Discovering beauty behind the eastern boarder of Namibia
Africa is a largely untamed continent, full of unspoiled nature, wildlife and natural beauty. We are delighted with the location and landscape of our Namibia. On the left side, the Atlantic Ocean, in the hinterland the oldest desert in the world – the Namib Desert, unusual flora and fauna, e.g. in Etosha National Park. And what are the wonders of Africa behind our eastern border? We decided to discover and went on a trip to a fascinating border area in Botswana. In this article we will advice you why should you visit the Okavango Delta as well.
The first stage of our trip was reaching Maun – the fifth largest town in Botswana with a population of 55,000. The Maun International Airport is located here and it’s the jumping off point for many safari excursions into the Okavango Delta, the Chobe, the Linyanti, the Kalahari, and other wildlife-rich regions. And we also flew from here to the main destination of our trip – the Okavango Delta.
Why should you visit the Okavango Delta in Botswana
The Okavango Delta is the largest inland river delta in the world, formed by the Okavango River (the fourth longest river in South Africa, 1600 km long). It is one of the few large systems of inland deltas without reaching the sea, known as the alluvial delta. Its waters drain instead into the desert sands of the Kalahari Basin. Hence the popular term for the Okavango Delta – Kalahari Jewel. It is the third largest alluvial cone in Africa and the largest non-outflow delta on the continent. The Okavango Delta was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and is considered one of the Seven Wonders of Africa.
Spreading over the area of 15 000 km2 the river creates cavernous swamps, treacherous wetlands and canals dotted with islets, which are the habitat of many endangered animals. This natural environment made a stunning impression on us. The Okavango Delta provides water to hundreds of thousands of animals drawn here from the arid regions of Africa. It spills from June to July, so while the dry season is already in abundance, elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes, zebras, hippos, buffaloes, cheetahs, antelopes and black and white white rhinoceros are looking for a watering place here.
Hippos can be found in many reserves in southern Africa, but the Okavango delta has the highest concentration of hippos. You will see them in the open waters of the Delta or in the evening when they come out for food. Simply put, the Okavango Delta is a hippo lovers’ paradise.
See what the Okavango River looks like from above in our short video:
On the way back, we stopped at The Elephant Havens orphanage and we also highly recommend visiting this place. It is nestled along the banks of the Gomoti River, at the edge of the Okavango Delta, about 45km northeast of Maun.
Since the elephant population in Namibia is very high (around 150,000 elephants), there is some conflict between farmers and nature. Often, when elephants destroy farmers’ crops, the farmers kill the elephant mothers in the aftermath. Baby elephants are rescued and taken to an orphanage and then released back into the wild.
It is an ideal place for young elephants to live and receive daily care and companionship. All elephants are different, so there is no set time to reintroduce an elephant to the wild. When one Is showing signs of independence, they are taken out of their enclosure each day to spend time with the wild elephants in the area. Over time they will spend more and more time with the herd, but they will always remember their “human family”.
The locals who staff the orphanage as handlers, support, and administrative personnel are seeing a direct benefit of elephant conservation. Rather than being a threat to crops, livestock, and people, the elephants are bringing income through jobs in the wildlife and tourism areas.
Alongside the elephant enclosures (bomas), the fenced grounds also contain a fresh water well, veterinary office and lab, elephant formula prep kitchen, administrative office, etc. Besides welcoming visitors, the orphanage is a venue for educational programs for locals and those passing through to the Okavango Delta.
Wanna know more about The Elephant Havens Orphanage?
All in all, it was a unique trip into the world of African flora and fauna and we are already planning when we come back to The Okavango Delta next time. Meanwhile, of course, we invite you to travel together in Namibia. 🙂
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