There are many operators shuttling people around the Okavango Delta, running a large variety of planes. The workhorses are mostly Cessnas; 208 Caravans, 206 Stationairs and Australian GA8 Airvans, with 172s doing a lot of sightseeing work, too.
Our flight in was 35 min at 3,500 AGL, meaning we could see exactly how big the Delta is and how much of it is water, the dryness of the major islands, other camps, and if you were lucky and had a big lens, wildlife. The patterns of the water were in places pretty random, in places typical of meandering rivers, but always full of colour and fascinating shapes. It reminded me of flying over the Mackenzie Delta.
|The water starts|
|More water than land|
|Fascinating patters and colours|
|Browns and greens|
|Marshes and rivers and lakes|
|Moremi Crossing camp, where they use to stay|
|Elephants from 3,500'|
|Chief Island. Large and dry but with waterholes|
|Nifty stream meanders and oxbow lakes|
|A little rive snakes along|
|Descent into our area|
|4x4 tracks become visible|
|Our Caravan. Seats 14 and there were 11 of us|
|The terminal building|
|A creek crossing|
|And through we go|
|Tracks in the sand|
|The camp greeting song|
|The campfire circle. Dining tent in the background|
|The lounge tent area|
|Set for dinner|
|Two twins, like everywhere else in Africa|
|Shower and toilet|
|We head out|
|Down the creek|
|In the lily pads|
|That's not for rain|
|Listening for animal noises|
|A peaceful way to get around a peaceful place|
|Blazing a trail in the hippo grass|
|Water lilies in bloom|
|The sun in the reeds|
|A water's edge view|
|The net's actually quite wide|
|Painted reed frog|
|Another painted reed frog|
|The water was apparently warm|
|And not a little guy, either|
|A big boy, in fact|
|Clair gets a closeup|
|Possibly too close|
|And off he wanders|
|The bugs in the sunshine|
|Sunset from my porch|
|And the colours start|
|The setting sun|
|Down it goes|
|Purples and orange|
|And night falls|
Today’s Africa Travel Tip: Internet Access
If your life is ruled by the ‘net, if you have critical e-mails to do, if you simply MUST Skype with your boyfriend every day, if you store everything in the Cloud and need regular access to it, if you have to check Facebook 6 times a day, don’t come to Africa.
I’m sure there are places in Africa where ‘net speeds are solid and you can do anything -- but I haven’t been to any yet (though the Wimpy hamburger joint in Maun wasn’t too bad). Most places we have stayed claim they have internet access, and often, that’s actually the case. But sometimes it just doesn’t work. Sometimes it works, but when we roll in somewhere, at least 6 of our travelling companions pull out their iPads and the ‘net just bogs down so slowly that it becomes unusable. There is rarely wi-fi in your room; normally it’s only available in the bar area, encouraging you to have a beer while doing your access thing. We allegedly had ‘net access in the Delta, but uploading a single picture took 15 minutes.
To top it off, if you want to be on the ‘net, you have to skip doing something else. As I type this some days after May 24th, today we were so rushed that even though our hotel said the wi-fi was fast and good (but only available in the bar), and they even had a free computer you could use, there was simply no time at all to spend any time on the ‘net – except to cut into the 6 hr window for your sleep.
Here’s a hint: you’re in Africa. Savour the moment. Get off the ‘net. Don’t check your e-mail. Look at the birds or wildlife you’ll never see again. Listen to the hippos grunt or lions roar as we did, because that doesn’t sound like the traffic noise you have at home.
Unplug, and your time in Africa will be better spent.