Joerg by canoe. Both of us thoroughly enjoyed our adventures, and raved about the beauty of what we had seen.. I guess you can’t go wrong either way!
I organized a group to take an hour flight over the delta, which would allow us a birds eye view of the intricate waterways and herds of roaming animals. The flight didn’t disappoint! I was amazed by the patterns of water flow, dotted with almost artistic displays of lily pads and cut by brown streams marking the main channels. It was beautiful! We flew quite low and were able to pick out herds of elephants, some giraffe and ostrich, and even caught a herd of water buffalo wading across a stream. This is Africa!
A beautiful sunrise over the river started the rest day in Maun. We were up early because of our crazy TdA body clocks but also because we signed up for an all day canoe ride through the Okavanga Delta. The Okavanga Delta is the largest inland delta in the world. The rivers flow from Angola, inland to Botswana, and settle into this low lying region. Several tributaries flow out of the delta, but unlike other river systems that eventually empty into large seas or oceans, this water stays inland. Consequently, it is home to some amazing bird species and larger mammals.
Kari chose to see the delta from a small plane instead, so seven of my other TdA friends and I piled into a safari truck and rode about 30 minutes outside of Maun, past a small nomadic village of river guides living in tents, to the edge of the Boro River. We boarded two man fiberglass canoes, called mokukus, which were each navigated by a local who stood in the stern and pushed us through the shallow waters with a very long pole. We glided through paths in the reeds which were created by grazing hippos (unfortunately we didn´t see any). Occasionally, the paths would open up into large ponds that were covered in delicate white and lavender water lilies.
The boats beached at an island in the middle of the delta and we explored on foot, tracking and finding two elephants, a herd of zebra, two ostrich, and a flock of marabou storks. After a picnic lunch and a nap in the high grass, we returned to the boats. On the return trip, I closed my eyes and enjoyed the journey of senses – listening to the lapping of the water against the boat and the chatter of birds. Just breathing in and loving this time in Africa.