Botswana is a country that I can never get enough of. I am fortunate to know it very well and the truth is that exploring the Okavango Delta by canoe is one of the most authentic adventures I have ever lived there. It’s a unique and active experience that takes you back to the origins of safaris. A 4-nights adventure in mobile camps in the middle of the Okavango Delta, accompanied by an expert Bushman ranger.
The adventure begins in the heart of the delta, after a spectacular scenic half-hour helicopter flight. When we landed, the camp was already assembled and prepared, and soon after our arrival we did a little training with the canoe, to learn the basics and prepare for the next day. It’s important to acquire basic abilities and safety notions because during the following days you navigate between hippos and crocodiles, in a completely wild environment.
After this technical preparation we relaxed, admiring the sunset with a cocktail in hand, and enjoyed a delicious dinner. The truth is that I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the meals, which were spectacular, considering that we were completely isolated, many miles from civilisation!
Also, the logistics are incredible: the staff assemble and dismantle the tents with surprising speed and efficiency and take them on board the canoes through the delta. When we left in the morning, they began to dismantle the camp, and when we arrived at our destination in the afternoon, everything was prepared to the last detail and my favourite cocktail was waiting for me.
Moreover, it’s a privilege to explore this remote region with an authentic Bushman ranger, more so if he has a good sense of humor, as was the case with our guide. The first day we went canoeing and paddling for about 2 hours, and we even swam in the delta! We then stopped for a walking safari and our guide reminded us of the safety instructions: he made us walk in a row while he cleared the way in the front, and the highest person of the group walked at the end, to control that everyone was ok. We were frightened as soon as we started when we saw a huge rock python next to the road. When our guide saw it, he gave a hearty laugh! Apparently to him it was very funny that we were frightened by a non-poisonous snake...
After the walking safari we continued by canoe and, after a couple of hours, we were pleasantly surprised by the sight of a spectacular picnic. A table was waiting for us in the middle of the river and we enjoyed the meal while soaking our feet. After this pleasant break, we continued paddling for another couple of hours until we reached the camp, located in a different place from the previous night.
For the second and third night the camp was fixed in the middle of the Okavango Delta, and on the second day we enjoyed a walking safari where we learnt survival skills and the guide taught us to identify medicinal plants and animal tracks. We also enjoyed a cultural visit with the Bushmen to learn about their traditions, lifestyle and ceremonies. During this interesting visit night fell, and we returned to the camp without lanterns, walking in the middle of the delta, illuminated by the full moon. It was a very intense experience: in the darkness, the senses are sharpened and we can hear the sounds of the animals, such as lions and hyenas... Although it’s a little scary, it’s definitely a worthwhile experience.
On the third day we continued to explore the Okavango Delta by canoe, and in the afternoon we went on a game drive, and we spotted leopards, lions, giraffes, elephants... An ideal farewell for such an authentic experience. The next day, after enjoying a brief walking safari in the morning, we were transferred to the airfield to start our way back home.