Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Okavango Delta

April 13th we drove to the town of Maun, which is the main jumping off point to entering the world renowned Okavango Delta.  The Okavango Delta is the worlds largest inland delta.  It's formed as the waters from the highlands of Angola flow south over the course of months to the Okavango River which spreads out over this swamp land creating the 9,000 square mile delta in the Kalahari Desert.  It doesn't empty in to the sea, but rather evaporates each year due to the extreme heat in this area during the summer months.  During the dry season it attracts animals from all over, creating one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in Africa.  Since we were there just after the rainy season, we didn't see any wildlife while camping, but we did see some when we did a flight over the delta a few days later.

Here we are at Sitatunga Camp getting ready to go in to the Delta

Laura & Sharon on the transport to the delta

Here we are with Daniel and Jane heading to the delta

A rest stop & pee break on the way in to the delta

Traditional huts we passed along the way

After reaching the delta we packed our things in our mokoro,which is a traditional dugout canoe.  Ours was made of fiberglass instead of wood, since it takes 15 years for a tree to be mature enough to be carved into a mokoro.

Here's Cian & Miriam with their poler taking them in to the delta.

Mokoros on the Okavango Delta

Kelly's enjoying the ride through the delta as our poler Gebe does all the work

It took about an hour in the mokoros to reach our campsite for the night

This Buffalo skull was sitting in our campsite

Here's our tent on the right.  After two weeks on the road we got good at putting it up and taking it down

After getting settled at camp, Dave decided to try his hand at poling a mokoro.  It was really hard on the feet and calves as the muscles were really straining trying to keep the thing balanced.

He never did tip it during the 20 minutes he was out, but he sure came close a few times!

In the late afternoon we took a walk around a larger island near where we were camping

Here's our group on the walk

Although we saw fresh tracks of a lion and buffalo, all we saw were birds

The setting sun made for a beautiful mokoro ride back to our camp

Dave on the mokoro ride back to camp

Enjoying time around the campfire

The next morning we headed back through the grasses of the delta to catch our ride back to Maun

There were these beautiful lilies all over in the stretches of open water

Cian & Miriam on the mokoro ride back

Mark, Dave, Bryan, Kelly, Randy, Laura and Malcom in the truck for the ride back to Maun

Mark, Bryan, Daniel, Miriam & Cian enjoy a beer after a night in the delta

We decided to take a flight seeing tour of the delta to get a better prospective of what it looked like.  Here's Cian and Kelly with our pilot

Here we are with Miriam and Cian in the plane

Here's the plane the other group took flying over the delta as well as some shots of the delta.  We only flew at and elevation of 500 ft. so we did see Elephants, Buffalo and Giraffe on this flight.

Here we are with Randy & Cian after our flight

After our flight we drove 4 hours to our campsite at Planet Baobab near the town of Gweta....yes, that it is a giant concrete Aardvark in front of our truck

Our campsite at Planet Baobab

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