I write this on an early Monday morning, just before the week starts in earnest at the office. And why the blues? Well, I’ve just returned back from four-night safari in the Okavango Delta. Once again “the Delta” stirred the soul and made me realise what a special wilderness it is; from a game viewing, photography and pristine ecosystem point of view.
March is a difficult month in the Okavango. The rainy season is almost over- this year recording over near record amounts of rain- the result being that the grass is exceptionally high, making viewing, and photographing quite difficult. The animals move away from the permanent flood plains into the open country and the weather can be temperamental, with grey days of rain a common occurrence.
So it can be a touch and go affair, but the (photographic) optimist in me also sees the opportunities in such situations. Green backgrounds and foliage is much nicer than the brown and dull colours of the dry season. The animals are in good condition, with shiny coats which is nicer for photos and lastly, all the migrant birds are around in their colourful and vibrant numbers. If there are birds around, then I’m always a happy photographer!
Of course the weather played its part and all of the above were well documented along with cheetah, lions in the evening light beginning their hunt, mating lions, storks, hippos, lechwe, spotted hyenas at first light and of course the boat cruise in the reed lined channels- Something that just makes a Delta trip just that more special. Even the sunset looks more beautiful from a quiet boat rocking in amongst the water lilies!
And my favourite part of the delta? Well, it has to be the hippos at night. The cacophony they make from the lagoon in front of camp is amazing and lying in the safari tent at night, looking at the stars with their chorus in the background makes me just want to come back for a whole lot more. Good thing I will be back later in the year for more!
By the way, while earth hour was a major event on Saturday night around the year- the camps in the Okavango Delta are on “permanent earth hour”. Low impact “wood and canvas” camps, no electricity, reverse osmosis water, solar panels for each tents power and very low numbers of people make them very sustainable camps in the model of the worlds current needs. So while earth hour was a major event world wide, every night here is one to be proud of. Well done to these camps (run by Kwando Safaris) - a whole lot better than some of the monstrosities in South Africa…