Maun – Okavango Delta
Known as the gateway to the Okavango Delta, we spend one evening in Maun preparing for our adventure into the Delta. It is recommended you bring along a smaller bag for your stay in the Okavango as you will not need too much. Small planes take us over this incredible region to our campsite where we will be tenting for the following two nights. Upon our arrival in the Delta, we embark on a nature walk with a local expert and, in the afternoon, a guided boat cruise. Depending on the water level, there may also be a traditional Mokoro (dug-out canoe) outing to look forward to.
The fifth biggest town in Botswana, Maun is renowned as the tourism capital and gateway into the Okavango Delta. It is a diverse contrast of modern structures and traditional huts. Presently home to over some 30,000 people, the town was established in 1915 as the tribal capital of the Batawana people. Maun initially serviced the local cattle ranching and hunting industries and gained a reputation as a ‘wild west’ town. Maun grew rapidly with the swift development of the tourism industry and the completion of the tar road leading from Nata. Sadly, this means that it has by now lost much of its old town character, but it remains well-known for its overpopulation of donkeys and goats that can easily be spotted roaming freely as the local farmers sell their goods on the curbs.
Due to the influx of dollars gained from the tourism industry, Botswana’s typical rondavels (round huts) of the past have been somewhat upgraded to moderately-sized square cinderblock homes with roofs of tin or tiles. It is not peculiar to spot mud rondavels equipped with satellite dishes, indicating the increasing wealth of the country as well as the rising dependability of electricity in the town. The stunning contrast between traditional and modern is also evident in the multi-level air-conditioned shopping malls bizarrely surrounded by potholes, dusty gravel parking lots and bustling market places.
A maze of lagoons, lakes and concealed channels spreading over 17,000 square kilometres, the Okavango Delta is the world’s biggest inland delta. Originating in Angola, countless rivers merge to form the Cubango River which flows through Namibia, becoming the Kavango River and finally entering Botswana where it turns into the Okavango. Eons ago, the Okavango River flowed into a massive inland lake named Lake Makgadikgadi which is now known as the Makgadikgadi Pans. Tectonic activity disturbed the currents of the river, resulting in it backing up and thus creating what is now recognised as the Okavango Delta. This has formed a complex network of waterways that sustain a large variety of fauna and flora.
There are approximately 200,000 large mammals living in and around the Delta. On the mainland and amidst the Delta islands, lion, elephant, hyena, wild dog, buffalo, hippo and crocodile gather with an assortment of antelope and other smaller animals such as warthog, mongoose, spotted genet, monkey, bush baby and tree squirrel. Remarkably, the endangered African Wild Dog lives within the Okavango Delta, displaying one of the richest pack densities throughout Africa. The Delta is also home to over 400 species of bird including the majestic African Fish Eagle. Plenty of these creatures live in the Delta, but most simply pass through during their migrations with the summer rains to seek out renewed lush fields ready for grazing. During the beginning of winter, the countryside dries up and these animals head back to the Delta, making for spectacular game sightings as the massive numbers of prey and predators are forced together. Specific regions of the floodplains provide some of the most magnificent predator action seen anywhere in the world.
Meals: Breakfast X3, Lunch X3, Dinner X3
Accommodation: Two per room: Sitatunga
Two per Meru Tent: Moremi Crossing: www.gunns-camp.com/moremi_crossing.php
Facilities: En-suite per room, bar, swimming pool, hot water
Route: Ghanzi to Maun +/-300 kms
Travel Time: +/- 4-5 hours
Activity Package: Day 15 – Flight from Maun to Moremi Crossing approximately 30 mins (10kg luggage per person, no bottled water allowed on flight), nature walk with local expert and guided afternoon boat cruise along the Delta channels